What Includers Know About Everyone


What Is the INCLUDER Theme

Includers are the people in our lives who are naturally accepting of others and non-judgmental.  They have a keen awareness of who is and is not a part of things, and it is their instinct to draw others in.  Like a radar that is always turning, they are constantly mindful of the subtlest tones in human-to-human interactions and group dynamics.  In particular, they notice those who are being left out of activities, conversations, and social situations—especially those who are systematically or repeatedly neglected and excluded.  For them, the sayings “The more the merrier” and “If you have extra, build a bigger table” make complete sense.  They feel and understand that more can be accomplished together—win/win situations are their forte and they love it when everyone can benefit, not just a few.  In fact, everyone is a sacred word to them.  So much so that they are actually repulsed by individuals, groups, and institutions that are exclusive or exclusionary.  For an Includer, each person is important and intrinsically valuable, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, class, education, religion, or lack of religion.  We all matter, each of our voices deserve to be heard, and life is a process of coming together not apart.

Why Should We Care

They are first and foremost compassionate and deeply aware people who can put themselves and their egos aside and connect with virtually anyone.  Even if it takes a bit of effort on their part, they can make everybody feel important, visible, and accepted.  This means that Includers are great advocates for the voiceless, the marginalized, and the minority.  They naturally seek, see, and find the very best in others, which can be contagious, especially in business situations when the vibe feels negative.  They teach us how to love others for who they are, not what they have or appear to be.  We all have something to contribute, let’s start there—says the Includer.  They have an enlightened way of meeting others where they are at and then finding a place for them in the group or situation.  They are value seeking and, therefore, value finding.

Ten Things to Know About People with INCLUDER

1. Courage. Their drive to include others comes before all else, it is a way of life for them and they will act on it consistently.  This means that they are willing to step outside of their comfort zone over and over again to let others (even strangers) know that they are seen and that they matter.

2. Empathy. Many Includers have been on the other side—been excluded—so, for them, in a way, it is personal.  They know how it feels to be left out and instead of repeating the cycle, they interrupt it.

3. Distraction. They can, at times, be so caught up in the human element of situations that they lose sight of the rest—be it a project, a deadline, or a task.  This means that while an important conversation is going on about XYZ, they might be 100% focused by the person who was just dismissed or ignored.

4. The Work. They are generally emotionally evolved people who have put in the time and energy to grow as individuals.  Whatever form it takes, personal development is important to them.  It can give them to confidence to repeatedly step outside of themselves and their comfort zone to include others.

5. Overstepping. Their need to give everyone a voice, a chance, and/or a seat at the table may, from time to time, get them into trouble—especially when they choose to ignore the pecking order or break a rule or two so that someone is not left out.

6. Ideas. While their instinct is primarily centered around other people, they are also wired to notice when certain intangibles, like big ideas and facts, are being left out of the equation.

7. Injustice. Their response to hatred, violence, and systemic injustice (or any injustice) is likely to be extreme.  They generally feel such things viscerally in their bodies and can have a hard time letting them go.  It might even make them physically ill.  At their core, and often in their active lives, they are humanitarians.

8. Both Ways. Being and feeling a part of things is heaven for them, too.  Yes, they love to include others, but they also like to be deeply connected and involved as well.  When someone else—a fellow Includer—goes out of their way to include them, it can feel transcendent.

9. Snapping. What feels totally obvious to an Includer might not even register to someone else.  So, they may have a tendency to over-think things, like, for example, that a person is being intentionally left out.  When this happens, the Includer might give the group a piece of their mind and surprise everyone.

10. Love. Connection is big.  Being able to see eye-to-eye with others in a shared space of absolute vulnerability and safety is a major key to love for Includers.  They are likely attracted to others with compassion, tact, and deep awareness.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.


The Truth About Belief


What Is the BELIEF Theme

These are the people in our lives who operate from an unshakable space of deep knowing.  Those with the strength of Belief have core values, identifiable standards, and clear ideas when it comes to personal ethics, ideals, and universal principles.  This does not mean that they are smug or obtrusively virtuous—instead, it simply means that they have an inner GPS that they trust and follow.  Even when it’s unpopular, their beliefs carry them.  They are often courageous and self-assured people who are able to stand firm and stand up for what they know in their heart and mind to be true.  People with Belief have a solid sense of the world—maybe it’s simple, maybe it’s complex—either way, they operate confidently from that place all the time and, generally, don’t make excuses for it.  For them, there is such a thing as objective truth and it isn’t like them to overly justify their views, even if pressured or tested.  They are unwavering.  And, by simply living in this way, they challenge us all to look at ourselves and determine what is at our own core.

Why Should We Care

People with the strength of Belief are trustworthy, first and foremost.  Even if we might disagree with them, we can be certain that what we are seeing is what we are getting.  There is no front, no façade, no deceit, no ulterior motive.  They move about the world with a solid inner-compass—often one that they have built atom by atom, perfecting it with every experience—and, at times, they have an attitude of ‘take it or leave it’, which can be oddly inspiring.  When they act, we can be confident that they do so with purpose.  When it comes to teams and families, they can help us get unstuck because they naturally remind us of our shared belief and values.  In fact, their conviction is so deep and genuine that it is often contagious.  When it comes to sharing their beliefs, they have a natural charisma, which can draw people in magnetically.  In many cases, others will readily appreciate, accept, or adopt the ideas of a Belief person.

Ten Things to Know About People with BELIEF

1. Enduring. For someone with the strength of Belief, the map of the inner-world is drawn in ink, not pencil.  What they believe is not malleable or frail or subject to whim, fad or fashion.  What they believe is fixed, lasting, and non-negotiable.

2. Work. To do anything well, it must first matter to them—this is particularly relevant to their working lives.  In many cases, they are less concerned with fame and fortune than they are with doing work that is meaningful to them.

3. In vs. Out. Their inner-world plays an indispensable role in their behavior in the outer-world.  The two must align: what they believe and what they do.  They have a hard time ignoring their inner-voice.

4. Turmoil. Because of how stable they are in their own beliefs, they can act unintentionally as a lightning rod for the dysfunction and hypocrisy of others who, perhaps, are not as solid in their own core values.

5. Community. Often, but not always, these people are tribe/family-oriented, which means that they are loyal; they are also prone to acts of philanthropy as well as totally selfless acts of service.  At times they can even appear as martyrs.

6. Expectations. It is easy for people with the strength of Belief to assume that others, too, have the same guiding and steadfast way of being in the world.  Left unchecked, they can be easily dismayed, disappointed, and even offended.

7. Spirituality. The basic nature of their view is largely spiritual—not religious—and this means that they may not be able to explain their reasons for things.  For this, they are no strangers to altruism and responding “Because it’s right” might be totally acceptable to them no matter the cause.

8. Integrity. In the end, personal integrity is everything.  In many cases, they would rather be disliked than compromise their core knowing.  They do not mind being misunderstood, if it means doing what they feel and know is right.

9. Non-contradiction. There is a wholeness to their perspective, one in which a web-work of interlacing beliefs come together in ways where the one supports and shores up the other.  It is not likely that they hold two conflicting beliefs for long, if at all, ever.

10. Love. To those with Belief, love is likely something that needs to be seen, expressed, and felt in a consistent way.  For them, it is essential for the inner to align with the outer—and their inner-world is constant, unwavering, and true.  One-time shows of affection, generosity, or connection will not be enough to win them over.  They resonate and respond to what, too, is solid.


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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

What Futuristic People Can Teach Us About Living Here and NOW


What Is the FUTURISTIC Theme

Futuristic people are the ones in our lives who naturally dwell in what is possible—their focus is on what could be, not on what is or what has been.  In their eyes, the horizon is the most important feature of any landscape, both inner and outer.  For them, the future is a source of life as well as a positively grounding force.  That is, they make sense of the present—the current moment—based upon a vision of what is to come.  Because their perspective centers around possibilities, there is an inextinguishable optimism in their thinking.  A situation that feels bleak to others may feel rich with opportunity to Futuristic folks.  The future is limitless, undifferentiated potential; it is the spring from which the present moment is constantly flowing.  The very idea of it is energizing.  So, one of their favorite questions is, “What if?”  And, they don’t like to stop there, instead they like to figure out how to turn a vision into a reality.  It is nourishing for them to bring an idea into such clarity that others, too, can see and experience it.  They can be tireless in their innovation, knowing that the world will never be “complete” but it can always be added to and explored further.  Through them, we have access to our own and the world’s untapped powers.  They meet us where we are and then push us to identify what and where we all could be.

Why Should We Care

These are the people who can see that which is on the horizon with vivid clarity.  Their instinct is to direct their gaze down the line to see and anticipate what is next; they are very good at predicting things.  So, when it comes to being both excited and prepared about what is to come, these people show us the way.  They have a particular knack for seeing around corners—and they generally do so with optimism.  For them, it is a future of solutions, not problems.  They are great with build-from-scratch scenarios and are naturally entrepreneurial.  Their vision of the future is unique because it does not dismiss the here and now, instead it places it at one end of a spectrum.  That is, the present is a reference point and there can be no future without it—so, their questioning might look like this, “What can we do now to get to what is next?”  They teach us how to build bridges through time.

Ten Things to Know About People with FUTURISTIC

1. Action. While Futuristic is a visionary strength, it is also one of action.  It is not enough for them to just have the big idea, they also need to feel like they are moving toward it, creating it.

2. Staying Inspired. They may choose to share their big ideas with others, ultimately, because they want to move their vision into reality; and they know that by putting it out there they are creating outside accountability. This staves off procrastination and builds motivation.

3. The Past. The past is not super interesting to them and it is not likely to be a valuable, or valid, reference point in their thinking. Saying “Remember last time?” or “In the past this didn’t work” is not generally significant to them, it may even be annoying.

4. Persuasion. Because they can see what others cannot, Futuristic people are always developing their art of persuasion—of getting others to see what they see.  Sometimes they will go it alone on certain projects, just so that others have something concrete to look at and understand the initial vision.

5. Presence. Futuristic does not mean ‘head in the clouds’.  If anything, these people have a greater, more highly tuned impression of the present moment than the average person.  This is because they are naturally and continually taking the elements of the here and now into their calculations about what is to come.

6. Fear. Left unchecked, their thinking can go both ways.  These folks may find themselves with an elaborate and instantaneous ability to envision worst-case scenarios, too.  These thoughts can feel intrusive.

7. Collaboration. They naturally value others’ skills because they know that more can always be done together.  Finding others who can help take their ideas out of the ether and into the world is always on their radar.  For them, witnessing an idea materialize borders on euphoria.

8. Dismissed. As kids, many people with futuristic were dismissed for their inability to articulate and express the nature of their thoughts, ideas, and impressions.  As adults, they may be shy to open up initially, or hold back until they feel that trust has been established.

9. Claustrophobia. Futuristic people value spaciousness.  This means, one, not having their ideas shot down right away and, two, having time and space to play with ideas and envision them from all angles.  For them, not be constrained to “what is” is freedom.

10. Love. Because they love to dwell in possibility, the simple act of dreaming out loud with them can create a powerful sense of closeness.  Even asking them to “Say more” can feel like an “I love you.”


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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.


What People With Connectedness Know That Others Do Not



People with Connectedness have a natural way of finding a deeper, richer meaning in life.  For them, there is an ornate complexity joining one thing to another—and all things to all other things—in vital but often invisible ways.  They notice things.  And, it is their instinct to form connections, joining one dot to the next.  Those with Connectedness find an effortless and intrinsic beauty in the constantly intertwining, elaborate patterns that make up our world and create our shared reality.  Being sensitive to the unceasing interplay of cause and effect, they have a specific vision—a way of experiencing and processing life—that assigns value and significance to exactly everything.  Great and small, everything is connected, everything plays a role, everything has a value.  Therefore, for them, things happen for reasons.  This simply means that nothing is random—that present realities are the result of past circumstances, and that future realities are the result of present actions.  In that way, we have a responsibility to one another; our actions ripple out in ways that affect the world near and far, now and in the future.  Connectedness is a way for them.  A way of seeing.  And, to be more direct, a way of being.  Seeing the intricate interconnectedness of all there is, or, in a lot of cases, simply being in awe of it all, is their zone.  For them, the world is alive and each and every angle of it is an interconnected piece of a living whole.  A single story that humanity is co-creating with the entire universe.

Why Should We Care

These people are aware, first and foremost.  They have a spectacular intuition and a particular talent for waking others up to the meaningful complexity of the world surrounding us all.  In that way, people with Connectedness are disruptors—individuals who seek to open others’ eyes.  And, they generally do this peacefully with an extremely high degree of compassion and understanding.  As they evolve, their capacity to see where others are coming from is without parallel.  They might be able to assess a moral, lesson, or teaching from even a brief interaction.  This allows them to “learn from everything” and they cannot help but to share that perspective with others.  What is imperceptible to most people is clear as day to them, which means that people with Connectedness make visible the invisible.  They remind us that what we do matters and that, in the end, we, ourselves matter.

Ten Things to Know About People with CONNECTEDNESS

1. Healing. People with Connectedness are natural healers—they heal with their voices, with their perspectives, and often times with their work. They often seek to serve the greater good because they see the big picture so clearly.

2. Misunderstood. Connectedness has been described as one of the most difficult perspectives to explain and articulate. Many people with this strength grow up feeling unvalidated, misunderstood, and alone.

3. Patience. Their intuition often exceeds their vocabulary, so what feels obvious to them might seem totally random to someone else.  This requires patience on both sides—as, their inability to clearly express what they are noticing does not necessarily mean that they are wrong or off about it.

4. Reading Into Things. They generally dislike being told that they’re “reading into things”.

5. Signs. They might see a certain number everywhere or notice particular songs on the radio, and treat it like a guide.  They are wired to notice signs and, because of that, they are generally not afraid to follow their nose, trust their gut, or act on their inner-knowing.

6. Emotions. They might not feel sadness, joy, or any other emotion when others do; however, they might feel something powerfully at a time when others do not.  They may have a unique perspective around topics like death, the meaning of life, and spirituality.

7. Novelty Seeking. They are very much at home in states of wonder and astonishment, so don’t be surprised if you find them constantly hungering to explore the inner-world or the inner-workings of the cosmos.  Being peacefully flabbergasted may very well be a daily pursuit for them.

8. Conspiracy Theories. The nature of conspiracy theories can be a major comfort for them—an interconnected webwork of people, places, things, and timelines.  It is not uncommon for them to spend time looking into various shadowy or fringe topics.  It may even be relaxing.

9. Eccentric. They might come across as a little weird at times, as they are prone to bringing an almost otherworldly perspective to virtually every conversation. Or, they might want to illuminate a given chain of events that they noticed, like, “If I hadn’t stopped to tie my shoe, then I wouldn’t have seen the dog walk by with the collar that reminded me of this time in Italy when I met this woman who wore the same perfume as my friend who just so happened to be calling me AT THAT SAME MOMENT.  Can you believe it!?!  What does it mean?!?”

10. Unconditional Love. Many people with Connectedness have developed capacities to love unconditionally that well exceed the norm.  They have a deep capacity to accept others fully and completely.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.

What Analytical People Reveal About Us


What Is the ANALYTICAL Theme

People with the Analytical theme love data, research, and rational, linear lines of thinking.  For them, there is an intrinsic value in the explanation of a concept, the proof.  It is their instinct to ask “Why?” and “How do you know?” and “How did we get here?”.  Even if something seems true or obvious, they still like to know why.  And, if there are facts, stats, and figures available—even better.  They like to know the details, the whys and the hows, and the tangibles before they accept an idea, a claim, or a position on an issue.  They are not afraid to poke at another’s thinking, testing its validity and overall soundness.  Nor are they afraid to change their own mind if better evidence surfaces for a different viewpoint.  For them, it isn’t rude to challenge someone else’s thinking because they are constantly challenging their own thinking.  They pride themselves on their objectivity and their ability to remain detached and calm, even in highly charged situations.  Theories don’t impress them much either.  They feel most alive in their thinking when they can be rigorous and unrestrained in their questioning, fact-checking, and research.  Their desire for objectivity reveals truths sometimes hidden under layers at the core of our world and our lives.

Why Should We Care

These are the people who are naturally wired to seek answers.  They prove/disprove and then explain.  And, they do this by asking questions, gathering facts, and doing research.  We can count on them to be able to back-up what they are talking about—and they expect the same from others.  The latter can draw out the best in us, by encouraging rigor and excellence.  People with the Analytical theme are adept at finding patterns as well as the underlying structures of a problem, thought, or situation.  They are happy to dig in deep and find out what is or is not working in an idea, scenario, or organization.  Sorting through and synthesizing huge quantities of information, data, and research may be energizing for them.  It sets and resets their compass points.  From there—from a place of objective clarity—they skillfully structure their ideas, layer them, and formulate bulletproof conclusions.

Ten Things to Know About People with ANALYTICAL

1. Trust. At their core, what they bring is straightforwardness. Their worldview is, in a sense, provable; it is backed by facts and careful research.  While it can be irksome to some, we can, in the end, trust them—really truly trust them.

2. Tact. Finding the right words and the appropriate tone is the ongoing work of Analytical folks who, when seeking clarity, can be perceived as unnecessarily critical, dismissive, or rigid.

3. Outcomes. What they rely on to create their world is that which is provable, and that which can be shared.  It may not be enough for them to simply reach a given outcome, they may need to know specifically why the conclusion was such.

4. Emotion. For someone who is highly Analytical, emotion isn’t necessarily viewed as a virtue. The feelings of others as well as their own feelings may, in fact, seem inconvenient, baffling, or slightly problematic for them.

5. Patterns. They have a knack for patterns and they have a generalized fondness for that which can be repeated, reproduced, and replicated.  Things with distinct, identifiable beginnings, middles, and ends have a solid resonance with them.

6. Spock. They love logic.  Don’t be surprised if an Analytical person verbally identifies as being “logical”.  It can be a comfort for them to state it explicitly so that others know.

7. Intuition. Analytical folks can have the tendency to dismiss that which cannot be quantified—like dreams, the visions of others, and fringe ideas.  Their intuition, however, is intact.  It manifests as their instinct to test and challenge the world.

8. Answers. They generally dislike feelings of limbo.  It’s particularly important for them to determine where they stand on an issue and why.  They may go to great lengths researching a topic to avoid feeling or appearing wishy-washy.

9. Grey. For some, their thinking can appear a bit black and white.  That is, things are either all one way or all another.  When this is clearly the case, it’s okay to ask them why they think or feel that way.  Many folks with Analytical actually enjoy being asked to support their ideas and explain them to others.

10. They may show love and support in nuanced ways.  For example, they may feel like they’re doing someone a favor by challenging their idea or thinking because it will lead to a stronger, more solid argument.  They are also big on acts of service as a way of showing love—something that produces a result.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.