How People With Context See It

CONTEXT

What Is the CONTEXT Theme 

Those with Context are the people in our lives who instinctively look to the past to understand the present.  For them, the here and now is simply and concretely the product of what has come before it.  In that way, the more information they have about what has been, the more deeply they can appreciate, know, and recognize the present.  Looking back is also how they plan for the future.  They believe that what we do in each moment is important because it will soon be the past we are looking back on.  So, “What happened last time?” can be a sacred question for them.  An awareness of the past allows them to honor it, learn from it, and avoid pitfalls.  The clearer their understanding of what the “before” was like, the more stable their present moment is.  And, consequently, the more confident they will feel about moving ahead.  The past, it seems, is perpetually creating the future—and, the now is simply how we get there.  People with Context remind us of this big idea: History repeats itself, generally.  So, if we want to create positive change—or if we, at least, want to avoid repeating mistakes—we must do so intentionally by being conscious of the past.  They remind us that everything we do causes a ripple in time and that every moment matters.

Why Should We Care

In times of chaos, discord, and dysfunction, and when things go off-course, people with Context provide stability and calm.  Their minds naturally return to the preliminary plan, the original vision, and focus on the initial intent.  This can be liberating and inspiring because, in times of confusion, they remind us why we started in the first place.  It is natural for them to see the underlying structure of the world and to remember how things were.  When verbalized, this looks a lot like teaching and can help others see and make sense of the world.  Their strength is one of history rather than theory.  This means that they generally know, with certainty, what has and has not worked; and if they don’t know, they are willing to do the work to find out.  In this way, they are people who build firm foundations.  More often than not, they have reputations for being reliable, straight-forward, and competent.  They also have good memories—for them, there is rarely a need to reinvent the wheel or to try a new approach “just because”—if something worked the last time, they are prone to stick with it.  Overall, people with Context are particularly good at keeping situations level and grounded.  They shed light on present progress by illuminating the ground we’ve already covered.  They unite us by bringing us back to our core, our roots. 

Ten Things to Know About People with CONTEX

1.  History.  They love the past.  Instead of feeling help captive, they feel liberated by it.  For them, history is a giant gift—it makes everything easier—because it makes the world a more manageable size.  We need not try and fail ourselves if someone else has already proven that there is a better way.

2.  Preambles.  Folks with Context often give the backstory before saying what they want to say.  It is important for them to feel like others know where they are coming from and why.

3.  Strategy.  They are people with clear intentions who prefer to know the plan in advance.  Even if it changes along the way, they really like to know what the original blueprint, design, or gameplan was

4.  Cherry Picking.  While they can seem overly cautious at times, their perspectives are largely positive.  They want to make the present more fully alive and relevant by evoking the past.  In a way, their plans are built around only the best of the past and their actions are founded in a knowledge of and appreciation for what works. 

5.  Accepting.  People with Context have a knack for understanding where people are coming from.  They can quickly connect the dots to determine why a person might be acting or interacting in a certain way.  For this reason, they can remain authentically objective, even during intense exchanges, and they don’t generally take things personally.

6.  Patterns.  They are incredibly good at identifying patterns accurately.  It isn’t likely that they will spend time trying to find what isn’t there.

7.  Proof.  They are particularly fond of empirical evidence and concrete proof.  It is easier for them to form the basis of their worldview around things that are solid, tangible, and repeatable.  The “scientific method” is of particular relevance to them.  

8.  Unease.  Being self-aware, they will make every effort to lead with intention and to act with purpose.  For them, it is important to always know what they are doing and why they are doing it.  Without that clarity they can feel very uncomfortable, even anxious.  Lack of direction can easily fill them with existential dread.

9.  Change.  Even though they admire the past, they are not stuck in it.  In fact, they can be enthusiastic early adopters of innovation because their radars are sharp and can identify upcoming trends and anticipate needs based on similar cycles of change in the past.

10.  Love.  Because they naturally look back, they feel strongly connected to others with whom they can reminisce.  Conversations in which they relive joyful, passionate, or exciting moments can feel deeply nourishing to them.  They enjoy the process of creating meaningful memories.

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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.

Why Intellection Matters

INTELLECTION

What Is the INTELLECTION Theme

People with the Strength of Intellection are the truly deep thinkers in our lives who love to muse, reflect, and explore the landscapes of the mind.  They are able to think and process in multiple dimensions simultaneously and seem to love the effort of applying mental energy to life—at times, to the point of befuddlement or exhaustion.  In a phrase: They love to think and dive deep.  And, small talk is really not their thing.  Regardless of the situation or time of day, whether actively or passively, they are always contemplating, brainstorming, or mulling over something.  There is a mental hunger present at all times.  They are generally reflective and intelligent people who like to be fascinated, to wonder, and to be quietly awed.  They may attempt to “think” their feelings, which, at times, makes them feel inaccessible.  While typically prone to introversion, they can be very passionate and engaging when it comes to their ideas.  While they can be characterized as cerebral, pensive, and heady, their primary motivation is actually curiosity, which fuels their endless hunt for mental activity.  For them, the world seems to be an extension of their brain—a type of holding place for more thoughts.  In that way, they draw out the best of our own thinking by encouraging us to go deeper into our own mental world.  Their presence cheers a greater awareness, allowing the light of mind to reflect through.  People with Intellection can make the abstract tangible and give us greater access to the invisible world all around us.

Why Should We Care

When it comes to taking an idea to the next level by exploring it from every angle, those with Intellection are among the best.  It is their instinct to go deep with thoughts—the surface is boring to them.  Experts in mentally peeling back the layers of a given challenge or concept, they reveal options, choices, and opportunities that may have been previously unseen or unseeable.  Folks with Intellection are good foundation builders and are particularly skilled at scaling up ideas and filling pipelines.  They curate a depth of understanding—be it macro or micro, focused or broad.  In many cases, they effortlessly nourish an appreciation for the worlds complexities—as opposed to a disdain for them.  This shift in focus allows for clarity and then concrete actions to occur.  They ask us to look into challenges as opposed to look away from them.  They open our field of awareness, help us create solutions, and remind us that wonder can be generative.

Ten Things to Know About People with INTELLECTION

1. Productivity. For them, being productive does not necessarily mean “doing” something.  Sitting down to think, reflect, and process is likely to be viewed as a highly valuable use of their time.  Then, once they’ve mapped something out in their mind, they can generally make quick work of it.

2. Philosophical. Discussing philosophies, theories, systems, concepts, and literature can be extremely fulfilling to people with Intellection.  Questions that cannot be answered have a particular appeal and they like to entertain many angles of a thought without accepting or rejecting a specific one.

3. On/On. It seems that they are always—ALWAYS—thinking.  Even if it is, at times, happening quietly in the background of their minds—there is always an inner-awareness of the mental activity lighting up their brains, which are perpetually growing.

4. Boredom. Being mentally stimulated is a key source of life for them.  From crossword puzzles to intense conversations about the meaning of life, they create ways to stay connected, focused, and inspired.  Boredom is not an option, and they may feel it more intensely than others.

5. Introversion. As introspection is at the core of this theme, folks with Intellection often prefer some time alone each day.  They are generally comfortable spending extended periods of quality time in solitude.

6. Mental Empathy. The way that an empath tunes in and feels the emotions of others, people with Intellection channel the mental activity of others.  They are excellent trackers of ideas and flows of ideas.  They can deeply understand the ways that others think, process, and respond to life.

7. Digesting. At times, they might share an idea that seems either “far out” or non-sequitur.  Generally, this is because they’ve already spent time working it out in their mind and have seen it mentally from all angles.  Don’t be surprised if they hold the rest of us to a high standard, asking us to truly understand and appreciate their ideas.

8. Learning. For them, it isn’t so much about learning things as it is about challenging their mind and exploring things.  Existential ideation, deep thoughts, new ideas, brain games, imagining, and wondering out loud can serve as solid nourishment for them.

9. Depth. They seem to be able to find a greater depth to almost anything.  This stimulates and feeds their sense of wonder and astonishment.  They generally dislike being asked to scale it back.  Being told that “everything doesn’t have to be so complicated” or “deep” will likely annoy them.

10. Love. Thinking big, making big plans, thinking outside the box, and having deep conversations will go a long way in creating a genuine connection with them.  Their love and expressions of it will, too, have a depth and multidimensional qualities.

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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 Harmony

HARMONY

What Is the HARMONY Theme

Those with the Strength of Harmony are the people in our lives who naturally seek peace in situations and consistently find common ground with others.  It is their instinct to look for and focus on areas of agreement and overlap, with the aim of creating win/win situations.  They work toward stability, transparency, and order because they know that more can be accomplished if all parties move ahead cooperatively.   People with Harmony have a heightened sensitivity to tension, friction, and dissonance, and they will go out of their way to create conversations and solutions that end conflict.  For them, disagreement, power-struggles, and confrontation are tremendous wastes of time and energy—they see the cycles of anger and retribution as wholly futile.  In that way, their need for consensus is more about productivity, efficiency, and moving forward than it is about simple peace-making.  In fact, Harmony is a value for them, it is something seated at their core and they are always operating from that place.  They bring us together by focusing on our similarities not our differences, and their very presence can lift the vibe of a room or shift the tone of a conversation from stagnant to striding forward.  In them we feel supported, heard, and calm—we feel quietly more alive.

Why Should We Care

People with Harmony are simultaneously intuitive and practical.  When it comes to conflict resolution, they can navigate masterfully between opposing viewpoints without getting sucked into any one side.  In that way, they are great at walking a tightrope in tense situations—they can keep their cool and, generally, do not take things personally while peace is being made.  More than that, they are able to get to the root of what is being left unsaid and drive to the core of the issue at hand, which is often times buried under layers.  What makes them unique is their deep desire to appreciate where others are coming from—for them, the act of understanding is an essential inroad to peace.  They may even temporarily suspend their own views and personal comfort in order to get a better understanding of the person or situation.  By cultivating a mindset that focuses on connection, agreement, and common ground, people with Harmony change the ways that we see ourselves, others, and the world.  They teach us how to open our minds, quiet our egos, and use our voices for action.

Ten Things to Know About People with HARMONY

1. Creative. They are often quietly imaginative, brilliant, and visionary people, especially when finding the ways and means to resolve a conflict.  Their ability to hold multiple points-of-view and simultaneously map one perspective over the other requires a substantial amount of creative energy—even though they do this seemingly effortlessly.

2. Binary. For them, there may not just be two sides to every story, there may be millions.  So, resolution means going forward, not right vs. wrong.  They will ask themselves, “How can we reach an agreement so that things get moving along?”  Conflicts are not black and white to them.

3. Elephants. If there is an elephant in the room, folks with Harmony might not be shy to point it out and address it.  For them, the tension of the unspoken can outweigh the tension of the spoken, even if it leads momentarily to a confrontation.  A problem cannot be solved when it is being hidden or avoided.

4. Devil’s Advocate. They are likely repulsed by people who are argumentative for the sake of being argumentative.  In their mind: There are enough actual conflicts in the world, why create more artificially.

5. Awareness. Those with Harmony have extremely fine-tuned radars and can sense the mood of a room as it shifts.  While they are good a brokering peace in times of disharmony, part of their art, too, is preventing conflicts before they even start.  For that reason, they are apt to be very alert in social situations and to track they various on-goings of the room.

6. Sacred Anger. For them, getting angry and confronting another person might be terrifying, but they are willing to do it when absolutely necessary.  As they are rare, such moments may have a particular significance for them.  If someone with Harmony is sounding off, they are more than likely justified in doing so.

7. Sleeping Dogs. Where some people like to poke the beehive just to see what happens, folks with Harmony have zero interest in that.  Their curiosity is not disruptive in that way; it is, instead, constructive asking, “Where do the two circles intersect?”

8. Openness. Folks with Harmony can hear and hold several conflicting perspectives in mind at once without agreeing or disagreeing with any one party.  They are capable of listening carefully and simply seeing where others are coming from—even if they don’t necessarily agree with them fundamentally.

9. Impatience. They have little to no patience for people who are prescriptively old school, stuck-in-their-ways, or opinionated.  Arrogance has a particularly insufferable presence for them as does closed-mindedness, tyranny, and those who force their views upon others.

10. Love. Because their greatest tool is language and presence, they will likely be responsive to those who are self-aware and who use words consciously and conscientiously.  Phrases of affirmation and spending quiet time together are often great acts of love for those with Harmony.

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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.

Why People With Discipline Are So Awesome

DISCIPLINE

What Is the DISCIPLINE Them

People with Discipline are the ones in our lives who bring precision, structure, and diligence to all that they do.  It is their instinct to create familiarity and predictability in their personal lives and in the world around them.  Through routines, schedules, and plans they create an orbit where they can execute effectively, reliably, and accurately over and over again.  If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it is likely a motto that resonates with them.  Folks with Discipline like to know exactly why they are giving their energy to something and whether or not it is sustainable—the idea of one-offs is uncomfortable to them, maybe even hideous.  Quality is crucial to their view of the world and understanding what the expectations are in any situation is key.  Floating, for them, is simply not an option.  They are intuitive people who naturally create structure and, when faced with a task, they tend to consider it in stages or phases.  From there, they are able to get just about anything done.  People with Discipline remind us that We are what we do everyday and they inspire us to create lives that have a lasting impact.

Why Should We Care

Because they are great at creating and implementing order and rhythm in their own lives, they are usually quite skilled at envisioning and implementing structure in teams, organizations, and the lives of others.  They are extremely careful and will systematically check and re-check that any project or work that they are overseeing is developing correctly and according to the plan.  The instinct of people with Discipline is to create things that are lasting—and when we are in their presence we can feel it.  They are diligent, level-headed, and detail-oriented people who effortlessly curate order, establish timelines, and help teams meet deadlines.  Simply put, we feel confident with them.  In a sometimes-chaotic reality, they offer us peace: a vision of precision, progress, and order and then a plan that brings it into fruition.

Ten Things to Know About People with DISCIPLINE

1. Freedom. Those with the Strength of Discipline experience a level of freedom that others might not understand or appreciate.  Their routines and structures can actually free them up to think big and go big in life.  They lock-down life’s details as a way of limiting surprises and setbacks, which makes room for bigger and better things.

2. Anxiety. They may come to rely on a specific structure such that in its absence they feel floaty, disconnected, or slightly panicked.  They may also wish for some predictability in all areas of their life and, because this is not always possible, they may experience some anxiety in normal everyday life.

3. Elephants. The teaching “How do you eat an elephant?” (One bite at a time) is really central to their view of getting things done.  Rome wasn’t built in a day—but it was built.  They deeply understand that big projects can be turned into smaller sequential projects—each with their own mini-win built in along the way to the big win.

4. Superhuman. There can be an element of superhuman excellence in what they do.  Others are sometimes in awe of them, wondering how they are able to consistently get so much done.  People with Discipline tend to receive a quiet satisfaction when this happens.

5. Confidence. They are generally confident people who can back up their methods, worldview, and intentions with an impressive track record of past excellence.

6. Perfectionism. What others may call “perfectionism” is simply the way to do things for Discipline people.  They may feel the absence of structure or direction in their bodies.  It may make them physically uncomfortable to move forward without a plan.

7. Chill. Most people with Discipline have been misunderstood, shamed, or mocked about their way of doing things—to them, it can feel like they are simultaneously doing too much and not enough.  In that way, they can grow to feel sensitive and even resentful of others commenting on the structure that they’ve created in their lives.  They more than likely hate any mention of being “uptight” or being told to “relax”.

8. Scaling. They generally appreciate that which can be scaled, reproduced, or refined, fine-tuned, and streamlined.  They may ask, “Would this system work on a larger scale?”, “Can we do this over and over again with the same results?”, or “How can we apply this structure to other projects?”

9. Processes. It can be easy for them to get caught up in how things are done.  Even if the proper results are achieved, it may bug them if the methods were sloppy or haphazard.  They are often practicing the art of patience and allowing others to have their own ways of doing things (even if it isn’t how they would do it).

10. Folks with Discipline may be their own harshest critic and they can often feel taken for granted and invisible—so, love can often be felt in the form of gentle validation, words of affirmation, and compassionate nudges that acknowledge their innate wholeness (aka That they are enough).

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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 It Means to be an Arranger

ARRANGER

What Is the ARRANGER Them

Arrangers are the people in our lives who have a natural sense of productive order and who can effortlessly manage many spinning plates at once.  They are able to structure their thinking and actions like those of a conductor—bringing complex, multifaceted, and multi-phased elements into seamless coordination.  This is how they get things done.  For them, being outward looking, nimble, and flexible are keys to true productivity.  Why stick with Plan A or B, when Plan Z is so much better?  The best configuration possible is far more important to them than sticking with something based on principle or others’ egos—if there is a more efficient method, do it.  They come alive during times of change and can maximize efficiency—even under stress—by visualizing the outcome.  In this way, they are drawn to that which is both intense and still-becoming, because they know that a little wiggle-room mixed with a bit of pressure brings out the best in them.  Arrangers keep us tuned in to opportunities for growth and action all around us in the motion-filled, ever-changing world.

Why Should We Care

They are great managers of resources and of people because they intuitively draw on other’s Strengths and leverage potential by putting the best pieces in the best order.  They might not be able to explain how they know what they know—but they are usually right, especially when it comes to streamlining things.  They are resourceful, creative, and brave, often willing to dive into chaos headfirst in search of signs of order.  In a nutshell, they are super capable people who have a particular knack for orchestration—moving things from the invisible into the visible.  The saying, “If you can’t find a way out, find a deeper way in” may very well resonate with them.  This is because they prefer newness to comfort—that which is procedural or well-worn holds little magic for them.  To be at the heart of the action is important to them; though, this does not mean that they prefer pandemonium.  Instead, when their spirit of openness is paired with their ability to execute they are able to bring forces, teams, and ideas together that create positive, lasting, and meaningful impacts.

Ten Things to Know About People with ARRANGER

1. Quick. These are people who get thought-flashes.  An idea will pop into their head and sometimes, without warning, they will suddenly shift gears or change directions.

2. Routines. Folks with the Arranger theme generally prefer dynamism to predictability.  They may choose to change things up just to see what it’s like.  Their aim, in any situation, however, is to reach a more perfect arrangement.

3. Stamina. They are able to create solutions and coordinate various moving consistently and with a great measure of accuracy.  It can be effortless for them.

4. Firsthand. For them, actually being there—where the action is—is key.  They don’t really want to hear about what is going to happen if, instead, there is an opportunity for them to actually be there.  They are people who prefer, when possible, to see for themselves.

5. Intuitive. Arrangers are highly intuitive people who generally get things done by listening to their gut and trusting what they hear.  Their innate senses of composition, balance, and alignment are the tools with which they do their best work.  They are also quite sensitive to when something is “off” about a person or a situation.

6. Memory. They are able to process a lot of information very quickly and they seem to remember the way that things are done—the strategy or the approach—more than they remember the minute details of each moving part.  In a way, they think in “systems” and are always refining them.

7. Multi-tasking. This is their art.  They are very perceptive and can anticipate concerns and next steps very easily.

8. Connections. They may not shy away from juxtaposition or combining seemingly strange ideas when it comes to their thought processes.  They like to look for links between seemingly disparate elements—sometimes just to see what happens, but often in order to learn the limits and boundaries of their thinking and the world.

9. Making things. They might be drawn to making things which call upon their sense of design and composition, like models, quilts, and scrapbooks.  Games like dominos, war, and mouse-trap seem to hold a particular excitement for them.

10. They will likely prefer for their relationships to be dynamic and without a sense of predictability.  Arrangers like for their connections to evolve naturally, as opposed to evolving along a set of predetermined benchmarks.  Their attitude might often be, “Let’s see where this goes.”

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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.