What Consistency Really Means


What Is the CONSISTENCY Theme

Those with the strength of Consistency are the people in our lives who have a strong sensitivity to fairness and make it a constant priority to treat all people equally.  For them, injustice, favoritism, and discrimination are not only wrong, they are absolutely repulsive.  People with Consistency care about balance and see every person as the same—as a human being—not a job title, a bank account, or a friend of so-and-so.  They believe that everyone deserves a level playing field—regardless of their station in life or who they know—and, in their eyes, bias and prejudice of any kind have no proper place in the world.  In this way, they can be remarkably objective and tolerant of external differences as well as strikingly compassionate, patient, and understanding.  They notice when the scales have been tipped and they are, generally, willing to fight against it.  For them, life is about fairness and awareness, a state of being deeply conscious of others and honoring them with outward respect and impartiality.  The same rules should apply to all people, not just some.  They are the people who will stand up for others and stand by their side.  They offer solidarity and support, they give voice to the voiceless.

Why Should We Care

People with Consistency are champions of the unseen and of those whose efforts are taken for granted, they can almost always point out who deserves credit for what.  They value everybody and make significant efforts to find the good in each person.  For that reason, we can trust them to be fair, balanced, and open-minded.  They naturally challenge us to do the same and to give all others an equal chance.  For them, life should be fair.  Because, really, how can a person truly show what they are capable of when the deck is stacked against them?  People should earn their place in society based on their personal merit, skills, and achievements, not on their network, parents, or luck at birth.  They are proponents of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and they instinctively approach life with a sense of duty.  Those with the strength of Consistency are protectors, keepers, and guardians against tilted scales and unfair advantages.  Even if, at times, they might seem over-the-top, they do keep others, teams, and organizations in check and they are incredibly skilled at identifying blind spots.  They encourage us to see the world through a different set of eyes, to cultivate social empathy, and to walk in the shoes of others.  They remind us that we need to be aware of one another and that we all do better when we all do better.

Ten Things to Know About People with CONSISTENCY

1. Self-care. They may have the tendency to put the needs of others before their own.  They are always practicing balance in their own lives: how to keep their own cup replenished while not over-taking or interfering with the lives of others.  The world can feel very heavy to them, at times.  They likely recharge in quiet solitude as opposed to spending time with others.

2. Discouraged. Since it is a priority for them to lower their guard, not make assumptions, and treat other equally, many folks with this strength end up getting burned from time to time.  They are not, however, easily discouraged or turned away from their work in the world.  Whatever it may be, their mission is their mission.

3. Social Justice. They are wired to fight for the rights of the disenfranchised, the marginalized, and the ostracized.  At the same time, they may become hyper-aware of their own privilege, which can create a lifelong lose/lose situation for them internally.  They may always feel the need to rise up for others and, as a result, develop guilt feelings if they do anything else or enjoy the comforts of the world.

4. Selfishness. They despise selfishness.  Their radars are tuned very highly to pick up on it.

5. Structure. For them, order, consistency, and predictability are meaningful.  When people know what is expected of them, when they can plan, and when they know in advance what they are getting into, they will be at their best.  If there are rules, they should be clear and apply to everyone.

6. Intensity. They seem to feel things with their whole body, especially injustice.  They may release this energy by gesticulating, standing up, moving around, even, jumping up and down while talking about certain subjects.  Even depictions of unfairness in movies and television, or descriptions of it in books, might get them fired up.

7. Non-human. Their energy is not constrained to purely human issues.  They are likely to care about issues related to the fair and humane treatment of animals as well as environmental issues such as land and resource management and sustainability.  They may actually relate better to animals, who, in their eyes, might have a more natural sense of the world and its balance.

8. Acceptance. They may have a hard time accepting that unfairness, nepotism, and injustice exist at all.  They may ruminate on it and continually activate emotions in connection with specific thoughts.  Their impulse is to act and to fight against such forces.  Don’t be surprised if they choose to take action and speak out.

9. Rules. They generally like rules, structure, and defined boundaries.  This does not mean that they are always rigid.  For them, the main purpose of a rule is to level the playing field, not to limit people.  So, they may actually view rules as liberating.  They are generally happy to explore and challenge the range of possibilities within the given parameters.

10. Love. They are champions of falling in love with the person—not the person’s car, house, looks, or social status.  They naturally see past most of that and seek authentic connection with others.  This goes both ways, they may be reserved when it comes to their own looks and achievements, because they prefer for others to see the real person behind all that.

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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 Uniqueness of Individualization



People with the strength of Individualization instinctively identify what makes a person or a situation unique.  They are the ones in our lives who naturally draw out the best in others by tuning in to what sets that person apart and makes them special and distinct.  For them, every individual is completely one-of-a-kind and, therefore, remarkable in some way—and, they love to find out exactly how.  It is life-giving and rewarding to discover the uniqueness of each and every human life.  Even when they look back in time, they like to uncover what distinguished one historical figure from another.  They are outwardly open-minded, curious, and intuitive in their approach to living, and they actively—sometimes dramatically—avoid labeling others or lumping them into groups, categories, or systems.  It is not in their nature to make assumptions or to speak generally.  They prefer personal understanding over cultural understanding when considering the world.  It’s effortless for them to find the innate value in others and to honor that within each person.  Folks with Individualization make us feel seen, known, and understood, and they help us distinguish what makes us valuable.  In a phrase: They remind us that we are each actually important.

Why Should We Care

They are, first and foremost, incredibly observant people who have sharp senses and a deep, sincere interest in the personal uniqueness of others.  This functions as a sort of intuitive radar, which has them focusing on quality differences not general similarities.  Those with Individualization are great ‘readers’ of people, and are able to quickly assess how another thinks and what motivates them.  Like the name suggests, they see each person as an individual.  So, when it comes to teams, social groups, and families, they are keenly aware of the needs of each individual person and can naturally detect how everyone plays a part—a key role.  They do not think in simplified wholes.  And they can draw out secret, hidden, or purely unknown qualities in us that can feel liberating and empowering.  They can help us feel less alone, more visible, and more connected to our lives.

Ten Things to Know About People with INDIVIDUALIZATION

1. Listeners. They are generally good listeners—deep listeners—who pay attention in conversation, not for their chance to speak, but rather for their chance to connect and understand.

2. Gifts. Although they might not necessarily give more gifts than the average person, folks with Individualization generally have a reputation for giving great gifts, near-perfect gifts, gifts that make others say, “How did you know?”

3. Questions. They are among the best question askers on the globe.  It’s like playing Marco Polo for them.  With each question they ask they get closer to identifying a person’s unique strength, gift, or story.

4. Switching Gears. They can shift between communication styles with remarkable fluidity.  In a social situation, it is no problem for them to authentically dial up and down between introverts and extroverts, or connect with carefree people and then serious-minded ones.

5. Chameleons. For them, it’s not just about figuring out the uniqueness of others, it’s about understanding it and, on some level, embracing it.  They are not afraid to ‘try on’ new ideas in order to truly see eye-to-eye with someone else.

6. Tunnel Vision. They, at times, can be so focused on what makes others unique that they can miss the big picture.

7. Whisperers. They are often able to motivate or make a connection with someone when no one else can, like a horse whisperer. People with Individualization can often find their way in to the private worlds of others.

8. Falseness. They are willing to go to great lengths to know—really truly know­­—others.  This includes stepping outside of their comfort zone and taking risks, socially, mentally, and emotionally.  For this reason, they detest falseness.  For them, what is the point of making the effort to know something that isn’t even real?

9. Stories. They seem to really love hearing stories from people’s lives and they will often re-tell them as a way of celebrating the personal greatness of that other person.  They may be in awe at the thought of how many people there are in the world, each one with a complete story.

10. Love. For people with Individualization, it goes both ways.  That is, they want to be known deeply, too.  They like to be loved, seen, and honored for what sets them apart from the norm and to know that they are not interchangeable with anyone else.

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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 Activators Are So Awesome


What Is the ACTIVATOR Theme

Activators are the high-energy, high-output people in our lives who love to hit the go button and make things happen.  They are outwardly action-oriented in their approach to life and they often live in perpetual motion, mainly preferring it that way.  Their style is one of “fire, fire, aim”.  This doesn’t make them reckless, instead it makes them fearless (or, better, it makes them, simply, fear less).  Being naturally confident in their abilities to deliver and to sort out messes, Activators embody a vision that says, “Let’s dive in, we’ll figure it all out along the way!”  And, they are champions of the learn-as-you-grow mentality—they own their mistakes, look for the lesson, and dive back in.  They would rather learn in the field—and get bumped and bruised—than learn in a chair and get bored.  For them, the value, meaning, and enjoyment of life is in the doing—not in the theorizing, scheduling, and planning.  With this perspective comes a certain level of everlasting impatience, which serves as a sort of fuel for them; restlessness seems to sharpen their radar, intensify their focus, and drive them toward their next goal, pursuit, or achievement.  It boils down to this: It’s not what you say, it’s what you do that counts.  They are wayseers and trailblazers, they create paths for the world and for the future to follow.

Why Should We Care

They are self-reliant, self-starting, high-achieving people who know intuitively how to get things moving.  Action is everything to them and they encourage us to shake things up and put the gears in motion.  For an Activator, a shaky launch is unquestionably better than no start at all.  In that, they sow seeds of wisdom, reminding us that if we wait until we know everything, or if we wait for everything to “feel” right before beginning something, we will never get anything done.  Life, for them, is about total immersion—and the best way to learn things is to do them.  In fact, they might say that the best way to do things is to do them!  Importantly, their enthusiasm to translate thought into action is, itself, an evolved form of optimism and possibly altruism; the spirit of which is this: do more, fail fast, it’s all okay, because it’s only a mistake until you learn the lesson. In that way, Activators are eternally and effortlessly inspiring.

Ten Things to Know About People with ACTIVATOR

1. Leadership. Activators are born leaders.  Where some people in the world are all talk and no action, Activators may very well be all action and no talk.  This can leave people wondering what is going on!  For this reason, Activators appreciate followers and, in some ways, require others to trust them and, from time to time, to go along for the ride.

2. Forgetful. They can be so motion-focused that they completely lose track of the details.  What feels like an important conversation to someone might be instantly forgotten by an Activator.  For this reason, many Activators rely on technology, digital reminders, post-it notes, and those around them for structure, reminders, and the nitty-gritty.  They seem to like “set-it-and-forget-it” scenarios.

3. It Isn’t Personal. It may feel like an Activator is leaving others in the dust, and, perhaps, they are.  It is not personal, however, and they do it in the spirit of carpe diem.  They just love to say: Let’s go.  In fact, they might actually take it personally—or, at least, be confused by the fact—that everyone in the world is not as high-octane as they are.

4. Impatient. When it comes to communicating with Activators, especially about professional matters, we are wise to lead with the point of the message.  They like it when others cut to the chase—they value it—and are not fans of chit-chat, preambles, and overtures.

5. Balance. They may struggle with the idea of balance.  And, in a culture where both balance and extremes are glorified, they might feel pulled in several directions to simultaneously speed up and slow down.  They are wise to lean unaplogetically into their energy, it is consistently life-giving to them.

6. Traffic. It is likely that they would rather drive 30 mins out of their way in order to avoid having to sit in traffic for 30 mins.  This scenario works metaphorically in many areas of their lives.  In a nutshell: They would rather be bothered by doing something than by doing nothing.

7. Presence. Many Activators have been criticized for being “all over the place” and, over time, they may try to tone it down or even hide it all together. Scaling it back can be physically painful for them.  Being in the present moment, for them, is not necessarily about laser focus; instead, their presence might be characterized as a wide-sweeping awareness—a wide radar with everything on it all at once.

8. Zen. There may be something paradoxical about the ways that Activators relax, as, they mostly relax by doing things.  In fact, they may find their greatest zen moments through rigorous exercise, extreme activities, or repetitive movements.  They are also mighty multi-taskers who may need to flip through a magazine while they watch TV, sort their Inbox or organize a junk drawer while on a conference call, or balance their bank accounts while they wait in line.

9. Burn out. Activators may be notorious for running themselves into the ground over and over again.  Don’t be surprised if you can see it coming before they can.

10. Love. For Activators love is likely an action word.  In relationships, they will follow a don’t-tell-me-show-me approach.  Sure, they may be gracious receivers of kind words and odes, but it’s really not what fires them up—they like to see it.  For them, connection is found through action: creating experiences, making memories, and/or doing something brand new.

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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 Maximizers Have the Strengths Strength


What Is the MAXIMIZER Theme

Maximizers are the people in our lives who instinctively focus on strengths and naturally take things to the next level.  Specifically, they love to bring people, things, and ideas from good to great, great to excellent, excellent to epic.  They did not come here to play small, so moving a situation from poor to fair or fair to good is simply not their speed; they prefer to do big things, so they emphasize and concentrate on greatness—in themselves, in others, and in the world.  They are drawn to excellence, fascinated by it, and also students of it.  At their core, Maximizers are solution-oriented and they are willing to go to great lengths to guard and preserve their vision and their energy.  Personal development is a priority for them and they will innately shy away (maybe even run away) from overly negative people and situations.  For them, life is not about “fixing” what is broken; instead, it is about capitalizing on what is already there, accentuating it, transforming it, and evolving.  It is their unshakable impulse to constantly push themselves and others into greater, more expansive expressions of who they are and what they can do.  Identifying excellence—or, the potential for it—is what they do best, and in doing so they reveal layers of the world that were hidden or dormant before.  They teach us and show us how to raise the bar and truly go for it.

Why Should We Care

These are the people who can bring out the absolute best in us and in teams.  They have a natural confidence that tells them that people are always capable of rising higher and becoming more.  And, they embody this spirit enthusiastically and without judgment.  For them, life is a continual series of steps forward—the point is not to “arrive” but, instead, to constantly improve.  Over time, they cultivate a certain type of charisma that is contagious and inspiring.  We might feel spontaneously joyful, or capable, or even heroic after a conversation with them.  They have a gift for drawing out the points of greatest potential in others.  Maximizers help ensure that we don’t rest on our laurels, that we stay hungry for more, and that we get the most out of our time here on earth.  In that way, when we connect with a Maximizer we often feel the world and our whole lives open up into a sphere of possibility: not what is, but what can be.  They can teach us how to say Yes to life.

Ten Things to Know About People with MAXIMIZER

1. Intuition. Even though they may be social and, in ways, extroverted, Maximizers are deeply aware people who have highly evolved intuitions.  It is one of the ways that they so quickly identify the already existing strengths of others and know just how to cultivate them.

2. Intensity. They generally have an intense, yet somehow calming, presence.  Others may find them a bit mysterious, which can lead to a curiosity about them and their inner-world.

3. Human Optimization. They are usually connoisseurs of some form of personal development.  The model or philosophy may vary, yes, but they are drawn to the ideas of those who have discovered something and then created a structure around it so that others may, too, develop along those lines.

4. Inner-Circle. Maximizers have an understanding that we are all the average of the people we spend the most time with—so, they aim intentionally to spend time with other driven individuals.

5. Grumbles. Being inherently strengths-minded, Maximizers generally have no tolerance—none—for complaining and nit-picking.  Don’t be surprised if they casually, or abruptly, set boundaries around negativity.

6. Sleep. For Maximizers, sleep might seem like an inconvenience.  It may also be something that they track methodically, tinker with, try to control or understand, and establish schedules around.

7. Networking. They are likely to see someone’s strengths first and personality second.  So, their broader personal and business networks can be staggeringly diverse—almost like the ornate gears inside of a wristwatch—where each person they know plays a key role in their vision for life and for the world.

8. Pressure. Maximizers don’t seem to mind when others have high expectations of them.  They may even prefer it that way, as it brings out their best.  They have an accurate gauge of what they can and cannot deliver.

9. Measuring. Being able to benchmark progress and growth can be hugely important to them.  They like to be able to see what has been done and track how something or someone has evolved.  From there, once it feels concrete, they take great pleasure in celebrating successes.

10. Love. Maximizers have a powerful enthusiasm that seeks constant expression.  It is likely that love is an action word for them; so, collaboration, teaming up on projects, and pursuing some type of venture can feel deeply connecting and soul-nourishing for them in their relationships.

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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 Deliberative People


What Is the DELIBERATIVE Theme

These are the people in our lives who think everything through very carefully before taking action or making a decision.  They are thoughtful, sharp-eyed, and patient in virtually all that they do—never rushing into anything.  For them, it is a priority to consider the risks, consequences, and implications of everything they notice, experience, and plan.  Their vigilance is a type of awareness that they are always cultivating, one that allows them to consider a given situation from multiple perspectives and make informed decisions.  They have a evolved sense of danger, which is ultimately at the core of their thinking: To identify the risks, bring them into the light, and avoid them.  Deliberative people generally see the world as a series of moving parts, which, to them, makes for an unpredictable place, one that merits careful attention at every step and turn.  They are planners and, in that way, visionary.  They can think in a multi-dimensional way for prolonged periods of time—assessing, weighing, calculating, revisiting, and evaluating every component of a scenario.  They are masters of decision making and remind us that a level of care, attention, and intention can be brought to all areas of our lives.

Why Should We Care

Deliberative people have incredibly good judgement and, because their radar is always up, they are always in the process of refining their awareness and senses.  They are likely to be asking themselves: Is this situation really what it seems?  Has something been overlooked?  What are the risks?  What are the main elements here, and what do I need to be aware of first and foremost?  We can count on them to make consistently sensible decisions, regardless of popularity or mass appeal.  Once they have done the math, they are happy to take action—whether others like it or not.  In that way, we can trust them to be impartial and fair because they are driven almost entirely by objective, not subjective factors.  People with the Deliberative strength take life rather seriously and they can draw us up and out of a slump and into that perspective with them.  They show us that, because our decisions matter, we matter.

Ten Things to Know About People with DELIBERATIVE

1. Private. They are generally private people who are not in a rush to be ‘known’ or even understood.  They have a kind of quiet confidence that sustains them, and they don’t feel the need to explain themselves to others.

2. FOMO. Deliberative people don’t really care about “missing out” on things.  Since they would rather make the right decision than rush into something and regret it, they don’t feel fearful or anxious about passing up what might feel like an opportunity.

3. Friends. It is likely that they have a tight circle of people that they trust with their lives and would do anything for.  They understand that true friendship takes work; they may even build their counsel of friends strategically, evaluating exactly what each person brings to the table.

4. Humor. They may have a dry, dark wit and prefer deadpan delivery in their comedy.  Generally, humor that reveals a truth about humanity or, better yet, that reveals something absurd about our world is very much at home with them.

5. Ripples. They have a very developed sense of cause and effect, so they are often considering the impact of a decision three of four steps down the line.  They are hyper-alert to things that might circle back to haunt them or others.

6. Awareness. They have a very high level of self-awareness and environmental awareness, even though they might seem like they don’t.  They do.  And, they like to blend in.

7. Complements. They might not give a lot of praise, however, when they do, they mean it one-hundred percent.  In addition to that, they probably oppose participation awards and value those who work hard day after day toward personal goals.

8. Independence. Many Deliberative people value autonomy above almost everything else.  They will not be receptive to being told what to do, what to think, or how to act.  In fact, they might be explosively reactive to such things.

9. Challenging. It may seem like they are often playing devil’s advocate, which, perhaps they are, but it isn’t for the sake of being difficult.  Instead, challenging the ideas of others is one of the ways that they develop a depth of understanding that they need to make a decision or take a stance.

10. Love. Deliberative folks are likely to hold out for the right person and then savor all of the various stages of human connection.  For them, the value is in developing an appreciation, an understanding, and, most of all, a level of authentic trust with others.  They will experience love like a ripening that cannot be rushed, lest it spoil.

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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.