People with the Activator® strength are what I call “Just do it” individuals. Activator is all about action and momentum. Their mantra is actions speak louder than words. They want to know, “When are we going to get going?”

Maybe you’re an Activator, and you’re asking yourself how can I monetize my strength?

Jereme Arsenault, of Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours, is an excellent example of a business owner monetizing Activator.

His Activator routinely filters out distractions like yapping dogs and impatient tourists. He’s a kinesthetic learner and, rather than just reading or listening to ideas and theories, they want to practice, they want to role play, they want to experience it. Activators are a good fit for start-up organizations and are most effective when a project needs momentum to get started.

“Being a musher is much like being a business owner,” said Jereme. “You have a pool of resources—employees, contract labor, vendors, and others—to pick from. I run a kennel of 182 working sled dogs, six different breeds of Husky, puppy to thirteen years old. When I put together a team, I have my pick of the litter. When it comes to lead dogs, for instance, a common misconception is lead dogs are smarter than the rest. Not true. The top strength of a lead dog is its ability to listen. Many also think lead dogs are the alpha. Again, not true. In a sled team, there is no hierarchy. A lead dog is nothing without the rest of the team.”

Here Arsenault paused, to bark a command to his fellow team member.

People with the Activator strength may appear impatient, but they can enjoy influencing others to take action as a catalyst.

When they act, it’s decisive.

People with Activator don’t follow the “Ready, aim, fire,” approach. Activators are more like “Ready, fire, aim.” They tend to act spontaneously with very little preparation, though they are still extremely practical.

Snowy Owl Tours was formed in Canmore, Alberta, in 1983 by Connie Arsenault, Jereme’s mother. This was back when Canmore was a quiet, small coal-mining town, and sled dog tours were nearly non-existent.

When Connie approached Alberta Parks with the idea, many thought she was crazy. Nonetheless, she began the difficult task of securing trails, all to maintain the integrity of the natural environment. Connie hiked each trail with biologists, environmentalists, and wildlife experts, documenting streams, rivers, springs, moose browsing, etc., to ensure no species would be harmed in creating these trails.

Today, Connie is more of a business mentor to her son and family.

“My mom has a great expression,” Jereme said. “He who is resistant to change is destined to fail.” and change is typically fun for an Activator.

He told me that patience is the best way to lessen resistance and therefore minimize failures. Another approach is being humble. “The dogs will teach you humility. You’re out on the ice, and the wind is howling. It’s blowing the trail away. You can’t see, and instead of slowing down, you shout and scream, you turn rude, and suddenly it’s no fun for the dogs anymore. Keep it up, and your lead dog might just decide to stop listening.

If you, the musher, don’t get a hold of yourself, she might even turn the team around and head back to the truck.”

Snowy Owl is definitely a family business: Jereme’s sister takes care of retail, reservations, and the run schedule. His brother-in-law is in charge of maintaining equipment and vehicles. Jereme is in charge of hiring, transportation to and from the trails, and timing—making sure that the tours leave and come back on time. And, of course, caring for the dogs.

Activators like Jereme must also remember to balance their strengths.

If they are always acting and not slowing down to plan, they might eventually shoot themselves in the foot. That said, Activators don’t mind mistakes because they are always learning from their experiences to make smarter decisions going forward.

So how do people with Activator use their strength to make money?

Seek work in which you can make your own decisions and act upon them.

If you are an entrepreneur, create products and services you can control, improve upon, and manufacture with minimal input from outside influences.

Take responsibility for your intensity by selecting clients and team members who value your energy and drive.

Choose clients who recognize outcomes over process because your process may be messy and unconventional.

And last, avoid taking on clients and projects in which you must submit to the whims of a committee. Instead, work directly with decision-makers, founders and CEOs and executive-level decision-makers of all flavors.

Do you have the StrengthsFinder theme of Activator? What does it look like for you? Tell us about it in the comments below. Does this sound like you, but you are not sure what to do with your Activator strength? Schedule a free Ask Brent Anything to talk with me if you have questions about how to do this.

So here it is 2020.   What are you going to do with it?  Like many people you probably have a list of resolutions to make this year the best year ever. Also, like many people, you may know what your Top 5 Cliftonstrengths are, but do you know how to optimize your strengths to create the 2020 that you want?

We usually build our list of resolutions on our weaknesses. This year let’s start differently, building on our strengths instead of just focusing on our weaknesses. Being more intentional about learning your Strengths will move you toward creating life and work that you were born to do.

Your Top 5 Strengths are more than just a theory or a nice-to-know. Your strengths help you learn what you naturally do best, where you have the most potential, and what makes you unique. Here are five steps that will help you use the customized results of your Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment to make meaningful choices, address challenges, and create the 2020 that you desire.

  1. Personalize your top 5 signature strengths. You can probably list your top five, but that is not the same as knowing them. Learn what each strength is about. For example, if Learner ® is one of your top five, know that it is in the Strategic Thinking category. Check out the Clifton Strengths page to find out about all your strengths.
  2. Customize ideas for action. Use the dashboard that is customized just for you on the Gallup Access platform. On this dashboard, you will find resources and tools that will help you use your strengths to build the 2020 you want. Your customized CliftonStrengths reports and guides help you discover how to create a life using what you naturally do best.
  3. Vocalize your strengths to describe what you do best. Now you know what each of your strengths is and how they make you unique. Use your strengths vocabulary when talking to others to communicate your needs, wants, goals, projects, preferences, etc.
  4. Deputize undervalued strengths in yourself. Most of us downplay the power of our key Strengths. Give your strengths authority, bring them into the spotlight and do the powerful things you were born to do.
  5. Optimize with a Strengths Strategy plan. Use all the information about your strengths to create an action plan for an optimal 2020. Click here if you would like a complimentary One Page Strengths Strategy Handout to guide you.

When you know and are secure in your value, you can take action to use your strengths and advocate for yourself. By taking action you will be more engaged and have the tools you need to create the 2020 you want.

How are you going to optimize your strengths to build the 2020 that you want?

Please let us know in the comments below or schedule a free Ask Brent Anything to talk with me if you have questions about how to optimize your strengths.

 

Decision-making is hard for many people. I have a friend who says the worst thing you can say to them is, “where do you want to go eat?’ But then there are those people who love to be part of the decision-making process—no matter what is being decided?

Strategic® is a CliftonStrengths® talent theme that creates alternative ways to proceed. They quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

If you ask a Strategic individual how they came up with a strategy, many times, they can’t tell you. That’s because strategy comes naturally. Strategic people are always asking, “What if this or that happens?” They identify all the what ifs, select a route, and strike fast. 

Strategic thinkers see around the corner and focus on saving time. They aren’t interested in extraneous information; they want to get to the target. Some are pinned as devil’s advocates, but most people with this strength aren’t trying to be defensive or combative. They are only looking for the most efficient way to succeed. 

Coaching and training with Strategic people, I help them create specific goals, articulate their dreams, maximize their relationships, and have those “aha” moments we all long for. 

Strategic individuals can help identify patterns that are otherwise overlooked and, with these patterns, create a plan—whether it’s a marketing plan, a speaking plan, or a business development plan.

How do entrepreneurs with the Strategic talent scale their business and make a living doing what they love? Jeff Bezos is a Strategic example.

Bezo’s monetizes his Strategic talent as an American internet, aerospace entrepreneur, media proprietor, and investor. He is best known as the founder, Chief executive officer, and president of Amazon.com, Inc. The first centi-billionaire on the Forbes wealth index, Bezos was named the “richest man in modern history” after his net worth increased to $150 billion in July 2018. In September 2018, Forbes described him as “far richer than anyone else on the planet” as he added $1.8 billion to his worth when Amazon became the second company in history to have a market cap of $1 trillion.

When he created Amazon Bezo’s decided that he would start with the beachhead strategy, and he has dominated every category Amazon has entered. What is the beachhead strategy you ask? The beachhead strategy comes from the military strategy of winning a small border area that becomes a stronghold, and once you have that stronghold, you can advance to the rest of the territory. The small border area is known as the beachhead. In business, the idea is to focus your resources on a small market area (such as a product category or smaller market segment) to turn it into a stronghold before advancing to the broader market or product categories. The beachhead strategy allowed Amazon to dominate a small area first, and from there, they entered and dominated the rest of the market. 

The beachhead strategy of starting in books (did you remember that Amazon started off as a bookseller?) began Bezo’s attempt to attack from the lines of least resistance. Had Amazon started off in every category from the first day, he’d be fighting off competitors from every side. Instead, Bezo’s choose books, and as Amazon dominated books, he added category after category in the lowest margin business surviving without profits for decades to bleed the competitors dry and increase the number of Prime subscribers. Prime has been a brilliant piece of Amazon strategy. Now that we are in the Christmas season think of all the Prime members who are shopping online. Even when it is not the holiday season, Prime members return to Amazon to spend more money on each new category Amazon enters.

What strategy are you currently using in your business to move it forward? Would the beachhead strategy be a strategy that you could use in your business? Tell me about your strategy below. 

Are you not sure about a strategy for your business? Schedule your ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk about it.

 

 

Have you met someone that seems to always be picking up a new skill, new hobby, or new career?  Do you wonder what makes these people so curious about learning so many things?  These people may have the strength of Learner®.

People with the Learner strength are not interested in learning because it offers a certificate or degree, but simply because they love the process of learning. Learners want to know about the world and what makes it work, and they can’t get enough. Sometimes we call them professional students because they are perpetually taking classes. Learners benefit from understanding their unique learning style. Some people learn by reading or watching, and others learn through experience—a kinesthetic approach. Self-awareness is critical, especially in terms of how a Learner learns best.

Ideally, Learners could track their learning as a means of building self-confidence. Tracking their continuing education units, how many books they’ve read, how many people they’ve interviewed, or all the data that they have discovered helps build the confidence to teach others. Learners love novelty. They can be the folks that help others embrace and enjoy change.

Latham Shinder is one of the highest-paid memoir ghostwriters in the country and also my business mentor buddy. Latham loves learning architecture, business, storytelling, and even technology. He’s studied architecture from Kansas State University, the law in Zimbabwe Africa, and business at California State University.

Latham’s learner strength has helped him become America’s No. 1 Memoir Ghostwriter who loves writing the memoir of doctors, multi-million, and even billionaire entrepreneurs. He says, “it is what I think of as “personal experience, lessons learned” books.”

Using his love of learning and aiming it to writing has made Latham the highest-paid memoir ghostwriter in the world. From his home in Colorado, he works to write these books with a personal narrative that reads like a New York Times Best Seller. A war memoir, a business memoir, and a medical memoir that ebbs and flows like an edgy thriller. People who feed his love of learning. If you check out his website at https://www.lathamshinder.com/, you will see from the comments of his clients that Latham delivers maximum quality for a smooth $400,000 per book.

 

What are some ways that you can leverage your Learner strength to make a living doing what you love? 

Learners should take advantage of continuing education programs at their workplace. If you are a Learner, find out if your employer is willing to pay for your education so you can reach that next level of learning and career success. Learners are also good friends of technology because technology is constantly changing. Remember, as with any strength, it’s important for Learners to focus their abilities in one or two expert areas. Learners should find areas where they will shine, where they can grow stronger, work smarter, live richer.

How will you monetize your learner strength so that like Latham you can be one of the highest paid at whatever your heart desires? 

Tell me your thoughts below.  Are you stuck with how you might monetize your strength in your career?  Schedule your Ask Brent anything call and get that forward motion.

Do you love deep thinking mental activity? You may have the CliftonStrength of Intellection®. Read on if you would like to monetize your Intellection® strength like New York Times best selling author Michael Hyatt does?

Individuals with Intellection are people who love mental activity. They are constantly wearing their “thinking cap.” The theme of Intellection does not decide what you are thinking about; it simply means that you like to think.

You are a person who enjoys your time alone because, for you, it is time for contemplation and reflection. I once spoke with a prisoner of war who told me Intellection helped him when he was placed in solitary confinement. He was able to make the time alone a celebration of solitude and spent the hours reflecting on his life and its many joys.

Intellection people have a constant mental hum. They like to let their ideas simmer and percolate. Once they let an idea brew, individuals with Intellection are able to produce action and results. One of my clients loves to serve on boards in her community. I asked her, “What’s your motivation for serving on these boards?” She shared that she was intellectually stimulated by the problems and issues that each board confronted, and she liked that it caused her brain to think in new ways.

People with Intellection want and need their ideas to be challenged. If you want to connect with a person with Intellection, play devil’s advocate, and know that a challenge only creates a better, more complex, more efficient idea. People with Intellection grow stronger when they spend quality time in their thinking chair.

How can people who are so introspective and thoughtful find external financial success? 

Author and mentor Michael Hyatt found a way.  Hyatt hit the Inc. 5000 in 2017 producing podcasts, videos, e-books, and live events that help leaders win at work, succeed at life, and lead with confidence. Hyatt’s #2 talent theme is Intellection. His thinking and leadership philosophy was heavily influenced by taking the StrengthsFinder assessment in 2003. He believes that one of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself is this, “What are my strengths?” When it comes to work Hyatt’s philosophy if you know what your strengths are then you have the key to job satisfaction. Thinking about our strengths is not how most of us have been trained to think, thinking first about our weaknesses is how most of us have been trained.

In his blog “Are You Operating in Your Strengths Zone?” he tells us:

“I used to do the same thing with my direct reports. I thought I was being helpful. As a leader, I thought that this was my role.

Then I read, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton’s bestseller, Now, Discover Your Strengths. At the time, both men worked for Gallup.

They had a simple but powerful thesis. The best way to get ahead in your career and be satisfied in your job is to focus on developing your strengths. No matter how hard you try, you really can’t improve your weaknesses. You are wasting time and energy trying to do so. The best thing you can do is discover your strengths and then find a role that allows you to use them.

At the time I read this, it was revolutionary. It still is”

In 2011 when transitioning from CEO of Thomas Nelson publishers to his new role as full-time writer and speaker, Hyatt tells us “The last time I took the test was more than four years ago. However, I review the results annually to make sure that I am still operating in “my strengths zone.”

I was especially interested in doing it this year in light of my transition from CEO of Thomas Nelson to my new role as a full-time writer and speaker.”

Knowing that while making this big move, he was still operating in his strengths zone was extremely important to him. Today, he reviews his strengths yearly, requires his team to discover their strengths, and seeks alignment between his people’s strengths and their work role.

Are you ready to make a Michael Hyatt move? Making a move that allowed him to continue to consciously remain in his “strengths zone” worked out well for him. He has turned his strength of Intellection, his love for thinking into a multi-million dollar speaking, writing, blogging, leadership company. What do you want to use your strength of Intellection to achieve? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Not sure where to start? Need to talk with someone about it? Schedule your free coaching call with Brent and talk about your strengths zone.

 

 

 

 

The Gallup StrengthsFinder definition of Ideation® says, “People especially talented in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.” In their experience, ideas are the heartbeat of life.

Finding new and creative ways to accomplish a goal is what drives people with the Ideation theme. Having the single-mindedness to bring these ideas to life is the key to success.

I would venture to guess that Donald Trump has the strength of Ideation. One of the most successful real estate tycoons in the world, Trump is fascinated with ideas. He loves exploring and explaining concepts. His mind is always looking for new angles, new perspectives, or new views. He perceives possibilities in ways radically different from the common person. And he’s an idea guy when it comes to architecture, as well as golf—one of his company’s spin-off TV programs is called Donald Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf.

Trump loves golf. But even more than that, he loves designing golf courses. And you should see the sparkle in his eye when he talks about his ideas on how to carve out a beautiful, exciting, challenging golf course in the middle of the Earth. He’s on a mission to create and change the world, eighteen holes at a time.

Another multi-millionaire example is Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com. Allen loves ideas. In fact, if you leave him a voice mail he’s probably not going to return it. If you leave him a text message saying, “I’ve got a great idea to discuss with you,” he will respond quickly.

People with Ideation are fascinated by ideas, think outside of the box, and can be creative. They are innovative and often exceptional entrepreneurs. Allen’s first venture was Infobases, which created educational CDs. Then he co-founded Ancestry.com in 1997 which raised $90.5 million in venture capital. Start-ups were Allen’s specialty; he created 10x Marketing, FundingUniverse, and FamilyLink.com, which grew to be the #1 app for families on Facebook, attracting 80 million users.

I met Allen in late 2012 when Gallup hired him to promote StrengthsFinder 2.0. We talked on the phone then he invited me to serve on the Gallup Strengths Coaching Advisory Panel.

An interior designer I know has the Ideation strength. She talks about walking into a house, looking at the furniture, where it’s placed, and immediately envisioning a better design for the room. At night, lying in bed, she thinks about how to design a home and where each piece should go. People with the Ideation strength are easily bored. They need novel ideas and new topics to think about.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has Ideation in his top five talents along with Competition, Achiever, Significance, and Command. You can see how he thinks and works smarter by building the Facebook organization and brand, and in doing so has created a person fortune worth $73.1 billion as of August 2017.

Ekaterina Walter has written a book about Zuckerberg called, Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The 5 P’s described in the book are:

PASSION — Keep your energy and commitment fully charged at all times by pursuing something you believe in.

PURPOSE — Don’t just create a great product, drive a meaningful movement.

PEOPLE — Build powerful teams that can execute your vision.

PRODUCT — Create a product that is innovative, that breaks all the rules, that changes everything.

PARTNERSHIPS — Build powerful partnerships with people who fuel imagination and energize execution.

Zuckerberg hired Sheryl Sandberg as COO, and Sandberg herself is a strong advocate of the strengths management philosophy. In referring to the book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths, she said, “Exposure to the strengths philosophy has been instrumental in how we think about developing talent at Facebook. We try to make jobs fit around people rather than make people fit around jobs. We focus on what people’s natural strengths are and spend our management time trying to find ways for them to use those strengths every day.”

Are you fascinated by idea?  Do you find new creative ways to solve problems that seem impossible to solve?  Does your ideation cause issues when the ideas all come at once?  Let’s have a conversation about where you are in the comments below.

Not sure where you are and need some conversation around that?  Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call.  Let’s talk strengths.

If you Google the words email marketing, you will get approximately 4,000,000,000 responses. 4,000,000,000 is a HUGE number but think about it – how many emails do you get in your inbox every day?  There are emails from people that you want to know what they have to say or ones that you had to agree to be on their list to get a giveaway that they have that you want. I was going to count mine, but I quit at 50. Most of them I will never read. The influence of email marketing is more significant now than it has ever been.  With all the new emerging technologies, this is an exciting time for business owners and the technology will only continue to grow.

As the technologies continue to grow and evolve, it is pushing entrepreneurs to grow and evolve with it or be left behind. How do you determine what is the right combination of technology for you and your workplace? Which one is the most important for you? What are others in your field doing, and how is it working?

If people like me are out there who aren’t going to read what you’re going to write, why take the time to write? The reason is apparent: For ten years in a row, email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI [1]. According to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter.

This is hard evidence on the importance of having an email list, but where are you going to start? You could read those 4,000,000,000 entries that Google returned, but before you do that, let me give you some ideas. I know in my businesses that my email list is invaluable to keep in touch with my clients.  So let me share some of what I have learned so far.

Are you looking to start or grow your email list, here are four action steps:

  1. Choose the right email marketing service it will have a substantial impact on the success of your marketing campaign. It’s important to understand that a lot of your success with email marketing depends on the email marketing software because they are responsible for making sure that your emails get delivered.
  2. Ask three people in person if you can add them to your email list. At church, at the pool, in the grocery store.
  3. Write and send an email to your list like this:
    subject: A Question for You;
    Hey <Name>,
    I am updating my blog and have a question for you: What are you struggling with the most right now? Just hit reply and let me know. (I promise I’ll read your response).
    Thanks so much!
    <Your Name>
    Make sure to read every response and then reply to them to keep the conversation going. This will help you find your most engaged people.
  4. Opt-in to other blogs and check out their process. Take notes on their process. What did you like? What would you improve? What can you learn to apply to your opt-in sequence?

I hope this serves you!

1 According to VentureBeat, email is the channel generating the highest ROI for marketers.

 

 

Do you believe it’s possible to make money from knowing a little about a lot of different topics and sharing the useful information? Are you the person that could build a business around your love of trivia? Ever wonder how someone who collects so many books and magazines might make money from a side hustle? Each of these likely have the CliftonStrengths theme of Input®.

People with the Input strength are like sponges. Their minds soak up, collect, and store information like a sponge soaks up every ounce of liquid in its path. People with this strength like to collect quotes, stories, anecdotes, or material items. They want to ask questions about everything. They take this information they learn from their questioning and have the uncanny ability to retrieve when needed.

Whatever an Input person is fascinated with, they love to collect, and it’s difficult for them to throw things away. They can feel a sense of chaos because they have so many ideas and material things in their home.

A person with the Input strength loves to ask, “What is my question today?” One person I know literally asks himself a question a day, starting a daily quest to gather all the information, data, and ideas related to the question that he can. Not surprisingly, people with Input strength love the Internet, and they are especially huge fans of Google because it gives them access to thousands of rabbit holes for searching out all the latest information.

Thus, people with Input are a great encyclopedia of information and are usually excellent teammates in Trivial Pursuit. People with Input should create systems for storing information, whether it’s mentally or physically because the sheer quantity of ideas and information can be overwhelming. They typically benefit from someone who has organizing skills to help focus their curiosities into one area, becoming experts instead of Renaissance collectors.

Input individuals could consider how they can monetize their strengths, asking themselves, “How do I turn this strength into a moneymaker? How can this help me create a better business? Advance my career? Maximize my family and love life?”

The key is finding ways to use the information instead of allowing it to grow stagnant. Those with the Input strength must find avenues to share their information. They make great librarians, researchers, legal assistants, and virtual assistants.

Mike Wolfe, created and now stars in the History Channel’s hit TV show “American Pickers” by using what looks like his Input strength.

Wolfe has become a household name by taking what he loves – the world of “picking,” where Mike and his friend Frank Fritz go into people’s homes, barns, sheds all across America and turning it into his livelihood. Today, he’s the top picker in America.

Wolfe, has been picking since age four. His deep love of collecting not only material things but the stories that go along with them is often demonstrated on the show. He loves to take these stories and the knowledge that he has acquired through all his years of picking and shares it with people on the show. Many of the people on the show who they go to pick have been left a huge collection by a loved one who has passed on. Mike loves to go into situations where people need knowledge and use what he has learned during his long career to help the people understand what they have and what it is worth.

Picking does not sound like a glamour’s job, and most of the time, it is not. It is dirty and hot and sweaty. But by pursuing his love of picking Mike Wolfe has parlayed his work of picking into a $4 million net worth.

How do you think you could monetize your Input strength? Could you take you Input strength and pair it with something that you love to create a multimillion dollar net worth? Tell me about your ideas in the comments below.

Not sure about how you could move forward? Want to talk about your action plan? Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk about strengths.

“Wouldn’t it be great if . . .” is this the question that you often ask as you view what the future might hold, and this picture keeps pulling you toward the future.

People with the Futuristic ® strength love to look across the horizon. As dreamers, they are fascinated and energized by the future, and they have great imaginations. I wouldn’t be surprised if George Lucas, the legendary Star Wars inventor and movie producer, was a Futurist. Futurists are all about possibilities.

One of my Futuristic clients makes a living as a career coach for teenagers going into college. She is gifted at helping children find their niche in the career world. Because she is the type of person that loves to dream and look to tomorrow, she is an incredible career coach.

Some people with the Futuristic strength are gifted at making predictions in business or the stock market. Futuristic speakers are individuals whose imaginations can go “where no man has gone before.” Futurist individuals can communicate and share predictions. They are often drawn to the fields of science and technology because both fields are continuously evolving.

My client, Michael is monetizing his Futuristic strength as a millennial CEO who has formed a virtual reality software company. He dreamed of being a millionaire by the age of twenty-five, and he did it! As a teenager, Michael was able to see the bull market for Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone. He wisely invested and is now able to fund the growth of his company using Bitcoin. If you or I had invested just $1,000 in Bitcoin the year it was first publicly available, you would now be richer to the tune of $36.7 million.

Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist during a time when the words woman and scientist didn’t go together. Curie was the first female professor at the Sorbonne in Paris and the first female Nobel laureate ever. Along with her husband, physicist Pierre Curie, she was awarded half of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 for their work in spontaneous radiation (the other half went to Henri Becquerel for discovering it). She was also the only person ever to receive two Nobels in two different scientific categories — she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911, also for her work in radioactivity. Between 1903 and 1923, she went on to earn seven (7) more prestigious awards for her work.

Her early research that she worked on with her husband was often done under challenging conditions, laboratory arrangements were meager, and both had to undertake a considerable amount of teaching to earn a livelihood. The Curies conducted the majority of their research and experimentation which led to their discovery of the elements Radium and Polonium in a laboratory that was described by the respected German chemist, Wilhelm Ostwald, as “a cross between a stable and a potato shed.” When Ostwald was first shown the premises, he assumed that it was “a practical joke.”

Soon after Marie received her second Nobel Prize in 1911, two laboratories were constructed at Sorbonne. In one of the laboratories, Marie led a team of researchers analyzing radioactivity, while the other laboratory was used to explore possible cancer treatments. Her forward-looking research had taken a long way from the meager laboratories where she started.

Curie’s contribution during the First World War was praiseworthy. Knowing the need of the time, she sought to provide relief to those injured on the battlefield. She developed portable radiology units that would assist field surgeons. She made hollow needles containing radon that could be used for sterilization. Thanks to her effort, the lives of many soldiers could be saved. Due to her eye on the future, there are discoveries she made that help keep you and me alive today.

Futuristic people often stay in their heads and therefore need someone with the Activator strength to help them follow through with current ideas, goals, and dreams.

Does the future fascinate and energize you? Are you a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who values those visions? You can energize others, too. Your pictures can raise their sights and thereby their spirits. You can paint pictures of the future for them. Make the picture as rich as you possibly can, and people will want to be part of the hope you bring.

Could you monetize your Futuristic strength in technology, medicine, or a service business? Do you see a future to save lives and make a better world like Marie Curie ?  Let’s have a conversation about monetizing your Futuristic strength in the comments below.

Not sure where you are and need some conversation around that. Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk about strengths.

Does your organization have someone who is the resident historian? Do you enjoy all the details of past decisions and fill everyone in on those to avoid pitfalls for the future? How can you monetize the strength of Context®? 

Context is a unique strength in which people’s brains look backwards in order see forwards. Contextual individuals feel that the present moment is connected to the past. They feel more alive when looking at history—the history of mankind, the history of a relationship, the history of success.

Contextual individuals relate and devise plans by looking at the past. I have a couple of different clients with this particular strength. One is a therapist who monetizes her Context by asking questions about where clients grew up and what their experiences were. The more she learns about a person’s history, the more it helps her relate to the individual in the present.

My other client is a person who honors the past. He loves reflecting on his childhood, which he looks upon as the best, most successful, most enjoyable time in his life. In fact, he is struggling to adapt to his adult life and his mind sometimes fixates on his childhood because it’s the time when he felt the most successful.

One of the things that we decided to do together to help him deal with his present was to create a special room—kind of like a “man cave”— in his house. This room is separate from his wife and kids, and it’s filled with memorabilia and items from his childhood. He also filled it with items representing his present interests—historical reenactments of Bonnie and Clyde, vintage clothes, cars, weapons, and books on the history of the 1930’s. His daily time in this room working on crafts and hobbies energizes him because he surrounds himself with positive history.

People who have the strength of Context typically love case studies. They enjoy taking a real person or civilization from the past and exploring. If you give them Rome, they want to know what caused it to rise and fall, as well as everything that happened along the way.

Howard Carter was a British archaeologist and Egyptologist who became world-famous and wealthy after discovering the intact tomb of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh, Tutankhamun, in November 1922.

Carter spent much of his childhood with relatives in the Norfolk market town of Swaffham. Nearby was the mansion of the Amherst family, Didlington Hall, containing a sizable collection of Egyptian antiques, which sparked Carter’s interest in that subject.

He began working in archeology in 1891 at the age of 17.  In 1907, Lord Carnarvon employed him to supervise excavations of nobles’ tombs near Thebes.  (Though you may not be familiar with Lord Carnarvon’s name you may be familiar with his family home.  His country house, Highclere Castle, serves as the filming location of the ITV/PBS television series Downton Abbey)

By 1922, Lord Carnarvon had become dissatisfied with the lack of results after several years of finding little. He informed Carter that he had one more season of funding to make a significant find in the Valley of the Kings.  It looked like Carter’s time was over but he pushed on.

On 4 November 1922, their young water boy accidentally stumbled on a stone that turned out to be the top of a flight of steps cut into the bedrock. Carter had the steps partially dug out until the top of a mud-plastered doorway was found. The doorway was stamped with indistinct cartouches (oval seals with hieroglyphic writing).

On 26 November 1922, Carter made a “tiny breach in the top left-hand corner” of the doorway, with Carnarvon, his daughter Lady Evelyn Herbert, and others in attendance, using a chisel that his grandmother had given him for his 17th birthday. He was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. He did not yet know whether it was “a tomb or merely an old cache”, but he did see a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. Carnarvon asked, “Can you see anything?” Carter replied with the famous words: “Yes, wonderful things!”  Carter had, in fact, discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Often, they take the information gathered and use it to help their business. Contextual people are not “Deja vu” people, they are “vuja de” people. Vuja de helps us understand the past and how the past affects the future. The Contextual individual’s mindset is focused on understanding the past in order to make the present and future better.

How could you monetize your Context strength?  What career could you enjoy with your Context strength like Howard Carter?  Let’s have a conversation.

Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk about strengths.