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 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 in 1997 which raised $90.5 million in venture capital. Start-ups were Allen’s specialty; he created 10x Marketing, FundingUniverse, and, 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.

Do you work with anyone who enjoys asking questions when you present them with any situation?  They love asking “Why?” “How did you get that information?” “Can you verify that data?”   If you know this person, they may have the strength of Analytical®.

People with the Analytical strength love to challenge ideas. They deal largely with facts, not emotions, which can be quite disconcerting for individuals with emotionally sensitive strengths. When trying to communicate with someone who’s Analytical, emotional words and body language will be ineffective. People with a dominant Analytical strength see patterns—in the universe, in their work, in their family. They enjoy asking questions in order to identify patterns and find solutions.

Analytical people love to look through a microscope metaphorically, and often thrive in the medical research or database management fields. One risk with Analytical people is paralysis by analysis—overanalyzing something until they’re stuck. If an Analytical individual partners with someone with the Activator strength, the Activator can help the Analytical person to get going. To empower an Analytical person, show them data that supports what you’re telling them.

Is the Analytical theme one of your top talents? Are you are someone who searches for reasons and causes? Do you look at the big picture that others might miss and think about all of the issues that could affect a situation?

Monetize your Analytical theme by looking for jobs where you are paid to analyze data, find patterns, or organize ideas. For example, you might excel at research, database management, editing, or risk management.

Sandy Evans has been my accountant for over 25 years.  Whenever I ask her about retirement, she says that she will never retire and she doesn’t consider what she does work.  One day I asked her, “What is it about being an accountant that you love so much you don’t consider it work?”  Even without knowing her CliftonStrengths, I suspected Analytical had to be in her top five.

Sandy said she always wanted to do something with numbers and data.  She developed a love of data because “data always tells you the truth.”  The Analytical style thrives on “prove it.” Being the numbers and data person sometimes made her feel a bit alone.  It was not the cool thing to want to be a part of, but it was where her heart was.

After college, she went to work for a small CPA firm, and that was an eye-opening experience for her.  By watching the people that worked there, she discovered that she help them by using her Analytical® talent.  She could use her love of numbers and data to assess, analyze and assist her clients with managing risk in their business.  Her skepticism about what people said was going on in their company made her dig into their data and research what was happening, not just what the business owner thought was going on.  Sandy’s ability to ask questions, to understand how the patterns in the data fit together and affect one another, gave her small business owners the confidence to move forward in their decisions in their business.  With this ability to present the data about their business to the owners, she has become a trusted adviser for them.  Her Analytical® talent no longer makes her feel alone but a valued part of each business.

When the owner of the small CPA firm decided it was time for him to retire, the first person he thought of to purchase, the firm was Sandy.  He saw how the refinement of her Analytical strength allowed her to take her love of data and analysis not just to give the clients the basics of accounting but to build a relationship with each one of them.

Sandy jumped at the chance to be one of the small business owners and is now monetizing on a greater scale for all these years of refining her Analytical® strength.

Like Sandy knowing your strength well will allow you the freedom that Sandy found to move and work in your strength. The crucial use of the strength of Analytical is the quality of problem-solving, the precision of questions, and the excellence of decision-making.

Do you have the CliftonStrengths® theme of Analytical? If you do, what ideas do you have to make money with your Analytical strength and how will you implement them?   Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts’.

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

Do you know someone who can just step into a situation and fix it?  Are you someone who can make money fixing problems?  Maybe someone you work with has the “knack” to figure out more efficient ways to accomplish tasks at work.

People with the Restorative® strength love to solve problems. You love to fix things. More accurately, you are energized by trouble, complications, or quandaries on a grand scale. You thrill at finding something old or unused or broken, like a vintage car, and restoring it to its original, pristine condition.

Restorers are highly determined solopreneurs. You have the ability to overcome obstacles and persevere despite failure. According to Inc. Magazine, it’s rare to find a founder in the Inc. 500 who hasn’t experienced a dark night of the soul. And when the solopreneur’s greatest strength is Restorative, you often turn this dark night into something positive.

Bernadette Coleman, founder of Advice Interactive Group, is one such entrepreneur. In 2011, Bernadette got news that her son, Michael, was in a coma following a car crash. At the time, Bernadette’s Internet marketing company, Advice Interactive, was just getting off the ground.

For months, Bernadette and her husband Tom, the company’s CFO, ran the business from Michael’s bedside. When his hospital room became cramped, the two sat in the stairwells and pecked away on laptops. When the staff back at the office demanded leadership, the couple doubled down and worked even harder, but didn’t leave their son’s side. Then when half the staff quit, Bernadette and Tom took turns flying back to their office in Texas to hire new staff. The way they saw it, they were fighting for their son’s life and for the company.

And it worked.

Once Michael recovered, Advice Interactive’s revenue shot up to $5.9 million in 2013, up more than 1,400 percent since the family’s dark night of the soul.

Restorative people possess a grace and love for others. On a personal level, you enjoy helping those who feel broken. You have a deep need to nurture, love, and restore others. You love to fix personal problems, no matter how unlikely the odds of success. You gravitate toward situations where you can rescue a person or relationship, and in doing so bring it back to life. At the same time, it’s important to limit the problems you choose to fix. You shouldn’t try and solve all of your world’s problems just because you can.

As a coach, I worked with a young entrepreneur and Restorative—let’s call him Isiah—who founded a marketing company. Isiah actively sought out business owners with marketing initiatives that no longer worked, and he set out to replace them with new processes that did. He applied the same strength to his relationships by listening, paying attention to body language, and observing small details in order to offer solutions and feedback. His actions were all in an effort to take a dead issue or unresolved dilemma and bring it back to life. That’s what the Restorative strength is all about.

So how do you turn Restorative into income? Say you want to be a full-time speaker. You have a long history in health care, first selling health care insurance policies to businesses and later, as an administrator at a large national health care provider.

First, you must seek speaking gigs from companies and organizations looking to solve a problem. I can’t stress this enough. Your speech can be less inspirational and less motivational, and more about practical ways to identify root causes and suggest solutions. Your talk must solve a big, lingering problem. If your client doesn’t have a gigantic problem, then look for another client who does.

In fact, why not look for a business turnaround situation that others have avoided? Say you’ve identified a slice of the health care industry, such as a doctor whose practice is facing massive competition from nearby hospitals. You then tailor your speech to address specific ways this doctor’s practice can prosper in this competitive environment.

You are attracted to difficult, nearly impossible predicaments, so market your speaking gigs to the toughest, most challenging groups. Then charge higher than normal fees. In fact, charge twice what other speakers charge. These groups and companies care less about your fee and more about digging their way out of a hole. You provide the shovel and the plan, and naturally charge more than other speakers because you offer big results.

As for marketing, let everyone know you enjoy fixing problems. In a way, that’s your unique talent—the more colossal the challenge, the more energized you become. This counter intuitive approach to marketing—I mean, really, how many other speakers seek out clients in a jam—comes naturally to you and makes your marketing even easier, because most speakers shy away from problems. Most speakers offer personal stories that hint at generic solutions, but that’s not you. Your talk is about fixing a specific, tangible problem, the obstacle threatening your client’s existence.

Finally, once you do land a speaking gig, think through ways you can improve your skills and knowledge, and express that improvement to your audience. Do this by conducting pre-interviews with many people within the organization. Your aim is to get to the “real” root of the problem as the people in the trenches see it, and then reciting that problem back to your audience. In some ways, the clarity of this recitation is all that’s needed to get your audience to think differently and come up with solutions right there on the spot.

Want to discover how you can monetize your Restorative strength in your daily life?   Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk about strengths.




Do you love to see things through to completion?  Do others see you as dependable and feel they can count on you?  Are you a person who make commitments that align with and reflect your values?  If these attributes define you, then you probably have the theme of Responsibility®

Janelle is a real estate broker, and one of my coaching clients. She owns her own real estate company and has several agents who work for her. Janelle’s strength is Responsibility. Incidentally, she just had an $8 million-dollar year.

I believe that Janelle’s ability to be so successful in the midst of a struggling economy comes from her strength of Responsibility—the talent of taking psychological ownership not only in her work but in her personal life. Janelle’s inner monologue is, “I need to be the rock. I need to be dependable. I need to get it done.”

Those with Responsibility as a top talent are conscientious of details, whether it’s completing detailed paperwork or paying attention to the body language of a nervous client. You are highly ethical and committed to following the rules.

People with the Responsibility strength are chronic volunteers. Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, must have intuitively known this from the start. In 1989, Kopp proposed the creation of Teach for America in her undergraduate thesis at Princeton University. She was convinced that many in her generation were searching for a way to assume responsibility and make a real difference in the world.

Kopp grew up in a wealthy community in Dallas, Texas. At the time, she had little understanding that where you’re born plays a big part in your access to education. When she arrived at Princeton, all of that changed. She looked around and wondered why more wasn’t being done to channel people’s energy into teaching. Eventually, she decided to turn an idea into a thesis. She studied the Peace Corps, the federal Teacher Corps, and VISTA, and she ended up proposing the creation of something altogether new: A national teacher corps, what she later called Teach for America.

While Kopp’s thesis adviser liked the idea, he thought it was unrealistic, even a bit crazy. Why would recent Princeton grads, for example, volunteer to teach for two years in some of the toughest cities in America?

Later that year, Kopp came across a front-page article in Fortune magazine describing how corporate America was taking on education reform. Kopp wrote letters to everyone quoted in the article, and she got seven meetings. One was the CEO of Union Carbide, who offered to let her use one of the company’s offices in Manhattan and introduce her around. Then an exec at Mobile loved the idea enough to donate $26,000 to the cause. Today, more than 10,000 Teach for America corps members are in the midst of two-year teaching commitments in 50 urban and rural regions.

Volunteering comes naturally to people with Responsibility. Just be sure to volunteer for activities within your specialty or niche—and in the process, become an expert.

Responsibility can be overdone. Some people run the risk of overloading themselves or feeling burned out if they are not able to balance “yes” and “no” and allow others to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

So how do you, a solopreneur with a top strength of Responsibility, turn this strength into cash?

First, take psychological ownership for the things that matter most to you. Say you are a print journalist and you were recently laid off from one of the large news organizations. You now realize one of the most important things in your work life is having not one, but many streams of income.

The big question is, how do you monetize your knowledge as a journalist? That’s easy. You can write articles, of courses, but add writing books and e-books, public speaking, and podcasting to that. Don’t forget about offering online courses to other journalists whose jobs will soon to be on the chopping block.

Align yourself with others who share your sense of commitment. If your specialty is writing about government waste, for instance, consider new products and services that focus on this small sliver of the writing world. Seek out clients who care passionately about cost control. Contact government offices, foundations that rail about overspending, and non-profit organizations and offer to write newsletters, white papers, and opinion pieces on fiscal responsibility. You can also take your experience with government overspending and pitch the idea to for-profit corporations. Consider ghostwriting books and articles for executives and corporations looking to reduce costs, or those who had success with a business turn-around in which cost control played a significant role.

My point, look for clients and colleagues who take their responsibilities as seriously as you do. Once you do get a new product or service up and running, keep going. Create spin-off ideas; say you write a white paper about counterintuitive ways to prevent government overspending. Why not turn that paper into a seven-step online video training course? Next, turn that training course into a seven-part email campaign with links to your training videos (and an upsell to buy one or more of your e-books). Then for just one step in the training, collect all customer feedback in the form of success stories, and combine both the training materials and customer stories into a short e-book. At the end of each short e-book, offer a three-month consulting or coaching program that addresses this one narrow topic.

Don’t stop now. Why not create short e-books for each of your seven steps, with coaching programs for each? There’s nothing stopping you from then combining all seven short e-books into a full-sized book on the topic.

What if you reshaped your coaching program for all seven parts into a two-day live workshop for corporate clients and charged $10,000 for this two-day event? Put on a half-dozen workshops a year, and now you are earning what the average journalist earns by working a nine-to-five.

I just suggested eighteen separate products or services to sell—white paper, video training course, email campaign, seven short e-books, seven narrowly focused coaching programs, full-size book, and finally a two-day workshop. I could go on. If what’s important to you is multiple streams of income, you can easily turn a single great idea into a franchise with multiple products.

Do you have the StrengthsFinder theme of Responsibility? Which of the eighteen separate products or services to create your multiple streams of income?   How does it help you create a clear destination? Please share your comments below.

Not sure which product or service is right for you, and you need some conversation around your unique strengths or building your business?  Remember you can schedule your Ask Brent Anything call. Let’s talk about strengths.

Focus® is my #1 talent theme. One example of Focus, for me, is that I first cultivated this strength when I started playing tennis at an early age, and I’ve continued to cultivate it for the last thirty-four years. I remember one of the first phrases I was taught as a tennis player: “Keep your eye on the ball.”

Focused individuals do just that. They have a natural ability to concentrate on a target. They ask themselves each day, “What is my goal? Where am I headed? Where am I going? What is my priority?”

They filter out extraneous distractions, and this is one of the things I enjoy most as a life and business coach—helping people set goals, and at the same time deciding what is extraneous, what they can do without, and what thoughts, behaviors, and actions would make their life richer if they stopped.

People with Focus enjoy creating goals. They enjoy writing purpose statements, lists, and affirmations. They enjoy reviewing their goals on a daily, even hourly basis, and they are relentless on completing what they start.

Focused people have other talents: They are adept at summarizing a meeting when ten different people have shared their thoughts, they can assess appropriate timelines and milestones, and they prioritize before they act. And, while they appear to procrastinate, they tend to do what I call incubating—sorting through data and letting it simmer before acting. They are unusually skilled at staying on track. They may naturally emphasize career goals over relationships.

When interacting with a Focused person, keep in mind that they may come across as unsentimental because they are so focused on an immediate goal that they often forget or ignore others’ feelings.

Four of my top five talent themes are in the Executing and Influencing themes.  Those of us with Executing themes want to make sure that things happen and goals are accomplished.  People who have the Influencing theme want to step up, speak up, and take charge.  We are definitely out there working to make things happen.

My Chief Strategic Officer has three of her top five talent themes in Relationship Building and two in Strategic Thinking.  People with the Relationship Building theme are working to build and nurture strong relationships.  Those with the Strategic Thinking theme are looking at situations and analyzing information to help make better decisions and create better outcomes.

She has told me on occasion that I am sometimes like working with a fire hose.  I am continually coming with new ideas that I want to accomplish.  I come at these with high energy and excitement.  Though she shares in my enthusiasm for the new ideas, her Strategic Thinking themes have her slow me down, go through the idea and find the best route.  We talk about teaming up complementing strengths, and this is an example of how it works.

How can you harness your Focus theme to create new ventures or improve your current ones?  Start with your vision – purpose for the business.  Write your top 20 Be-Do-Have list every 3 years. I know how big I want my business to be, what I want us to be known for, and how I want it to influence the world.  These are great places to start that will give you the insight you need to begin to mold your vision.

Second, track where your business stands today and yearly.  You want to answer questions such as:

  • Which of your products and services are successful?
  • How efficiently are you operating?
  • What is your current capacity in terms of staff time, facilities, equipment and information technology?
  • Do you have the resources in place to maintain your current business AND grow?

Next, create the road map to meet your vision.  My habit is to create a one page business plan of how I’am going to reach my business goals for the year. Now that you know where you want to go and understand where you currently stand, create a simple plan that will get you there. Include financials, look at how you can expand within your current clientele (you didn’t build that email list for nothing), Check out your processes to see how they fit in your growth plan or what changes need to be made.

Lastly, make time for growth.  I recommend writing out your ideal weekly calendar. Review it and follow it weekly. It takes time to implement something new or do things you already have in place differently.  Your everyday business can take your focus away from the new goals.  Make sure you keep focused daily on those new goals.  Delegate or outsource tasks, pay attention to your project plan and milestones, make sure you check in on those milestones and your progress toward them, and have an accountability partner.  Having someone to share your plans with and talk them over helps ensure you stay with it.

Do you have the CliftonStrengths theme of Focus? How do you use that Focus on growing your business?  How does it help you create a clear destination? Please share your comments below.

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