When I first heard about the StrengthsFinder 2.0, I was beyond skepical—I thought it was a scam. And coaching? Forget about it. As a freelance writer and web designer for the past few years, I was proud to “make my own rules” and work off the grid, certain there was nothing a strengths coach could teach me that I didn’t already know.
Then I met Brent.
Initially, I wondered how Brent had any business at all. Who would pay for strengths coaching? I thought to myself. I simply couldn’t—and didn’t—believe all the hype about coaching “changing peoples’ lives” and leading to big personal and financial breakthroughs. It seemed way too good to be true. But Brent convinced me to take the StrengthsFinder assessment and I did, half-curious and half-rolling my eyes.
Once I received my results—Activator, Strategic, Connectedness, Individualization, and Communication—I didn’t pay much attention to them. But Brent did. Every time we talked, Brent naturally worked strengths into the conversation, pointing out when I was being particularly Strategic or knocking out projects with my Activator strength leading the way. Suddenly, strengths were on my mind. I began to think of myself as a uniquely talented person and it empowered me. Maybe there’s something to this strengths thing, after all, I thought. Without realizing it, I was beginning to change my mindset.
Then I started hitting road bumps. Big ones. In the face of tough personal challenges, my professional life went downhill. I felt lost. I didn’t know which end was up. Brent, on the other hand, kept a steady gaze on my strengths. Because of his confidence and positivity, I decided to give strengths coaching a real shot.
The turning point came during a session when Brent introduced me to the wisdom of The Dip by Seth Godin. “It’s all about knowing when to quit,” he told me. “Some people quit too late—they’ve exhausted all their options and still keep fighting a losing battle. Others quit too soon—right before the breakthrough. Is this your moment of truth?” It was exactly what I needed to hear. “Brent, I think I’m on the brink of the breakthrough,” I said. And I committed to sticking out The Dip.
Over the next few months, with Brent’s guidance, I proved myself right. Though my personal turmoil made it easy to stay in bed with a box of tissues, Brent reminded me that I was pushing away my biggest strength—Activator. So, when the urge came to throw up my hands and cry, I told myself to activate. Pair that with my Strategic strength and I began re-arranging my relationships and routines, increasing my productivity little by little—getting me out of bed and back into my life.
Now that I had returned to the land of the living, I had the chance to give my other strengths a try—Connectedness, Individualization, and Communication. Turns out, I need to be busy and social to thrive, two things I never knew about myself before working with Brent. As my personal satisfaction and self-confidence went up, I realized that when I’m not activating and communicating, for example, I’m like a slowly dying flame. But when I put my strengths to work, it’s as if I’m stoking the fire of my own success. It just keeps getting hotter.
By this time I was totally sold on my strengths and ready for my biggest breakthrough yet—monetizing my strengths. “I get the strengths system, more or less,” I shared, “but I still don’t understand how my strengths can help me make more money.” In less than an hour, Brent helped me get clear on what I do best, define my niche and my ideal client, and develop a short-term plan for achieving my business goals. Literally two weeks later, I landed my biggest client ever and Brent was with me every step of the way. It was all I needed to become a full-fledged strengths enthusiast. Strengths had taken me from depressed to empowered, and then from broke to booming.
But, here’s the thing—I never would have believed it if I hadn’t just taken the leap and tried it for myself. No, strengths coaching isn’t magic. It is a process of shifting your mindset and then slowly integrating new strengths strategies into your daily life. That’s why I love it! It’s holistic and sustainable, not a shoddy “quick fix.”
Brent taught me that I can still “make my own rules,” but when I use my strengths, I play a much bigger game. Developing a strengths mindset has made over my relationships as well as my business. Now I’m a strengths crusader! My freelance writing and web design business allows me to work in southern Mexico, facilitating an arts-based youth development program. Not only have my strengths helped me to increase my income so I can volunteer more, but I am now using these concepts with my students to help build their self-esteem and empower them to go after their own goals. (And my friends and family can’t escape from my constant nudges to measure their own top 5 strengths!)
Recently, on one of Brent’s mastermind calls, a fellow strengths advocate shared that she keeps a note card pinned to her bulletin board at work with the words, “Which strengths are you going to use today?” As I write this, my new challenge is to see how I can integrate my strengths into every area of my life. I am brimming with excitement for where my strengths are going to take me in the years to come. I would recommend that each and every single person I know take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment and work alongside someone like Brent. I cannot thank him enough for his support and guidance. In fact, I simply can’t imagine where I’d be without him. Thank you, Brent! Mil gracias!
Rachael Kay Albers
Founder and lead designer, RKA ink