couple-looking-at-a-laptop2_460x300He was so strong, straight forward, and controlling. She was so sensitive, passive, and wounded. They came to my coaching office as a last ditch effort to save their marriage while they were separated.

In the past I would have tried to fix their weaknesses. Now I immediately spotted their strengths. What if they could have a language to call their talent themes? What if they could both embrace the value of each others strengths? What if they both could begin to leverage each others strengths in their love relationship?

Sure enough my hunch was confirmed. After taking the StrengthsFinder assessment and coming to the next session his #1 talent theme was command and her #1 talent theme empathy. Command is defined as having presence, being direct, and exerting control in situations that seem out of control. Empathy is defined as being sensitive to others feelings and bringing emotional intelligence.

I showed them my Strenghtometer analogy how 1-40 MPH is coasting (under using a talent), 41-80 MPH is cruising (appropriately using a talent) and 81-120 MPH is speeding or (over using a talent to a detriment). How could they both drive their talent themes appropriately with each other, their blended family, in each situation?

That was the work in the next three coaching sessions.

As an intentional way of softening his commanding presence, he shaved off his duck dynasty beard he had grown for years as a surprise for her in the next coaching session. She had never seen him without his beard. You could feel the tender energy in the room when she gently placed her hands on his cleanly shaven face for the first time. This act of empathetic affection drew them closer in love and emotional intimacy.

The journey of leveraging their strengths at being a great spouse was now starting to cruise.

My StrengthsFinder mentor, Curt Liesveld wrote “How to Aim your Talent Themes at Being a Great Spouse” for all 34 StrengthsFinder talent themes.
Read below.

Command – I could use this theme to fight for my marriage by confronting external threats and by dealing directly with internal pressures.

Empathy – I show my love to my spouse by sensing their emotions, accepting and valuing their emotions, and encouraging their expression.

If you and your love partner want to learn how to aim your talent themes at being a great spouse then join me for the (actually webinar)
on Sunday February 9th 6-9 PM CST and Monday February 10th 6-9 PM CST from anywhere in the world.

Recordings will be available from this webinar.

What talents are you and your spouse speeding with?
Are you aiming your strengths at being a great spouse?

Please like, share, and discuss your comments and questions below.

What is the VIA Institute? The The VIA® Institute on Character was established as a non-profit organization in 2001. Their mission is to advance both the science and the practice of character. They aim to fill the world with greater virtue by offering the VIA Survey, free of charge, across the globe. The VIA Survey has been taken by over 1.3 million people in 193 countries and 17 languages.

What is the VIA model? There are 6 virtues and 24 total character strengths that fall within each virtue category.

1. Wisdom and Knowledge – Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and
use of knowledge

2. Courage – Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal

3. Humanity – Interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others

4. Justice – Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life

5. Temperance – Strengths that protect against excess

6. Transcendence – Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning

What are the 24 VIA Character Strengths?

Click here for the complete list of 24 VIA Character Strengths

Do you use your strengths in your marriage?

Marriage is like a combination lock; your job is to find the right numbers, in the right order, so you can unlock your love potential.

Famous management consultant Peter Dru38833vl2ng9la32cker once said that “most Americans don’t know their own strengths. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare.”  Drucker was dead on.

When it comes to understanding our strengths, most of us are in the dark. Yet the fastest way to marriage success is discovering and applying our strengths.  How then, can you focus on your strengths if you don’t know what those strengths are?

The short answer is: you can’t.

Through the Strengths Finder 2.0, I can help you and your spouse discover your top 5 strengths.

For example if your spouse is a LEARNER, then sign her up for yoga or piano lessons or a class at the local college. Take her to a book store or a movie or the opera–any place she can learn new ideas and activities. For learners, life is one long deliberate journey from ignorance to competence. Understand this much about her and you’ve just connected in a meaningful way that you both never thought possible.

If one of her strengths is HARMONY, be on the lookout for areas of agreement. Find common ground. Steer clear of debates and you’ll find your own life in perfect harmony–lickety split.

If your husband has the ACTIVATOR strength, utilize it to help you make improvements around the house. Activators can transform ideas into immediate action.

Maybe your husband has WOO (Winning Others Over). This strength can bring fun, energy, and more socialization to your relationship. People with this strength naturally use humor to ease the conflict with their teenagers, for example.

How do you jump over weaknesses and flow into your strengths?

You need a coach to teach you how. And now you have one!  Get Your Strength Finder 2.0 Book Now + your complimentary Discovery Coaching Session (Value $120) for $19.95.

Put the odds in your favor!

Coaching points:

  1. Do you focus more on your spouse’s strengths or weaknesses?
  2. What strengths do you appreciate in your spouse?

Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to and

Image: worradmu /

It’s one thing to be married to your job. It’s another to be married to your boss.  Over the last thirty years, there seem to be more and more couples opting to wed their home and work lives. The research shows an increase from 500,000 to over 800,000 couples in business together.

My wife has worked with me in my counseling/coaching practice for 20+ years. We have experienced both the highs of connection and the lows of conflict.  There is a beautiful connection working towards a meaningful goal together, knowing some of the same people, having flexibility with schedule and enjoying accessibility to a quick hug and conversation.  However, we have experienced conflict by having unrealistic expectations, blurring work/home boundaries, and not understanding each others strengths. There were times we did not appreciate the leadership value that we both brought to the business. There have been moments when I have said, “If we weren’t married, I would fire you.”

How did we resolve it?  More on that later!

If you are contemplating starting a business with your spouse or you are currently running a business together, you’ll benefit by checking out my website and getting a complimentary report called, “Married to Your Boss: 13 Success Strategies to Prosper in Business and Love.”

The importance of a margin of error was first introduced to me as a beginning tennis player at age 14. If you hit the ball too close to the net or the lines and you were a little off or a gust of wind blew, you could have an error. The solution was to clear the net 6-8 feet with top spin and to place the ball a foot inside the lines to decrease errors.

The concept of margins is all around us.

Driving down the highway there is typically a shoulder for emergencies. Going over an overpass, the lane is wider for safety. Margins in a book create ease of reading. Golfers place their shots with margin of error away from water, trees, or out of bounds.

A margin is the space between my current activity and my limits. It is elbow and breathing room that decreases stress, enhances relationships, and increases success.

I have to admit, creating margins in daily life is difficult for me. I want to live life to the limit. I squeeze too many activities into my day. However, I’m discovering that I’m happiest and most successful when I create margins in my day-to-day life.

How do you create margins of success?

1. Create margins in your daily schedule.

Make time and space for breaks, breakfast, lunch, returning telephone calls, email, running over, and drive time. By arriving early and building a cushion into our daily schedule, we are prepared for Murphy’s law–what can go wrong will go wrong.

2. Create margins in relationships.

Making time for weekly dates, naps, and walks are examples of creating margins in romantic relationships. Building free time so you can play and connect with your kids, going out to eat, lingering, or having a cup of coffee with friends enhances the relationship. Having a quiet time, a moment of prayer, time for meditation, or inspirational reading creates renewal.

3. Do less to accomplish more.

Trying to be all things to all people leaves us empty, frazzled and unfulfilled. Why not focus on 1-3 priorities and free up space in our brain? Creativity and success come from drilling down into one area for deep success. The old saying is “less is best.”

Coaching points:

  1. Where do you need to create more margins for success?
  2. How will you make sure to follow through with making these changes for more sucess?



Who would tell you if they had spinach in your teeth?  The rude reality is that all of us will get something stuck between our teeth. Maybe a flake of pepper or possibly some green spinach.  Most people do not want to embarrass you so they let you keep talking with spinach plastered to your front tooth.

Who can you trust to tell you the truth?

Usually your spouse, kids, or best friend delight in the opportunity, right?

This article isn’t about real spinach but emotional or behavioral irritants in our life that everyone else sees but us. These emotional or behavioral challenges may slowly destroy relationships and opportunities for success.

It could be how you are constantly running late or don’t respond to emails. Or how you interrupt people when they talk, how ridiculously out of style your hair or clothing are, the list goes on…

Maybe you fidget, don’t give eye contact, or mumble when you get up to speak.  Or when someone asks what time it is, you tell them three times how to make a watch.  I could continue to infinity but the point is all of us will have spinach in our teeth at some time in our lives.

As your life coach, I have your back and will give you honest feedback.

I coached one CEO who wanted objective honest feedback because she realized most people in her organization were intimidated to be direct with her. She hired me for the purpose of giving it to her straight.

Invest in a coaching session for a friend or family member who has spinach in their teeth.

Coaching Points:

  1. What emotional or behavioral irritant is hindering your success and life?
  2. Can you give objective, honest feedback to your peers or circle of influence when they have spinach in their teeth?

Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to and


People with Woo love to network, connect to strangers, and “Win Others Over.”  One person I know with Woo was elected to be the event coordinator for a networking organization.  Another person with Woo shared, “I make friends with everybody, all my taxi drivers propose to me.”

If you have the Woo strength, follow these tips:

  1. Take responsibility to help people in new groups connect and feel at ease. You have the ability to lower people’s anxiety and mistrust.
  2. Be sure to choose work that gives you the opportunity to interact with a variety of people. You will become bored in isolation.
  3. Partner with someone who can help you build deeper long term relationships and not just superficial connections. Some people may think you are insincere if you don’t build a deeper relationship.

Would you like to discover your top five talents and strengths?

Call me at 903-819-0301 or email me at [email protected] and let’s discuss how to help you put your strengths and talents to work in your life.

Coaching Points:

  1. What are your strengths and talents?
  2. What are your family or work peers strengths?
  3. Who do you need to partner with to balance out your strengths?

What’s your deepest fear?  Being alone? Humiliation? For me, it’s been the fear of getting a divorce.  That fear has been fueled by the fact that every couple on my mother and father’s side has been divorced, including my parents.



Then I learned to FLIP my FEAR. I use and continue to use three of my top five strengths to nurture a stronger marriage. I use focus, achiever, and competition to help me develop a stronger marriage.

Since getting married 26 years ago I wanted to be the first person in my family to break the divorce pattern. I want desperately to achieve a strong, sexy marriage. Sure, I’ve lost focus along the way but I come back to the notion that “love is work and it’s worth working for.”

How can you FLIP your FEAR?

If you fear being alone, why not use your harmony, relator, or empathy strengths to flip your fear into more fulfilling relationships rather than retreating to your cave?

If you fear humiliation, why not use your woo, self assurance, and activator strengths to catapult you through self-doubt and low confidence. Convince people that you can be cool and suck at the same time.

The key is to FLIP your FEAR using your strengths. Go ahead, flip your fear and achieve your greatest success!

Would you like to discover your top five talents and strengths?  Call me at 903-819-0301 or email me at [email protected] and let’s discuss how to help you put your strengths and talents to work in your life.

Coaching Points:

  1. What are my top three deepest fears?
  2. How can I flip my fear?
  3. What are my strengths and talents?

Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to and

Image: graur razvan ionut /

If you’re doing these three things, you’re killing marriage momentum and increasing odds for divorce.

What are they and what can you do about them?

1. Spewing

Reckless words and nagging criticism that spew out of your mouth to your spouse can feel like stabbing them with a knife and hitting them on the head with a hammer. You say, “I didn’t mean it, I just said those words in anger.” But words pierce our soul and create wounds, hurt, anger, and eventually, hate.

Remember the boy that had an anger problem, saying hateful things all the time? His dad made him go hammer nails into the wood fence for punishment. After the boy was finished, the dad made him pull all the nails from the fence. The boy realized how destructive his words were when his dad said, “Son, that’s what mean words do. They leave holes in people.”

The solution is to learn self-control and share from the heart with tact. There are playful ways to get your point across without being sarcastic. It might be saying, “Rude” like Bon Qui Qui or “Kick me! Kick me! It would hurt less.”

2. Stuffing

Giving the silent treatment, turning a cold shoulder, or stuffing your feelings creates a cold war of indifference. This is sometimes called stonewalling and is just as deadly and destructive as spewing criticism. It’s true that holding your tongue is wise and it’s better to overlook an insult that act out but stuffing is usually a form of hurting your spouse in a passive aggressive way. Spouses who stuff thoughts and feelings need to understand they are feeding a relationship cancer with resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.

The danger is that you can grow apart by avoiding problems and both of you may begin to quit with an, “I don’t care attitude.” Doing nothing is the fastest way to create a divorce. The solution is to be courageous and realize that open rebuke is better than stuffing your feelings. Learning to give and receive repair attempts is a momentum builder for outrageous love.

3. Sexless

Sex is the thermometer of a marriage. If the marriage is cold there will be very little sex. If the marriage is hot there will be more sex. I know because I’ve been on both spectrums in 26 years of marriage. Women and men both want hot monogamy and making love even when you don’t want to will make your spouse worship the water you walk on.

Remember sex is more than intercourse. It’s frequent touching, tender words, playful banter, lustful looks, deep eye contact, slow foreplay and bursts of flirting. The solution is to keep the sex cooking. Why not have an emotional and physical affair with your spouse?

We’ve all blown it. Maybe we got cold feet on a commitment, ran to our cave in fearful isolation, or forgot to follow through on our word. If you want outrageous success in business, leadership, or your most intimate personal relationships, you have to build trust and maintain a trusting relationship.

Trust is the software of success. If it is not properly installed and maintained the hardware will not work. No business, organization, leader, church, family or marriage will work without trust.

Here are 3 ways to build trust:

1. Show up with integrity

My dad told me the story of a man that visited his wife, who had Alzheimers, in the nursing home. Every week the man visited his wife and spent time with her, even though she could no longer recognize him or remember that he was her husband. A friend asked why the husband continued to visit the wife. He replied, “Because I recognize her.”

Now that’s showing up with integrity. Not because he had to but because he chose to.

If you want more trust, show up with an integrity that grows from a solid, mature character. Are you showing up with integrity in your personal and professional life?

2. Stand up with responsibility

Leaders and people who are defensive, point the finger, and blame others are secretly seen as untrustworthy. We might get mad at leaders when they make mistakes but we will also respect and trust leaders who stand up and accept responsibility for their mistakes. One of my coaching clients is a very successful business man who once said, “God created me with broad shoulders for a reason.”

If your marriage is empty, don’t blame your spouse. If your personal life is unhappy, don’t blame your parents. If your business is struggling, don’t blame your employees and the economy. Man up, stand up, and take responsibility for your success. Then and only then will people truly trust you.

Are you standing up with responsibility in your personal and professional life?

3. Speak up with accountability

Words hold the power of life and death. They can create or destroy. Our word is our bond. If what we say and what we do match with congruence, people will increasingly trust us. If we say one thing and do the opposite, people will mistrust us. Let your yes be yes and let your no be no. Say what you mean and mean what you say. People who talk in generalities confuse us. We doubt them and eventually don’t believe them. We don’t trust them and won’t buy from them.

My wife frequently reminds me not to exaggerate. I’ve started paying closer attention and correcting myself when sharing statistics, stories, and information so that it is more accurate. Speaking with accuracy speeds up the trust process. Being clear speeds up the trust process. Are you speaking up with accountability in your personal and professional life? Even when you blow it, you can spring forward, build trust and maintain trust by showing up with integrity, standing up with responsibility, and speaking up with accountability.