The CliftonStrengths Coaching Blog is a resource for those who want to help others truly understand their strengths and learn how to use them. Gallup experts and outside contributors share tactics, insights, and strategies to help strengths coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams, and organizations everywhere.
By Brandon Miller, CEO 34 Strong, Inc. and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach
I love motion and movement. To me, there is no learning without doing, and once a decision to act has been made, there must be action. As an adolescent, this impulse led me to do some things that I am not prepared to write about, except to say that I’m glad I am still here and able to write this blog post. In the young adult years of my life, I was the guy who could turn thought into action. Give me the signal that we need to complete a project, move product, or get a group that was stuck in the planning process to produce results, and I was your guy. In this process I learned that, although I could make things happen, you could usually find some carnage left behind in my wake of motion. Yet, to my way of thinking, this was necessary collateral damage to accomplish a goal or complete a task.
When presented with the opportunity to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder (CSF), I was elated to find the theme Activator in my Signature Themes. Armed with this new term to describe my strength, I continued to push hard to be the person who could get things done. Over the course of time, the carnage caught up with me. My working relationships deteriorated as people began to lose confidence in my leadership abilities. Instead of being known as the hero who could produce the results, I was known as an impetuous person who was often impatient and hard to deal with. How could this be? Wasn’t I simply working out of my strength?
I’ve heard it said that most men get their brains when they turn 30. Apparently, I resemble this comment, as it took me about that long to come to the realization that I needed to reconsider my definition of the Activator theme and how it worked in my life. Perhaps if I had read the application section of the theme report provided by Gallup for each person who participates in the CSF, I would have learned this sooner. In this section, a person especially talented in the Activator theme is encouraged to partner with people who are strong in themes such as Analytical, so as to gain a different perspective before taking action on an initiative. As I grew older and wiser, thank God, this was the approach I took for my life and career. Instead of rushing into action, I learned to seek counsel from those who would take a different approach to the plan and actually listen to their advice before moving forward.
Each of us has within ourselves amazing talents that can be cultivated into strengths. The cultivation process requires training, knowledge, and intentional effort to transform latent or misused talent into strengths. In order to achieve success, tools such as the CSF can aid us in gaining greater self-awareness and increased knowledge on how to grow in our strengths. I still love motion. Action is my first thought when a decision has been made, and I can still be found to be impatient. Yet, armed with a new understanding of strengths, this Activator has gone through a reformation and now sees greater results, and much less carnage, as the strength is developed.
Brandon Miller is the Chief Executive Officer of 34 Strong, Inc. and is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. With over 15 years of experience in business development and ownership, Miller is an advocate for the strengths-based revolution as he works to help others discover their innate talents and develop them into strengths. Miller resides in Elk Grove, California, with his wife and their seven children.