Self-Assurance® is a lot like self-confidence. Individuals with the CliftonStrength® talent theme of Self-Assurance possess a “Can do” mindset. Whereas most people spend their lives wondering if they are “good enough,” the person with the Self-Assurance strength believes in his abilities and is confident in his decisions. As a result of this inner certainty, Self-Assured people are very independent and able to be effective entrepreneurs monetizing their strength.  

They are often very influential, almost contagious; others are drawn to a Self-Assured person’s sense of security. Self-Assured individuals run the risk of becoming work-a-holics who fail to spend time on relationships and can become loners because of their hyper-independence. They work hard to reach the top of the mountain and have to work extra hard not to alienate themselves from others. 

Self-Assured people should be encouraged to set ambitious goals because their high degree of persistence often results in success. They are excellent sources of stability and inspiration for people who lack self-confidence. Like the keel of a ship, Self-Assured people drive individuals and organizations to perform better.

Does this sound like anyone you know? If not someone you know personally, maybe someone you have heard of? How about Steve Jobs?

When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer, it was something that was unheard of. In 1977 Ken Olson, President of Digital Equipment Corporation, said: “There is no need for any individual to have a computer in their home.” Can you imagine your life now if Steve Jobs had second-guessed himself when he heard things like that? (Ken Olson was forced to resign in 1992, after the company went into considerable decline and the company was acquired in June 1998 by Compaq.)

March 1976, Wozniak completed the basic design of the Apple I computer and showed it to Jobs, who with his self-assurance demanded that they sell it; Wozniak was at first skeptical of the idea but later agreed. In April of that same year, Jobs, Wozniak, and administrative overseer Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computer Company (now called Apple Inc.) as a business partnership in Jobs’s parents’ Crist Drive home. The operation initially started in Jobs’s bedroom and later moved to the garage. Wayne stayed only a short time, leaving Jobs and Wozniak as the active primary co-founders of the company. The two decided on the name “Apple” after Jobs returned from the All One Farm commune in Oregon and told Wozniak about his time spent in the farm’s apple orchard.

Jobs ran into another obstacle later in his career when he lost Apple to another CEO. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola to serve as Apple’s CEO, asking, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”  

Sculley’s and Jobs’s respective visions for the company significantly differed. By early 1985, the Macintosh’s failure to defeat the IBM PC became apparent, and it strengthened Sculley’s position in the company. In May 1985, Sculley—decided to reorganize Apple, and proposed a plan to the Board that would remove Jobs from the Macintosh group and put him in charge of “New Product Development.” This move would effectively render Jobs powerless within Apple. In response, Jobs then developed a plan to get rid of Sculley and take over Apple. However, Jobs was confronted after the plan was leaked, and he said that he would leave Apple. The Board declined his resignation and asked him to reconsider. Jobs then submitted a letter of resignation to the Apple Board.

Losing his company could have been the end of Steve Job’s, but with his self-assurance, he did not let that slow him down.

Job’s stated later in a Stanford University commencement that, “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Notice that self-assurance can be human and humble. Even in uncertainty self-assurance can be freed to innovate, disrupt the marketplace, and be creative.  Job’s went on to create the iphone, the ipad, and at the time of his death, Steve Jobs had a net worth of $10.2 billion.

Along with all the entrepreneurial determination of a person with the strength of self-assurance, Job’s stated during his battle with cancer, “Your time is limited; don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Do not be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Do not let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. Most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” 

Do you have the self-assurance that Steve Jobs had when he started Apple? How can you monetize your Self-Assurance strength to make sure that your vision comes to life? Let us know your plan in the comments below. Want to talk with me about this or other strengths questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.



Are there people in your life that are consistently improving upon excellence, whether its career, leadership, or world-class entrepreneurship? Who do you know that is always enhancing, upgrading, and perfecting anything in their path?

If someone has ever encouraged you to go beyond what you think is your capacity, been pushed to become beyond noteworthy, or infinitely amazing, you probably have been influenced by someone with the CliftonStrengths theme of Maximizer®.

Maximizers are motivated by excellence. They are not interested in problem-solving; they’d much rather take something good or even marginal and tweak it until it’s excellent. That’s how Maximizers earned the nickname “pearl divers.” Maximizers dive deep, find a pearl that is already developing, and polish it. Then, they mount that pearl in a beautiful setting and make it look like a million bucks.

Maximizers dislike spending time with people focused on negativity. They prefer instead to surround themselves with people focused on excellence. Thus, Maximizers are not ideally suited to being therapists because therapists typically address weaknesses. A coach, on the other hand, focuses on strengths, and is likely a better career fit for a Maximizer. They are also adept at building teams and helping people discover and polish their strengths. They make great managers, mentors, and coaches because they know how to take advantage of an organization’s assets.

Who is an example of monetizing their Maximizer?

It’s intriguing to know that author, speaker, and leadership guru John Maxwell has Maximizer as his #4 talent theme. 50 years ago he began his journey as a small church pastor who had huge dreams of equipping leaders to do remarkable things and lead significant lives. Over those 50 years he has created a net worth of $10 million. He is the founder of INJOY, Maximum Impact, The John Maxwell Team, ISS and EQUIP. EQUIP is an international leadership development organization working to help leaders, involved with leaders from more than 80 nations. Its mission is “to see effective Christian leaders fulfill the Great Commission in every nation.”

Maxwell speaks annually to Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders, and organizations as diverse as the United States Military Academy at West Point and the National Football League. A New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Business Week best-selling author, he was one of 25 authors named to’s 10th Anniversary Hall of Fame. He’s written more than 100 books and authored several New York Times bestselling books. He was named the #1 leadership expert in the world by Inc. Magazine in 2014. The John Maxwell Team empowers coaches, trainers, and speakers, while Equip, the name for his non-profit organization, trains and mobilizes Christian leaders around the world. Would you like to hear from John Maxwell on his Maximizer strength? Check out his Becoming a Maximizer: A Minute With John Maxwell, Free Coaching Video

Maxwell thrives on taking leaders from good to great. Polishing a leader is what his 5 Levels of Leadership system are all about. He believes that every individual can increase their influence and their results by applying these 5 levels to their leadership walk.

  1. Position is the lowest level relying on rules, rights, and a title. People follow you because they have to.
  2. Permission is the next level. Through relationship, people follow you because they want to.
  3. Production is the third level and is focused on results. People follow you because of what you have done for the organization.
  4. People development is all about reproduction. People follow you because of what you have done for them. You reproduce leaders.
  5. Pinnacle is the highest level of leadership and is based on respect. People follow you because of who you are and what you represent.

Do you have the CliftonStrengths theme of Maximizer, or know someone who does? How can you monetize your Maximizer strength and apply the 5 Levels of Leadership to build a business like John Maxwell? Let us know your plan in the comments below. Want to talk with me about this or other strengths questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.


People with the Competition® strength love a good yardstick. Competition provides a measuring stick for monitoring one’s growth, and they thrive when they compete. They are forever on the lookout for someone to compete with—other people and hero’s who can help them be their best.

Chip Conley is a good example. At the ripe old age of 26, Conley transformed the hotel industry with his Joie de Vivre collection of 40 award-winning hotels and annual revenue of $250 million. Then the bottom fell out of the travel industry after the dot-com bust, taking Joie de Vivre with it.

How could he fight the negative economic climate his company was facing? He fought with his Competition talent. In a way, Conley wasn’t competing with other hotel chains, but with a much bigger foe—a U.S. economy in tatters. He was drawn to a copy of Abraham Maslow’s Toward a Psychology of Being. Maslow was the first to coin the term “positive psychology,” and Conley applied this positive psychology to his company and subsequently wrote his own book called PEAK: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow.

Peak’s central premise is that when companies help customers, employees, and investors reach that “peak” state, they create evangelizing customers, loyal employees, and passionate, long-term investors. This, in turn, creates more profitable and sustainable companies.

In 2013 Conley accepted an invitation from Airbnb, the home-sharing service, to help transform the start-up into the world’s largest hospitality brand. As Head of Global Hospitality & Strategy, Conley taught his methods to Airbnb hosts in nearly 200 countries and created Airbnb Open, which brings thousands together in a global festival of belonging.

When I interviewed Chip he shared how “as a CEO in the hotel business, his Competition was about gaining market share, beating the budget, and having higher customer satisfaction than the competitors. As an author it shows up as making the New York Times Best Seller list and having great book sales. As a speaker it’s knowing I hit the ball out of the park with an audience and being rated as the best speaker.”

Those with Competition strength are comfortable going head-to-head, but there’s another approach. Find a mentor and follow their lead—someone who has “been there, done that” and can challenge Competitors to accomplish bigger and better objectives.

Competitors naturally tend to gravitate towards sports. Competition is my #5 strength. I grew up playing football, tennis, and golf, and I can testify to how energized I feel by a battle. Of course, Competition is not limited to sports. Toastmasters, for example, have competitive speaking events. Every year, individuals go head-to-head in the world championship of public speaking. Others find opportunities for competition in the workplace. Some time ago, I was president of our local chapter of Business Network International. BNI has three teams competing against each other for the most business referrals, new visitors, and the best meeting attendance. The Competitors on these teams absolutely love the challenge.

Let me clarify— Refined Competitors are not competitively inclined, so they can show up other people or have bragging rights. They seek competition because they believe it facilitates excellence in themselves and others.

If you have Competitors on your team, take advantage of their insights on strategies. Use these strategies to get ahead in your current venture. If you are trying to win over a new market, for instance, people with the Competition strength will look at what others are doing in the market and how it can be applied to their organization.

When you celebrate wins, you should focus on what caused the win, and how you did it. When I coach Competitors, I love to ask them to tell me about their successes. Then we focus on what caused the individual to be a winner in that particular situation; what strengths, strategies, and skills led them to victory.

Competitors enjoy measuring their achievements. They like trophies, certificates, medals—basically, any positive form of recognition. They want to hear, “You win. You succeed.” Without positive feedback, a win is much less satisfying.

Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, is a great read for individuals with the Competition strength. Godin maintains that it’s important to quit—sometimes—and avoid wasting time and energy on a weakness. Most Competitors don’t have a problem quitting with an area that they likely will lose; but it’s a wisdom skill for all of us to know when to quit and when not to quit.

Do you have the CliftonStrengths theme of Competition, or know someone who does? How can you fight with your Competition strength to build the business of your dreams? Let us know your plan in the comments below. Want to talk with me about this or other strengths questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.



Do you know someone who enjoys sharing an entertaining story? Or someone who wordsmiths their conversation so people are inspired? People with the talent theme of Communication® express themselves with many forms – verbally, artistically, musically, or through writing.

People with the Communication strength like to explain ideas. When Communicators encounter a new idea, they want to express it and bring it to life. They also want to entertain and capture people’s attention. Communicators love finding the right story or the right image to express an idea. Communicators want and need a sounding board to identify which stories are exciting to other people. This helps them hone and refine their storytelling skills.

The Toastmasters organization helps people develop their communication and presentation skills by allowing them to deliver speeches in an open, supportive environment. It’s an incredible organization for anyone who wants to grow their communication and leadership skills; I’ve been a part of Toastmasters for the past ten years.

Communicators are often wordsmiths. They love vocabulary and like to use dramatic, inspiring words, making them not only great speakers but great writers as well. Communicators know how to use words to influence and sell. One way a communicator can maximize their strength is to keep a story or quote file. I’ve been doing this for years. When I have a personal experience, I think it is worth sharing, I write it on a three by five card and keep it on file.

Is it possible to monetize your Communication strength and make a million dollars?

A book for Communicators that I love is called Money Talks: How to Make a Million as a Speaker by Alan Weiss. Weiss is a skilled speaker and communication consultant, and, in his book, he talks about how people with communication and presentation skills need to have a balance of savvy, steak, and sizzle.

Savvy—Communicators can develop their skills by being savvy about what makes a great Communicator and creates the best connection with an audience by understanding the ins and outs of the communication world.

Steak—Audiences need steak or content. Make sure you are not only entertaining others but offering real substance, something “meaty.”

Sizzle—Most Communicators are great at finding sizzle—taking that steak and pouring a delicious sauce on it. This sizzle is what draws you in and makes you want more.

Alan Weiss say’s, “The secret to a great career is to find something you are great at and love doing and then you make money from it.” Now Alan is know as a million dollar consultant, speaker, and author because of focusing on his strengths of writing and speaking. 

Alan used to give speeches for free. Now his income from professional speaking and its spin offs totals more than $1,000,000. In his book Money Talks, Alan shows you the steps to the very best – paid-platforms!

In addition to his writing Alan has a consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc.  Summit Consulting Group list of clients includes clients such as Merck, Hewlett-Packard, GE, Mercedes-Benz, State Street Corporation, Times Mirror Group, The Federal Reserve, The New York Times Corporation, Toyota, and over 500 other leading organizations. He also finds time to serve on the boards of directors of the Trinity Repertory Company, a Tony-Award-winning New England regional theater, Festival Ballet, and chaired the Newport International Film Festival.

His typical year includes 20 keynotes a year at major conferences . Alan has been a visiting faculty member at several universities and has held an appointment as an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Business at the University of Rhode Island.  He once held the record for selling out the highest priced workshop (on entrepreneurialism) in the then-21-year history of New York City’s Learning Annex.

In 2006 Alan was inducted into the Professional Speaking Hall of Fame® and the concurrent recipient of the National Speakers Association Council of Peers Award of Excellence, which represents  the top 1% of professional speakers in the world. He has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, one of only two people in history holding both those designations.

He has published over 500 articles and 60 books, including his best-seller, Million Dollar Consulting (from McGraw-Hill), now in its 25th year and fifth edition. His newest is Threescore and More: Applying the Assets of Maturity, Wisdom, and Experience for Personal and Professional Success (Routledge, 2018). His books have been on the curricula at Villanova, Temple University, and the Wharton School of Business, and have been translated into 15 languages.

Communicators are often willing to talk on behalf of an organization or cause for a fee—or even for free. They are excellent choices to be company spokespeople and are often willing to speak up for their family or friends. At the same time, Communicators can monetize their strengths by developing their skills as professional speakers through organizations like the National Speakers Association and Toastmasters.

Do you have the CliftonStrengths® theme of Communication, or know someone who does? How can you monetize your Communication strength to grow your business like Alan Weiss?  Give me some examples in the comments below. Want to talk with me about this or other strengths questions you have? Please schedule you free Ask Brent Anything call, and let’s talk strengths.