Using Your Strengths For Authenticity and Connection – With Strother Gaines

Strother Gaines Episode Art

This Episode’s Focus on Strengths

This week Lisa chats with Strother Gaines, where they talk about using your strengths to maximize the authentic "you" at work.  Strother works with a lot of clients who feel trapped in other people's expectations. This interview will help you look at your innate talents and focus on who you are at your natural best. By doing that, you'll make stronger connections in your career because you're not working so hard at showing up like you think you're supposed to at the office.

Strother and Lisa met a few years ago at a public speaking conference while talking about the “yes cat” Vine video that Lisa had not heard of. Since then, Strother keeps Lisa up on the latest viral videos like Yassss Cat, awesome texting abbreviations like TL;DR (too long didn’t read), and awesome made up words like Screlting.

Strother's Top 5 Clifton StrengthsFinder Talent Themes: Individualization, Strategic, Significance, Communication, Activator

Lisa’s Top 5 Clifton StrengthsFinder Talent Themes:   Strategic, Maximizer, Positivity, Individualization, Woo

Resources of the Episode

Check out Strother’s get-to-know-him video and the full TEDx talk on Storytelling. Connect with him on his business site, But I’m A Unicorn Dammit, and his LinkedIn page.

And our favorite resource of the episode - Strother's demonstration of his penguin arms (listen in to hear that one!). A hint is that it's a great example of how you might think you're playing the best corporate version of yourself, yet you don't realize you're playing a character. Now when you see his 10 second video, you can ask yourself if you're being a penguin in your career or if you're using your strengths to be the authentic you. It will all make sense once you hear the interview:

Here's a Full Transcript of the Interview

Lisa Cummings: [00:00:09] You’re listening to Lead Through Strengths, where you’ll learn to apply your greatest strengths at work. I’m your host, Lisa Cummings, and I’ve gotta tell you, whether you’re leading your team or leading yourself, it's hard to find something more energizing and productive than using your natural talents every day at work.

[00:00:26] And today, you’ll get to learn from my coach. He’s a TEDx speaker, he facilitates StrengthsFinder training, he specializes in authenticity, connection and storytelling. If you check out his coaching business at – and, yes, you heard me right – he has this crazy name because he helps people make some giant integrations between different parts of their lives, like lawyers who just want to dance, programmers who wish they were potters, CFOs who are undercover yogis. So fun already, right?

This is a silly and playful photo of strother gaines. He is in a dessert with a vast open field. He's standing in dried grasses, wearing a nice suit, throwing a stuffed unicorn.

Strother out on his quest to find the unicorn qualities in people

[00:01:02] I also love that he brings a million and one perspectives to the workplace scene. He’s done everything from professional speaking to sales management to segue tour guiding. His favorite hobby is directing theater, and he even integrates these amazing theatrical experiences into corporate events. I could gush on and on, yet you’re totally waiting for us to get on with the interview section of the show.

[00:01:28] So, Strother Gaines, welcome.

Strother Gaines: [00:01:30] Thank you so much for having me, Lisa.

Lisa Cummings: [00:01:32] Let’s start with that by telling everyone your top five and which one you felt most authentically like you, when you first read your results.

Strother Gaines: [00:01:41] Sure, yeah. My top five StrengthsFinder talent themes are Individualization, Strategic, Significance, Communication and Activator. And as far as the – if you’d ask me – pick one before I took the test, I would’ve said Communication would’ve been at the top somewhere. And there it is; it’s number four. Communication has always been such a huge part of my world personally, and professionally I majored in theater so you get trained in how to be a communicator.

[00:02:06] I sang for a long time, both opera, musical theater, pop, things like that, so you get the diction and the different styles there. Communication’s always just been a huge part of my life and I would not be surprised to see it in the top five.

Lisa Cummings: [00:02:19] So cool. I didn’t know about the opera part.

Strother Gaines: [00:02:22] You know what, I didn’t love it. My undergrad asked me to sing opera because I was awarded a music scholarship because I had kind of a rare-ish vocal part. I was a lyric Italian tenor and opera was not my favorite thing, but if you’re going to give me a scholarship to do it, I suppose I will try. So I would do it and I’d sing the solo, and then I’d jump back into musical theater-land right on afterwards.

Lisa Cummings: [00:02:47] When you said musical theater, you made me get back to thinking of dancing lawyers, and that sounds really fun and appealing. One question for you is, if we’re so attracted to these kind of ideas – dancing lawyers and CFOs who want to be yogis and people probably identify with parts of them that feel like that – why do you think it’s so hard then to just be our authentic selves at work?

Strother Gaines: [00:03:10] In my experience there are lawyers who love what they do, and mazel tov to them, and I wish them all the happiness in the world. Oftentimes, though, when I interact with lawyers they often end up being English majors, who did it because it seemed like a good stable thing to do, but it wasn’t really the thing that they were super passionate about. However, you’re investing all of this time into cultivating a career in law that, once you make it into it, you go, “Well, I’m in it. Here we are and this is what we do now.”

[00:03:36] And so you’re in this place where you’ve invested so much time and it’s sort of the sunk-cost fallacy, “I’d made it this far. I can’t really turn around now and open my yogurt stand like I would really like to.” So lawyers or high-ranking CFO, CTO, that type of group, they’ve spend so much time getting where they are that they feel they can’t turn and pivot at all.

Lisa Cummings: [00:03:57] It makes me think about how even young in my career I used to show up at work with my librarian glasses on and put my hair back in a bun and make sure that I look like I should be taken seriously. And there was some disconnect about who I really was and who I thought I needed to show up as.

[00:04:15] And that reminds me of your concept of connection at work as well, because I think those kind of behaviors make some sort of disconnection or wall between you and people, where they go, “Oh, that’s my work environment, and that’s my home environment.” And I remember you saying something about like, “I don’t want to have coffee with you with your work voice on. I just don’t want you to have a work voice.”

Strother Gaines: [00:04:32] Totally.

Lisa Cummings: [0:04:34] Say something about how you could apply natural talents and the natural you to the concept of being connected at work.

Strother Gaines: [00:04:41] Yeah, so I think this is one of the reasons that I was so drawn to StrengthsFinder when you and I started; I’ve been guilty of it as well. I used to manage a spa, and when someone would call I had my normal, like, “Thank you for calling. This is Strother. How can I help you?” kind of voice that drops in that’s not really me, but is what you assume you’d like to hear when you hop on the phone with a spa. It needs to be a very specific style.

[00:05:05] As an actor, I’m able to throw that type of thing up into the world and it still seem authentic, but it’s not actually who I am. So we just get really good at playing these roles for what you expect a lawyer to be, a dog walker to be, “What is the type of voice or persona that I should adopt for that role?” And when you adopt those personas you ignore so


This meme makes Strother belly laugh!

me of the unique things that make you you.

[00:05:33] When I look at my top five, there were elements in the spa world that I could utilize but there are others that I sort of hid or just didn’t accentuate. And so I find that StrengthsFinder is such an interesting lens to look at things through because rather than trying to conform to a certain role, or the expectations of a certain role, you take who you are at your core, and make the role conform to you.

[00:05:58] And if you have the flexibility of that, and you don’t have a boss who’s really concerned with making sure you fit that square peg into that round hole, then you actually end up being better and more engaging, and that connection with people is so much more genuine. I find that connection has been sort of the basis for me of all good professional things in my life, and I find that those are more impactful when that person is connecting with me as an actual person as opposed to a put-on version.

[00:06:27] You kind of mentioned when you first started, and this is oftentimes for people when they first start a new career, they put their hair up, they put on the suit in the right way, they try and make sure that they puff up their chest just big enough that they seem impressive. And at the end of the day, that actually makes us tougher to connect with and so people just sort of fall off the back and aren’t as engaged with you. It’s a challenge though because it is sort of a cultural thing for us to try and put on the role as opposed to be ourselves within it.

Lisa Cummings: [00:06:57] I wonder, how do you know when you’re not allowing people to connect with you and you’re giving off some vibe to them that they probably shouldn’t want to get to know you more? So how do you know when this is happening? What if you’re doing this and you’re not noticing?

Strother Gaines: [00:07:14] Yeah, that’s a really good question. Sometimes we get so deep into the character. I’m going to diverge a little bit, and if I go too far off, just reel me back because it made me think of some backstory in theater that I’ve used a couple times.

[00:07:29] So in theater I am not the best actor. I’m okay. I’m a better director, I’m a better producer, but on stage I’m okay. I have a couple of ticks that I’m not great at, and I’m not super great at inhabiting a character so that it feels real. It’s very clear that, “That’s Strother being a character,” as opposed to, “Well, that’s just the character.”

[00:07:51] When I was training as a performer, I was even worse, as you can imagine, because I had no training, and one of my professors told me that I had penguin arms. And, basically, what that means is you cannot lift your elbow away from the side of your body. You’re gesticulating with your hands, they’re all over the place, you feel like you’re being big and broad – too bad there’s no visual, maybe I’ll send a little clip of me doing that – but your elbows are basically…

Lisa Cummings: [00:08:18] Is it like your elbows are glued?

Strother Gaines: [00:08:20] Yeah, exactly. They’re locked down to the side, and to you it feels like you’re being big but to an audience it looks like you’re just totally cramped into this little space. I could not get rid of that habit no matter how big I thought I was being, no matter how much I tried to push further, I was always in penguin arms, until I took a mask class.

this is an image of a man wearing a commedia mask - it is brown, intricately carved wood that covers the face down to the nose and cheeks. It has holes for the eyes and little breathing holes for the nose.

Example of commedia mask you'd wear in the mask class that Strother took in college

[00:08:41] In mask class you get to put on – my favorite were Commedia masks which are Italian masks that are half of your face. So your mouth is still exposed but the top of your face is covered and stagnant in that one particular pose.

[00:08:53] As soon as the mask goes on, you have this ability, or I found I had this ability, to finally lift my arms out because suddenly it wasn’t me. I was playing a character and it was super obvious for everyone who was watching that I was being Arlecchino, it’s one of the stock characters names. That was who that was on stage, and Arlecchino moves with these really big arms, and I could finally do it.

[00:09:15] And then as I took that mask off, later, I had gained the ability to take my elbows away from my side. So through this mark work when I get to kind of play in this world where I am definitely putting something on, I developed the ability to finally step out of that box and be a little more authentic and a little bigger.

[00:09:37] And so I find that people – a lot of people always especially when we talk about authenticity or being your best self, or things that, that are a little buzz worthy right now, they’re like, “Take off all your masks and make sure they go away,” I see this as, “If you’re going to use a mask use it intentionally to forward yourself and get comfortable.”

[00:09:55] I think that one of the ways to start – here we are cycling back finally, we’ve made it back to your question originally – if you can notice that there’s a mask, even like a tiny disconnect that you have at work, and most of the time even if it’s embedded in yourself, you’ll start to catch it usually in a vocal pattern. You’ll find it in something that is just not what you do.

[00:10:15] And sometimes it’s actually really helpful to get somebody who does know you. If you do answer a phone, can you have somebody call you and see? Does it sound like you? Are you able to catch it? Can you get somebody in your life who does know you are more authentically, to be around, or to look at some of your writing or things like that?

[00:10:33] Most of the time, though, it will be just sort of a sudden revelation on your own part where you’re like, “Oh, God, I’ve got this mask on right now, and it’s my professional mask. It’s my let-me-be-really-important mask. It’s my here’s-this-thing-that-I-did mask. You judge that and not me.” You make a really good point because it can be really challenging to see when it’s happening.

[00:10:54] But I always look for little elements of things that are just off of who you normally would be, and it’s really as kind of on you to catch it. And it can be challenging sometimes that’s why you have a coach or that’s why you have a teacher, or an instructor, or a mentor. They’re often the ones who will be able to see things on us that we miss.

Lisa Cummings: [00:11:14] Such a good one. And I love using the people who really do know you well. I’ve certainly had that kind of feedback from, I know my sister, in seeing some early speaking videos, it’s like, oh, my God, I just crack up when I see that because it’s you being the formal you, or my husband in the pool last year saying something like, “I’m right here. You don’t have to do your training projection voice.”

Strother Gaines: [00:11:35] Oh, God, I get that too, and they’re like, “We’re literally in the room with you.” And I’m like, “I’m so sorry.”

Lisa Cummings: [00:11:40] [laughs] I just blame it on drumming too much and having hearing problems.

Strother Gaines: [00:11:45] I think that’s fair. That’s fair, yeah.

Lisa Cummings: [00:11:47] Yeah, it’s a good one. Now, all of this is making me think of personal career branding kind of topic as well, and I know you do a lot of work on the concept of storytelling. And so if we put that in the context of personal career branding, I wonder how someone in the audience could use their Strengths to consciously tell a story about who they are at their best?

Strother Gaines: [00:12:08] I find that personal branding to be really fascinating. And there’s a personal and a professional benefit, I think, to knowing what your personal brand is, and being able to own it. When I look at mine, to pop out for me that helped me in my branding, Individualization and Significance. Having those pieces as context for the story, being able to say, “Okay, if these are my individual talents, these are the things that are easiest for me to call upon, how do I take that and accentuate them? How do I amplify these Strengths?”

[00:12:43] For clients of mine, that is really one of my bigger things is to, once we’ve got the concept of who you are, what your Strengths are, I do prefer to focus on the Strengths I know that you’re on board with that methodology. It’s good to be aware of your weaknesses or the opportunities you have to overcome certain things.

[00:12:59] But I feel like, especially when it comes to storytelling, you want to cater your story to those Strengths. So whether you are an entrepreneur, or an employee, or you’re working on a side hustle, it’s important to know, “These are the things that I want to lead with.” And if you can craft your story around the Strengths then it’s a more compelling story, and I’m more willing to come along with you on that story, than if you’re in the middle, or sort of muddling around, or, even worse, with some of the weaknesses or things you have to overcome.

Lisa Cummings: [00:13:29] As you were talking about what you’re going to start with, I just couldn’t help but be sitting there with you at a networking event and how often people have to tell some story of who they are, “Who are you? What are you about?” Usually it’s, “What do you do?” I’m curious about these mini-storytelling moments that happen at work events or networking events.

[00:13:53] And I know you do your Networking Under 40 and you lead these big events. So, gosh, I think I remember you saying something about a terrible story about your first networking event. So tell us about how storytelling plays in there. Give us the storytelling personal branding mixed up with networking.

Strother Gaines: [00:14:11] It’s interesting because in networking we have this concept now, and, oh, if I could just kill it that would be wonderful, but everyone is like, “Well, what’s your elevator pitch? Or how do we squeeze you into 60 seconds?” And I just think that that’s such a terrible exercise. In a networking event, when you come up and you give me that pre-rehearsed little piece I am gone in the first three seconds because I know you’re not actually connecting with me: your story is boring, your story is contrived, and it has nothing to do with me, and it’s you pitching yourself to me.

[00:14:40] Maybe if we are a perfect match business-wise I’m engaged, but realistically as soon as I hear someone switch into the elevator pitch mode I’m gone. Networking for me it’s a bit like Improv in that you have to just be super present with the person. I’m always more concerned with them than myself, and trying to drag stories out of them, that might be a little bit of my just natural Strengths coming out too.

[00:15:06] I like to get people to tell me things about themselves and then I can take that and relate to something that I’ve had going on in my world, and then it’s an easier thing for them to connect with. If we can find places where the Venn diagram of our stories connect at a networking event, that’s when I actually care, and that’s when I’m going to continue to follow up with you.

[00:15:25] The thing that I learned is everyone is terrible at it. If you go to a networking event and you look around, I guarantee nine out of ten people are terrified, or doing a really terrible job at hiding that they’re terrified. And so if you go into it and you go, “Oh, my God, everyone is terrible at this because nobody knows what they’re doing,” and you kind of acknowledge the elephant in the room, then it’s way easier.

[00:15:47] If you go with no expectation and you’re just there to like connect and see and talk and experience, it’s so much easier than if you put all of this pressure on yourself to be the most impressive person in the room, or make sure you get 20 clients before you leave, or 10 business cards that you can follow up with.

Lisa Cummings: [00:16:03] It sounds like this is one of the magic tips, is to find interesting things about other people to ask them about, be curious about, talk to them about. Can you give us some examples of things that others who are listening might look for? Like, I’ll just give you the example of if I see you – and for those of you listening, Strother wears this wooden bowties and they’re so unique. I’ve never even heard of them before, seeing it on Strother.

Lisa wearing wooden bow tie

Lisa's ode to Strother's wooden bow tie. It was fun to find in a little San Diego shop, but it won't be her go-to "approachability doodad."

[00:16:34] So that is something where I think you just gave, I call it an approachability doodad. Now, so you wear this thing that makes it easy for other people to find you approachable and ask you about it, and those are the things I look out for in other people as well, because it just opens up and breaks the ice. So how about for you? What are a couple of things that you look for that you can be curious about and ask people about?

Strother Gaines: [00:16:57] Yeah, totally. It’s funny you mentioned the bowtie because anytime I speak about networking I have three things that I feel – what did you call it? What was the doodad? I love that.

Lisa Cummings: [00:17:08] The approachability doodad.

Strother Gaines: [00:17:09] The approachability doodad. Love it. I’m going to take that. So my approachability doodads that I have, I always say it’s my beard, bowtie, and bracelet. And so I have my three Bs that I wear to any networking event, it’s a Miansai. It’s this beautiful little anchor. You have one, you’ve got a hook. I’ve got an anchor, you’ve got a hook.

Lisa Cummings: [00:17:25] Right.

Strother Gaines: [00:17:26] And people seems to really like it, and they’re like, “Oh, I really like your bracelet,” and that’s such a super easy in. The bowtie is really great because I can dramatically yank. It’s by a guy, the artist is SwitchWood here in D.C. You can rip the bowtie weighing out because you switch them in and out, they’re on magnets, and people are like, “Oh, my God, that’s so interesting.” And then my beard is just a big one and people are like, “Oh, it’s a cool beard. How long did that take?” So anything to make yourself approachable.

[00:17:51] I think that there’s a fine line for people when do this, because sometimes it gets into the creepy territory of like, “Oh, your hair looks really pretty.” Like, “Hmm, now that’s not a good way to start this.” Start with something usually like the glasses, or an accessory, or shirt color, or the dress color, or something like that. Those are fine.

[00:18:11] But as far as everything else goes, I do the access-ability doodads are wonderful. If you want to wear something like that out, I think that’s a really easy way for you to get responsible for giving people an in. Other ways, take the low-hanging fruit. If there is the one person sitting off by themselves, like almost certainly that person is dying for someone to come talk to them because they’re at a networking event. They came to talk to people but they’re feeling awkward, they’re not sure how to approach, so if you approach them, they’re like, “Oh, thank God.” So find the singular person, and that one is an easy one.

[00:18:45] And then another tip that actually works, that people shake their heads when I say this, but it genuinely does, if you want to break into a group, stepping in and saying, “Mind if I join you?” It actually totally works because people are like, “Yeah, sure,” and they’ll step aside. It’s way better than doing that awkward hover where you’re standing like two feet behind the person to the side and trying to wiggle in.

Lisa Cummings: [00:19:04] And kind of creepy.

Strother Gaines: [00:19:05] Yeah.

Lisa Cummings: [00:19:06] Two things you mentioned that sounded creepy – the standing off to the side, and I was imagining like the elevator eyes looking up to them, “Is there anything interesting that they’re wearing?”

Strother Gaines: [00:19:16] Exactly. Where they’re like, “Let me see. Is this a thing? Oh, yeah, absolutely.” Networking, let’s own it, can feel creepy. It is a forced environment. We’re all thrown to this weird situation. The quicker you just knowledge that the better you are in it.

Lisa Cummings: [00:19:30] Such good stuff. Now, speaking of the power to have big habits as an adult, I want to go to the total other end of the continuum. Yeah, it’s like networking at the more surface-level, first intros. Now let’s get into the real deep kind of human interactions that you experience when you’re coaching people. So you guys heard me mentioned in the intro that Strother is my coach. And I’m curious overall what is your favorite question when you’re going deep with people, that you ask of your coachees? Like what conversation topics really seem to move people the most?

Strother Gaines: [00:20:06] I feel like if you took a cross section of all of my clients and anyone that I’ve ever done a facilitation with, the one thing that they sort of pair it back to me in almost like a mocking way but because I’d say it all the time and it works, is, “What’s that in service of?” And so if someone says, “Well, this is what I’m doing and this is what I think I’m going to do and here’s what my next plans.” And my follow-up question almost always is, “What’s that in service of?”

[00:20:31] And that could easily be, “Well, why are you doing that?” But as a coach, one of the things that I try and avoid is something that comes along with the need to explain or justify. And when I say, “Well, why?” that makes somebody go, “Well, I have to defend that choice. I’m going to defend it. Like here’s what I will because I think that it’s a really good idea and I’ve done all this research and we’re kind of off the topic anyway.” But when I say, “What’s that in service of?” they have to tell me what they hope to gain from choosing that choice.

[00:20:59] And so to make it very personal for you, you have a calendaring thing where you like to over-schedule quite a bit, and the question I ask is, “Well, what’s it in service of?” And you can answer right now, and I can say like most people would say something like, “Oh, to fit it all in because I know I have to get out there and always be a presence and always make sure that people know who I am and keep those relationships alive,” and whatever their reasoning is.

[00:21:24] And then we ask, “Well, if that’s what that’s in service of, is that in line with your larger goals that we’re working on?” And usually with clients we’ll sort of address anywhere from one on a short end, to up to five or so primary goals that we’re working on, and we can take that action and see if it’s actually in service of the larger pieces.

Lisa Cummings: [00:21:43] I love that you brought up calendaring because I hear it all the time from listeners as well, and because I’m totally happy to be transparent on the show because I’m always telling people to get as much time as possible in their Strengths zone. But even an overload of that, my calendar is overloaded with stuff in my Strength zone at times.

Strother Gaines: [00:22:03] [laughs] At times.

Lisa Cummings: [00:22:05] At times. [laughs] Many times. Not as much as last year though because I’ll tell you, you know, right, we know there are 24 maximum hours in a day, and Strother is not capable of giving you 36 or 38, but he did save me 266 hours of work in one calendar-related conversation last year. Because I remember you were challenging me in order to get some calendar time back, and when you asked me what it was in service of, I remember that I had said yes to too many things and one in particular was a gigantic contractual obligation.

[00:22:42] I felt like it was in service of my integrity to follow up with what I had agreed to do, but once I got in, I was like, “Ugh, what did I do to myself?” And you challenged me to use my Strengths to get some massive calendar time back by not assuming I had to go about that work in a specific way, and you gave me some things to try doing that required less preparation, because I’m kind of an over-preparer, for those listening, and it saved me sooo many hours.

[00:23:13] I think this is a great way to end on your concept of your Big C, Little C, and then I think they could apply it to themselves because you fill your calendar with things but you may not be fully aware of how you’re vetting those things. So let’s end with that.

Strother Gaines: [00:23:30] Yeah, sure. So Big C, Little C is basically your big commitments and your little commitments. And your big commitments are those things that you would feel those high-minded ideals that you would hope that people would look at you and be like, “Oh, I bet Lisa is committed to music and her husband and the growth of the universe,” and all of these things that you would hope someone would look at and say, “Yes, that’s their big things.”

[00:23:53] And your Little C is what you would actually see if we followed you around and you didn’t know for about 48 hours what would I, as an impartial observer, think your commitments were? And so is that Netflix? Is that the dog? Is that iPhone games? That used to be mine. I have since overcome some of those addictions, but nobody tell me any good games, because I will immediately jump right back in to them.

[00:24:15] But when you’re being trailed anonymously for 48 hours, and this is an exercise you can do on your own, like look back at the past 48 hours, look at your calendar, look at the things you did, look at how you spent the time in between, big projects as well, and see, “Is this something that I seem committed to that’s actually taking up most of my time? Or am I actually living into my big commitments that I have?”

[00:24:36] And so one of my commitments is the growth of my business. Did the things that I did today actually reflect that? And that’s your call to make. You get to decide if yes or no. But I find that that Big C, Little C is a nice way to sort of contextualize all of the things you’re doing and to tie it back to calendar time or fitting it all in why do we spend all of this time doing things that don’t actually move forward our larger goals. Sometimes it’s just we aren’t aware that we’re doing them.

Lisa Cummings: [00:25:01] Some of the conversations, I think, that when we’re not looking in the mirror and it just feels like, “Well, this is an outside force, versus an inside force,” it makes it feel like the Big C is impossible. So the to-be-continued is follow up with the coach and go deep on this kind of stuff.

Strother Gaines: [00:25:17] Yeah. Well, hello there.

Lisa Cummings: [00:25:19] [laughs] Well, Strother, this has been so fun. So if they do want to reply to your, “Hello, there,” then where should they go find you?

Strother Gaines: [00:25:28] Perfect. You can find me at, you can email me at Strother, which you probably can’t say. It’ll be on your show notes, I’m sure. But it’s S-T-R-other, I’m happy to chat over there. Yeah, those are my primary spots. Also, if you happen to be in the D.C. area, I’m not an aegis here. We’re just a young professionals group under 40. We don’t check your ID, so come wherever I could be but we’d love to see you at one of our monthly events. It’s every third Thursday and you can check that out at

Lisa Cummings: [00:26:04] All right. If you can’t connect in D.C. then come on over to and we have some resources at so you can connect with your team at work, and bring out your authentic best, and their authentic best. There are a bunch of tools there related to StrengthsFinder, strengths-focused leadership and on noticing what works about you and others so you can get more of what works in the workplace.

[00:26:30] Thanks, everyone, for listening to Lead Through Strengths. Remember, using your strengths at work makes you a stronger performer at work. And if you’re putting a lopsided focus on fixing your weaknesses, you’re choosing the path of most resistance. So claim your authentic talents and share them with the world.