Today’s podcast episode is not a normal episode where Scott interviews some awesome person and you get to glean from all the insight and inspiration.

It’s not even one of those episodes where Scott brings you awesome knowledge-bombs by himself or a co-host.

Today, we’re sharing an interview that Scott had on another podcast – so Scott gets to be in the hot seat, answering tons of questions – specifically about strengths.

So you’re gonna learn:

  • The six critical things people need from their work
  • Why strengths are different than skills and why that matters
  • How identifying your anti-strengths can skyrocket your self-awareness

So today’s guest interviewer is Pete Mockaitis of the podcast “How to Be Awesome At Your Job.” (He was actually a guest on this podcast back in episode 205)

Introduction 0:02
This the Happen To Your Career podcast with Scott Anthony Barlow. We help you stop doing work that doesn't fit you, figure out what does and make it happen. We help you define the work that's unapologetically you, and then go get it. If you're ready to make a change, keep listening. Here's Scott. Here's Scott. Here's Scott.

Scott Anthony Barlow 00:19
That is the biggest type of indicator right there, where you're continually having lots and lots of stress. And you don't even necessarily know and can't attribute to what the stress is caused by. One of the really interesting things that we find is that, when people are working in their strengths, you find that you have a much different tolerance level for stress.

Joshua Rivers 00:42
So let me cut in here real quickly. This is not a normal podcast episode where Scott interviews some awesome person and you think glean from all the insights and inspiration. It's not even one of those episodes where Scott brings you awesome knowledge bombs by himself or even a co-host. Today, we're sharing an interview that Scott had on another podcast. So Scott's gets to be in the hot seat answering tons of questions specifically about strengths. And so today you're gonna learn about the six critical things that people need from their work. Also, why strengths are different than skills and why that matters. Then also, you're going to learn how identifying your anti strengths can skyrocket your self awareness. So today's guest interviewer is Pete Mockaitis of the podcast, "How To Be Awesome At Your Job". He was actually a guest on this podcast back in Episode 205. Now, without any further delay, let's take a listen to this conversation between Scott and Pete.

Pete Mockaitis 01:57
Scott, thanks so much for joining us here on the How To Be Awesome At Your Job podcast.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:00
Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.

Pete Mockaitis 02:04
You know, I got a real kick out of reading about you and your interest in parkour, which makes me think of the office. Tell me your story with parkour.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:13
First of all, I'm wondering, like, is that a thing? Why does everybody, including myself, when you hear "parkour" need to be like, parkour?

Pete Mockaitis 02:20
I think this way they said it in the office episode.

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:23
That might be it because like all of America, when I tell people these days, they're like, I say, "I do parkour" and they're like, "parkour!" It's an obligation. I don't quite understand it, but it's kind of awesome. As it turns out.

Pete Mockaitis 02:35
Well, it feels good. Like if you said, "I enjoy sailing" no goes, "sailing!"

Scott Anthony Barlow 02:39
Yeah. Sailing. Yeah. Tacos or, yeah, exactly. So parkour and me, it's kind of been a manifestation like I used to be, when I was growing up, I used to be a like, skateboarder and inline skater, like, people they see on half pipes and stuff. So yeah, it was a ton of fun, but then I got older and stopped doing all that and really stopped working out for a period of time. And then as I started, I ended up like, starting to run and lost 50 pounds and everything like that. And then after I could move around again and like chased my kids around and everything, it's like, oh, well, I would love to do something else that feels awesome. Like, you know, rolling up and down a halfpipe. And parkour was one of those things that I found that was kind of easy and fun. And naturally, I was sort of good at it already from having some of the motions and it's, I've just had a ton of fun with that over the last couple of years, and it never feels like a workout even though it is incredibly hard.

Pete Mockaitis 03:38
Now where do you go about parkour and what sorts of things are you jumping off of?

Scott Anthony Barlow 03:44
Anything I can find that isn't, you know, like three storeys tall or anything. We're in Moses Lake Washington, my wife and I live in Moses Lake Washington, we've got three little kids here. And just turns out, there happens to be a gym that is owned by somebody over in Seattle, which is a much more, I don't know, larger place, much more sensible place to run something that does parkour. Anyhow, they have a smaller gym over here. And they have a training facility inside that gym. So it just happened to be there at the same time as I was having some interest. And it's like, oh my goodness, I have to do this.

Pete Mockaitis 04:21
All right. It's so good. So happy to be there. And speaking of things happening, you've got a fun brand Happen To Your Career. Can you tell us the story behind the name and what it's all about?

Scott Anthony Barlow 04:31
Yeah, Happen To Your Career, you know, really, for me, it came from a things happening to me for a period of time. When I was going to college Eastern Washington University state school in Washington State. I was going through and I was going into the business program. First of all, I flipped around, I must have changed majors like 8, 9 times and whatever else and it was terrible. I didn't have a clue what it was that I wanted to do or be or anything else, but then eventually, I found a business program and I started looking at, well, I have to have an internship to the business programs. So, what am I going to do about that? Because I don't want just any internship. I wanted, if I'm going to go and do something, like I don't want to go get coffee and doughnuts for somebody or whatever else. And I guess, be careful what you wish for, because I ended up coming home with a small business. And I ran a painting business and it was actually a franchise, purchased a franchise of a painting company. And they ended up teaching me a whole bunch about how to not just accept your situation. So that initial thought of, "Hey, I just don't want to do what everybody else is doing and it's probably controllable. I don't have to just go accept any internship." Later on, when I went to the my first "professional job" and had a terrible time and found myself driving to work and, you know, multi-hour commute and having stomach pains and all the things that go along with it. I think I gained like, yeah, between 50 and 60 pounds, something along those lines. And it was just, it was a terrible fit. They eventually fired me after I told my boss that maybe this isn't such a good fit. And apparently, he thought the same thing. So three weeks after that, he can me and it was the best possible thing that ever happened to me because it forced me to really take matters into my own hands, and go and get something that I was actually excited about and learn the process of how to go through and do that. So I ended up taking all of the skillsets that I'd learned running a business and marketing a small business, and then applying that into job search. And then I have had this continual fascination after I got fired and hated that job and really swore never to be in the same situation again, I didn't want to waste my time doing something that I didn't love doing.

Pete Mockaitis 06:51
Okay, there you go. So your happened into it and so now, Happen To Your Career. You help folks who are thinking about career transitions, and what they really want to be doing and that kind of thing.

Scott Anthony Barlow 07:02
Yeah, absolutely. When we came around and wanted to start a company, again, my wife and I then, we realized that we were already helping people that were in that type of position. As I already going to coffee with people and meeting with them and helping them make these really big job changes from, what they were doing right now and weren't that excited about and weren't loving into other careers that really actually fit their strengths and what they wanted out of their lives. And it's like, oh, my goodness, why are we not doing this as a business? And that's where we started and that's how we help.

Pete Mockaitis 07:38
That's fantastic. Well, so now I love that we're able to just skim the crema from the top in terms of all the work you've done with so many people. You know, I'd love it if you could begin sharing, you know, some of the, I guess, most frequently occurring and strongest insights that you see that prevents folks from loving their work.

Scott Anthony Barlow 08:00
You know, I think that, really it comes down to a few things. First of all, there's a number of things that people don't realize that they have to have in their work, in order to have some level of happiness. And really, we've kind of broken it down into six different areas. And some of those are a little bit obvious. Like, if you don't receive pay that you feel is fair, if you don't feel like you're compensated fairly, then that acts as a barrier between you and any measure of happiness. And it doesn't necessarily matter so much the number, it matters more on, do you feel it's fair, and, you know, do you agree with that, etc. However, there's other things that people don't realize, like, for example, how much say in how the work gets done, that you get? Like, how much decision making power do you get and how the work actually gets done? That is actually, believe it or not, linked to tons and tons of different studies on negative health effects, and even cancer and a variety of different ways. It's just absolutely absurd. And yet, we still do that, we still don't give people that latitude in most organizations today, right? Just you look around and what happens is much, much closer to micromanagement versus, on the other side of that, giving people the ultimate freedom to make decisions about how their work is getting accomplished.

Pete Mockaitis 08:12
Huge. Alright, so those would be decisions like, "At what time I do it? At what sequence I do with my other priorities? Where I do it? Who I collaborate with? What tools or approaches I use to get it done?"

Scott Anthony Barlow 09:42
Yeah, absolutely. All those are incredibly important. And if you really think about it, is there anybody that you know of that is excited for micromanagement? Which is again, the other end of the spectrum. I haven't met anybody yet.

Pete Mockaitis 09:56
Right now, I haven't, certainly. I think some people will appreciate the certainty and stability of, the enclarity associated of this, is what is expected of me. And so I will go forth and do that. But at the same time, if they're up in your business, it's just never fun.

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:14
Yeah, absolutely. So the other pieces of that, for example, a couple of other pieces of that, that for what everybody needs, you do need that clarity, you need the clarity in what's expected of you, you need to be able to understand how it is that you're doing, and have also that flexibility or decision making power and how the work gets done. Ultimately, when you look at those pieces, that's what can sprout into, what most people would call engaging work, and even has the potential to be engaged in work. And that happens to be one of those categories. Those pieces that make up engaging work.

Pete Mockaitis 10:45
Okay, now, you mentioned six things. And so I'm counting along at home. So we got the money, we got the clarity, we got the autonomy. Am I counting all right? What else do we got?

Scott Anthony Barlow 10:54
So here let's break them down into first four categories that are really things that we all need. And it's been proven again and again and again through many different studies, or at least that's how we came to the conclusion of we're grouping this. So thing number one is, engaged in work or work that has the potential to be engaged in and is probably a more accurate way to look at it. And that is those things that we just mentioned, that is your ability to decide how the work gets done, that is your chance to have work that is giving you good clarity and good feedback on what is needed and expectations, etc. And then the next category happens to be moving into work that doesn't interfere with your basic needs. Think about it this way, like if you've got a really very long commute, and you're going two hours every single day for nearly everybody, that's going to be bad, especially if it's, you know, in a car in stock traffic feels like you're not making any progress, etc. So that's not going to be good for you at all. So you've got a number of different types of basic needs that everybody must have. And there's lots of different things that fall into that category. Fair Pay is one of those things that falls into that category. And if you take a job as is, what's absurd here is only 13% of the population actually negotiates when they're coming into our role. But if you take a job as is, your statistically more likely to be described with it over a long period of time too.

Pete Mockaitis 12:23

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:24
So there's that second category of, hey, is it fulfilling your basic needs? Not like food, water, and shelter, but other basic needs that are more difficult to satisfy that we often justify when we're taking a role, too.

Pete Mockaitis 12:35
All right.

Scott Anthony Barlow 12:36
So then the other two areas really fall into, "do you have a supportive boss and coworkers?" And you can start to imagine how much of a big deal that is, especially when you look at the other category of engaging work, because unless you have a supportive boss and co workers, you're probably not going to have that ability to choose how the work gets done. Right?

Pete Mockaitis 13:01

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:01
So supportive boss and coworkers. And yet, nobody's screening for that or very, very few people are actually screening for that as well. Like, most of us go in and we get our, we take our one or two meetings, whatever the interview is, with a great company, it might be three hours that you're spending with somebody or four hours that you're spending with somebody, and then you're making the decision where you're going to spend years of your life at. And instead, you can go in and you can actually talk to other people that they're not putting in front of you would be one way to be able to go about that. But third category is, do you have a supportive boss and coworkers? So your last category is, are you helping people and do you see directly how you're helping people? Because everybody thinks that they need to help people. Right?

Pete Mockaitis 13:47

Scott Anthony Barlow 13:48
Right. Sure. And as it turns out, that's actually a basic human need. And it's not necessarily helping people like, am I a doctor? Am I a teacher? Am I, supporting a social cause or something along those lines? But what's more important is, do you see the direct connection? So those are the things that everybody needs.

Pete Mockaitis 14:06
Okay, keep going.

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:08
Well, the other two are a little bit more difficult, actually a lot a bit more difficult. And that's, are you doing work that utilizes your strengths, particularly what we call a signature strengths. And then are you doing work that fits your values and essentially what you place value on the most?

Pete Mockaitis 14:27
All right. And so can you give an example of a fit for values and are misfit for values?

Scott Anthony Barlow 14:33
Yeah, absolutely. So here's a great example. We were working with a guy named Eric. And Eric is a really talented, very caring engineer. He was working for a company that was in the oil and gas industry. As it turns out, part of what makes Eric so caring is the fact that he is just incredibly empathetic. And Eric is the type of guy who gives actually about 30% of everything that he brings in to several different charities that he is really, yeah, really, really cool, right? He cares way more about people than the average person. He cares way more about people than, I don't know, probably me. And because of that, you know, he was very, very interested in supporting the environment at the same time. So he works for this oil and gas company, really where he wanted to be, and really where he was looking at was, like the solar industry.

Pete Mockaitis 15:27

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:28
And everything that he was doing and everything that he was supporting, even though he felt pretty good about some of the other areas of the job, it was going against everything in him. So let's throw out the cliched term square peg round hole, right. And then on top of that, it wasn't particularly great environment at the same time for what he wanted. He was looking much more for a very family driven environment because he's this really particularly empathetic and caring individual, right.

Pete Mockaitis 15:54

Scott Anthony Barlow 15:55
So total misfit.

Pete Mockaitis 15:56
Oh, that's very clear. Thank you. Alright, so you lined it up. I love it. I know how a good categorization takes a long time to synthesize and come to. So I imagine you've been through many formulations of that. So it makes sense it seems to add up for sure. So that's kind of like the recipe or essential ingredients to loving work. So I guess, maybe the listeners aren't mentally scoring, you know, their current role, to those dimensions, and so I guess other than doing a, you know, zero to ten evaluation on each of these criteria. Have you observed for people that they get a little bit of in key indicators like early warning system, canary in the coal mine, kind of articulations or gut vibes people have that say, maybe it's time for a change, like, what are those indicators you see?

Scott Anthony Barlow 16:49
You know, you mentioned gut vibes. And I think that, that is the biggest type of indicator right there, where you're continually having lots and lots of stress and you don't even necessarily know and can't attribute to what the stress is caused by. One of the really interesting things that we find is that when people are working in their strengths, like we mentioned strengths as one of the things that people need to be able to do, you need to be able to work in areas that essentially utilize your potential and the things that you're great at. And I'm not just talking about skills, I'm talking about what we call signature strengths, which is the unique combination of your predispositions, the way that you're wired, your experiences, your skills, essentially all the things that make you, you. Right? And when you're working in areas that and spending your time in ways that leverage those pieces of you, you find that you have a much different tolerance level for stress.

Pete Mockaitis 17:51
Oh, yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 17:52
Because essentially what, yeah, I mean, absolutely, totally makes sense, right? Like, Gallup did this one study where they have like 7.8 million pieces of data. And the end result of the study is that, hey, when you're working your strengths, you're less stressed. And people are like, yeah, I didn't really need 7.8 million pieces of data to figure that one out, right. But it's very true. The part that people don't really realize, is part of the reason that, that is caused because you look a little bit under the surface and start to realize that many of those people that are less stressed, are actually in really incredibly demanding jobs too. Jobs that are stretching them, jobs that have high levels of authority and responsibility. So you start to wonder what on earth is going on here? Like how do you mesh these on the outside? What should be really very stressful jobs, with people that aren't experiencing stress? And what you start to realize is that, when you're working in your strengths, it's expanding your capability to handle different types and expanding your tolerance level to handle different types of growth and stress. It's almost like if I were to assign you a bucket, like if you're not working in your strengths, you get a teeny-tiny bucket. And when that thing fills up with stress, it overflows. And it overflows into anxiety and eventually burnout, right. And if you're working in your strengths, particularly your signature strengths, then you get a big bucket, big ol honkin bucket, and it fills up with the same amount of stress, and you don't even notice it. It's not a big deal at all. So it not only expands your capability to be able to handle stress and tolerate different types of stress. But it also expands the rate at which you can grow as a person too, which is the really cool component about it.

Pete Mockaitis 19:38
Oh, that is cool. And I think that is such a great descriptor of that situation. Because I've had days where I had 11 one hour coaching sessions in a day, and it's happened a few times. And I wasn't like, "I'm going nuts. I'm so stressed." You know, but in a way it was kind of an exhilarating thrill. It was funny. I remember on one of those days, someone tried to cancel and I was like, "heck no! We're going for the record today. We are totally doing this. Can we backfill this slot somehow?" So, whereas if I had a day, if I was doing maybe even four hours of preparing things for my accountants and taxes, it feels stressful...

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:22
Hold on. I think I fell asleep. Sorry. Yeah, and it does. And here's the thing though, some people actually love that.

Pete Mockaitis 20:32

Scott Anthony Barlow 20:33
And I mean, it can't just be the same type of monotonous work. Like nobody really absolutely loves the same type of monotonous work and everything. But there are people that love different types of problems. Like based on what we happen to be great at. We all enjoy solving different types of problems and what is interesting to us, changes on a per person, like I used to work in HR, like one of the things that I did was, HR that's like the place where policies go to die. And I don't know, people will get fired. And like, that's what people think of, hiring, firing, HR. Right?

Pete Mockaitis 21:09

Scott Anthony Barlow 21:10
But one of the things that I did in HR that was really pretty much a lot of fun for me was I actually got to create different types of, not just policies, but compensation and ensure that people are getting paid not just fairly, but in ways that they were really very excited about too, and link up compensation to what they thought was going to be good for them. And that is something that would bore somebody else silly. They might be asleep on that one.

Pete Mockaitis 21:40
Yeah, that's so good. Okay, cool. So, we've talked about strengths. And so we've talked Strengths Finder here before, you're a user of the tool. So can you maybe share in addition to using the Strengths Finder assessment, you know, what are some go to methodologies for zeroing in on, would you say signature strengths? That's the key phrase you use?

Scott Anthony Barlow 22:04
Yeah, absolutely. So the interesting thing is, first of all, strengths are not skills. Most people when I say strengths, they automatically go to skills. It's like, well, I'm really good at Excel. Like Excel is not a strength. That is, trust me, that's not a strength. However, the things that might make you great if you dig 2, 3, 4 layers underneath the surface, the things that might make you predisposed to learn Excel particularly well, or to respond to Excel really well, where somebody else might have a hard time with it, those are what we're looking for, that are your strengths. So it's those things that are essentially underneath the surface. And the way that you find those is by looking for patterns. And we've got a whole team of coaches and actually our coaches, one of the things that 100% of them are all amazing at, they all have unique strengths, but one of the things that we needed in coaches because we often help people identify their strengths, is being able to see patterns and connect the dots where other people cannot do that, because that's what you're looking for when you're digging three, four or five layers deep underneath the surface. So one thing that I love, just a really quick, easy exercise to get you started without having to go, I mean, Strengths Finder is an awesome tool, we use that with our clients and students constantly. But let's say that you just already have done that and don't quite understand it or let's say, that you don't want to pay the 25 bucks, whatever it is for Strengths Finder these days, and you can just pull out a piece of paper. To get you started, you can pull out a piece of paper and we call this the past jobs exercise. And I like it because people always get something out of it. And it's really easy to do and you can do it anyplace. So if you pull out a piece of paper, and what I want you to do is just in chronological order, list all the jobs, that are on there, are all the jobs that you've had in the past or projects or volunteer work, whatever it might be, and then, and leave a little space in between each one, and then you can go through and be able to say, "Okay, what was it in this job that I liked the most?" Now, some people are like, I hated that job, like, I hated that job, whatever it is the one or two, even little things that you liked the very most, that you enjoyed the most or what are those things that you found that you were better than average at? Now, the interesting thing that happens when people go through and do this for every single one, is they start to observe patterns really quickly. Now those patterns are not necessarily your strengths, but often those patterns give you clues as to where to begin digging for your strengths.

Pete Mockaitis 24:41
That is so good. I'm thinking about, you know, my first career out of college was, Strategy Consulting at Bain and Company. And it's interesting about the things I really did love the most as you're speaking about this that I really do see coming through now and my work was, well, one, I loved recruiting. It is so, people would often, you know, why, like, "Oh man, I got a lot of work to do. And my client and I also got to go visit this campus to recruiters, like, can I do it for you?" I don't think we could trade it per se, but I could try to fill in for you. And so I loved recruiting in terms of meeting a whole lot of people, telling them about something I thought was cool, I thought Bain was really cool. So I enjoyed telling them. And then I also loved interviewing them because we did a case interview format, which I still coach people on today. In terms of, okay, we're solving a problem together we're collaborating. And so that's so fun. And then I also remember, there were times like I, you know, I like Excel. But I think what I really do love the most are those sort of heart thumping for me. They're these thrilling moments where it's almost like a movie or TV series like we're about to get a huge reveal. Totally. So my wife and I are looking at buying a home here and so there's one that seemed pretty good. It's like, you know what? We like this place. Okay, this could maybe work here. And so I said, "well, I don't know if we'll really know until we look at the spreadsheet." And so then when I put all those numbers in together that I like, I like laugh out loud and delights, it is like, aha! you know, there's the reveal, like this place is absolutely, you know, going to make some great sense on the financial side of things. And it's the thrill of discovery, that gets me going there. And that totally carries over here now into podcasting. You know, as you are revealing things that you've learned working with so many clients, you know, I'm thrilled to know it. I was like, what was it Scott? What are the keys? What are the secrets? Lay it on me. Don't stop.

Scott Anthony Barlow 26:43
I love it. And I mean, once you start looking at it that way, then you can totally see how it works. Now, here's another interesting thing too, since you mentioned it and alluded to it. One of my favorite questions to ask people and good way to think about it too are, what are those areas of your past roles, past jobs that you kept gravitating to, even though they weren't a part of your job? Like for you, in the case of recruiting.

Pete Mockaitis 27:07

Scott Anthony Barlow 27:07
Where... and maybe that's not the thing itself. But there's a reason that you keep gravitating towards it, even though you're really probably not supposed to be doing it necessarily, in some cases. But what are those things? Like, for you, it was recruiting, and it sounds like a few other areas too. And for me, in the past, it's been, I found excuses to create different types of like media and content, like I was an HR manager, and I was doing video editing in my office like, it wasn't, yeah, not something the average HR manager would be doing, right? And lo and behold, now I run a business where we put out lots of content into the world, and that turns out was an interest. But, what are those other pieces where you keep finding yourself doing again and again? I remember this one guy that used to work with me at a past job, this probably been like eight or 10 years ago, something along those lines, but I was the HR guy. So everybody would come to me and they talk about people's good performance, bad performance, etc.

Pete Mockaitis 28:04
Oh, Scott, it's gotta sucks.

Scott Anthony Barlow 28:07
So bad. So they were so irritated with him, so irritated with him because they kept finding him instead of doing what they thought he was supposed to be doing. He kept going and talking and having all these really great conversations with people. And it turns out this guy was just phenomenal at building relationships. But he was not in a job where it was asked to build relationships at all. Everybody loved this guy, and that's actually why he's still working there because it's terrible at his job. But he was phenomenal at building relationships. So everybody loved him. I couldn't fire the poor guy because everybody loved him.

Pete Mockaitis 28:42
I may now reminded of, so in the good old days, we would have New Year's Eve party for each year and it got to be a bash at times with like 100 people or during a couple of those years. My roommate, James, would always spend so much time on the playlist and we would have been a little irritating, like, dude, there's so much stuff that needs to be cleaned and moved and prepared. And you're spending like, yet another hour on the playlist that I tell you it was a darn good playlist got people moving. I mean, he did a heck of a job. And so that's classic there in terms of, is he even getting irritated at you?

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:19

Pete Mockaitis 29:19
For what you're pursuing outside of...

Scott Anthony Barlow 29:21
Which is another sign. Totally another sign. And remember this other guy, he was a client a couple of years ago, and he grew up and he was, what most people would refer to as OCD. So he'd walk into a room and like he wouldn't be able to do his work or wouldn't be able to get something else accomplished until he put the lamp in the right place. Yeah. So I think after working with him, I don't think it was so much OCD. As much as it was he had this insane need and insane desire to be able to put things into order. Now, he ended up working with a consulting company and ended up leading a decent sized team and a consulting company. And he would, every single day, every single day at the team just loved him because they spelt like is so organized and had all this stuff together and whatever else. But what he would do is every single day, he would essentially create order out of all of this chaos. And he was doing that everywhere in his life. But up until the point in time where we work with him, he didn't realize that, that was actually a good thing because his family had joked with him and his friends would make fun of him and all kinds of other stuff his entire life. So he'd look at it as like, this is this terrible thing about me and I can't stop it. But the things that you can't stop doing, it's two sides of the same coin. And we actually call those your, anti strengths. They're the things that can be perceived as potentially bad if you don't necessarily leverage them and don't necessarily understand them. And for him, he had to create order every where that he went.

Pete Mockaitis 30:51
That's so intriguing, that phrase anti strengths, I'm now thinking of matter and anti-matter and each other. Star Trek flashbacks from a, there's a lot of reminiscing happening today, Scott, thank you.

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:04
I know.

Pete Mockaitis 31:06
Because suddenly that trend for me in terms of I gotta discover, I want to get the answer and discover the high impact thing that makes a difference. I remember, I was with his home search again, I was just going to extreme lengths to assess the crime in different neighborhoods. And so I had someone pull all of these data from all of these charts. It said, I have thousands of data points to compare, it had some surprising insights. That's neighhoods are...

Scott Anthony Barlow 31:37
Really? What was the most surprising?

Pete Mockaitis 31:39
Okay, pretty Chicagoans here. One insight was that the Albany Park neighborhood, which has an okay reputation, but people historically have maybe it was a little bit not so great. It has this reputation that, you know, be careful, it's a little bit dodgy. And then it's like, well, in fact, the Albany Park neighborhood has fewer crimes per person than the Lakeview or near North neighborhood area of Chicago. So it surprised everybody, including a real estate agent. But I mean, heck, I think that's great news for homeowners there and that people are gonna catch on that it's kind of under appreciate in some ways. And that was thrilling to have that 'aha' moment like "ta-da". And here we go, the insight that changes everything.

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:28
Very cool. I love that. Well, sorry for making it all about me. This is great.

Pete Mockaitis 32:35
Yeah, this is great. So, he talks about identifying patterns by taking a piece of paper, write down the previous jobs and seeing where things you gravitated to things that you did that irritated others because you weren't doing your main job, things that you loved, that's a great exercise. Anything else that come to mind when it comes to zeroing in on those superpowers?

Scott Anthony Barlow 32:55
Well, here's just a couple other things that we do all the time with our clients, with our students. One of them is, actually, I'll tell you how to get this into spreadsheet modes and get some discoveries too. So one of the things that we actually do is, after we get all of these different pieces of data, we'll actually rank them. And we'll even put them on a grid, we've got one exercise, it's not good for everybody. But this is kind of a fun one, because it helps people get some insights into themselves. And we'll actually put it on a, just a four part grid, where one side of it when access is essentially, you know, how are you closer to really great at this? Are you closer to average for this particular thing? Because we've had people ever at this point, you know, shake out all of the stuff and go for quantity over quality. So well, let's say for example, you did the past ops exercise we just talked about, so you've got all of these little cool little insights, right? And several of these patterns here for things that you are good at or things that you've enjoyed. Now that you've got all these little data points, you can plot them on this grid, which as we said, one side of that is, closer to average at the bottom. And at the top, it is...

Pete Mockaitis 34:06
The best of the world.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:06
You're really, really good at. Yeah, best in the world. And then the other side is, how much do you enjoy it? Is it a little bit? Or is it a lot? So those things that are in the upper right corner, those things that you really, really enjoy, but also happened to be rather good at, those often give you some clues as to where you maybe should focus spending your time. Those less stress areas. That's where you get a bigger bucket. That's where you find the bigger bucket. It's hidden in the quadrate.

Pete Mockaitis 34:37
Oh, yeah.

Scott Anthony Barlow 34:38
We had one person who I absolutely loved this. And now I use this as an example all the time, where she took those, she took every single thing and she, as we were helping her evaluate different jobs and opportunities and different industries and sectors and professions and all these sorts of things later on, so she took these all, put them on a spreadsheet and essentially added weighting to every single one of the opportunities she was considering, so she could see how they would shake out and respect. Yeah, I know. It was pretty cool.

Pete Mockaitis 35:15
Though, Scott, I had so many more questions I wanted to ask, but I think maybe we'll just have to have a repeat episode, because I'm watching the clock and I want to make sure we get to hear about some of your favorite things as well.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:27
Yeah, absolutely. Well, here, I'll give people one more thing.

Pete Mockaitis 35:31
All right.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:32
That'll help pull this all together. Does that sound good?

Pete Mockaitis 35:34
Do it.

Scott Anthony Barlow 35:35
Okay. So easy way to think about this. Because everybody always wonders like how on earth do I figure out what it is that I love to do? Because it's not just your strengths, it's also what you value, right? But an easy way to think about this, when you're going from, "Oh, my goodness, what career should I choose? Like, I know that I don't want to do what I'm doing now. And I know that I don't want to be in this situation much longer." But a good way to think about that is like a puzzle. Like my son, I've got three little kids. But one of them in particular was putting together a puzzle. And he was having a terrible time. Like he's grabbing random pieces. And he was trying to mash them together. And small wonder they weren't working, right. So I went in, sat down next to him and showed him, hey, here's the easy way to put together a puzzle, the efficient way and effective way to put together a puzzle. And everybody knows this, like you take all the corner pieces, because there's not very many of them. And you identify those, and then you get all the edge pieces. And once you've got the edge pieces, you can sort of see that, you know, they go together with these colors and assemble those into a frame, right? And then after you've got that frame, the funny thing is even if you've, like at my house, lost all of those pictures on the box and everything else, you can still sort of see what the picture is supposed to be. And people's careers work the same way. Most people are kind of doing it like Grayson, my son where they're like picking pieces from the middle someplace and they're like, "I hate this boss." And they're like, "I really what flexibility" and trying to mash them together. And then they're still wondering, well, where does that get me for my next job, my next role and ultimately career happiness, right? So instead, if you think about it, much like a puzzle and put it together in the same way, it's so much easier to be able to see what that picture in the middle actually looks like. So you start with your strengths. Those are those corner pieces. Once you figure out what are those areas that you are great at, or have the potential to be great at, then you can begin layering in those next pieces, those framework around the side, the frame those edge pieces, which are your values and what you value the most, because you can't have everything that you value, but you absolutely can focus on what you value the most and run towards that very, very fast. So once you have all those things, it actually helps you build out that puzzle frame. And once you've got that puzzle frame, it's so much easier to see what actually goes in the middle and identify what you should be doing.

Pete Mockaitis 38:00
Excellent. Yes. Thank you. I like your use of metaphor. I'm currently thinking of an episode of salute your shorts where they do puzzle upside down with no picture. I don't know how that fits in, but maybe...

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:13
I think it fits.

Pete Mockaitis 38:15
So many of us are doing the puzzle upside down. It's just gray. Awesome. Thank you for that. And now, can you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:26
Yeah, I've got several favorite quotes, but one of them is, "I like things to happen. And if they don't happen, I like to make them happen." It's a Winston Churchill quote.

Pete Mockaitis 38:35

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:36
Or semi obvious reasons.

Pete Mockaitis 38:39
How about a favorite study or experiment a bit of research?

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:42
I think my favorite research overall, probably would be anything cited in Cialdini's book, Influence.

Pete Mockaitis 38:51
So good.

Scott Anthony Barlow 38:52
It was... just every piece of research that he pulled together in that book was masterful because he had an amazing story along with it. So, I would pick any one of those out of there and would easily be in my top.

Pete Mockaitis 39:04
That's good, but I'm gonna count that for favorite book too. How about a favorite tool?

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:08
Favorite tool? I'm gonna go with Strength Finder just because it enables so many other things. It really does.

Pete Mockaitis 39:14
All right, and how about a favorite habit or personal practice?

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:18
I'm trying to build the habit of working out, four hours a day, and it's really really hard.

Pete Mockaitis 39:22
Four hours each day.

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:24
Yeah, not like the same thing all day, but like a little parkour and then stand up paddle boarding. And this is something where, as I was building this business, I was working out maybe like 20 minutes a week or something like that. So I'm significantly from there about an hour and a half each, most days. Someplace in there. Sometimes two hours.

Pete Mockaitis 39:42
All right. Wow. And how about a favorite nugget? Is there something that when you share it seems to really connect, resonate, get people nod their heads, click the email, retweeting?

Scott Anthony Barlow 39:55
When you are who you are more often, life is just a lot more fun.

Pete Mockaitis 40:00
All right.

Joshua Rivers 40:01
I hope you enjoyed that conversation between Scott and Pete Mockaitis. You can check out Pete's podcast at If you'd like to find out more about your strengths, you can go to And you can take the Clifton strengths assessment. And we also have some additional resources available there to be able to help you understand your own strengths as well. So again, go to In the next episode, Scott will be talking with author and speaker Gretchen Rubin. So make sure you're subscribed to this podcast in your favorite podcast player so you don't miss it.

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