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Bring in the Puppets and Crayons

Lessons from Now, Discover Your Strengths

By Judey Kalchik Published 2 months ago 3 min read

I am a Maximizer.

I used to think that meant I made the best out of a situation.

And, I suppose that’s still true.

But, according to Now Discover Your Strengths, (by the dreamy-blue-eyed Marcus Buckingham) a Maximizer is someone that develops already performing folks to the best potential.

While they CAN work with newbies, Maximizers do best when working with someone that already has an inkling or basic performance.

To translate: I don’t do too well with obtuse.

After the first five or six tries at explaining something the Little Person in My Head starts to whimper.

  • I begin repeating things in a slightly different tone.
  • I use more and more word pictures.
  • I start to relate it to a common interest or past experience.
  • My hand gestures become more broad.
  • I sit straighter and lean closer.
  • I close my eyes before I speak to bring things (in my own head)
  • into sharper focus.

I start wishing for the crayons and puppets.

In fact, once upon a time- after the umpteenth meeting where I said “Yes, but they don’t have email in the stores, so we need to reach them a different way...” I went out and bought a puppet kit. And white socks. At our next team meeting we made hand puppets.

Did I use them after that day? No.

But it was a good way to let off steam while we brainstormed other ways to communicate and resolve the issue. There’s something about colored pipe cleaners and googly eyes on a white sock that makes a grim Maximizer realize that we need to start at the beginning.

Over and Over, until it works. And, you know; being open to doing something the umpteenth-plus-one time might just do the trick.

So, if you, too are a Maximizer, take the time. Buy the crayons. Make a puppet.

You can take what you do seriously. But don’t take yourself so seriously.

If it's important, if it's worth communicating; it’s always worth another attempt.


This is the book that let me know I am a Maximizer.

One of the interesting things about the book is that it doesn't try to make you improve on your weaknesses. It doesn't give you things to improve where you aren't outperforming others.

Nope. It helps you understand your top FIVE strengths, the things that come naturally to you, and shows the reader ways to use those strengths MORE.

The link above is for the book on the online site. (I am not an affiliate and will not get anything if you use the link!) Bookshop is the alternative to using Am@$on for online book purchases. The reason I link to them is that they give a portion of the online sales BACK to independent bookstores every year. To date they have given over $31 MILLION dollars to local US bookstores.

If you are interested but don't want to buy the book, check out your local library. It's National Library week, and although bookselling is in my blood I can't get by without access to our library (HEY there Ann Arbor District Library!)

And, to get a taste of the strengths assessment, here's a free version you might want to try.

I just took it as a test and can confirm there is no payment, no credit card, etc. And there results are available in seconds (no paywall or email dilly-dallying coyness!)

Even if you've taken the assessment before, I encourage you to do it again. People grow, develop, and change. My most recent results on this assessment are:

  1. Believer
  2. Empathizer
  3. Coach
  4. Maximizer
  5. Storyteller

I think that these are pretty accurate. They reflect my current work responsibilities, my decision to work in a non-profit, and my love of writing.


If you take the assessment, feel free to share your results in a comment. Also, let me know: have you ever felt the need to make hand puppets at work in order to bring across a point?


About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

And please follow me on Threads, too!

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Reader insights


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Comments (8)

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    This is one of the greatest tools for finding your purpose that was ever done! 100% endorse this, too. I give it for gifts. Took the test about 20 yrs ago and helped me to understand myself. Activator`~ wooer~ learner~ researcher~ connector (not the right terms, but what I can remember of them)

  • kp2 months ago

    empathizer, believer, philomath, coach, storyteller. thanks for the reading rec and quiz :) this is a great insight.

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    So I guess I’m a thinker, deliverer, coach, empathizer, and a Philomath. Pretty cool test! I was disappointed I didn’t get story teller though 😂

  • Jay Kantor2 months ago

    Dear Judey, whether a trial Lawyer or a Schleper, may I recommend a book as well: Please don't judge this 'Book' by the Cover: 'Winning by Intimidation' by: Robert Ringer. His simple message re; a "Maximizer'' is to load your gun, if you will, and be prepared to take on a challenge; whatever that may be. No one wants a 'Newbie' to Schpiel "at" them; ever happen to you when you knew more than the 'Pitch-Person' - we all have. This character would have his 'entourage' of legal/accounting and 'issue' advisors with him at each encounter; no matter the situation. *I will delete in a few minutes if I've overstepped my comment.

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    I never heard of Maximizer until this story. I might take this test.

  • Chloe Gilholy2 months ago

    I've bookmarked the test site to try out at a later date.

  • Excellent story , lots of good pointers

  • Denise E Lindquist2 months ago

    Great Judey! Thank you!❤️

Judey Kalchik Written by Judey Kalchik

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