The Story Of Dynamizer

Legacy, Life

Around three or four years ago, we started shopping the idea around.

But nobody wanted it.

Now, everyone loved the idea — in a nutshell: to create a product that would help kids discover and develop their strengths — but they didn’t have the bandwidth to do it, or they had other priorities, or any number of other completely legitimate reasons.

So, after spending a number of months trying to get someone else to do it, we eventually realized that the creators were looking back at us in the mirror.

But none of us had the bandwidth, either.

So, we did what any other crazy entrepreneurs would do (maybe?): we put a weekly 30-minute check-in call on our calendars and made a commitment to each other to keep the ball rolling.

A year went by and we had narrowed the strengths down to sixteen items to try out. We bucketed them into four categories, and sent them to the fabulous Camp Rise Above for testing.

With the Camp’s help, we knew we had something special after the very first round. The offer was simple: a “card game” (we now know to call it a “learning activity”) that allowed ill campers to self-select activities that made them feel strong and alive. So uncomplicated, but it provided lasting and profound effects — for many campers, learning to focus on what’s RIGHT about them (in a world obsessed with everything wrong with them) was one of the most memorable parts of camp.

So we kept going.

We kept refining the language to make it easier for young people to understand.

We started working on different designs for the cards and released a new iteration.

Another year had gone by.

We added in Exaggerators™ — what happens when your strength goes too far and starts frustrating the people around you.

We updated the design again, and built some very cool single-pack prototypes.

We found ourselves navigating a few detours along the way — at one point, we were convinced the product needed a mascot, so that lead us down a rather time-consuming trail. (Though I will say I’m not sure we’ve totally let that one go; we may yet see Dinah the Dynamizer one day…)

And another year had gone by.

Then we shifted from individually-wrapped decks to a 15-deck box to make it easier for teachers, youth group leaders, and camp counselors to help lead conversations with many kids at once.

That required completely NEW prototypes.

And a completely redesigned instruction booklet.

(And another year.)

But, finally, at long last, we found our way to the product you see at the top of this post.

Click here to see the photo!

Now, 15 decks of Dynamizer are all contained in a little blue box. But it’s still exactly what it’s always been — a simple set of cards that contains a world of positive possibilities for young people everywhere.

Isn’t it time we helped our young people focus more on what’s RIGHT with them, instead of obsessing over their deficiencies and gaps? As a society we tend to fix what’s wrong instead of building on strengths — but this strategy never helps our kids truly thrive.

And sure, this product is designed to help kids eventually end up in a career they love. But kids do quite a lot of living before they end up in a job, and long before they’re in a workplace, knowing their strengths helps young people interact better with others, build better relationships, stand up to peer pressure, and can even help prevent bullying.

Are you ready for this?

(We are… it’s been a few years.)

I hope you’ll join the Dynamizer tribe. We need your assistance to make it happen — there are no investors with deep pockets bankrolling this thing. So far, it’s been entirely bootstrapped by us three creators, and we’re hoping an Indiegogo campaign will help us pay for our first production run and build momentum around this movement.

It’s our goal to bring the power of strengths to young people all over the world — will you help us?


Visit our Indiegogo Page to Donate or Purchase!



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“We Wish ‘Energizing Work’ Was More Complicated” on


This article was originally posted on

Last week I gave a talk in Los Angeles for International Coaching Week. As I was on the plane flying home I read through my feedback forms, and noticed a couple comments indicating the participants would have liked more examples of workplaces that help people work freely in their strengths.

I’ve heard this request a lot over the last decade. It’s natural to want some kind of “use case” or “case study” so we can see HOW things work, especially something that can seem so foreign: something like organizations full of people who love their work. (Sadly, for many of us, that idea is roughly the equivalent of describing a visit to the surface of Mars.)

When I get this request in my sessions, I give examples—we have no shortage, although of course we want thousands more!—of leaders we’ve worked with who have been transformed, teams that have become unstoppable, etc. But I’ve realized something: I could spend my entire keynote slot just giving examples of how teams do this, and I’d still get this feedback on the form at the end.


It’s because there’s something else “hiding” in this request. There’s a skepticism that “it”—a workplace where people are deeply, authentically energized by work they love—could ever happen in the relatively simple manner I describe.

Over the years, we’ve been taught (both implicitly and explicitly) that organizational transformation should be hard, arduous, and slow. That individual and team development is complex and difficult. That getting people to do great work is an uphill climb.

Put simply, this is all “head trash.”

Getting people to do great work is SIMPLE. You align their work with two things:

  1. What they are good at, and 
  2. What they are energized by. <— more important, because we don’t focus on it EVER

When more of a person’s daily activities fall into the zone where those two things overlap than not, they will naturally thrive. You don’t have to try to engage them; they are engaged by the work itself.

Getting a team to do great work is simple, too. Outline the goals of the team, together figure out the component pieces of the projects needed to be done to achieve those goals, then let people work on the parts that are most energizing for them.


What I’ve realized is that deep down, we don’t want it to be this simple. We feel like it “ought to be” more complicated—that it should require some kind of complex human calculus, a shiny new software platform, or maybe a super-smart and equally-expensive consultant who can sell us a 200-slide PowerPoint deck and an intricate OD diagram they worked on for 3 years in grad school.

All of those things are pretty great for the consulting industry, but they are mostly smokescreen.

Rest assured the difficulty is still there, but it’s not in the place we think it should be. We think the complicated, difficult part should be in the solution itself. It’s not. The principles of great work are fundamentally simple. This does not mean they are EASY, though. For a moment, imagine what it would take to transform your organization into a place that not only supports the two ideas above, but actively helps everyone find their way into their true strengths zone.

There you go—now you’ve found your hard work. (Phew!)

The solution is NOT complex. But we have a lot of difficult work to do to make our organizations places that can actually DO something so simple.

Help everyone in your company do more of what they are good at and what energizes them. This is the #lovework revolution, and it is the future.


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“One Diagram To Rule Them All” On


This week’s article is one I just wrote for my company blog—read the intro below and click the image or link for the rest!

As we look into the fresh beginnings of a new year, I wanted to offer a bold idea that could absolutely transform your organization in 2017:

What if you could replace your entire people strategy with the diagram above and a simple mantra?

That may seem crazy, but hear me out…

For each individual, the zone where the two circles in the diagram above overlap is what we’d call your “true strengths.” In that spot lies the activities that you’re both wildly good at AND where you feel the most energized and alive.

This place is where each person contributes their highest and best value to the organization—and they’re able to do it in a sustainable way where they don’t burn out.

If you want a better people strategy, all you need to do is get every single person in your organization into the center of the above diagram.

At first glance, this probably seems oversimplified: “How could that be all I need to do? I’ve been paying consultants and trainers thousands of dollars for years to help me develop people…!?”

But if you look closer, I think you’ll see that it’s not really that simple at all. There are likely many obstacles in your organization that would prevent you from executing this strategy this year…



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