With “Just Mercy” hitting theaters, Bryan Stevenson’s groundbreaking work with the Equal Justice Institute is expanding to new audiences. So, this is a great time to discuss the CliftonStrength® on grand display in the film, book, and Bryan Stevenson’s real-life contributions. It is the executing strength of Restorative®!


Like Bryan Stevenson, people with the Restorative® talent love to solve problems! They actually receive energy or a type of high when given the opportunity to fix broken things, people, or situations. Just as a superhero receives energy and springs to action when there is a call for help, people with Restorative® are eager to put out fires and often are very skilled at doing so. There is never a cause too lost for someone with Restorative®; they just believe the right solution has yet to be found or tried. They will not give up until a resolution is reached! As Bryan Stevenson says people with Restorative®, “stand up when people say sit down. Speak up when people say be quiet.”


In fact, this attitude of fixing is so much a part of the Restorative® DNA that they may often look at others without the talent as having what Bryan Stevenson terms a “compassion deficit.” Restorative® people will ask others, “Why aren’t you doing more to help?” This can be a major frustration for people with Restorative®. Bryan Stevenson asks this question frequently of the criminal justice system in many different ways. To overcome this frustration, it is necessary to understand that your willingness to help is your special talent. Others have different talents that help in different ways. It is up to you to make the most of your special Restorative® talent and live it out as a strength.


Bryan Stevenson talks about how solving all of these problems and working to help so many helpless people can be overwhelming. He speaks about burn out frequently in his book. This can be a sign of Restorative® in the basement. He has turned himself into a problem magnet. People come out of the woodwork asking him for his assistance wherever he goes. And while the drive to help is energizing, we are only humans with finite energy. No matter how much a Restorative® like Bryan Stevenson may want to, you can’t help everyone. And, you need to take care of yourself; otherwise, you will turn into a directionless firefighter, run out of energy, and burn out.


Building a team at the Equal Justice Institute is a great example of how to avoid the basement and lead from the balcony with Restorative®. Bryan brings in the death row cases and shares the workload with a dedicated team. Often an immature Restorative® will want to save work for themselves because they receive an intrinsic high from finding solutions. But, in order to avoid the burn out in the Restorative® basement and lead a team from the balcony, a Restorative® must learn to delegate and not get high on their own problem supply.


Other great examples of the Restorative® talent in action are Iyanla Vanzant and her “Fix My Life” show, the Super Nanny, and Ann Atwater, the civil rights activist made famous in “The Best of Enemies” film. All three of these women are unafraid to be intrusive and invasive in people’s lives to find the root of the problem and resolve it, just like Bryan Stevenson. They get creative with solutions in order to help people the best way they can.

Do you see the Restorative® working in these films and shows? Are you a Restorative® that gets creative with solutions? How do you work to stay on the balcony and avoid the basement?


Clifton StrengthsFinder® is a registered trademark of Gallup, Inc. The non-Gallup information you are receiving has not been approved and is not sanctioned or endorsed by Gallup® in any way. Opinions, views, and interpretations of Clifton StrengthsFinder® are solely the beliefs of Stronger Not Harder.