Finding Your Superpower

career coach, career coaching, executive coaching, group coaching, leadership coaching, meditation exercises, personal branding

So often we ignore what makes us special, or worse still, we don’t even know about it.

I had to have it pointed out to me that I had a way with written words. It was a best friend’s wife who commented that I always wrote something eloquent on a birthday or Christmas card. I had no idea, I still don’t fully believe it and I think I will always be on a journey to be a better writer, but it certainly got me thinking and gave me new vigour to my writing.

There are skills, traits, ways of thinking that you are taking for granted right now that should be unleashed. Everybody has a superpower, often there are more than one.

The trap we fall into is to rarely appreciate what we have, but rather to desire what we don’t have.

Would you like to bring out your inner superhero?

Superpowers Don’t Have to be Earth Shattering

Perhaps my superpower was just writing great snippets for birthday cards. Would that be enough for a superpower? Does making people feel extra special when they open their birthday card count as a worthy superpower?

Maybe, maybe not. But what I did with that knowledge was expand upon it and realise that it applies to many other parts of my life. If I can write well on a birthday card, I can write well in a blog post, in an email and perhaps even in a book. If I can do all of those things well then I can impact many other people’s lives positively.

Superpowers do not have to be earth-shattering. It might surprise you how mundane they actually are when you find your superpowers.

The key is what you do with them once you’ve found out what they are.

Some examples of superpowers that are often overlooked, but are really quite impressive are:

  • Intuition – We all have some form of intuition, but some people simply excel at knowing how, when and where they should be doing things instinctively.
  • Being Good with People – Being able to hold a conversation, listen well and empathise are really powerful skills that benefit you and those around you. Great things can be created when you bring other people into your life.
  • Sensing Emotions – Some people can walk into a room and get an immediate sense of how everyone is feeling. They naturally read people’s emotions and are able to empathise.
  • Being Direct – We often waste a lot of time beating around the bush. Someone who gets straight to the point and tells it how it usually helps themselves and others progress.
  • Being Organised – You might think it’s a burden being so eager to keep things in order, but really that is such a great superpower. An organised life is so much easier to live and you often make other people’s lives easier in the process.
  • Kindness – Kindness, especially when you least expect it, is not as easy or as common as you might think.

How to Find Your Superpower

If you don’t recognise your own superpowers by now, how are you going to find out what they are?

The most potent way of discovering superpowers is to ask others.

  1. Pick the 5 people who know you best. Make sure it is a good mix of personal life and work life.
  2. Send them an email with the question “What are my top 3 strengths?”
  3. Sit back and wait for the replies.

You might get a mix of answers, but there will usually be some common elements, this is why you shouldn’t restrict them to just one strength.

Often, people are blown away by the responses they get because they just don’t see themselves in the same way that other people do.

If you want to make it an even more powerful exercise, do the same with 5 people who you have met, but don’t know you very well. You might not get responses from them all, but the ones that do will often get right to the point because they do not need to sugar coat it.

Don’t settle for these responses though, do some investigation yourself. Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What do I do that feels effortless?
  2. What do people often ask me to do, or for advice on?
  3. What accomplishment am I most proud of?

For each of the answers you give to those questions, examine what it was that made you so good at it.

Another method involves thinking of the people you admire and what you most respect and appreciate about them. Often we will resonate with people that have some of the same superpowers as us, whether we do it consciously or not.

Now, what qualities of these people that you admire do you exhibit yourself?

Now That You Know, What Do You Do?

First and foremost, really appreciate your superpower. We talked about how easy it is to overlook them sometimes, but there are no small superpowers. Embrace what is unique about you and start to think about how you already use this superpower. Then imagine, now that you know what it is, what you can do to improve your life or work, as well as that of others, with it.

There are always dark sides to superpowers, we often see this struggle with fictional superhero stories. These could be big or small, but it is important to think about whether your superpower may have a negative side so that you can use it in the right way.

For example:

  • Kindness could lead to you forgetting to think of yourself sometimes.
  • Being direct could land you in hot water if someone is not ready to hear harsh truths.
  • Knowing you are intuitive does not mean you always know the right thing to do.

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Various sources

Knowing your superpower does mean that you can concentrate on doing more of it. Aim to focus on, and enjoy, what you’re good at rather than spending too much time on what you are not. This follows the Pareto principle of concentrating your efforts on the 20% of the actions that usually contribute to 80% of the results.

Try to avoid using your own resources where you know you are not strong. This is why teams of diverse skill sets work so well. You do not see Spider man trying to be the guy that creates revolutionary technology, like Iron man.

Use your powers to inform your work. If you are feeling that your superpowers are not in line with your job, it may be time to look for another job or a new direction to your career.

Enjoyment is a major consideration. Playing to our strengths and seeing positive results because of it will always be more enjoyable than slogging away at something that doesn’t play to your strengths.

If you can use it to make your work, career or business successful and enjoyable that would be a wonderful thing.

Let’s face it, I’m putting the ‘Superpower’ label on what is essentially your strengths. But it feels good! I call my writing ability my superpower and it doesn’t feel nerdy or silly at all.

I own that and it inspires everything I do that involves writing. I believe in my superpower and I feel the call to action.

Go find your superpower.