What Is Your Superpower?
Superpowers are not just reserved for the Avengers™. We all have at least one.
You are probably “good” at a wide variety of things. But, there is *something* that you are REALLY good at!
Something you do better than 90% of the population. That something is your superpower.
Your superpower is something you can’t NOT do!
Most of the time, superpowers come so naturally to us, it’s easy to take them for granted. Usually, the only way to identify them is from other people’s feedback.
They are usually evident from a very young age, even if they are only recognized in hindsight. In fact, your superpower may be the root cause behind whatever you got in trouble over as a child.
In some cases, superpowers may suddenly “appear” out of nowhere. That was certainly the case for my friend, Marleine, of Mim’s Cakery. One day, in her mid-30’s, she attempted to bake a cake for her nephews. Suddenly, she was creating cakes that could rival the Cake Boss.
What Is Your superpower?
Have you ever thought about this question before? Does something come to mind instantly, or do you need some time to think about it?
Superpowers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They may be a specific talent, like Marleine with her exquisite cakes, or they may be a more broad-reaching gift. The best way to describe the wide variety of superpowers is to share some examples.
So, I’ve compiled a list of, what I believe, are the superpowers for some people in my closest circle:
Brian (my husband and President of SOAR) – “Make It Happen!” If Brian decides that a certain project is worthwhile, it won’t matter how impossible it seems, how much resistance comes his way, or how much work he’ll have to do…he will devise creative solutions, convince everyone around him to get on board, and Make It Happen!
Ginelle (SOAR’s Operations Manager) – “Dig in. Figure it out. Fix it.” Ginelle loves to touch, dig, and ask questions. She can’t help but fix things. Last week, we sent out a survey, asking for your feedback. By 9:30 AM, Ginelle realized something was wrong with it. When she couldn’t get ahold of Brian (who created the survey in his Google account), she figure out how to get into his account, dug around a bit, and fixed it. Then she left him a voicemail, apologizing for “breaking into” his email account. (Which, of course, Brian didn’t mind.) The point is, she couldn’t NOT fix it!
Mark (my 9 year-old son) – “If I can dream it, I can build it.” I sometimes wonder if our house will survive Mark’s creativity. A few weeks ago, Mr. Make It Happen hosted a pirate-themed murder mystery party for a dozen of our friends. Mark was so inspired by all of our pirate guests, that he turned his bunk bed into a pirate ship with empty paper towel tubes and 11×17 sheets of card stock rolled into cannons. To create the mast, he wedged a broken carpet tube between the ceiling and the mattress on the upper bunk. While Mark is still young, I have no doubt that was evidence of his superpower.
Maddie (my almost four year-old) – “Fashion Diva.” Maddie is still very young and has yet to learn the underlying social skills of fashion. (“No, Maddie, you CANNOT wear a nightgown to school!”) But, she has some serious talent for assembling outfits, which was first evident at 18 months of age. For years now, she’s been insisting on selecting her outfits every day. (God forbid if the must-have article of clothing is in the laundry…), This is a daily source of frustration for me, but it’s clearly coming from a deep source inside her soul. It’s her superpower.
Kevin (my 20 year-old cousin who is living with us and “interning” with SOAR) – “Energizing Personality.” I’m still getting to know Kevin, but one thing I noticed right away is that his presence energizes the people around him. To him, it seems effortless, so he doesn’t recognize it as a gift. I believe it stems from his kind soul and great sense of humor. Somehow, he communicates these traits almost imperceptibly.
Chris (SOAR’s Financial Clerk) – “Attention to detail!” Chris is the perfect person to manage numbers and data because he pays attention to very minute details. Chris is working to overcome challenges with Aspergers. Like everyone, however, his challenges result in at least one superpower! (His second superpower is “Unconditional Kindness!”)
Sarah (SOAR’s Logistics Manager) – “I’m in touch with my inner child!” Sarah is very dynamic and does a little bit of everything around here. Whatever she’s doing, she does it with a smile. Whether it’s wearing crazy hats to work or playing sword fights with my son in the middle of the day, Sarah makes her day fun.
Me – “Organization.” Brian actually inspired this article based on a comment he made to me last week. We were discussing a new project in which he is taking the lead. We outlined the anticipated steps and discussed one step that will involve organizing a massive collection of information. Brian said, “When we get to that point, I’m going to ask you to step in because that’s your superpower.”
Why It’s Essential to Identify Your superpower!
One of the most essential keys to success in life (which most people equate to “personal happiness”) is to harness your superpower. It’s your God-given gift. You were meant to use it. It’s going to come “out” whether you can help it or not. If you end up in situations where your superpower is not an asset, your life will be an uphill battle. It’s much more valuable for us, and for society, if we put ourselves in situations where our superpower can manage the “hard work” that 90% of the rest of the world doesn’t do quite as naturally.
The unfortunate thing about superpowers is that we are rarely encouraged to use them. The closest most of us come to identifying our superpower is when we graduate from high school and have to choose a college major or a job. That’s often the first time we are encouraged to think about what we want to do. That’s a difficult adjustment after spending the first 18 years of our life being told what to do.
Superpowers are completely ignored in our education system. Instead, the focus is almost exclusively on deficits. “Raising test scores” doesn’t mean, “Let’s enlighten our students’ superpowers!” Instead, it means, “Let’s look at what our students CAN’T do and fix it.” Certain skills are, of course, essential. However, the “fixing” of skills is rarely done in a setting that celebrates gifts, talents, and encourages students to identify their superpower.
This constant focus on deficits produces students who often ignore their natural gifts, thinking “success” requires difficult work. They don’t realize that they have a superpower. If they do, they feel like they are cheating if they use it.
Your superpower Is Also Your Kryptonite
Your superpower will either work for you, or against you. As I said, it’s the thing you can’t NOT do. In the wrong setting, your superpower can get you into trouble because it doesn’t go away. It won’t tolerate being harnessed for very long.
My Superpower of “Organization” has allowed me to create an effective curriculum and build a business. However, it can create a lot of anxiety. I’m always aware of how something should run, be assembled, or should go together. If things aren’t working smoothly (which is pretty much the nature of parenthood), it takes a lot of effort to squelch the anxiety. If I didn’t have a positive outlet for my superpower –and know how to keep the “dark side” in check (for the most part) parenting would be pretty miserable.
Brian’s superpower of “Make It Happen” is wonderful because he gets things done. However, sometimes that means things get done a little too fast. Like the airline tickets he purchased two weeks ago…for the wrong week. 😉
Ginelle’s superpower of “Dig in. Figure it Out. Fix it.” has an interesting Kryptonite-turned-Hero aspect. Originally, her natural need to touch things, dig in, and ask questions wasn’t met with appreciation in school. So, she dropped out. However, after a semester of flipping burgers, she realized the value of an education and returned to high school with a commitment…to become a teacher that WOULD appreciate the tactile, inquisitive learners of the world. After all, she had to “fix it!” After years of struggling against her superpower, she eventually figured out how to harness it!
Identify your superpower. Become aware of how it works for you…and can work against you. Help your children and students identify their superpowers, too! And, of course, encourage them to develop and harness their natural talents and gifts. This is the #1 way to inspire motivation…and set them on the path towards success!
The first chapter in the SOAR Study Skills Curriculum is called “How Are You Smart?” Before we teach students how to make school easier for themselves and become better learners, we inspire motivation by recognizing their natural talents and gifts! Get more details here!
Here’s to your superpower!
P.S. See my next article: Your Superpower + Study Skills.