What are your superpowers?


You have superpowers. There I said it.

You rock and you might not even know it…let alone declare it. Your greatest challenge - and maybe your greatest purpose - is to figure out what these superpowers are and unleash them on the world.

Forget Batman, Superman or the X-men. You are the answer that you have been looking for and indeed that we have all looking for. You have a unique set of talents, gifts and abilities that NO ONE ELSE on this whole planet has. You are truly unique and special! *

And yet, as we have explained before, we aren't encouraged or taught how to figure out what our superpowers are. That is a travesty of epic proportion.

Why should you give a s@#t?

In short, because it helps you, helps others and helps the world.

Now discover your strengths!

Superpowers are so big now, so relevant and so needed that there is even a mainstream name for them - STRENGTHS.

Marcus Buckingham kicked the whole thing off with the book “Now Discover Your Strengths” (summary here). The whole idea is that your focus should be on your strengths NOT your weaknesses. Rounding out weaknesses often leads to mediocre performance and a lot of wasted energy.  You might get competent at your weaknesses but it is going to take a lot of time and effort.

When you unleash your strengths, you focus on what strengthens you.  What makes your more powerful.  What makes your more vibrant and vital.

Guess what? Because these things come so naturally to you, you are far more likely at being GREAT at them…and it will take less effort and energy. In fact, because these superpowers core to who you are, using them is going to make you more alive, more powerful and more impactful.

There has been a ton of strengths-based research but some of the huge benefits for you include:

  • Greater resilience
  • Greater tolerance of stress
  • More peace and happiness
  • Greater confidence
  • Greater charisma (all that energy is infectious!)
  • More engagement with life, work and relationships
  • Stronger impact and performance (up to 36% greater according to the Corporate Leadership Council, 2002)

The impact for others

When you unleash your superpowers, you give the best of who you are to other people. You become more of a creator and contributor than a consumer. You give more than you take. The net effect for others and the world are:

  • You are a burning, shining example of what it is to be giving the best of who you are. This gives other people permission to do the same.
  • You have a much greater impact because you are not wasting your energy on things that don't strengthen you and bring you to life.
  • The compound effect of the previous two is huge as more gets done. For example, imagine a team that is rocking their superpowers and the impact they are having as a result. Low energy and low performance? I don’t think so!
  • What is possible for you and others expands exponentially.

Essentially, if we want to create a world that works for all, we need a ton of people unleashing their superpowers.  We have to overcome all the social conditioning and inner criticism that crushes the notion that we even have superpowers and give the best of who we are to our family, colleagues, community and the world.

Time to discover those superpowers

So, all this is well and good but how do you discover what your superpowers are? Well, first you have to be open to the notion and possibility that you have superpowers and that it is a beneficial thing to use them.

Then, you set about figuring out what they are. Here are 3 ways you can do that…

What are your superpowers
What are your superpowers

1. Asking the right questions

Asking yourself some great questions that dive below all that mind chatter and access your inner wisdom is a great place to start.

To help you out we have actually created a worksheet full of provocative questions that will dig up your hidden mojo.

Download the worksheet here.  Then give yourself some space and time, approach with open heart and mind and be prepared to be blown away with how awesome you really are.

2. Get some reflection

The second way is to ask other people what they see as your superpowers. Here's what to do...

  • Choose 4-6 people who know you well and whose opinion you trust and respect. They can be close friends, trusted work colleagues or peers/mentors from your community.
  • Ideally arrange to meet with them so that you can see the whites of their eyes and listen to the language that they use. If you can’t meet in person, skype is a good alternative. If not, you can use email though this may not quite as rich.
  • At the meeting, ask them the following 3 questions and listen to their response (it is ideal if you can record the conversation or take notes):
    1. What do you see as my superpowers? What do see me as great at?
    2. How do you see me using those superpowers?
    3. What superpowers do you see that I have that I either don’t recognise or don’t seem to value?
  • When you have asked at least 4 people, review and reflect on what they have said. What are the patterns? What confirmed what you already knew? What surprised you? What are you finding difficult to accept or can’t see it? Could there be truth to what was said?
  • After this, look for concrete examples of what has been said and notice how you are already using your superpowers.

If you combine the data from both these exercises, it is much easier to identify and triangulate your superpowers.

3. Use a strengths-based tool

There are some excellent tools out there that can help you identify what your signature strengths are…and so your superpowers!

The most famous one is the Clifton Strengthsfinder which identifies your top 5 strengths. It is a great tool and makes a lot of sense, but with strengths such as "connectedness", "maximiser" and "WOO" can be a little hard to grasp and make practical. Fortunately, the Strengthfinder 2.0 book (which has a code that allows you to do the Strengthsfinder test) has tons of explanation and tips.

At Mavericks, we love a UK-based tool that is super-easy to understand, pragmatic and immediately applicable. Strengthscope identifies strengths such as "strategic thinking", "detail orientation" and "empathy".  It just feels more grounded.

Strengthscope needs a coach qualified to use the tool so may be a little less easy to access.  However, you do get to work with someone who can help you to gain a deep understanding of what your superpowers are, how you use them already and how you can deploy them more.

The thing to remember with strengths is that it is not just each individual strength that is important...it is how they combine together that really forms your superpowers.

The more consciously and deliberately you employ each strength on a day-to-day basis, the more you unleash your superpowers

It's one thing to know them...

...But now you have to do something with them. Identifying your superpowers is just the first step. Now you have to have the chutzpah to own them and use them. As they say, if you name them, you claim them.

However, just by doing these exercises, you open up to the possibility that you are not just like everyone else and that you DO have superpowers. From there, you can start to unleash your greatness...for your benefit and for everyone else's. Now that's a win-win to be proud of.

*But so is everyone else!