Yes, I am seriously asking you this.
No, this post isn’t a fluffy tie-in to the latest Marvel movie. And no, I’m not starting a sidekick match-making app. This question is a fun way to focus attention on what makes you a success (or could help you to define success).
I first was introduced to this lighthearted approach though a short article posted in The Muse. (Identifying your strengths and aptitudes is not a new concept.) The idea of classifying it as your superpower really struck a chord with me.
It made me realize how essential it is to truly know what you bring to the table, and to be able to articulate it with clear confidence.
I’m not talking about the laundry list of prior accomplishments that may be important to a hiring manager. Not the aspirations for your role that are important to your current manager. Not the latest workplace trend that appears in a pop-up ad (“Follow These Time-Tested Top Tips to Make Yourself Unique”).
Your superpower is the one-word ingredient that fuels the success in your life.
This ability was the driving force behind that laundry list of successes. It was the reason you dusted yourself off and kept going when you experienced failure. It helped define the current aspirations you are pursuing. It is the real, bankable aptitude that sets you apart – or helps you find those like-minded individuals that inspire you.
My superpower is curiosity.
It took me a long time to realize how beneficial this natural state of inquisitiveness has been for me. Being curious keeps me interested when others may not be; it motivates me to dig a bit deeper when others might feel they know enough; it pushes me out of my comfort zone when others would prefer to play it safe. Just like any comic book superpower, my curiosity needs to be tempered. I certainly cannot walk around all day acting like a two year-old questioning everything (“Why? Why? WHY!”). A superpower also requires some balance -- staying focused on the task at hand can be a challenge for me at times as my brain has already deemed something else to be more interesting.
There are some really great books out there on playing to your strong points, here is one of my favorites. Unsure what your strengths are? Strengthsfinder can help guide you, though I’d encourage everyone to assess themselves in their own words. To effectively communicate and truly ‘own’ your superpower, I think it makes sense to speak from the heart and feel it in your core being.
Once you have your superpower identified, reflect on how it contributed to your past success.
Think about how it can help steer your future or how does it might relate to the job posting you’ve been mulling over? The next time someone asks why they should consider you for a promotion or new role, you’ve got a great jumping off point to guide the conversation. Conversely, if you are absolutely struggling in your current role, assess that job against your superpower. Are the two a complete mismatch? What could you do to bring your work life into alignment with your natural strengths?
Do you know your superpower? I’d love to hear about your greatest strength. Please feel free to share in the comments.
Glendalynn Dixon guides business transformations focused on culture, leadership & data management. She is an author, speaker and mentor who champions women in technology and uses stories from her wild ride of a life to challenge preconceived notions. She is also the creator of The Successful People Manager, a no-nonsense online management training program for leaders committed to professional growth.