Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Karl Staib of Work Happy Now.
If you want to do great work, you must be able to leverage your superpowers. I’m not talking about throwing on a cape and stopping a car from crashing into an orphanage. I’m talking about saving lives with your career.
Too many of us label our superpowers as strengths, skills, and talents. We put these boring labels on our abilities because we don’t want to put too much faith in them.
We don’t want to unleash our superpowers because we are afraid that people might laugh at us. We downplay our skills so we don’t get burned by them. As a result, we refuse to explore our personal growth.
Ze Frank optimized his flexible mind to create interactive media. From Dancing puppets to What to do if you are bored in the office to How to dance properly, he uses his creative superpowers to make people laugh, think, and share with each other. If that’s not saving lives then I don’t know what is.
Let’s break down what exactly it means to develop your superpowers.
Your superpowers depend on 3 questions:
- How passionate are you?
- Can you stay focused on this activity?
- Are you using your strengths?
Before you can do great work, you must ask yourself these questions before you start any project:
How Passionate Are You?
If you aren’t intrinsically motivated by the project then there is no way to manufacture passion. I can’t emphasize this enough. You must feel a connection with your work or you won’t want to dive into the details.
I had a friend who loved to write. He wrote poetry for hours on end, but when he dabbled in writing a novel the passion just wasn’t there.
Can You Stay Focused On This Activity?
I love drawing, but it’s not a superpower of mine because I can’t seem to stay focused on it. I love the concepts, but not the execution.
You have to be able to stay focused on an important task for extended periods of time, otherwise you will accomplish nothing.
Every great blogger has put in a lot of time to developing great content. The more value they offer, the more people talk about their stuff.
Are You Using Your Strengths?
You are great at certain things, and these are the strengths that you should be using every day. Not just every other day, but every day.
You can choose to build your strengths or allow them to come naturally, but at some point you have to be great at this thing in order to consider your action a superpower
All Together Now
You must have passion, focus, and use your strengths when trying to accomplish great work. Take any element away and you have average results.
Remember that last project that you were passionate about? The one that you loved working on. How did that work out? I bet it turned out pretty good.
When you enjoy the actions within a project the outcomes are always awesome.
Your heart must be all in or your energy is going to drop off. Think about your favorite musical artist. They had amazing talent, but that’s not what got them to the top. They listened when their muse talked. They practiced in their basement when everyone was laughing at them. They played in smelly bars when no one was listening.
They refused to let their dream die.
You have superpowers that you must refuse to let die. You are reading this for a reason. You know you can use your superpowers to level up your business/career. You just have to use them every day.
The best way to discover what your superpowers are is to ask yourself what people usually ask you to do for them? Why do they need your help?
If people don’t come to you for help with anything then that probably means you need to start engaging in more of your passions.
I wouldn’t ask my wife to help me fix our car because I know that, her heart wouldn’t be in it. I do ask her to help me edit my blog posts and ebooks because that’s where her superpowers lie.
Now it’s your turn and you have to be brutally honest. Are you doing work that plays to your passions strengths, and focus?
If not, then you probably find it much harder to be productive. I takes a lot of willpower. Eventually, you probably just end up bullying yourself into doing work that sucks and that is going to drain you.
You have to find a way to use your superpowers every single day. I’m not going to pretend that this is easy. It’s not. However, you have to find a way to do it because your results depend on it.
Ze Frank has had many failures, each one creative, but not always interesting. Click around his site and you’ll see some dumb stuff. However, you will also see some amazing concepts. These are the concepts that we share with each other. Ze Frank, your favorite blogger, and your favorite musician, found that sweet spot and so can you.
It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out your superpowers and start doing amazing work, but in the end you’ll have better results.
What is your superpower that you are sharing with the world? How are you using it to improve people’s lives?
I love this!
I love it so much that I’m going to tell you a secret. My superpower manifests as helping people develop fundamentally awesome relationships with themselves, which then lets them pursue their passions and superpowers and ultimately save the world. (Is it not cool how doing our own right things saves the world?)
But the superpower behind the throne is actually about stories. Because stories are both what gets us into the tricky relationships with ourselves that limit our world-saving powers (and also, you know, happiness) and what gets us out.
It took me approximately forever to figure out that I have a story-powered superpower but now that I have, I think it is approximately the best thing ever.
Karl Staib says
Hi Sarah, Wow, that’s an awesome superpower. Just the way you look at it gets me excited. I know you will accomplish amazing things.
I like that you’ve found your story power. It’s the best way to connect with people. It makes them understand how you can help them. It took me awhile to connect with my own story, but once I did my blog and coaching business took off.
Thursday Bram says
I think it’s interesting that you use focus as a determining factor for superpowers ”” I can think of several things that I’m excellent at that I would absolutely die if I had to do day in and day out.
But there are also things that I truly enjoy and, even if I’m not so great at them, I also enjoy the learning and evolving that goes with using them regularly and ”” hopefully ”” turning them into superpowers.
I’m pretty sure that my superpower is X-ray vision, by the way. I’ve always been able to look through big problems and find the underlying structures underneath. Doesn’t always mean I can fix a problem, but if you know what’s really wrong, you can at least focus on the actual issue, rather than a symptom.
Karl Staib says
Hi Thursday, The thing is that if you can’t stay focused on an action for very long you can’t consider the action a superpower. I think that’s what separates the great people from the good. They can stay focused long enough to get amazing work accomplished. There were plenty of people as smart as Einstein, but none of them as dedicated to their curiosity. It took years for him to develop E=mc2. That’s why we need to have passion, focus, and strengths all working in tandem.
I love your superpower. It takes a very visual mind to see underlying structures.
You are right the too often we focus on the pain instead of the symptom. I have a friend who wants to buy a new bed because she has back pain while she sleeps. The real symptom is that she doesn’t exercise, strengthening her body so there is no bed that will help her until she builds up her strength.
James Smejlis says
Great insight Karl, I love the distinction of needing Passion and Heart to really make a Superpower.
I think the trend of people being unhappy with their work seems to start at school, where you get funneled into a career based on your strengths and aptitudes alone, with no consideration for heart. I fell into this trap myself, doing 4 years at university for a degree that although definitely played to my strengths, was in a field I just wasn’t passionate about.
It’s a very fine line, but if we can get people realising that their strengths are absolutely transferrable to any endeavor they really care about, a lot more people can get to love what they do.
Karl Staib says
Hi James, The phrase, “The heart wants what the heart wants,” comes to mind.
You made a great point. We can’t change what we like. That’s why we need to follow our passions and find work that fits best with these feelings.
When people are doing work they love the ripples of joy spread through society. I know I love working with people who are excited about what they do. They make work so much more enjoyable and the results are always fantastic.