Superheroes are make believe. We read about them in comic books and watch them in movies and have admired them. We have thoughts like: “man, it would be cool to have a jet pack”, “if only I could fly, I could travel the world” or “it would be great to fight crime and make a difference”. The reality is that we can’t be those things…or can we?!
Sure I can’t fly, knock down 30 bad people in one blow (unless I was a Bollywood star) or have a super cool costume. A realization I have though is that all of us are gifted with a super human power. Over the years, I have come to understand and appreciate mine. I have this uncanny ability to take something of little or no value and add such concentrated purpose and meaning that the object can’t be held in the same light and make it into a story. If I can take a simple jigsaw puzzle piece and find four deep purposeful meanings that I can share with others, or see a simple set of footprints in the sand and make a memorable keynote that has become my signature, or seeing a simple wooden wedge doorstop and pull a significant leadership concept. This is my superhero strength…taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. If you watch my TEDxSFU talk, you will see that I transform things of little value to things of great value through CARPE:
- Curiosity – Stopping when something catches my eye
- Appreciation – Appreciating it for more than what it is
- Reflection – Adding purpose and meaning
- Perspective – Drawing on my experiences to build on the reflection
- Experience – Cataloging it so that it becomes a story to share
Now this is my superhero strength and something I can do well. How about you? What is your super human strength? If you don’t know what it is yet, start thinking about what you do well. We all have something. You don’t have to be the only one in the world who can do this but over the average, what can you do better than others. It takes time to discover our strength and then to refine it and forge it over time so we are really good at this. Our first instinct is to say that we don’t have anything that would be considered super human. Now use your superhuman strength to push that thought aside and move beyond that and if you can’t think of one, start working on one. Years ago, I would not have considered mine as finding purpose and meaning in the insignificant and storytelling. Grab a mask and cape and join me as we take on the world. Don’t sit on the sidelines and admiring the superheroes but rather jump in and join us. The only problem is to now think what our costume will look like!
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