This article is a continuation of the one I started about helping ADDers move beyond shame and fear. It’s a three-step process from the framework I developed: Strengths. Superpower. Stepping Up. This article covers Superpower.
You could stop with the knowledge you gained from the Strength article. You would be good with that and living in your strengths. Living in your strengths is a great way to break out of your fears. But knowing your superpower makes you even stronger, so a good place to grow to next. You may have more than one, but let’s focus, for now, on you recognizing your primary superpower.
What do I mean by superpower? It’s that “thing” you do and have that makes others sit back in awe, asking you how you do that. What is that “thing”? This “thing” is such a natural action for you that you do it without thinking. You’ll also find that without thinking about it you can’t list which strengths it incorporates into its magic. You’ll get to do that in a bit.
Think of X-men or any of the superheroes to better understand what I mean by superpower. They have superhuman abilities, which I’m not expecting you to have. I know, however, you have an amazing human ability that is your shining glory of contribution to the world. Superheroes use their superpower when they need it, not all of the time. That’s the same with you.
I’ve already said that your superpower is that “thing” you do effortlessly. My superpower is being an amazing organizer/planner. One perfect job/career for me is as a bed and breakfast innkeeper. I’m also very good at planning and executing parties, events, and large moves. They all use my superpower of organizer/planner, and they use lots of my strengths. My husband’s superpower is synthesizing. Like me, he has numerous strengths that support his superpower.
This brings me to an interesting point. In discussing the superpower concept with my husband and asking him what he thinks his is, he said “writer” just as I initially did. During the conversation, though, I realized his superpower is synthesizing disparate knowledge/information into a point. That power of synthesizing is used in his writing, his publishing, his speaking, and in conversation. I have to be careful to not treat him like my personal encyclopedia — that’s what Google is for.
Now, how does your superpower weave itself into and through your life? Where do you use that gift? Have you learned to harness it so that “unsuspecting souls” aren’t blind-sided by your superpower? One of the lessons ADDers will benefit from learning is to create boundaries around their superpower. Rules, boundaries, and limitations are helpful in creating any good relationship. That’s especially true of using your superpower. It’s not appropriate to use it all the time. Often it needs to be requested, or you need to volunteer it and only when that offer is accepted then let it fly.
One point I want to highlight here is that your superpower has a “good” and a “bad” side. The good side is what moves you and your purpose forward and contributes wonderful things to your life and the world. The bad side is what people react against, and that reaction tends to make you think your superpower isn’t good. The lesson I’d like you to learn here is that when you embrace and harness your superpower, you learn to manage the aspect people don’t like. Their reaction is their problem, to be sure, but you still don’t want to inflame negative reactions when you don’t have to. Also, don’t buy into their negative reaction. I think it’s up to us to be as integrated into our circles as we can while also being our true selves.
If you can’t think of that one thing, then what are the jobs or hobbies you are best at and enjoy most? What skills do they have in common? Exploring them should give you leads toward discovering your superpower.
Here’s how I guide people through figuring out what their superpower is — if they need the help.
* Write down your one thing that you are effortlessly brilliant at doing.
* Now list all of your strengths that support that superpower.
* If you can’t think of that brilliant “thing”, list those jobs, tasks, and/or hobbies you do easily and enjoy.
* Now, beside each job you listed, write down which of your strengths go into making that you good at that. Each one can have many strengths attached to it.
* Which strengths are most common among those jobs?
* Mastermind with friends to see what they think your superpower is.
* Drill down, looking for a word or phrase that encapsulates those strengths that would describe what your superpower is, or help you recognize it.
You may come back to this exercise to fine tune the results you have so far. You may have nailed this instantly. It wouldn’t hurt to review this work later to make sure you have uncovered your true superpower. Remember, this helps you follow your best path. As ADDers we have lots of paths filled with lots of interests. We still have one best path, one true north. This is what nurtures and nourishes us.