Starting a small business will force you to figure out what your superpowers are very quickly. I learned this the hard way.
I started up my business with what I thought was a good understanding of my superpowers, but holy cow was I wrong.
I thought I was fairly organized. Nope. My kryptonite.
I thought I was good at cold calling. Nope. More kryptonite.
It wasn’t until I began to keep track of my progress that my success and happiness began to change.
I forced myself to assess my progress every day, month and year. I created time for reflection to make sure that I wasn’t blindly hoping for the best. I was actually eliminating the habits that weren’t making me happy and adding habits that were making me happy.
My kid is teething right now. He won’t stop gnawing on the furniture, trying to soothe his pain.
Most first-time experiences are painful. You don’t know what will work and what won’t. When I first started blogging I wrote about whatever came to my mind. As I continued to blog, I became much more focused on giving value to my readers.
As the weeks turned into years, I began to develop my writing superpowers. I understood what piqued readers’ interests and what didn’t. It was a painful process that I’m still working on, but each day is a little more enjoyable than the last.
I learned to stop making the same mistakes and discovered how to focus my powers for optimum performance. I still have a long way to go, but each day I study people who have stronger superpowers in the areas in which I want to excel.
I have a friend whose superpower is copywriting. You can tell her to write about almost anything from whales to cities she’s never visited and you can’t stop reading. You want to visit, buy or do whatever she wants you to do. She knows this and leverages her career from this one superpower.
Every time she publishes her blog, I study her technique and try to implement small changes to enhance my powers. This process encourages me to review my superpowers to make sure I’m improving. Without my review process I would still be the same awkward writer.
I started keeping a 1 sentence daily career journal. I usually end up writing 2 or 3 sentences, but this simple method keeps me aware of my progress.
It’s one of the best regular habits I’ve ever practiced.
I have been setting aside a couple of hours on the first Sunday of each month in order assess my goals. I notice what goals I have been easily attaining and what goals I keep missing.
The goals I continuously miss are usually attributed to my fear. If I want to launch a product by July 15th, but I still haven’t done it by July 22nd, my fear is the culprit.
I recently took a deep look at my fear. I don’t do this like a normal person; that would be too boring. I sit with Charles, my sidekick. Charles is the kind side of my personality who always has compliments and love. We sit and discuss why this fear is holding me back.
Each year I take time during the first weekend in December to take a deeper look into my goals. Charles and I sit down and talk about my arch nemesis Dr. Oatzel and discuss why he is exposing so many of my weaknesses.
This imagination exercise allows me to stop thinking of my fears and weaknesses in a negative way. I think of them as something external that I can learn from.
This allows me to put the blame on an external source instead of myself for just a short while. It helps me gain perspective. It almost becomes a spiritual meeting.
Make Your Reviews Fun
I’ve been through a lot of reviews throughout my career and most of them were agonizingly boring. It’s as if my employers were afraid to make the process fun and interesting. They would rather struggle through it and get it over with as soon as they can so they could get back to doing real work.
Reviewing your progress is real work.
It’s a vital part of success. So make it so much fun that you can’t wait to do it again next month or next year.
When harnessed, your superpowers can be unstoppable. You can’t harness your powers without being honest about your skills as well as your weaknesses
Once you learn how to harness your superpowers people will come running to you to help save them.
Try to notice what comes easily to you. What skills do you have that make the work easy?
When you can do a daily, monthly, and yearly review of your superpowers? Take the time to adjust so you are using more of your superpowers every single day.
14 thoughts on “How to Harness Your Superpowers”
Hi Karl- I'm honored that you linked to me- and I couldn't agree more about the whole review thing. I miss them sometimes, and then I realize I've missed them, and coming back is what I need to do.
We've instituted (partially) the whole Death by Meeting structure Patrick Lencioni suggests- as the counter to dying through meetings.
Anyway- thanks for a great a post, and for mentioning Backwards.
Great insights Karl!
I burst out laughing at the part about your baby gnawing on furniture...it sounded so funny. But poor little one, I am glad we don't remember what that must have felt like.
And you are so right, we try things in our careers, and we are not always sure what will work or not, it is through the type of reflection and going inwards you speak of that we can understand and monitor our progress to see if we are moving in the direction we want.
What a great post. Sorry to hear your little one is having teething discomforts. I thought there were teething rings or something that you can get for babies that help to alleviate the pain--and save the furniture.
You're so right that starting a small business is the "fast track" way of discovering what your super powers really are--and where the dreaded kryptonite lurks and temporarily disables us. As long as we're learning and finding new ways of doing things that get us past the obstacles, we're on the right track. I think it might have been Einstein who quipped that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results.
I loved your approach to doing your reviews--sort of like a "team meeting" with your higher self or guides. It makes so much more sense to sit down with a kindly part of yourself and gently look at what's working or not. The one to three sentence journal is a really great idea. I've been using this tool for the last couple of months and when I review the entries it's easy to see not only where my strengths and challenges are, but also the overall pattern of my productive cycles.
Have a great day!
Hi Mark, Reviewing our progress is important to staying focused. If we don't take time to reflect on our direction we get too far away from our goals. Thanks for stopping by. I love talking about the great work you do. You make it easy to tell other people.
Hi Evita, Going inwards is the ying. The yang is action. We need to balance both to grow in a balanced way.
Hi Sue, We get too caught up in trying to be regular, we lose the creative tools that can help us grow and enjoy our efforts. I like how you called it a team meeting. We have to think of using emotions, thoughts, and actions as a team instead of separately.
Your concept of Daily/Monthly/Yearly reviews of goals is good. Though i don't set goals in a day(yes I'm lazy postponing the work at times 😀 ) but i try to get my monthly and yearly goals in time. Your post somehow made me think of that daily review too. Need to work on that 🙂
Thanks Karl for your nice article !
I agree and fear always make one miss their target, for me I always weigh how much i can lose so that when i do new things there is less fear cause there is a cut lose line.
Whenever I find myself out of juice, I deliberately start spending way more time in my strengths, and spending way less time in my weaknesses. It works like a champ.
What a great post, Karl! I loved this sentence, because it reminded me of when I started writing my blog, too: "When I first started blogging I wrote about whatever came to my mind. As I continued to blog, I became much more focused on giving value to my readers." I love how open you are with your process; it inspires others, including me.
I just had a skills assessment done as a favor from a friend who runs an employment agency. What came of it was --- documented on paper --- my supposed super powers. How cool is the timing of all that? (And me finding this post!) The one thing my friend told me is that I need to start using my super powers to grow the business of "ME." I'm great at planning, and yet I don't always plan for my own future success. Maybe I'll start, based on talking to her and seeing your words here.
Thanks so much!
PS - if you could be any super hero already in existence (i.e., Superman, Batman, etc.) who would you be and why?
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Just wrote about your similar LinkedIn question on my blog. It's a great topic!
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