How To Have Real-Life Superpowers: Know Your Strengths
Knowing your values and living by them each and every day is like having a real life superpower. When you stick you values under pressure, they crystallize within you. The next time you’re faced with a seemingly difficult decision or tough challenge, you will handle it with ease.
To the casual observer, this will look like a magical superpower. But in reality, you’re just making decisions based on a set of clearly-defined values — literally, things you value.
What more liberating feeling could there possibly be thant his one fact: the pursuit of knowledge is ultimately one of self-knowledge. It frees you from the never-ending anxiety of “am I learning the right skill?”
If you know yourself — what you value, your talents, strengths, weaknesses, and experience — you’re able to excel at any skill that has value to the marketplace.
Further, you’ll have the confidence to turn down opportunities that don’t fit your strenghts. In The Power of Self Confidence, Brian Tracy makes the connection between self knowledge, self esteem, and self confidence:
Take some time to think about who you are and what you believe in and what is important to you. Decide that you will never compromise your integrity by trying to be or say or feel something that is not true for you. Have the courage to accept yourself as you really are—not as you might be, or as someone else thinks you should be—and know that, taking everything into consideration, you are a pretty good person. After all, we all have our own talents, skills and abilities that make us extraordinary. No one, including yourself, has any idea of your capabilities or of what you might ultimately do or become.
Let’s update our definition: “having total self knowledge is like like having a superpower.” Want to be a superhero? Start digging into your own mind and finding out what’s there.
I recently hired a business coach and mentor, and the first step in our engagement was not an attempt to increase the bottom line of my businesses. Rather, it was a deep introspection of my personality, my values, my talents, and my strengths. Clearly definining those, I’m able to integrate them into every facet of my business and life. Thus, business becomes less about making money and more about expressing myself.
If that sounds a little rediculous, oh well. It’s worked for me thus far, I’ve increased my income more than 600% this year while working half the time. But numbers aside, this is it he same approach that Tracy demands his readers take.
A simple Gallup Strengths Test is all you need to uncover your own strenghts. Gallup is the industry standard, pulling from a vast number of surveys over decades of research. I took the test, as well as the Entrepreneurial Strengths follow up, and the results were revealing
Most of my strengths are precisely what I would have expected to see, had I taken then time to think about them. Seeing them on paper, countless examples from memory began to make sense and crystallize in my mind. Some strengths were unexpected, yet upon reflection, also made sense in the context of other top strengths.
I spent about 4 hours reading through the results, and writing out my top strenghts in the present, positive tense to fully commit them to memory. To develop your own superpowers, I recommend doing the same.
My Top Strengths
I look for consensus. I don’t enjoy conflict; but seek areas of agreement.
I try to bring others together. In my view, little can be gained from conflict and friction (but much can be gained and learned from the process of resolving conflict and friction). I see what people have in common, even during conflict. The idea of “we are inherently different and so therefore these problems cannot be fixed” sounds repulsive. Harmony is one of my guiding values. I seek to help individuals, families, and organizations work together. When others argue, I avoid jumping into the debate, preferring to talk about practical, down-to-earth matters on which everyone can agree.
The brilliance of being strong in harmony is that I have a natural practicality and preference for emotional balance. By reducing friction, I can enhance collaboration. I can avert contentious interactions before they start and quickly help others find a resolution.
“Promotes collaboration by managing conflict and maintaining practicality.”
“Getting along with people so we can get stuff done.”
Managing the tension between “getting along” and “getting stuff done.”
I use harmony to help people find common ground
- When working with others, I stress the value of reaching consensus
- I build a network of people with differing perspectives on whom I can rely when I need expertise. My openness to other viewpoints helps me learn
- I accept the responsibilities of being a good team member. My willingness to adjust and my tolerance for differing views are significant sources of strength.
- When people argue, I ask others in the the group to share their thoughts. By increasing the number of voices in the conversation, I am more likely to find areas where all parties can agree. I can draw people together.
- I polish my talents by improving my skills as a resolver of conflict, by taking conflict-resolution courses in areas such as nonverbal communication. The skills and knowledge I gain combine with my talents to give me strength in handling conflicts.
“I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscles. But today it means getting along with people.” – Gandhi
“The single most important ingredient in the recipe for success is knowing how to get along with people.” – Roosevelt
How do we get along? How do I help other people get along?
“We don’t get harmony when everyone sings the same note; only notes that are different can harmonize. That is true with people.”
“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.”
Bring people down to earth emotionally and intellectually. When people get too high or too low, there are problems. Let’s not waste time or energy getting too angry or too afraid, too euphoric or too philosophical. Let’s just work together.
I am inspired by the future and what could be. I energize others with my visions of the future. I love to peer over the horizon. I anticipate and image in detail what tomorrow could and should be. I see the future positively (typically, I don’t relate to dystopian storylines). The details may vary, but my picture of the future will always be inspiration to me. It energizes me and the people around me. My anticipation and visualization of a better future can inspire me and others to make that dream a reality. My vision of tomorrow can push me and others to new heights.
- I take time to envision (re: visualize) the future. I anticipate and imagine what could be and what should be.
- My natural anticipation of a better tomorrow enables me to overlook the pain and problems of today. I enjoy helping others anticipate and image their futures as well.
- I carve out time every week to put my ideas for the future in writing. This clarifies my visions for myself and my team.
- I motivate my colleagues with things that can be done in the future. For example, by including some Futuristic ideas in each of my group meetings, or write my vision for the future and share it with my colleagues.
- I look for friends or colleagues who presses this theme. I set aside an hour a month for “future” discussions. Together we can push each other to include more creativity and detail.
- When I have an opportunity to describe my vision of the future, I use as much detail as possible, because not everyone can intuitively fill in the gaps like I can.
I have faith in the links among all things. I believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has meaning (even if that meaning is total randomness). Things happen for a reason. We are all part of something bigger than ourselves, and as such, we are responsible for the consequences of our actions. Recognizing and accepting this responsibility sharpens my value system.
I build bridges between people and groups, showing them how to relate to and rely on each other. I help others find meaning in the unpredictability of the world around them, providing a sense of comfort and stability in the face of uncertainty. Putting it simply, my ability to “connect the dots” from the past, present and future can give others perspective, guidance, and hope.
I help others see connections and purpose in everyday occurences:
- I regularly share specific examples that help my friends and colleagues see how their actions affect others.
- I intentionally set aside a few minutes away from the action for an opportunity to quietly contemplate. This gives me a better chance to see patterns and identify adjustments that can increase the effectiveness of the group I’m working with.
- I partake in roles in which I listen to others and counsel them. I become adept at helping people see connections and purpose in everyday occurences.
- I help those around me cope with unpredictable and unexplainable events. I bring them a sense of stability as they handle the unexpected.
- I regularly explore specific ways to expand your sense of connection, such as attending retreats and joining organizations that puts Connectedness into practice.
I am intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. I have a gift for giuring out how different people can work together producgtively.
I instinctively observe each person’s style and motivation, how each thinks, and how each builds relationships. I keenly observe other people’s strengths and draw out the best in each person. My talents help me build productive teams. While some search around for the perfect team “Structure” or “process”, I know instinctively that the secrete to great teams is casting by individual strengths so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well.
- I honor the uniqueness in each person I encounter.
- I instinctively understand how different people might be able to work together effectively. I use this talent to help create partnerships, teams and groups that complement each other.
- I strive to become and expert in describing my own strengths and style.
- What is the best praise I ever received? The best praise I ever received was recognition of hard work and achievement in the aim of helping others.
* How often do I like to check in with your manager? Once per week is good.
* What is my best method for building relationships? Experiencing peak activities together where we are building towards a common end goal.
* How do I learn best? I learn best by doing.
- Ask these same questions of my colleagues and friends. I help them plan their future by starting with their strengths, then designing a future based on what they do best.
- I help make my colleagues and friends aware of each person’s unique motivations and needs.
- I regularly successful people to discover the uniqueness that made them successful, and model their behavior.
I enjoy close relationships with others, in and out of work. I find incredibly deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal.
I tend to be drawn to others I already know. While I enjoy turning strangers into friends, I derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around my close friends.
In short, I form close relationships with people. I can relate to all kinds of people, but I have a very small group of friends with whom I have incredibly deep relationships. My relationships are mutually rewarding; close, caring, and trusting.
- By connecting deeply with the right person, I gain a friend for life.
- I tend to be at my best when I am part of a stable group of friends I can trust. I seek workplaces in which friendships are encouraged. I do not do well in an overly formal organization.
- I deliberately learn as much as I can about the people that I meet. I like knowing about people, and others like being known. In this way, I am a catalyst of trusting relationships.
- I show people that you trust them, and in turn they are more likely to trust others. I can be an important role model in this area.
- I let my caring show. For example, I find people in my company to mentor, help my colleagues to know each other better, or extend my relationships “beyond the office.”
- No matter how busy I am, I stay in contact with my friends. They are my fuel.
I am adept at dealing with problems, figuring out what is wrong and solving it. I love to solve problems. I enjoy the challenge of analyzing symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution. I bring things back to life by fixing them or rekindling their vitality. I bring courage and creativity to problematic solutions.
I focus on solutions. I bring a solution-oriented mindset to daily problems. I readily. Taken on projects that others believe “can’t be saved.” I can analyze a situation, identify potential shortcomings, and make the necessary adjustments.
- Every problem has a solution. I use my talents to find it and fix it.
- I seek roles in which I am paid to solve problems. I particularly enjoy roles in medicine, consulting, computer programming, or customer service, where my success depends on my ability to restore and resolve.
- I look for turnaround situations that others avoid. I enjoy the challenge, and I will further my “can do” abilities and reputation.
- I might be attracted to difficult problems, but should also look for easy-to-solve problems that offer big results.
- I should let everyone know that I enjoy fixing problems. It comes naturally to me, although many people shy away from problems. I can help.
- I should think through the ways I can improve my skills and knowledge. Identify the courses I can take to plug any gaps.
I want to include people and make them feel like part of the group. I notice people who feel like outsiders and try to reach out and bring them in. We are all equally important.
I am sensitive to those who are excluded and have an innate desire and capacity to bring them into the group. My approach not only increases participation and communication as I ensure that everyone is considered, but it also brings a level of tolerance and acceptance of diversity.
- I shrink the gap between insiders and those on the outside.
- I choose roles in which I am continuously working and interacting with people. I enjoy the challenge of making everyone feel important.
- I look for opportunities to bring together people of diverse cultures and backgrounds. I can be a leader in this area.
- I help those who are new to a group get to know others. I am adept at quickly making people feel accepted and involved.
- I naturally look for the best in people. I help my friends and colleagues see what you see (their strengths), and how to maximize them.
- I enjoy explaining what we all have in common. I help others understand that to respect the differences among us (our diversity), we must begin by appreciating what we all share (our similarity).
Maximizers see talents and strengths in others, usually before anyone else does. Strengths fascinate them. Maximizers love to help others become excited about their potential. They have the capacity to see what people do best and which jobs they will be good at.
I have and bring to others a focus on quality. I naturally prefer working with and for the best. I create strengths within groups by enabling each person to do what he or she naturally does best. My drive toward excellence can lead to a new standard of success.
- I direct my energy to push for excellence in all you do. Seek roles in which you help others succeed. In coaching, managing, or teaching roles, my focus on strengths will prove beneficial to others.
- Once I have claimed my own strengths, I stay focused on them. I refine my skills. I acquire new knowledge. I deliberately practice. Keep working toward mastery.
- I devise ways to measure your performance and that of my colleagues. These metrics help me spot strengths.
- I regularly use my strengths outside of work. In doing so, I see how my strengths relate to my personal mission and how they benefit m family or the community. I study success. I deliberately spend time with people who have discovered their strengths. The more I understand how marshaling strengths leads to success, the more likely I am to create success in my own life.
I have a natural ability to orchestrate people and resources for maximum effectiveness. I am a shining example of effective flexibility. I like to determine how all of the pieces and resources can be arranged for maximum productivity.
- I help keep all of the balls in the air, but remember that sometimes I can do more with less.
- I am happiest when you are part of a team. I can offer my natural sense of organization to keep a group project moving toward its goal.
- I seek complex, dynamic work environments in which there are few routines.
- I may be a whiz at juggling schedules and people. These types of tasks may be rewarding to me.
- I play an integral role when changes are in the works.
- I develop successful strategies for getting things done. I challenge myself to find ways to make even the most successful systems and arrangements better.
- I explain that my flexibility doesn’t mean your priorities are constantly changing. I tell others that my priorities remain the same, but that I am simply looking for better ways to implement them.
I want to be very important in others’ eyes. I am independent and want to be recognized. It’s very important that others see and recognize my worth. I need to be heard and valued. Particularly, I want to be known and appreciated for the unique strengths I bring to the world. I seek to have an impact on people, groups and society as a whole. I want my contributions viewed as substantial, powerful and significant. I am motivated by my intense yearning to be recognized, and as a result, I keep reaching. I am pulled away from the mediocre and toward the exceptional.
The great thing about being strong in Significance begins and ends with the difference that I am determined to make. I want the world to be a better place because I am in it.
- Significant people do important things. I imagine the legacy I want to leave. I picture myself at retirement, looking back on a life that has made the world a better place. What will I have done to get there?
- I make lists the goals, achievements, and qualifications I crave and post them where I see them every day. I use this list to inspire myself and others.
- I perform very well independently, and share that insight with my team. I readily give examples of how I succeed with that kind of freedom. My team gives the the space I need to create exceptional results.
- I share my dreams and goals with my colleagues to keep me reaching and accountable on my mission. My ambitions motivate them to reach for outcomes they had never before considered.
- I stay focused on performance. My strong Significance power drives me to claim outstanding goals.
Those are my top 10 superpowers.
What are yours?