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You want to make an impact on your world and feel a sense of contribution and significance.  You may be looking at one of the many transition points in life.  Maybe the kids are about to all be in school.  Or you’re looking for a new job.  Or you just retired but sure as heck are not ready to put yourself out to pasture.

The idea of possessing a superpower appeals to you but seems rather fanciful.  But deep down you know there is some special reason you inhabit this planet.  You’re just not sure your current gig utilizes it.

In order to detect your superpowers, you must begin by searching for the right clues.

As with all good clues, it takes a little digging to find them.  In this case, down to the roots of the parent words “super” and “power”.

Personal Power

The essence of power is ”to be able to do or act.”  This applies to any and everything.  Cars as well as solar systems.  People as well as arguments.

Potential Power v. Performance Power

There is potential power and then there is performance power.  One starts the doing.  The other does the doing.  Potential power starts things moving and performance power keeps things going.  When the power goes out, the doing goes out.

Power is a central concept and perhaps the most sought after commodity in the whole universe.  It takes a lot to create power, and a lot to maintain it.

So power in itself is, well…powerful.

Describing Personal Power

The word choices relating power to humans are greater than any collection of word choices for any other object or system out there.  For example capability, capacity, influence, skill, talent, aptitude, empathy, functioning, roles, gift, bent, competency, effectiveness, value, virtue and many others can be used to describe power that we possess.

And that marks one special thing about superpowers.  The are diverse and creatively unique.  There is nothing staid or common about one’s superpowers.

The Super Part

The adjective ‘super’ means above, beyond, or exceedingly.  It be due to quantity, quality, or relevance.  It is often subjective and may be difficult to pinpoint, measure or describe.  It’s almost impossible to replicate.

We see and experience a talent or skill that is notably consistent within a person.  That is a clue of a superpower.

Or we see and experience a capacity or bent that stands out next to others.  That is a clue of a superpower.

Because of this superpowers bring to others what is valuable to them – value that is received and appreciated whether expressed with words or not.

That’s how you begin to detect your superpowers, and the superpowers in others. 

The Best Clues Are In The Thank-You’s

To detect your superpowers, the best clues are found in the thank-you’s.

The things which we put into action that are notably above average and to which others value and express gratitude (not always in words) – those are your candidate superpowers.

It could be your no nonsense decisiveness which guides a chaotic work team.  It could be a musical talent that is enjoyed by others. It could be the way you treat people making them feel loved.  Or your empathy with hurting people.  Or your skill at organizing numbers to understand the health of a business.

On your journey to discover your superpowers, begin with where the thank-you’s are.  Where do others express gratitude and appreciation for you in what you do?

To You For Them

Keep in mind there are a lot of ways to express power, but not all are appreciated.  There are also many ways to be noticed, but not all result in doing anything of value.

But if what you do is noticed by others and appreciated for what it brings to THEM, chances are you are looking at one of the superpowers that has been gifted to YOU.

Beginning Your Search

Maybe it’s time to begin looking for those clues for yourself.  Here are three things to do next in your search.

  1. What are you asked to do that you enjoy doing?
  2. Where do you have a history of impact that you reflect upon with fondness?
  3. What do you think you are good at, that others have paid you for with money, applause, or compliments?

As you begin to turn up your clues, we’d love to hear your comments posted below.



[This post is another installment of  The Superpower Series – Discovering and Embracing Your Unique Place in Work and Life.  You can see the first installment of this series by going here.  You can also subscribe to the entire series by sharing your contact information below.]

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