. . . what’s your superpower?
I know we all have a secret superpower we can use to lift ourselves up. But that’s not the type of superpower I’m thinking about.
I recently came across a job posting and as part of the application, they asked, “What are your two superpowers?” My typical first response was, “Oh I don’t have any superpowers.” For a job, aren’t they looking for things like “Master at Adobe Photoshop,” “speak 10 languages fluently,” “built my first computer at age nine,” or “superhuman strength”? Yeah, none of those are me.
But then, why would I sell myself short? I am good at some things.
Besides typing, I have some other superpowers—things I might not have considered superpowers before.
The first thing I thought of was tenacity. A few people have told me I’m the most tenacious person they know. I am pretty determined once I set my mind to something. As a kid, my father used to say I should be a lawyer because I’d argue my case so relentlessly.
Empathy is also my superpower. I used to think it was a weakness but now I’m proud of the fact that I am empathetic.
I am a freaking superhero at putting out fires—work fires or other people’s fires. Putting out my own fires, well, that’s probably my kryptonite.
Here are some of my other superpowers:
- Alphabetizing – This is a real thing. I love to alphabetize and I’m a rock star at it. My idea of a good time is spending a day alphabetizing books.
- Organizing – I love organizing and organization. I didn’t think I was that good at it but when an interior designer came to my place, she kept commenting about how organized I am. I didn’t see it. I mean, doesn’t everybody have labeled bins of supplies in a linen closet and neatly organized containers with labels in their pantry?
- Collaborating – I think the best ideas come from true collaboration. When I worked at National Geographic Learning, whether creating a new product or working through the production process, whenever we could, we got the group together to collaborate—and by group I mean not only the product developers and editors but also the operations managers, production assistants, photo researchers, marketing coordinators, essentially the whole team. Collaboration breeds different perspectives and new ideas.
- Problem solving – At one of my first jobs, our VP of Operations said something that stuck with me to this day. “Don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions.” It wasn’t up to her to rescue the team or the project. She empowered us to make our own decisions. I’ve followed that practice in my work and passed it on to others. I remember a meeting with one of my editors who continually came to me with problems—he was great at planning and could see what wasn’t going to work. That’s a skill in and of itself. And, I needed more so I said the same thing to him. From then on, he didn’t come to me with just the problems or why we couldn’t do something; he’d come with his ideas and solutions. More often than not, we’d implement his solution.
- Hope – I am nothing if not a hopeful person, even when it seems all hope is lost. And this may be my greatest superpower.
What “skills” do you think make a superpower? What are your superpowers? Some may be obvious—you’re an expert cook and can whip up a meal without a recipe and whatever ingredients are around the house or you’re a social media whiz—and some may be skills you didn’t even consider, such as determination or telling great jokes or being a great energizer.
You might be surprised. You have more superpowers than you think. And I, for one, think we can use more superheroes in our world.