Is Your Superpower Recognizing Others’ Superpowers?

by Rebecca Morgan, CSP, CMC on March 11, 2019

Rebecca Morgan quote Photo: Rebecca Morgan, Chinese New Year lanterns, Hong Kong

 

Identifying one’s “superpower” has become a hot topic. We are encouraged to identify where we excel. This is not always an easy task. Most of us are either oblivious to how we stand out, or at the other end of the continuum, think have more competence than we actually do.

Thus it’s a challenge to figure out our brilliance. It helps to ask a cross section of friends, peers and your boss or clients to see if a trend appears.

I recently asked an intact group to share the superpowers they saw in individual teammates. This was a moving exercise, resulting in the CEO in tears. She said she had no idea people thought she possessed so many admirable qualities.

Sometimes our superpower is recognizing the brilliance of others. However, we don’t often tell them, as we figure they already know. Don’t make this mistake! People often don’t see their excellence because they take it for granted. It takes no thought for them, they do it naturally.

Or someone may think you have an asset when you think it’s a liability. It takes someone else to point out the thing that you don’t value is highly valuable to others.

For example, I was traveling in Asia for several weeks and needed to do laundry for my last few days. What prompts most people to want to do laundry? Undies! I couldn’t find a convenient laundromat, but remembered a nearby street merchant selling women’s undergarments. I approached the petite women who I assumed spoke little English. I pointed to the lingerie on her table, then to my prodigious hips, and held my hands wide, like showing the size of a fish. “Giant?” I asked. She smiled, pointed to my hips and said, “Nice!”

I was taken aback. I’d never considered my wide hips to be “nice.” But I immediately realized that for someone who didn’t have curves and would have liked some, they would be nice. I hadn’t appreciated something that she admired. It gave me a new perspective.

Help others appreciate something you admire about them but they may not. Make a habit of sharing what you admire, appreciate, or acknowledge in others. You will be more connected. And the receiver may shift their perspective on what they may have long held as a liability.

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