We all have talents. All of us. Some of us are walking around with skills and gifts so abundant that literally everywhere we turn, we are doing something productive and magnificent. Others of us have to dig a little deeper to find out what it is we are meant to do and be. And both ways of being are absolutely okay.
I believe we are all perfectly built with the exact talents, gifts, skill-potential and intuitive interests that are meant to carry us through and help us offer the greatest service on this planet. I also believe that every single one of us has at least one superpower that allows us to make the most of what we are supposed to be doing in this life. Some people are meant to be able to create, cook, crunch numbers, play the piano and dress with effortless élan, and others are meant to be quieter, more grounded, more ready to listen when a crisis occurs or to be patient when those around us need a patient person most.
I also suspect that some of the most laudable superpowers we carry are the least obvious at first.
Unfortunately, the people who are the most robustly and outwardly talented often get the most external rewards, and that can be super confusing and painful for those who are barely able to pay the rent, let alone create a 7-course meal for 50 people with organic ingredients and pristine table setting. While as people, we certainly do enjoy outside validation, this is not in any way the primary indicator that we are moving our lives in the right direction.
The primary indicator that we are moving our lives in the right direction is a sense of innate knowing, well-being and awareness that the actions and the gifts that we are using are coming from our authentic nature.
The single mom who works at the local grocery store has every bit the purpose on this planet as the actor who is using public forums as a place to promote social change; in fact, maybe the single mom has more – it all depends on how you view the lens.
If you are a person who is floating around and unsure of what your purpose is or have yet to discover your greatest gifts, this week’s blog is dedicated to you.
Three Ways to Discover Your Built in Superpowers
1. Lean into the effortless flow
As humans, we are often programmed to do more, to strive more, to achieve more and to attain as much outside success as we can. We do this in order to earn a certain amount of attention and validation, which we misguidedly confuse with authentic love. We think, wrongfully, that if we keep getting more degrees and getting more money and getting more successes, that somehow, someday we will feel worthy enough.
Some people are meant to go to school for 100 years and win Pulitzer Prizes. Many others are not. What I can guess is that most people who have won the Pulitzer Prize would not say that their ultimate goal was to win a Pulitzer Prize. Most of them would most likely say that they had an inherent passion for a topic or book or course of study that was so palpable that they couldn’t NOT follow it and that is what led to the success, but that the ultimate goal was not the garnering of the success. I would also bet that most people who win the Pulitzer Prize don’t stop studying, learning or writing about their passions AFTER they win – most likely because the “win” was never their goal to begin with. The “goal” was to follow the flow of what they couldn’t avoid doing because it screamed so loudly to their souls.
What I mean by all of this is that when there is an ingrained passion present, one that is led with the effortless flow that comes from a desire to make a difference (not just a desire to be successful), then more happiness and accomplishments will follow. Your passions and talents may lead to a great garnering of external accolades, but they also may not. If they don’t, that is no reason to label that passion or the success not up to par. Different doesn’t mean less than, it just means different.
How do you know if you are in the effortless flow or not?
Are you constantly in fight mode trying to achieve something that is an end point, but not really pausing to listen to what you want and need? Are you hustling with all of your might and not gaining the success you want in a particular area? Are you constantly feeling internal angst and pressure, but not joy, regarding a course of action, but don’t know how to stop going the wrong way? This means that you are not in effortless flow. If you keep trying at a course of action and it never works, maybe there is something to that. Perhaps there is a quiet, still voice inside of you that goes, oh, right, what you REALLY want is to be a foster parent or to volunteer at the local shelter or to start your own flower business – but you are caught between what you really want and what you think you are supposed to want.
When we are caught between what we really want and what we think we are supposed to want, we are always creating internal pain.
Living in the effortless flow means paying attention. It means listening to our inner voices and even our physical reactions to things. It means realizing that the direction(s) we go where things line up, where we find our talents fitting into the puzzle piece perfectly without a lot of fight or angst or fear, where we just “know” how to do something (even if it requires learning, the learning is intuitive) without tons of strain and stress and pain. It means going with the stream and not against. And it means not judging ourselves, but applauding ourselves, if we discover our superpower is being a great friend or being a loving neighbor or being the best advocate for animals in need instead of things that may attain more fame and external glory.
True glory comes from within. And until we are on a path of least resistance and optimal self-love, we won’t achieve our purposeful goals (goals that are meant to be) or true peace.
2. Realize that your superpowers and your career may not be the same things
In some cases, our best talents and gifts are made for our life’s work. In other cases they are not. Some of the most giving and talented people I know share most of their greatest gifts outside of the realm of their work days/time. Others literally have a life’s calling to do a certain type of work that involves them serving either individuals or the larger whole in a specific way.
Both scenarios are valid and both are an equally respectable way to live.
If everyone’s superpowers were centered only around work, the world would be misshapen, relationally speaking. Some people make beauty in life through creating community for others. Some people create joy on the planet by their sense of humor no matter where they might be at any given moment (work or in line at a coffee shop). Others create tremendous landscapes and grow flowers in their front yard(s) that bring joy and pleasantries to neighbors and passers-by. And others, still, can organize a closet like the best of them – which is a great tool to share with friends and family who may be more chaotic in nature.
While it may seem like a downer if you are a person who doesn’t “get” to have your career as your superpower, try to look at it from a different angle. The world is a tapestry of people of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, beliefs, talents and intellects. The world is created perfectly just as it is – with everything we need in order to learn and grow and evolve as spiritual beings.
The man who works at the local fruit stand in Ecuador may be the most epic and meaningful part of many people’s days. He may not own the fruit stand. He may not have great riches or fame. He may not even want to work at the damn fruit stand. But maybe he does it with kindness and consistency and humor that brings some people joy that they wouldn’t experience outside of him on that day. Maybe he shows great integrity in his work and great value for what he does (even if it wasn’t his first choice) and maybe that inspires others to go through their days with more kindness, integrity and patience for others.
In this example, the man’s career isn’t his superpower, the very essence of his being is. And for many of us, our superpowers are rooted more in our essence(s) than in our activity.
Maybe your career is a place where you manifest your superpower(s), maybe it isn’t. But to be sure, if you are living from a place of joy within yourself and openness to make the maximum difference while also engaging in the least amount of internal fight, you are on the right path.
3. Ask around (and take stock)
The people around you who love you and whom you can trust often see your talents more than even you do. They may not tell you, because they may not know you need to hear it; but if you are having a hard time figuring out what your greatest talents and purpose is in this life, it is absolutely a good rule of thumb to ask others how you make them feel. What do they notice about you? Do they see things in you that maybe you don’t see in yourself?
While this is a potentially scary and vulnerable thing to do, it can really yield some remarkable results. First, you might find out you have talents that you never even considered you might have. You may also get some feedback about ways that your friend/loved one sees that you deviate or take side-streets to move away from your true purpose and towards fear.
All of this feedback is useful, even the potentially hard-to-hear information, because it allows you to get a front row experience to what those closest to you see and value as the best parts of who you are!
If you are afraid to ask around (or as an addition to asking around), take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the center of the page. On the left side make a list of everything you can think of that you have done in your life until now that hasn’t felt good. Paths you have taken that proved to be dead ends or that just were way too much struggle for them to feel worth it. On the right side, make a list of all the things you have noticed in your life that bring you joy, that feel like the path(s) of least resistance, that seem to bring those around you the most joy.
Now take the list, rip the left side off and throw it away if you want. Or, if you prefer, keep it as a reminder of HOW you feel when you go down paths that don’t really serve you. Take the right side and read it every day (maybe even multiple times a day) and make a game of continuing to take stock of your movement towards the things that feel intuitive and good on a daily basis. Pay attention. How do you feel when you move toward the things that come naturally and serve you and others in your world most? How can you continue to take that feeling and weave it into the movement(s) of your daily life?
Keep practicing, one day at a time, to move towards that feel-good place. And what you will find is that, over time, even if you haven’t already discovered your superpowers, your superpowers are well on their way to discovering you.
If you are seeking to live our best life and want to pay more attention to the things that you do best, I would be happy to help. Refer to this blog for a complimentary, 30-minute phone consultation.