Entering the Batcave

Do you know what your superpowers are? How many of them do you deem inappropriate for the work place?

I don’t feel it is unreasonable to claim there are many of us that for some reason or other, decide to hide our strengths behind a façade, the Clark Kent glasses, if you will. But take a moment to imagine how work might change if you not only turned up in your cape, but actively engaged in (read here : flaunted) what you are good at.

Image by Jane Kelly via Shutterstock

I may be getting ahead of myself. This might be a concept you’ve not engaged with before, so for those of you who lack a mystical mentor or insistent nemesis to help coax out your powers, how do you identify them?

Thankfully, the best place to start is simple : think about it. Set aside time to brainstorm, make a list, identify what skills, tasks or endeavours come easily to you (in both your professional and personal life). Consider what you love doing, what energises you, the aspects of your hobbies and passion projects that appeal to you. Another approach I found especially revealing is to consider what people seek you out to do the most, the things people think you are amazing at and have told you as much - don’t be afraid to ask your nearest and dearest as part of the exercise.

If you prefer a more systemised, development-based approach I would recommend utilising the parameters defined by Karl Staib of Work Happy Now. His interest lies in developing superpowers specifically to leverage career success, and believes there is a difference between regular strengths and superpowers. According to his paradigm something is a superpower if it aligns with three factors : passion [1], focus [2] and strength [3]. If it doesn’t tick all three boxes, it isn’t a super power. On the plus side, he also claims that with time and effort you can coax a superpower out of a regular strength.

Once you identify your superpowers, employ them. Your role might not lend itself to engaging your superpowers but that is where creativity comes into play. Be practical and considerate in your approach, and have the confidence to let people know what they are. By actively and openly volunteering your superpowers you will find that eventually these tasks come your way more often. It may even lead to unexpected opportunities outside the current bounds of your job description.

I’ve personally found that bringing focus to superpowers allows you to be your more authentic self in the workplace. Though it might seem obvious in hindsight, my job became more fulfilling and rewarding when I actively employed them, and ultimately led to some of my personal passions appearing in the work I do. Just to be clear, the main function of my role is office and financial administration. While there are tasks within that role that cater to a superpower or two, it is no coincidence I’m the editor and a contributor on the company blog.

I titled this piece ‘Entering the Batcave’ because I like to think that with a little bit of thought and flexing with finesse, your superpowers can be added to your utility belt irrespective of the environment in which you find yourself. I encourage you make the time to enter the cave, ‘equip’ your belt, and wear it every day, whether you are donning a suit or spandex.

[1] For something to be considered a passion you shouldn’t need to force yourself to do it. It is something you would do for free, talk about for hours and leaves you feeling enriched and fulfilled. You can still be good at something and not want to do it. If this is the case, it isn’t a superpower.

[2] This is about how long you can stay in the present moment while doing something. Do you get lost in the ‘zone’ while doing it? If you are struggling to devote more than 30 minutes to it, it isn’t a superpower.

[3] Ultimately you need to produce quality results from your superpower, and just as importantly, other people should notice it.

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