Want to know how to thrive in your career? The answer lies in your superpower


I know sign language. What’s your superpower?” says the shirt worn by the speech and hearing impaired service staff at Mirchi and Mime, a multiple time Times Food Award winning restaurant in Mumbai. They always knew sign language, but recognising it as a unique power, charged their career in the restaurant industry where they had no jobs a few years ago.

So, what is your superpower? What do you bring to your job, role and interactions that consistently adds value? When do people seek you out and why? Often your superpower is lying in plain sight and is not your technical qualification. Find and nurture it to enjoy your work while thriving in your career. Like every superhero, your superpower can also have a dark side that you need to avoid. Do you recognise any of your superpowers here?

Are you the person who enjoys the future more than the past and thus sees immense possibilities in a situation? Describe what you see. Do you find it inspiring? Dream some more and describe your vision in greater detail. People want to see a picture that energises them with hope. When you sharpen your ability to communicate your dreams in an inspiring manner, you empower yourself and others. In the role of a leader or startup founder, you are able to get a team together and make the shared vision a reality. To build this superpower, invest time to think about the vision you are creating. Read and learn more, to fill the gaps. Learn to communicate better so that your story is easily understood. Partner with people who are quick to act.
You are the first partner of the visionary. You bring enthusiasm and action to the table as a change-maker. While others are busy planning and discussing, you can’t wait for the meeting to finish and to get going with the action. Being around you raises everyone’s energy levels, gets stuff moving and makes it possible for a team or organisation to change. You learn by doing things and figuring out what works. Choose roles where you are measured on the results you deliver, where there is an opportunity for innovation/ change and seek decision makers who need your skills the most. Your biggest risk may come from an eagerness to commit and lock yourself on to a path to failure without having evaluated the risk.
While the visionary speaks and the change maker jumps into action, your thoughts go towards the optimal plan to reach the goal. The more complicated the situation, the more you enjoy thinking through what is available, what can work, what could fail and the best way to put everything and everyone together. Your superpower lies in your ability to constantly create effective plans and find better ways in a changing world. Choose roles where there are fewer rules and many moving parts including large events and projects. Beware of taking on too many projects on your plate and not being available for your manager or primary team.
While there are dreams and plans and projects, success is achieved only when things are completed. You know that you have amazing focus. Once you get started on a task, you have to see it to completion. You believe in fulfilling your responsibilities and commitments and getting the work done. You refuse to make excuses and fail on account of events outside your control. Your superpower is tenacity and grit and every team needs you to meet their goals. Your biggest challenge is your inability to let go. Avoid a sense of personal failure when the organisation or team’s priorities change, leading to your project being shelved or starved of resources.

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You are able to perceive what people are feeling even when nothing is said. Thus, you are able to understand, share and respond to their needs and emotions before anyone else. As you are also kind, people trust you with information. When you recognise your superpower and use it often, you build relationships across your firm and outside. You figure out where the real problems are and know how to solve them. All teams and plans work better, when you help people stay on board and aligned similarly. Be careful of getting burnt out or distracted from acting because someone’s feelings got hurt temporarily.
The first form of honesty is self-awareness. If you are able to realistically judge and identify the boundaries of your competence, you can choose roles where you will succeed and be happier instead of letting your ego lead you to failure. Similarly, if you find it easy to be authentic with people at work, then your team learns to trust you for your feedback and inputs. You become the go-to person to get a no-nonsense opinion of what is working and what is going wrong. You will soon be a manager, a mentor or a key person in every team. Don’t misuse honesty to revel in being ruthless, offensive or becoming a Devil’s advocate in every situation. When personal biases creep in and show up in emotional statements, your honesty becomes a barrier to success.

Super intuition

Like many leaders, you may have an instinct in certain areas that helps in quick judgments. Your intuition comes from experience combined with relevant skills. You glance at a data set produced by your team and know that it is wrong. Trust your intuition and invest effort to discover why it is wrong or why others too might think it to be wrong.
When you hear of a new startup or a business idea, you just know it will work or not. Don’t wait for a few months or years to fi nd out whether you were right. Become an investor or adviser to such businesses where you can add immense value through your guidance. You can also choose to start the same business or simply join it as an employee.
When a job-seeker interviews at your firm, you know in the first few moments whether he will be hired or not. You have an innate sense of your company or team culture and a strong reading on verbal and non-verbal cues. Constantly measure how often your judgment is right and volunteer to make your team hiring processes better and faster.
A master salesperson usually has a gut feel in the first 15 minutes, whether the sale will happen or not. If you have that intuition, use it to choose the individual or corporate customers you will chase. If you do not have a choice, then ask for more resources and your manager’s support where you know the sale will be tough.
Almost all leaders reached the top, because they correctly picked and focused on one critical thing. They did this multiple times in their careers. Do you have the intuition to cut through the chaos and fi gure out the one or two things that matter in the current situation? Learn to say – NO – to everything else and execute to your intuition to succeed often.

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(The writer is a career coach, mentor and the author of yoursortinghat.com)



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