The other night, I had dinner with a new friend. We talked for hours about life, relationships, our missions, and our goals. Then, this friend said something that I had never heard before. It was a phrase that took me aback. “All of us have a superpower,” she declared. “It’s kind of like your cape.”
I had never thought of myself as having a superpower, but as I walked home that evening, the description made me smile. I went into the makeup room at TODAY the next morning and asked Edna and Gina (two talented women whom I work with) if they felt that they had a superpower. Like me, neither had ever thought of themselves in that way. Still, they were both able to easily answer the question.
“Being all in with everyone I know,” one of them said. “Forgiveness,” said the other.
As they spoke, both became wide-eyed at the idea that they possessed an ability that was unique to them — a power that could, in fact, change another person’s life. As they stopped to think of their superpower as something significant, their faces lit up. It was like they recognized all of a sudden that they had a special gift that they could give to others.
There is an old saying attributed to Mark Twain that goes, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were the born and the day you find out why.”
I’m a big believer in finding your “why,” and I actually apply my why to almost everything that comes across my desk. Why should I choose to do this? Does it fit into my mission, or not? I know finding your why isn’t easy. I also know that your why can change and evolve over time. That’s certainly been the case for me.
Knowing my “why" — knowing my mission and my purpose — has made life simpler. I must say, though, that this new notion of shifting my “why” into my “superpower” has made me feel even more empowered. It’s made me feel even lighter.
All of us are put here on Earth for a specific reason. I’ve noticed that many people are anxious because they haven’t yet discovered their purpose. They’re fearful of not finding the one big thing they came here to do. But what if you shifted your thinking from finding your purpose to finding your superpower?
What is it that makes you smile? What is it that you do really well in life? Maybe it’s teaching. Maybe it’s parenting. Maybe it’s organizing your fellow citizens to do something in your local community. All of those things are superpowers that change lives.
Look, our world is complicated. For so many of us, it’s also scary. Everyone I speak to seems to be worried about the state of politics, the state of the climate, the state of the economy, and the state of health care. They’re also constantly comparing themselves to others and end up feeling less than or not enough. But what if we all started to focus on our superpowers instead? What if we saw our superpowers as our ability to forgive, our ability to care, our ability to make someone smile, our ability to connect, our ability to listen, or our ability to comfort?
Maybe your superpower is writing. Maybe you are a healing force in your family or circle of friends. Maybe you are able to alleviate suffering. Maybe you love with an open heart. All of these superpowers are huge, trust me. They are big. They change lives. Those running for president may get all the attention, but the ones who deserve it — the ones who are really wearing the capes and making a difference — are the warriors of love, forgiveness, healing, etc. They are the ones on the frontlines of humanity who are impacting lives, one by one.
This week, consider sitting with a friend and telling them what you perceive their superpower to be. I guarantee that the gift you give them will shift their thinking about themselves. I guarantee it will make them feel empowered, gifted, and special.In complicated times, we need new kinds of super heroes — ones like you, me and your friends. So, own your power. It will lead you to your birthright and, maybe, it will lead you to find your why.