1:20 AM

“Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.” ~Buddha
It seems like the vast majority of people compartmentalize themselves.
There are the people they show to family and friends, built upon authenticity and genuine passions, and the people who wear work-appropriate masks to make a living from day-to-day.

I understand how this happens. It’s not easy to identify the work that would feel meaningful for you, discover how you can get on that path, and then consistently take action to create the life you visualize.

Recognizing what you want to do can take time, and the process of pursuing it can feel discouraging at times. We have immense power in creating what we visualize, but nothing is guaranteed, particularly when you want to do is something lots of people struggle to do.
Still, what I’ve learned these past couple of years is that a joyful journey leading toward an uncertain destination is far more fulfilling than a meaningless journey headed toward something clear and specific.

It isn’t necessarily the achievements that make us happy; it’s a sense that we’re spending our time in a way that leverages our talents and aligns with our passions and values.
 With this in mind, I was excited to speak with Karl Staib of Work Happy Now. Karl is an open-hearted person who told me on the day we met that one of his Super Powers is listening. He didn’t have to tell me; I could tell when I was talking about my passion for Tiny Buddha that he wasn’t waiting to talk—he was simply creating space for my enthusiasm.
Recently I had a few coaching sessions with Karl to explore my Super Powers. Since I found the whole experience enlightening, I’ve decided to share a little of what I learned from him along with my suggestions for leveraging Super Powers to choose meaningful work.

What Is a Super Power?

Karl explains a Super Power is something people often come to you to do. It’s something you excel at, in part because it’s a talent, but also because you enjoy doing it and do an amazing job at it.

Karl suggests that Super Powers depend on three factors:
  • Passion
  • Focus
  • Strengths

Four Tips to Discover Your Super Powers

1. Identify what you believe to be your best skills.

Think about the skills you currently use in your work, the ones you use outside of it, and the ones you’ve used in the past. Include everything that you do well—listening, writing, problem-solving, persuading,  connecting people, helping people reach fitness goals. Anything that you excel at.

2. Highlight the ones you feel passionate about.

Which ones have you done for free in the past? Which ones get you so excited you could easily write a whole blog or book about them? Which ones feel fulfilling, enriching, and maybe even healing when you do them?

3. Cross out the ones you consistently have trouble focusing on.

If you can rarely devote more than a half-hour to this skill, it likely isn’t a Super Power. You’re looking for those actions that you regularly get into the zone doing.
A lot of people want themselves to do something that they don’t actually want to do—maybe because they think they should do it just because they’re good at it and can make a lot of money with it.

I could have continued building a successful career in promotional marketing, but I a felt a slight resistance when getting ready for work. It was fun to travel and engage with people at concerts and sporting events but I didn’t feel like I was making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

For me, marketing wasn’t a Super Power unless I was marketing something that mattered to me.

If you have to force yourself to do something, cross it off the list.

4. Put a star next to the ones that other people recognize as strengths.

For a Super Power to guide your career, it has to be something you excel at. If you love writing but you struggle with communicating your thoughts, this may not be a Super Power—yet. If you’re willing to put in the time, you can change that.
Whatever you have highlighted and placed a star next to that isn’t crossed out is a Super Power.

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