Sunday, March 7, 2010

What's Your Superpower?

I just finished reading Seth Godin's Linchpin. He writes:

"When you meet someone you need to have a superpower. If you don't, you're just another handshake."
Uh-oh. I take everything personally so I struggle to respond to this challenge.
I can't fly. I don't have x-ray vision. Occassionally I wish I had an invisibility cloak but I don't think that counts. Sorry. No superpowers here.

Yet Godin continues:
"If you want to be a linchpin, the power you bring to the table has to be very difficult to replace. Be bolder and think bigger. Nothing stopping you."
Godin sets the bar a bit too high. Or does he? He says there's hope for us even if we're not Aquaman, Wonder Woman or Steve Jobs. That doesn't mean it's easy. Remember the good ole days when a computer science degree was a one-way ticket to a 300,000 square feet of luxury and freedom 55. Unfortunately you can't get by on skills alone anymore. In a hyper-competitive job market saturated with highly skilled people you need to stand out from the crowd.

How DO you stand out from the crowd?
  • Be indispensible: tackle the tough problems, pitch in and help out even if it's not your job.
  • Add complimentary skills and knowledge to your current skillset.
  • Make other people, especially your boss and customers, look good.
  • Exceed expectations. Be remarkably good at what you do.
  • Be an artist. Design a more elegant, more beautiful and simpler solution.
  • Do the emotional work: Be empathetic, conscientious and considerate towards everyone who has the good fortune to cross your path.
  • Have fun: Bring humour and light heartedness to your work.
Your superpower comes from the heart. It's what people love about you. Proudly display your superpower like Superman busting out of a phonebooth.

Laura Upcott

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