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Find your superpower and thrive
Allan Kunigis, 08/23/2019
Discovering your own personal "superpower" might sound funny, but each of us has a particular strength or talent—or perhaps a few of them—that make us stand out.
If you can find this strength and hone it, it could become a superpower—the unique, differentiating quality that takes your business to the next level.
Developing the talent that sets you apart can do more than just appeal to clients. You may find that you're suddenly more energized and motivated to do your best work. "When people are aligned with their strengths, they can go from performing a job or pursuing a career to finding their calling," says Sandy Lewis, an executive coach and owner of Positive Shift Coaching in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Step one: ID your strengths
Start by figuring out where you shine. To help pinpoint your unique qualities, consider using one of two popular assessment tools for experts in this field: StrengthsFinder and the VIA Survey of Character Strengths.
StrengthsFinder, which sifts through 34 skills to identify which ones you should hone and leverage, offers "a quick and fun, easy assessment that will tell you your top five strengths," says Vanessa Oligino, director of business performance solutions at TD Ameritrade Institutional. "By developing those top strengths, you can add value and be your most successful."
Another option is the VIA Survey, a questionnaire that focuses on 24 character strengths such as Gratitude, Hope, Curiosity, Judgment, Bravery, Creativity, Leadership and Teamwork . Understanding your character strengths may help you realize your full potential when it comes to leading in your field.
Prefer a more DIY approach? Kimberly DuBrul, a Burlington, Vermont-based coach and trainer, suggests asking yourself to think of times when you felt you were at your best, such as solving a particularly challenging issue for a client or delivering a well-received presentation to your peers. "Write that story out," she says, "or share it out loud with others and have someone reflect back what strengths it took to do that."
Lewis has a couple of other thought-provoking questions that she suggests people reflect on: "When am I in flow?" and "Where do I get my energy?"
What exactly does that mean? When you are "in flow," she says, "you're challenging yourself, working at a high level, operating on all gears." You may become so absorbed that time passes without your realizing it. Another way of phrasing this is "What excites you?" Think about the aspects of your career that you most enjoy—it's likely because they align with what you're already good at.
Turn your strengths into superpowers
Once you've identified strengths that resonate with you—through any of those tools or exercises—you've found your potential superpowers. Your next step is to put them into practice in your daily life so they become fully developed.
One way to develop your top skills is through immersion. "Immerse yourself in one strength that you identify, and do it Monday through Friday. Apply it all day long, not just to your challenges, but to projects, positive things, and even at family dinner. Apply it on purpose," DuBrul says.
Alternatively, you could intentionally decide which strength to apply to a certain situation. When faced with a particular challenge or opportunity, such as preparing to host a meeting, she says: "Ask yourself, 'which one of my top-10 strengths could I pull in here to make this the best meeting that we've ever had?'"
Whatever your approach, don't get hamstrung by perfectionism. "Don't aim for being the best," advises Dr. Michelle Chappel, a Portland, Oregon-based superpower coach and creativity consultant. "Go for being better and better. If you try and be the best, you get lost in ego and you might give up if you aren't the best. But if you go for better, better, better, you keep moving forward based on your love for it."
Reshape your job
In many cases, we can do more than just develop strengths into superpowers. We can reshape our jobs to harness those superpowers and leverage them to our greatest advantage.
Consider your role as an investment advisor. There are many opportunities to shape it to your strengths. "Some advisors are more focused on the technical aspects of financial advice," says Oligino. "They may be more about selecting investments and constructing portfolios. Others outsource that, because their strength may be spending time with clients to learn how they can address their financial goals."
The process of creating more meaningful work, in which you let your superpowers shine, is called "job crafting." Psychologists note that when you craft your job—reframing your work physically, socially and cognitively, you can improve engagement and satisfaction, which can translate to improved performance.1
When we find ourselves stuck in roles or tasks that don't excite us, we tend to be less satisfied and might find ourselves procrastinating or neglecting certain tasks. When that happens, consider delegating those less-enjoyable tasks to someone else—possibly a colleague whose strengths and superpowers are a better match.
If you're doing more of what you love and what makes you thrive, you're less likely to experience burnout and more likely to emerge from the occasional rut.
"By asking right brain-igniting questions that uncover your skills and talents, you can breathe new life into what you're doing," DuBrul says. "You can see some new ways of looking at and feeling about your work that you hadn't discovered previously. I look at it as a way to lengthen your career in some cases."
1. "What is Job Crafting?" Positive-Psychology.com, May 17, 2019. Found here.
TD Ameritrade For investment professional use only.
TD Ameritrade and all third parties mentioned are separate and unaffiliated companies, and are not responsible for each other's policies or services.
TD Ameritrade Institutional, Division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2019 TD Ameritrade.
Content provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be advice for any firm.
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