I'm in my sparkly dress, it's short, I'm feeling sexy. It's Christmas time and we're going on a night out. Girls hit the town. It's a bunch of work colleagues and we're going for a few drinks at someone's house before we go out. So I arrive, feeling good in my outfit, walk into the kitchen, take off my coat and the first comment that hits me in that room is 'oh look, the thin person has arrived'. It was not said in a nice way. I smile and I bite my tongue, and my brain starts to immediately rationalixe that comment. Maybe that's coming from her own self-doubt, maybe she's meaning it as a compliment.
I put my brave face on, we have a nice time, and then when I get home, I'm pretty upset. There are tears. And in that moment, there's also some rage, you know when you have those comments and those retorts that you really wish that you'd come back with in the moment. Yeah there was all of that. I'm really glad on reflection that actually I didn't respond in that moment. Because once I'd thought about it, that comment came from her own personal insecurities. And my intense emotional reaction came from my personal insecurities.
And I noticed that I has similar feelings in many social situations, when I was out, when I was in the workplace. I can still remember being faced with my first ever A level class, walking into that room and being so intimidated by those humans in front of me. All bigger, confident, articulate. Every time I'd walk into a bar on a Saturday night, that feeling of being small and insignificant. Trying to get the attention of the people at the bar and no one's really noticing me. And you might compensate for that, or I did, by wearing heels, someone else who's feeling the same thing might be the loudest person in the room. My method was to just fade into the background and not say anything.
How is this related is this related superpowers? Because, feeling insignificant was my pain point.
Your superpower comes from your pain point.
That point of pain is your unique experience, and it's also therefore your biggest opportunity. That's where life is going to be your biggest teacher. It's your biggest area for personal growth. Your pain point is your superpower.
And at this point you're probably thinking, how do I turn my pain point into my superpower? At the moment, I'm just feeling the pain. And here's how you're going to do it.
Number 1 - create an identity that is opposite to the pain point
For me, I was feeling insignificant. The opposite to that, feeling strong, confident. And it doesn't matter the method, but my method in particular was to - and I just stumbled across it, but you can get someone to guide you through this process - was to hit the gym. Because if I could be strong, and also that to be a little unusual, I found that in being able to do a pull up. Not many females I knew could do a pull up. So even though I could walk into a room and be the smallest human there, I knew I had this inner power, this inner strength, that I could do probably something that they couldn't do. And that gave me confidence. That turned into a superpower.
This strength was born from the insignificance.
So you'll need to explore that for yourself, be curious. What is the opposite identity to your pain? And then start to cast votes for that identity. Start to gather evidence to start to convince your mind, your body that you are that different person or that you embody that different belief. So for me, it meant turning up to the gym consistently, and every time that I did, every time that I trained pull ups, became a vote for 'I am a strong person'.
You don't have to win, in terms of an absolute snowballs of wins, you just have to have more votes in the for category than you do the against. So it's not about being perfect. You just have to have more votes for 'I am confident' than 'I am insignificant'. And that keeps the needle ticking in your direction. Another instance might be, if we reverse that situation, 'I want to lose weight', so you might cast votes for 'I want to be a healthy person', in this situation, what would a healthy person do? And then over time, you gather evidence and you're making those decisions of a healthy person. You start to embody that, and that becomes your superpower.
Number 2 - figure out what you are already good at in your life
You are already successful at something. You a human with a life experience, you've done things. There's ways to uncover that, you might be sat there thinking 'I'm really not good at anything, I can't answer that question right now.' Any maybe that's because you're a bit biased in that! And you don't have a true or clear view of who you are and what you're good at. So ask someone who knows you. Ask a friend, a family member, a work colleague. Ask them 'what am I the go to person for?'. What would you consider me good at? What would you consider me successful at? Take advantage of their outside perspective. You don't want your personal fears to be - it's like looking in a cloudy mirror. Clean the mirror, get someone else to provide the perspective. It's quite often more trustworthy than the stories you're telling yourself. So you ask others - what am I the go to person for? And then again, cast votes for that identity. Repeat it.
A way that I implemented this in my life was ok, I'm rubbish at turning up on social media, and there was always reasons why, running two full-time jobs, it's mentally draining, it's physically draining, it doesn't add to my happiness. But actually is it important in terms of my mission and want I want to achieve - yes. So what am I good at? And thankfully, I didn't need to ask someone else but I would have done if I wasn't sure.
I've done 9 years of chemistry teaching and do you know what, that is the best training in being ruthlessly efficient. I can prioritise so well, I can make a strategy, I can plan, and I can follow through on that plan because I've led countless exam classes through an academic year many many times, to great success.
It came as a bit of a light bulb moment for me, why wasn't I using these skills in this area that I wanted to improve at. So I had a superpower, I just wasn't using it in the way that I wanted to, or that I could do. So guess what, flip that coin, I've now got a social media strategy, I now plan, I prioritise and then I implement that plan. I diverted an existing superpower towards the goal that was important to me.
This is what you are going to do this week. You're going to take these messages and act on them, and change something in your life. You're going to let me know in the comments what you found the most useful, and what you're going to do this week that's a little bit different.