Career, Life Hacks

What is your Superpower?

Courtesy of ap-photographie on Flickr
Courtesy of ap-photographie on Flickr

What is your Superpower?

Are you Super? Some programmers are 10x+ times better than their peers. And this distinction applies to team productivity in general. It makes it really important for you to know the thing you do better than anyone else. Doing more of that thing will make you happier at work and in general.

What is the one thing you do better than anyone else? If other people were to talk about how you interact in the world, what’s the “signature strength” they would talk about when they talk about you?
Some people focus on interpersonal strengths – understanding how people interact – while others can compute and understand information better and differently than anyone else. And others just see the world differently.

Here’s a sampling:

My superpower is creating, building, and maintaining relationships.

Whether you are a foodie, a Red Sox fan (go #RedSoxNation), or have an interest in Irish Wolfhounds or food photography, these are the things I remember about you. I build relationships with people over time and in different cities based on the skills they do (that person is amazing at databases), things they like (that person is a fan of independent music), or activities they enjoy (that person enjoys kayaking), or where they are from (that person hails from Alaska). Relationships are built in part from shared experiences, and knowing more about how people view the world helps build those relationships.

Why is skills-based or affinity-based tagging a Superpower?

I can’t help associating these things for you. When I see an article you might like, a company that would pique your interest, or meet a person who shares your interest, I’d like to share that with you. Skills-based or affinity-based “tagging” (for lack of a better term) is beneficial because when I meet someone new who shares that skill, I now have two nodes (the beginning of a network) around that idea or competency or activity. Skills-based thinking helps me to know that you might enjoy the article I just read because it’s on 3-d printing and your company built a 3-d printer. Or maybe you just like to be reminded of the cuisine from your home town and like to sample it when you find a particularly good example.

All of these things create human capital. Know that not everyone is open to getting this information all of the time – you really need to know when using your superpower should be limited to the right place and time – and finding more of the people who appreciate what you do is a key component of maximizing this value.

Understanding and sharing ideas, places, and relationships in this way creates a trigger for action. Much like a birthday, a new job, or a life event, knowing more about what people spend their time on helps you connect with them in a meaningful way more often.

Here are some more examples: what’s your superpower?

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