Finding your superpower

September 11, 2017



Over dinner, Jo and I were talking about our unique capabilities; or as @jimkwik puts it, our superpowers.


What makes you different? 


Much like in business where companies are urged to identify their unique competitive advantage or their “secret sauce” to win in the market, this can also be applied to the individual level. In career development centers, this may take the label of “unique capability.” How to differentiate yourself from the other candidates applying for the same job or program. 


Whether someone is a job candidate, employee, entrepreneur, creator, or manager, it is critical to undergo the process of identifying and honing one’s unique capability. Among the long list of benefits, some that I have personally experienced include sharpening my personal pitch / story, having clarity on what role I am best suited for in a team/project, and knowing where to further invest in growth & development. 


Strategic Coach defines a Unique Ability with 4 key characteristics: 

  1. It is a superior skill that others notice and value 

  2. It is something you care about

  3. It is something that gives you energy 

  4. It is something you constantly look to learn and further develop 


The theory below is what worked for me. For a more structured and thorough process, check out the Unique Ability 2.0 Discovery by Nomura, Waller and Waller (based on the concept by D. Sullivan at the Strategic Coach


For myself, I pride my unique capability in orchestrating resources to capture an opportunity. What exactly does that mean? It entails having a strong grasp of the purpose and objective of any given opportunity, then, identifying the people, information and tools needed to get the job done. There is a mix of facilitating the right conversations, being resourceful and creative in who/what/how the job is done, and most importantly, following through to the very end. 




1) Conduct a 360 feedback from people in your family, friends, communities, work, interests and hobbies  - The key here is to get a truly diverse set of input (beyond a work capacity) 


2) Seek to understand what you truly excel at and is valuable to others 


3) Understand what excites you the most (hence why it is essential to talk to people from all aspects of your life) 


4) Look through your browser history, book shelf, or closet - what do you see most? 


5) Based on 1 thru 4, what are the common threads? 


6) Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! 


7) Include it in your pitch / story the next time you meet someone - does it feel right? 


8) Test and iterate until you “feels” right 


9) Proactively implement it in your introductions, your daily activities, your learning, etc.


10) Keep revisiting this exercise as it may change over time 


Tip: You will have arrived at your unique capability when you are no longer saying “….but, I am also good at X.” It is extremely difficult to come down to a single ability when we are talented in multiple things. If you could sell 1 service as an employee/entrepreneur for the rest of your life - what would it be? 


What’s your superpower? Comment below 👇💭



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