Don’t discard your superpower!
Our strength most often has a shadow side. Perhaps we are a skilled leader, and yet, when operating from our shadow, we may be labeled bossy.
Too often I’ve seen talented employees try to change the very essence of who they are due to “suggestions for improvement” that were generated from a moment in time or a pattern that continues to surface. They abandon the very skillset and behaviors that are their superpowers. Why?
Perhaps, when we get constructive or negative feedback (notes, critique, suggestions, calibration, etc), we can take it to heart because we realize there’s some truth in it and we want to improve. We need to consider the source of the feedback – the moments that created the feedback and the grain of truth first.
Pause and ask two questions:
- Who? — Is this a viable source for this opinion?
- Instinct — What does your gut say? Does it connect with something you know you can and want to adjust?
If the answer to these questions is “no,” give a “thank you for the insight” and move on with your day.
If the answer is “yes,” and it seemed to hit you in your gut, you may have received feedback that highlights the shadow side of your superpower. That’s often why it hurts so much. It’s as if they’re telling you that your most fabulous gift, where you thought you were strong, is the problem! Yikes!
Well-intentioned colleagues, managers, and leaders can set in motion a skilled employee tossing out their greatest professional asset. When stressed or under pressure, we all can shift to the flip side of what we usually count on as our greatest asset. And people may be reading our superpower as something different.
For instance, people may see us as:
- Reserved and seemingly not invested rather than a thoughtful processor who takes time and care to choose the best way to communicate.
- Emotional (regardless of gender) rather than an empathetic person who senses what is going on with a team and cares to speak up and
draw attention to a situation or power dynamic that needs to shift.
- Bossy rather than knowing what needs to get done and focuses a team quickly.
- A bulldozer rather than a person who can hold a stressful space and get things moving.
With this in mind, examine that feedback now. Flip it over, turn it inside out, look at it closely to find the affirmative, positive, asset filled version of that exact same feedback.
Identify your Superpower.
Examine the less than affirmative feedback you have received.
How are they connected?
Reclaim your Superpower and embrace how it can benefit you and work against you!
When stressed, our superpower may get a little out of sorts and land less effectively, and maybe even harshly. Passions and superpowers contain a lot of energy and they need to be managed. And the good news is – we can manage them.
Instead of abandoning your superpower to please others, we need to anchor ourselves in the affirmative side that works for us.
Reclaim it instead of tossing it away as a bad thing!! “That feistiness is the other side of my spirited and energized clarity that is an asset to my team.”
Own all sides and aspects of your gift. Recognize that it’s an integral part of who you are, and take the critique of its flip side even more to heart.
Honor yourself with a quick understanding of how the shadow of your strength manifests. You have a superpower and it comes with much to learn. Don’t shy away from examining it. Observe when the shadow surfaces, acknowledge it, listen to feedback and manage it yourself. It’s all you. Embrace it and move forward with your gift.