You cannot be alive today and not have noticed the abundance of men in tights and women in capes; some are leaping tall buildings in a single bound while others are lifting those buildings with a single hand. Of course, I’m talking about superheroes. They are everywhere: in our movies, on our TV sets, and in our books. And even if we don’t have their powers, we still love them. We always have, and we probably always will. But why? Why are we drawn to these figures with their metallic armor, lassos of truth, and hammers of justice?
My belief is because, at their core, they are good people who do good deeds. It might be their superpowers that entertain us, but it’s their super selves that make us want to be like them. They know who they are, what needs to be done, and they do it. That is a strength that comes from within the person themself.
Knowing who we are is a fundamental key to success. We cannot hope to understand others until we first understand ourselves. And we cannot lead or influence others until we first know who we are, live by it, and just as importantly, act on it. As William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “to thine own self be true.” Which means, know who you are and then act accordingly. Our superhero friends have learned that it’s not their powers that define them but rather how they use their powers. In that regard, we are all superheroes, or can be, because we all have the ability to be great at something—something important—something that can shape not only our lives but the lives of countless others.
Here are five prominent characteristics that allow us to become our very own superhero:
- Integrity: Know who you are and act on it. Demonstrate honesty and strong moral principles, no matter the size of the challenge.
- Courage: Take on the tough tasks. To venture forth and discover new lands, you must be willing to lose sight of the shore.
- Attitude: Demonstrate a positive attitude. With it, all things are possible. The Little Engine was right when he kept telling himself, “I think I can. I think I can.” And guess what: he did.
- Empathy: The ability to recognize and understand the human condition and react accordingly.
- Action: Know who you are and then act on it. The actions outside must match the character inside.
Each of us has the power within us to be a superhero and change lives, change organizations, and even, change a little bit of the world. And that is pretty super.