Everyone is Someone’s Hero

By MARK RIFFEY for the Flathead Beacon

What if you could leap tall buildings, throw balls of fire or swing from webbing that shoots out of your wrist?

If you could, lots of people would think you were some sort of superhero. Thing is, a fair number of people probably feel that way already.

Maybe you can’t do any of those things, but I’ll bet you have this thing you do that’s amazing to people who know what you do.

Sadly, many of us take that special skill for granted. It doesn’t seem like something anyone would want because it’s easy for us. Yet for others who lack that skill or finesse at that task, it’s your superpower.

It’s the thing they wish you would do for them.

Why do we take it for granted?

We tend to take our superpower(s) for granted because we enjoy that particular work, it comes easy for us, it’s a natural talent that we appreciate, and/or because we like the benefits it provides, whether those benefits are direct and immediate or not. To us, it’s something that just happens.

Digital_RampageWhen this work has to be done, we simply deal with it in that Mr. Miyagi-esque wax-on, wax-off way that others might see as magical. Even if it doesn’t look like magic to others, it almost certainly is something they want for their life or business.

For example, my most frequently used superpower is the ability to deliver clarity. I usually do this in the face of a substantial amount of uncertainty, noise and BS. I developed a knack for helping people discard all the trash and focus on what matters most or what’s ultimately causal in a situation and help someone move forward – and I do so without making them feel stupid.

The funny thing about this ability is that it took several people telling me that this was my “superpower” for me to really “get” it.

The point of this discussion is that your superpower might also be something you don’t recognize or don’t see as a superpower. Ask a few people you’ve worked with what they value most about what you do for them. You might get some surprising answers about things you aren’t really selling right now. Speaking of selling, don’t be surprised to find that these things are difficult to sellwithout some serious re-adjustment to your marketing/positioning.

For example: Welcome to Rescue Marketing, would you like to buy a box of Clarity? Most likely, your answer would be something like “Sorry, just looking.”

Watch out for Kryptonite

Remember Superman’s allergy to Kryptonite? The funny thing about superpowers is that they sometimes have the oddest weaknesses or exceptions.

You can’t get too cocky about them or you end up in the clinches of your business’ version of Lex Luthor. For mere mortals like you and I, this can manifest itself through a superpower that you can only use on others. While I can help someone else’s business with clarity with what seems like ease (sometimes it is, sometimes not), applying it to my own projects can be incredibly difficult. I often need an outside view – the same sort of thing I’m used to providing to others. Ironic perhaps, but we have to be very careful not to create a little world where everyone agrees with us, because that world doesn’t buy too much.

Hello trees, where’s the forest?

Outside views are valuable because we tend to be too close to our own projects. We fall madly in love with them, which keeps us from seeing their flaws, or that they make no sense at all.

Think back over your business life for a moment. Have you ever created a product or service that just fell flat in the marketplace, even though you felt it was incredibly useful? We forget to get real about customer development and do the hard work of talking with potential customers, showing them working prototypes, talking with them repeatedly rather than spending two years building our Taj Mahal, only to find that no one thinks they need it. Your superpower must be marketed with care.

What’s your superpower?

Does anyone know about it? Is it at the core of the stuff you do for others? How do you package it?

Some people keep their superpower to themselves. Almost seems a shame not to share it with the world.

I’d like to hear about yours.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a strategic, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site, contact him on Twitter, or email him at mriffey@flatheadbeacon.com.


Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a strategic, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s sitecontact him on Twitter, or email him atmriffey@flatheadbeacon.com.  Check out the Flathead Beacon archive of all of Mark’s blogs.