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Q&A with Seth Godin – Shortcut to figuring out your superpower

At least, that’s title of the post I’d like to write – if only my annoying sense of morals would allow it! I got a chance to pick Seth’s brain last week and thought you’d benefit from a field report of the Q&A.

To be 101% honest, calling it a “Q&A” would be like calling a Manatee a “beautiful, graceful sea-swan”.

The reality: I snuck into a webinar for female business people of Australia, that Seth was participating in.

Not only was I not in Australia at the time, but my wig was totally unconvincing too.

Nevertheless, when they opened up the floor for questions and some 600 women clamoured to have their queries answered, my question somehow got through.

I asked Seth:

“What advice do you have for someone who struggles to define their superpower?”


If you’ve read Seth’s latest book Linchpin, you’ll know that a “superpower” is the ultimate elevator pitch – it’s what makes a linchpin indispensable.

For a long time I had really struggled with this. I’ve helped clients out as a therapist, strategist, consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and more… always creating enormous value.

Yet, I could never sum up what I had to offer. In fact, when people at parties asked “What do you do?” … my most common response was:

“Well, it’s complicated and I don’t wanna bore you…”

Yikes!

Seth’s reply was simple, to the point and change-my-life-and-business-forever awesome:

“Your closest 50 clients and friends know your superpower. Just ask them.”

I immediately got on the phone and speed-dialled my favourite client. I asked him what he thought my “superpower” was.

His response? “Its uh, like you’re some kind of awesome Shrink… but for entrepreneurs.”

Zing!

I phoned around a bunch of other clients and friends to bounce that idea off them. The verdict was universal:

My superpower is being THE Shrink for Entrepreneurs.

If you’ve ever had trouble articulating what you have to offer, now you know Seth’s shortcut.

So… what’s your superpower? (Leave a comment below)

13 Comments

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  1. I got my main USP aka SuperPower from someone who was listening to my bumbling attempts to explain about my medical counselling practice where I was helping people stuck on yo-yo diets, or medication-resistant depression, or chronic insomnia, etc etc.

    When I took a breath she said, “So you’re like a Healer of Last Resort.”

    And I just stopped and said to myself, “Yup, well I am now anyway.”

  2. Hey Peter, I dig the wig…but can see how it was unconvincing.
    Great suggestion from you again, even via Seth-the man-Godin.
    And like all great solutions – so simple too.

    It is great how others naively reflect back to us aspects we are blind to ourselves, like Dr Russell’s experience.

    Keep the wisdom and encouragement coming, (I would add) Super Shrink for Entrepreneurs.

  3. You know, I’m having a lot of trouble identifying my superpower. The weird thing is that as I asked different friends, each came up with something different.

    Wait, I know! I’m Super Chameleon!

    This comes from years and years of taking in information so that I can benefit others and learning enough about many disciplines to be able to participate with people around me.

    I even went back to my Strengths Finder results. That didn’t help. I’m all about information, ideas, advising others, patterns, learning. Yup, all in my head.

    Life would be much simpler if I could identify one thing in my life as my super power and then focus on that for the next fifty years. Guessing that’s not going to happen today! 🙂

  4. Important note to add (thanks for asking great questions Diane):

    If you do a huge variety of stuff (even bigger than my list), then it’s important to ask the CLIENTS for whom you did something you WANT to keep doing…

    The guy I called was a favourite client mainly because I did the best possible work for him… and also that which was most enjoyable.

    I actually had others suggest “Peter, you solve the S***storm caused by my crazy staff”…. but that’s the kind of work I hate getting roped into.

    So yeah, ask your best clients… and also ask YOURSELF.

    Does that make sense folks?

    – Keep it real

  5. Hi Peter. Thanks for this article. I’m struggling with the same thing… what is my “superpower”? I’m going to use the same strategy you did. Thank you for sharing! BTW… great job on dropping in on the private Q&A session. What a brilliant idea!

  6. Oh, fun! I sort of know what mine is, although the right wording hasn’t become clear. One friend says I’m her “safe and happy place” when it comes to working with technology. Another says I’m a “people pacifier”, meaning I calm her down and help her work things through more clearly. A group I lead calls me their “Chief Soother”. It’s not about just calming them (I’ll leave that to The Shrink for Entrepreneurs!), it’s about making the stuff they have to do simpler, breaking it down for them so it’s step-by-step and they make progress with low drama and threat. I know that in my current business, what gives me power is my ability to teach others and empower them to do technology marketing stuff for themselves.

    Now, I just have to get the wording right so I can fit it on the front of the costume! I guess I’ll have to make a few more calls.

    Thanks for the fun post. I’m glad you didn’t also borrow Marilyn’s skirt…

  7. I love the simplicity of this idea, but everyone I ask has given me a different answer! It sounds like I am what they need at the moment. How does The Chameleon sound for a superhero name? or is that taken? OK, then, The Chimera.

    Regardless, it has been a great gift to offer to others, what I see as their superpower. People are enchanted and moved by the idea that you find something “super” about them. And this is more specific than “your a great friend” or even “I love you.” Watch your partners face when you tell them exactly how they are a superhero to you!

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