Have you ever considered the possibility that you could be a superhero and just haven’t realized it yet?
I had to confront this possibility when I attended Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Success Workshop in January, and I came away with a surprising shift in my perspective.
At the workshop, we did plenty of eye-opening exercises, but one stood out in particular: The Ultimate Self Exercise.
In the exercise, we were to imagine the best version of ourselves, our superhero selves. Steve even gave us crayons of various colors so that we could draw what our superhero would look like, and on the back of our drawing we were to write down our superhero’s powers and virtues. Once we finished, we were to go around the room and introduce ourselves as if we were our superhero, tell the other person about our powers, learn about their abilities, and then give them a high five.
The Birth of The Trailblazer
Needless to say, I was really excited. But I was also pretty nervous since I had no idea what my superhero would be.
I stared at a blank piece of paper and waited for something to come to mind. Well, my superhero would undoubtedly be a Master of Travel. He’d be completely fearless, completely adaptable, and would effortlessly inspire people around the world. He’d also be able to fly (but he wouldn’t have a cape because capes get caught in jet turbines and are generally a bad idea because of this).
Even if the drawing to the right may have the artistic skill of a 4th grader, I think it gets the point across. It’s me, blonde hair and all, encompassing the world, carrying stories to inspire others along the way. (Later I felt better when I discovered that most other’s drawings were stick figures, as well.)
And I instantly loved the name The Trailblazer. It felt right.
Meeting some Great Supers
After about 5 minutes, Steve announced that time was up. Now was the moment of truth: it was time to share our superheroes with each other. I quickly wrote down my superhero powers and virtues. (This was actually easier than the drawing part. And although I only put 3, you can put as many as you want.)
- Courageously explore the mysteries of Earth, as well as any person who opens up to me
- By sharing this, Inspire people to embrace more freedom in their own lives
- Live/Adapt to anywhere. And can fly. (No capes.)
So naturally, my virtues were freedom, exploration, and wisdom; and I was excited to share The Trailblazer with the 50-60 other people in the room. In the process of sharing, I met many awesome superheroes that afternoon. Superheroes that had big hearts. Superheroes that were very creative and made beautiful works. And even some bizarre superheroes that had powers I can’t even remember. Best of all, almost all of them had the ability to give super hugs.
What are Superheroes, really?I’m glad Steve put this exercise at the end of Day 1 of the workshop because it helped build more group trust and cohesion—not to mention giving me a new perspective on myself and what I can become. It was then that I realized that superheroes truly do exist, that this exercise had opened up a new way of thinking about my personal growth over time. I realized that I am indeed a superhero in the making.
You can be, too. After all, people do amazing things all of the time. Some pluck people out of the fire or the sea. And some share ideas that powerfully affect the world. People save each other in various ways around the world every day. Superheroes exist, but we often don’t consider them superheroes.
At the end of Day 1, I took some time to sit alone and reflect on the drawing I’d created. If I continue down the path I’m on, how “super” could I become? How much more could I contribute and in what better ways? When I think about it, there are even some travel writers that I’d consider superheroes. Gary Arndt comes to mind. He’s been on the road for years exploring exotic places, adapting to different languages, arranging lodging and transportation, and still manages to write what seems like 97 articles per month.
Superheroes are people who seriously have it together, know what they want to create on a deep level, and continuously improve at their craft — the same path I’m committed to. I know it takes years to become a well-rounded superhero, but I also know that I’ll get there because of how much I love what I do. All it takes is continuing down the path, and when I see how far I’ve come in the last few years, the progress that I see is really encouraging. My progress reminds me that Mastery is measured in hours and eventually comes as long as you stay on the path.
What about you? What does your ideal self look like? What’s your superhero name? What powers and virtues would the best version of you have? Try the exercise for yourself. I think you’ll find it enlightening. And then take some time every day to move a little bit closer to that person. One tiny step a day multiplied by years turns into one giant leap. And after all, the time is going to pass, anyway; so why not focus on getting closer and closer to that person?
What’s the name of the superhero hiding inside of you?
C’mon, show us what you’ve got!