How to Become a Superhero: The Conscious Success Workshop (& A Crude Drawing)


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).

The Trailblazer superhero drawingI began drawing this idealized version of myself, and soon The Trailblazer was born.

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.)

Superpowers:

  1. Courageously explore the mysteries of Earth, as well as any person who opens up to me
  2. By sharing this, Inspire people to embrace more freedom in their own lives
  3. 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?

Conscious Success Workshop 1 Group Photo - Day 3

The Superheroes of CSW

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!




How “Tigering It” Helped Me Face My Fears, Drop Anonymity, & Become More Genuine


Have you ever published something completely anonymously? What were your reasons behind it? If it was out of timidity or fear, was it something your best self would have done? For a long time, I thought some level of anonymity on this site was a good thing, but that time has come to an end.

This wasn’t an easy article to write for me. In fact, out of the hundreds of articles I’ve written for Byteful Travel, this was probably the most challenging to write, but this is an article whose time has come.

Trying to Avoid a Non-Problem

First, I’ll give you some context for how events have led up to the point where I finally dropped anonymity.

In Byteful Travel’s early days, going by “Byteful Traveller” seemed to be a natural step. But after a while, I realized that this wasn’t especially memorable or a good reflection of who I was. So, after much research and reflection, I choose the pen name “Andärin”, which was a Spanish word that meant “walker” or “wanderer”. I liked the feel of it; and for a time, I felt good about using it. After all, I wasn’t the only blogger using a pen name, right?

At the time, I felt this pen name worked well. I liked the idea of the anonymity, and I’d never liked the idea of fame, even teenie-tiny internet fame. I was afraid of it. Sometimes my imagination would run away with me, projecting out scenarios where people I didn’t know approached me on the street, telling me their opinion of my work and who I was, even though they didn’t know me at all. (Admittedly, I was letting my imagination have a bit too much free reign over my mind.)

I thought that a pen name and forgoing using a photo of myself on this site would be an elegant way to avoid that problem. At the time, I felt as though it would simplify my life in some ways. After all, with page views still going up, why should it matter?

Yet over the course of 2011, the feeling that the pen name was actually more rooted in fear than logic kept nagging at me more and more. When I faced these feelings head on, I realized that the writer I wanted to become would not tolerate this kind of lingering feeling. For some people, maybe a pen name is all they’ll ever need. Maybe they’ll always feel great about it. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that it just wasn’t right for me.

Tigering It

Eventually, a horrifying thought came to me: I was hiding behind my sense of anonymity. Being anonymous wasn’t making my life simpler. Instead my life felt more awkward. It became more and more clear to me that, for me, the pen name was a false barrier getting between me and the people I wanted to serve. I wasn’t being my full, true self. When mentioning the site to friends, I felt an inner resistance whenever I explained that I was using a pen name.

When I felt this gut reaction too many times, I knew it was time for a change. But I didn’t make the change. At least, not at first.

It wasn’t until last week, when I returned home from Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Success Workshop, that I had the resolve to make the change. One of the most memorable concepts from the workshop was the idea of “tigering it”, which means charging towards a goal similar to how you would use tiger style in martial arts. (In fact, this was so well-received at the workshop that one of the attendees bought small stuffed-animal tigers for everyone there.)

Basically, using tiger style means you focus all of your energy on the attack and not worry about defense. As you can probably imagine, this is pretty wild to see in person, and a running joke is that if two martial artists use tiger style on each other, one will end up going to the hospital while the other one will end up dead!

As you can probably guess, the Tiger style attitude can be extremely useful when it comes to completing projects, too. If you take a lot of action and avoid succumbing to over-analysis, you can accomplish things that may have seemed impossible before, and usually in much less time. So when I returned home, I “tigered it” and removed the pen name from the site. I didn’t even know what the next step was after that, but I knew I had to do it. And the rest of the steps flowed from there (including uploading a picture of myself). The workshop was the final nudge that had pushed me over the edge, and I’m so thankful for that. (And thanks to everyone who was there for creating such an amazing atmosphere and promoting so much growth in all who attended. You guys really are the salt of the earth.)

Embracing the Odyssey & A Challenge

Adi C

Atop Lone Mountain in NV

Hello.

My name is Andrew, and I don’t believe I’ve properly introduced myself before. The reason for this was rooted in fear. I was letting irrational fear inform my actions. I wasn’t acting like my best self would act, but that changes today. (2012.07.07 note: And if you’re curious, yes “Crusoe” is my real last name, yet another element of myself that makes me wonder if I might have popped out of a book at some point.)

And while “Andärin” may have been a cool pen name (someone once said it sounded elvish), it wasn’t me. This is also the first time I’ve shared a picture of myself on a public website, so this is outside of my comfort zone. But I’ve decided that, as long as there are intelligent reasons to do so, I’m going to push myself to do things that scare me and put me outside of my comfort zone more often, because it’s more likely to help others (and help me grow, as well).

After writing periodically on here for years, I’m ready to be my full self, publicly. Not only does it help with credibility, but it also helps me connect with you guys, my readers, on a much deeper level. From where I stand now, I feel that a pen name was a barrier to that. Overall, I feel a lot better having done this. “Tigering It” certainly changed my life, and I appreciate your support as I get used to this new level of transparency. Life is too short to be controlled by fear. Life is too short not to be our full, genuine selves — boldly and courageously.

So my challenge to you is this: if you’ve been creating anything under a pen name (or anonymously), have you consciously examined your real reasons for doing it? What would it mean if you embraced your work and took full ownership of it? Unless you’re doing guerrilla journalism in an oppressive country, it’s highly doubtful that you’ll be harmed for exercising your free speech, so what are you waiting for? Is it possible that embracing a higher level of transparency will be a relief to you on some level (and perhaps push you to do better work, as well)? What would your life be like if you took full ownership of everything you created? What would your best self do?

Just think about it.

We have an incredible year coming up, and the journey has only just begun. Coming up, we touch California redwoods within Muir Woods Natl. Monument, as well as a get a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay from the top of Mount Tamalpais. And after that, we explore Las Vegas, so be sure to subscribe and stay in touch. 🙂