Legend has it that seven time NASCAR Cup Champion Dale Earnhardt could “see the air” on the racetrack. His incredible skill at knowing how his car would be affected by wind drafts—especially on the restrictor plate tracks at Daytona and Talladega—helped him win 76 races before his unfortunate death in 2001.
Earnhardt’s skill was incredible, but how he exploited it is even more fascinating.
At first, he probably didn’t even recognize his talent. Most drivers and fans saw Earnhardt as supernatural. But to Dale, it was an innate skill…no different than being able to breathe. Yet it was a gift from God (and therefore it really was supernatural!).
Somewhere along the way, he realized that he had something no one else did. That’s an advantage to be exploited, especially in the ultra-competitive world of stock car racing. So he honed his ability and the legend was born.
Individuals and businesses need to explore this concept. What are you doing that makes you successful? Are you overlooking the obvious? Are you ignoring what you do best because you assume that everyone else can do it too?
In Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin, he calls it your superpower. It’s more than mere ability or talent…it’s something special to be perfected into overwhelming excellence.
What’s your superpower and how do you discover it?
1) Observe—When do you find yourself losing track of time or feeling that everything else in the world fades away? Maybe even moments where everything moves in slow motion?
2) Ask—What do your friends, family and colleagues compliment you on? Are they ever in awe of you but you dismiss what you do as “no big deal”?
3) Accept—Study the answers to those questions and themes will emerge. Then accept it and act on it.
You may not be able to leap the RSA Tower in a single bound, but maybe you make the city’s best sweet tea, or have the best customer service, or can sell anything in a down economy because you know how to relate to people.
Tap into your superpower. Once you know what it is, you can develop a strategy to use it for fun and profit (and the good of mankind).
The tights and cape are optional.
Note: This article originally appeared in March 2010 issue of the Tri-City Review.