What's Your Superpower?

December 14, 2022

by: Derek Guyton

Many of you know that I collect old comic books, primarily super-hero comics from the 1960s. (Some people just never let go of their childhood!) Today, most people who are familiar with the characters have been introduced through the movies and television rather than through the original source material – the comics. But the messages are pretty much the same. Like many types of literature and entertainment, the comics and the related movies offer lessons that can be applied in your life – even to your career and work life. 

So, without further ado, here are my lessons for consultants from the super-heroes.

  • Know your limitations – At some point in their career everyone finds that they are facing a task beyond their knowledge or experience. Don’t be afraid to get help, just like the Fantastic Four needed to look for assistance when facing the world-eater, Galactus!
  • Finish the job – If you commit to doing something, just do it! Your clients and colleagues need to know they can trust you, just as the entire universe trusted that the Avengers would bring back everyone that Thanos had snapped away!
  • Work with a sense of urgency – Of course, having work-life balance is incredibly important, but if you have a task to do, don’t put it off. If Batman had let the Joker keep going, Gotham City would have been destroyed!
  • Be optimistic – Some days you may feel as if nothing is going right, but with a little help from your friends and some optimism, you can find your way through. In the same way, Adam Strange knew he’d find a way to save the planet Rann!
  • Be intellectually curious – Don’t be afraid to change things up or do things differently than how they have been done in the past. You may find a better way to complete your next project. Iron Man could never have powered his armor if he hadn’t looked for a new way to create a small reactor!
  • Be creative – Not only will being creative with new solutions endear you to your clients,  it will  keep you excited about your work. Green Lantern is at his best when he uses his power ring to create fantastic tools and creatures!
  • Share the credit – No matter how good you are at your job, you did not get to where you are today on your own. Maybe you had a great mentor, coach or teacher early in your career, or maybe you have a great support team. Regardless of your path, you had help along the way. Did you ever notice how the Justice League never looks for individual credit? They just get the job done!
  • Listen harder – Once you become an expert in your field, it’s easy to fall in love with the sound of your own voice. Consultants love to hear themselves talk. But it’s really hard to learn something new or understand your clients’ needs if you aren’t listening. One of Superman’s key super powers is super-hearing. That’s how he finds people who need his help!
  • No job is too small – Sometimes a small job for a client can lead to a big assignment. Or maybe it’s just taking a phone call and letting your client talk about an issue they are having. It’s not always necessary to get the big win to be successful. Just look at how effective the Ant-Man & Wasp, or the Atom, can be despite their small size!
  • Work through your fears – Fear of failure or screwing up can be a huge roadblock to success. Fear can be paralyzing and can be worse than any consequence as a result of failure. Take some chances! Daredevil did not let his blindness prevent him from protecting the people of New York City!

Perhaps the greatest lesson from the comic books comes from Spider-Man: “With great power there must also come – great responsibility!” Maybe this lesson will not help you be a better consultant, but it’s a great reminder of how to live our lives, even though we aren’t super-heroes with superpowers!