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Becoming Your Own Superhero – 8 Steps to Personal Strength



Becoming Your Own Superhero – 8 Steps to Personal Strength

Good vs. evil. That’s what superhero movies are all about. And, of course, good happens, and the superhero lives on another day to fight his nemesis. There are days when we wish we could fly, leap over buildings, and stop a speeding bullet; there are days when we wish we could magically wipe every problem and difficult person out of our lives. But that is not what superheroes do. They don’t wipe their problems away – they confront them. And they do so with very specific strengths of character. The physical powers are secondary, really, to their character traits. Being you own superhero means that you adopt those character traits, even if you don’t have X-ray vision.


1. Use Failure and Adversity to Propel You

Superman lost his parents as a baby; Batman’s parents were killed by a criminal; real parents have lost their children to drugs or gun violence. You may have had some pretty big failures or problems too. There are always two responses to failures and crises. We can succumb to them, give up, and live the rest of our lives in despair; or we can use those events to motivate us to do something greater. Which will you choose? If you want an example of people using adversity to promote the greater good, think of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). All of their children were killed as a result of drunk driving. And they have been responsible for toughening up laws all across the country. On a personal level, you can use failure or adversity as a learning experience and move yourself forward, perhaps in a different direction. Let these things motivate you to set new goals and go after them.


2. Assess Your Mental Strength

Mental fitness creates strength. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you take initiative? When you see something that needs to be done, either at work, in your community, or at home, do you take that task on?
  • Do you believe that you can accomplish whatever it is you set out to accomplish? And are you willing to put in the time and the effort to do this?
  • Do you believe that part of your life’s work is making life better for others? Whether you are a teacher, a doctor, a street sweeper or an entrepreneur, does your work improve the lives of others in some way? If it does, you have one solid trait that strong people have.


3. Name Your Powers

You already have lots of powers. They are in the form of skills and talents. Can you name them? Once you do, then you will know that your life’s work will be powerful if you use those skills and talents, for yourself and for others. Consider this: Bill Gates had a power – he could write code for software, and he knew he could use that power to do great things. So, he developed Microsoft. How many lives have been impacted by that single skill? And once he became a billionaire, how did he use that power? He set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Your “world” will not be as big as Bill Gates’s. But you can do the same thing on a smaller scale. You can use the skills and talents you have to achieve, and then see how your achievements can be used to help others as well. That’s what real world superheroes do.


4. Identify the Detractors/Weaknesses

Superman had kryptonite. You have things that you have identified as weaknesses. Perhaps you are impulsive – you make decisions before considering all of the consequences. Once you have identified that as a weakness, you can be more vigilant. You can set a rule for yourself. You will give every major decision 24 hours to ferment before you make it. There was once a school principal who knew she was impulsive, especially when it came to discipline. She took student misbehavior personally and tended to over-react when meting out consequences. So, her rule was she would tell the “culprit” that she was too angry at the moment and that she would wait until the next day to determine a consequence. That 24 hours gave her time to put things in perspective.

Confront your weaknesses and develop plans and rules to neutralize them.


5. Listen to Your Inner Self and Respond

If you are feeling “trapped” in a work or personal situation that is not fulfilling, listen to that inner voice. How does that voice respond when you ask what would you really like to be doing right now? It will tell you. And it may be telling you to take a risk, to make a big change in your life. People become strong when they listen to that voice and take steps to follow it. What can be a stronger motivator than to follow a dream or goal that you inner voice tells you is right for you? If you take action based upon that inner voice, the road may not be easy; it may have detours and blocks; it may force you re re-evaluate your purpose in life. But, in the end, it will make you strong. It will give you purpose. Whether the road means you leave a career path for the unknown of entrepreneurship or remove yourself from unhealthy relationships, you will be on a road that has purpose. And the pursuit of that purpose gives you power.


6. Embrace the Negativity – Then Knock it Out of the Park

There will be naysayers; there will be your own negative thoughts about your abilities. The only way to counter negativity is to take it in, reflect on where it is coming from, and then take steps to eliminate where it comes from. If it is from other people, then you need to change the people you hang out with. Widen your circle and surround yourself with like-minded people. There is real strength in numbers and mutual cheerleading. If that negativity is coming from within, get tough. Make an action plan, put it in writing, and commit. Determination and perseverance create a strong person.


7. Gather Your Weapons

Identify what is in your arsenal. You have talents, skills, passions, allies, and the ability to learn anything you need to learn. Maybe you have products or services that will solve problems or meet needs that others have, and you need to market them.Research how you market those to a large audience online. Use your exceptional writing skills to create your own blog and promote your products/services on social media. Find allies who will promote your product/service. Start networking. Turn every talent and skill into a weapon to pursue your goals – that’s using strength to create power.


8. Stay True to Your Principles

Any superhero could choose to use his/her powers for unethical or illegal purposes. There would probably be much wealth to gain in doing so. Bill Gates could choose to use his wealth to accumulate more, to “buy” politicians, and to gain a great deal of personal power. He chooses not to because he has principles that go beyond self. He believes in using his wealth and power for greater good. So should you. Compromising your principles cheapens and weakens you both personally and in your career. Set your principles in stone and never compromise them for a short-term gain. There is a great inner strength and power in doing the right thing.



Eight steps to superpower status. Are they easy? No. Are they doable? Yes. Will they give you a legacy of strength and superhero status? Absolutely.

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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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