Engage Your Superpowers!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting pieces from our Founding Mission List Members. Every day, these women are using their influence to shape their communities and create positive change at home and abroad. The below post is from Karen Walrond. A couple of years ago, I wrote a book called The Beauty of Different:  Observations of a Confident Misfit.  The premise of the book is based upon the idea that the characteristics that makes you different – even if they are things that embarrasses you, or make you uncomfortable – are very likely the ones that makes you beautiful; moreover, it might even be your superpower.  The trick is, I posited, to be your own best PR:  to take those characteristics, really understand what powers they give you you (an ability to be open-minded, see problems in unique and creative ways, listen with more empathy, and so on), and the communicate those powers to your world.

Since writing that book, I’ve heard from countless people, saying that upon reading it, they are starting to see themselves in a whole new light:  a light which illuminates not just their beauty, but their potential.  Suddenly, the possibilities for success seem endless – or at the very least, achievable.

I am, of course, incredibly heartened by this.  I experienced the same revelations while I was writing the book, too.

But recently, since traveling all over and speaking to large groups about the concepts in this book, and meeting all these incredibly diverse people, there are several questions that I can’t help but wonder:

What if there’s a reason we’re each so very different from everyone else on this planet?

What if our Differents have actually been specifically designed for us to help change the world (or at the very least, our worlds)?

What if the meaning of life lies in how we use our Differents to do so?

You see, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the fact that we all have gifts – each and every one of us – can’t be a coincidence:  there must be a reason why we all have these gifts (whether or not we’ve yet to identify them.)  We’re meant to do something with them, I think.  Something altruistic and helpful … and, well, just good.

And then there’s us:  those of us who express ourselves online, through blog posts and other forms of social media.  Not only do we each have gifts, but we each have a voice – something I think we take for granted, especially living on a planet where there are some countries where expressing yourself could get you imprisoned, or worse. Imagine what would happen if we not just used our voices to do good, but we combined our platforms with our superpowers?  Imagine if we took the activities that light us up – did the sorts of things that that our Differents and our superpowers wired us to do – used them for the good of our communities, and then we spread the word via our social reach?

I’m convinced that this combination makes us more powerful than we could every dream.

And so, my challenge to everyone reading these words:  spend some time thinking about what lights you up, what your superpowers may be.  Brainstorm how you can use these gifts in ways to help your communities – by volunteering your time in a way that brings these gifts to light:  if you’re a photographer, donate back-to-school pictures to needy families.  If you’re athletic, think about how you can use your gifts to inspire others to keep moving.   If your gifts and talents lie in bookkeeping, heck, donate some time to small businesses.  Whatever you would be passionate about doing.

And then?  Write about it.  Spread the word.  Inspire others to use their gifts as well.

Because I do believe that just by doing our small parts, and amplifying the noise we make, we can change the world.

Karen Walrond is a writer and photographer, and creator of the award-winning site Chookooloonks. Karen is the author of The Beauty of Different, a book that will convince you that the thing that makes you different might just be your superpower. Having contributed to several major national publications, she is a sought-after keynote speaker, and has appeared television and other news media, including appearing on CNN.com, PBS and The Oprah Winfrey Show.