We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, but what is your one superpower?
This is a question I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about. I am a big believer in the idea that doubling down on your strengths leads to more powerful results than shoring up your weaknesses ever will. My recent musings on this idea of superpowers was prompted by this twitter thread (for the record I think Brent Beshore had the best answer).
The first time I tugged on this thread was after one of my mentors told me that the most surefire path towards success in life is to become the world’s best at something. Whatever that something is, if you are the best at it, you are going to do alright.
I think there is a lot of truth to this. It echoes Naval’s advice to become “Be the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.”
I am not saying we should just ignore our weaknesses, but I believe that far too much emphasis is placed on fixing them when your time and effort would be much better placed on learning to leverage your strengths. The hidden benefit of this focus on leveraging your strengths is that it is a lot more fun. Strengthening your weaknesses can often feel like shoving a square peg into a circular hole. It can be done, but it isn’t a super fun exercise.
When you focus on leveraging your existing strengths, you can create powerful and motivating flywheel effects. As you get better at something, you see better results. This in turn motivates you to continue putting in the time and effort. And so you get better. And so you see better results. And so on.
So what is your superpower? What is the one thing that truly differentiates you? Is it something you already have, or is it something you are building towards?
I know mine.
I want the ability to develop and maintain relationships with others to be my absolute superpower. Relationships are hard to maintain, but I never, ever want to be the source of one falling unintentionally into disrepair. I want to always pour more into my relationships than I get out of them and I will never treat them as transactionary in nature.
This is easier said than done. It means a lot of prompt responses to emails and a LOT of following up with people. I am only able to do this because I have made it a very intentional priority in my life and built systems that allow me to manage my relationships in as efficient a manner as possible.
My ability to do this has taken a huge leap forward since I started using a tool called Notion.
Notion is basically what you would get if you combined Evernote, Google Docs, Excel, and Airtable. It has been a total game changer for me and I have built myself a personal dashboard using it that covers everything from my notes to my goals to my habit tracker to my personal CRM.
It’s this personal CRM that I especially wanted to highlight since I believe that it is an incredibly powerful tool that you can easily make use of as well. Here is a link to it if you would like to give it a try. You can duplicate it into your Notion at a click of a button if you think it might be useful.
A brief explanation. The guiding principal for this was to be able to set a cadence for how often I wanted to stay in touch with people and then to surface their contact information at the appointed time. On one end of the spectrum there are coinvestors that I don’t want to bother more than once a year. On the other hand are my brothers who I make sure to text at least once every three weeks. I wanted my CRM to be simple, flexible and allow me to easily search for people and sort by particular categories. I use it to manage my relationships with other VCs so it is super helpful to be able to sort by seed investors who do SaaS deals for instance by utilizing the Tags column.
The table is sorted in ascending order based on the To Contact column which means that the “oldest” To Contact date will be at the top. This is my to-do list. Any one whose To Contact date is prior to today is someone I need to reach out to. If I don’t want to reach out to someone for whatever reason, that is simply a signal I need to beef up their frequency value so that I contact them less frequently (you can also chose to not have a frequency value at all if you want to maintain someone’s contact information, but not necessarily reach out to them on a set schedule.) Each contact is a page in and of itself you can access by clicking on somebody’s name where you can take notes about your various interactions.
Using this tool may seem like a lot of work, but it has had a transformational impact on my ability to stay in touch with people.
No one said developing a superpower would ever be easy.