I’ve always loved Superheroes. From comics to Saturday morning cartoons, to the modern-day blockbuster cinemas, you can bet I have seen it, read it, and am eager to discuss it.
These stories of high-flying, costume-wearing, villain-stopping heroes caught my attention at a young age and they have kept it ever since – and while I love the explosions, the superpowers, the creative hero aliases, and even the dragging villain monologues, my favorite parts were the elements that didn’t have to stay on the page or the screen, but applied to our world as well.
In addition to super strength, invisibility, or power over the elements, Superheroes have the ability to inspire, persevere, and go the extra mile to protect all citizens, promote justice, and protect the peace. Funny enough – these “powers” are abilities we can all possess.
At Sendero, we like to call that extra effort that sets us apart “Higher Reaching,” one of our firm’s core values. Like Superheroes, we work to unleash the potential of our clients, our people, and our community.
When working to go above and beyond, there are lessons all of us can take from these Superheroes:
Use Your Superpower
When the city of New York had evil on the loose, its citizens would call out for their friendly neighborhood Spiderman. Much like those citizens called upon their favorite web-slinger for help, project or work teams call upon their colleagues to use their strengths to provide the best value and deliver results for their team.
Spiderman teaches us all how to use our own potential. Famously, he follows his late Uncle Ben’s words of “with great power, comes great responsibility.” Spiderman knows that he has a duty to protect his citizens. Much like Peter Parker, we all have our own gifts and a responsibility to use them. Whether you are a great communicator, a math wiz, or have an eye for detail, there is a way to shine every day.
A leader that uses their strengths and brings out the potential in others can provide an opportunity for success to everyone involved. This doesn’t have to be a solo mission. Just like Spiderman learned from his Uncle Ben, it always helps to have a mentor. At Sendero, we accomplish this through our Career Advisory program. When you join Sendero, you are paired with a senior member of the company to help guide you in your growth and development. This source of advice and encouragement is there to help you find and enhance your superpowers. Find a mentor, grow your skills, and find out where your power fits the best. To strive to be Higher Reaching, take pride in your abilities and consistently use them to deliver results and improve continuously.
Don’t Let the “Villains” Stop You
Every day, we face our own villains. Thankfully, our villains do not have world-ending plans – but they can manifest themselves in issues such as workplace conflict or a seemingly insurmountable to-do list. When I was young, I learned how to deal with my villains from Superman. Despite having all the power in the world, Clark Kent does not describe a hero as the strongest, fastest, or smartest. Superman said it himself, “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Superman is anything but an ordinary individual, but even he understands that when things are hard, that is the best time to use your gifts.
When the pandemic started, I saw many of my Sendero coworkers doing their best Clark Kent impression – whether it was an unexpected budget change, new project requirements, or just the challenge of shifting to a virtual environment, I saw my colleagues go above and beyond to make sure that even a global pandemic wouldn’t stop their excellent delivery.
Higher Reaching does not stop when you reach a roadblock. In fact, facing obstacles is the best time for you to show your creativity and deliver special results. Anyone can go the extra mile when you have a high bandwidth or easy tasks, but you separate yourself by facing challenges head-on and proving you can do it. Even if you come up short, prove to yourself and those around you that you will get there, learning and growing along the way.
Choose to Put on Your Cape
It isn’t easy to put on your cape every morning. When I was younger, I found it annoying in these stories that the city was constantly in danger – the Superheroes never got a day off to relax, and it seemed like there was always something new. I thought that if I was a Superhero, I would take a few crises off and leave it to someone else. However, Iron Man was the high-tech, crime-fighting, armor-wearing hero that helped me find a new perspective. As one of Marvel’s most popular avengers, Iron Man overcame his previous life of selfishness and greed to become one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. His genius is apparent when he says “Heroes are made by the path they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”
At Sendero, we pride ourselves on our Best People, Best Delivery strategy. When you combine driven people with a good business strategy, wins tend to pile up on your resume; but like I learned from Iron Man, the city is always going to be in danger. The greatest truth I’ve found is that Higher Reaching isn’t a collection of past successes… it’s an everyday mentality. Your best value is the next one you can provide. To be Higher Reaching, you don’t need to be the smartest or the most experienced, you only need to be your best. Make the intentional decision to use your gifts and be the best you can be.
I never imagined that Saturday cartoons would lead to so many important lessons for later in life. While the explosions and the evil plans may have been why I started watching, I stick around today for the leadership lessons that are integrated in every story. Spiderman, Superman, and Iron Man may stay on the movie screen, but we can all be real-life heroes. Start by finding your powers, harnessing the best ways to use them, and making the decision to be your best every day.
How can you be a hero today?