If you could have any superpower, what would it be? To fly? X-ray vision? Super strength? And if you had that power, what would you do with it? Protect the weak? Go after bad guys? Go on a really cool vacation? Really, what would you do?

I was in an airport bookstore looking for a gift when I heard the older lady behind the counter say the warmest hello to a new customer. Then to another customer, “Where are you from dear? Oh, I hear that is a lovely place.” In fact, she had a warm greeting for all who came near her. “Oh, what a beautiful blouse. Where are you going? Please have a safe trip home.”

And as I left her congregation, “Have a blessed day.” I had just met a true superhero.

Were we talking about superpowers? Every day in my circles the conversation revolves around this word, “Power.” Coaches want to work with Powerful People. Clients ask, “How do I find my power? Why do I give my power away? How can I make a powerful impact?” These are valid questions, and in context, excellent avenues to explore. However, in pursuit of these bigger demonstrations of power, I think we lose some of the most effective and immediate ways we impact the world.

In my twenties, I was a breakfast waiter at a high-end hotel. My morning customers were businessmen, political leaders and other influential types who started their day with me before heading out for their very “consequential” meetings. When I called myself “just a waiter” in front of a wise spiritual mentor, I learned a valuable lesson. She said, “you are the first person they see in the morning. How they start their day and in what mood can be influenced by you each morning. Never underestimate the power you have that will ripple in places you will never see.”  

Huh? That never occurred to me.

Have you ever been surprised by someone who has said, “you may not know it, but you changed my life that day?” We have no idea how many seemingly small gestures we probably forgot that changed someone’s world. A good illustration of just how powerful we are, when we pay attention to the small things, is in the Ted Talk by Drew Dudley called Lollipop Moments. Mr. Dudley was approached by a young woman who related a story about an interaction with him that had happened years before that changed her life. He didn’t remember the interaction, but it changed someone’s life. This was his “aha moment” where he realized how powerful he is, just by living and interacting. 

Mr. Dudley’s assertion reminds me of another story that unfolds in a circular manner. Robert Downey Jr. was at a garden party when an 80-year-old lady was injured badly and losing a lot of blood. RDJ swooped in, wrapped the bloody wound in his white linen jacket, calmed and charmed the woman to keep her distracted and was credited with saving her life. Yes, this is powerful and compelling, but it is not the entire point of sharing this story.

Years later the woman’s granddaughter, who was there at the time, saw Mr. Downey at a restaurant and told him the story, thinking he may not remember. He did. She thanked him and said, “that was simply the kindest act I’ve ever witnessed.” And now the point of my story, RDJ’s response to the granddaughter - “You have absolutely no idea how much I needed to hear that today.” We have no idea what he was dealing with but that small gesture, payback if you will, was what the newly sober star needed to get through his day. Superheroes all around.

I try to keep these stories and the consciousness they embody with me every day as I walk through my world. I know I make hundreds of choices every day that affect the world in small but unknowably powerful ways. I’m surely unaware of the ripple effect of these choices, good or bad. But I am aware that another driver letting me into traffic can change my outlook for the rest of the day. When I’m aware, and pay attention, I get a glimpse how powerful I truly am.

I invite you to watch as you navigate your day. Notice how people affect you and how you affect them. Imagine what happens in your wake as you turn and walk away. Think you’re not powerful? Watch. You may be surprised by how much you substantively move the world by getting a cup of coffee or driving to work. Now that you’ve been bestowed with a superpower...

“Have a blessed day and a safe journey...”

 


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12/10/2016 9:30am

We can definitely be superheroes in our own little ways. We may not see it, but even those small things that we do can make a huge difference in the lives of other people. There are people who see the qualities in us that make us superheroes. We may not get anything in return, but let us all be superheroes that the world needs today. Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I hope you'll write soon!

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