Like many, I have binged on The Crown, fascinated and challenged in equal measure as we are now within my own lifetime. Aside from the drama of it all, Queen Elizabeth II is one of my superheroes.
That might sound a little presumptuous. If I said that a few hundred years ago, I would be straight for the chopping block but I mean it in the sense of valuing Her Majesty’s strengths – grace under pressure, duty, seeing the bigger picture.
The Queen (also known as Auntie Liz) is one of my cohort of superheroes. This is a collection of people (some alive, some dead, some famous, some not, some fictional, some real) who I use to give me perspective on different situations. When I am faced with particular challenges or if I am feeling like I don’t know where I am going, I think about what those superheroes would do.
For example, Bear Grylls is also one of those superheroes and he’s in my cohort for his resilience and problem-solving capabilities. I have been thinking about “What would Bear do?” quite a bit recently and it’s led me to think about covid 19 as a situation to navigate rather than master. Another one of my superheroes is Kim Davis who is Senior VP at the National Hockey League and her superpower is focus She has the most extraordinary ability to be in a call with you and make you feel that you are the centre of her attention and focus, even when you don’t feel that you’re really that important. (Note: it’s not that I don’t feel worthy but she does have massively more significant things to get on with than a call with me!) So when I am feeling challenged by time and workload, I think about “How would Kim handle this?”.
My superheroes bring skills and abilities to the table that complement my own and they are like an imaginary toolkit of extra capability. We could think of them as giving us our extra 20% when we need that additional boost.
I do realise that this post perhaps seems a little mad…. (Like Lewis Carroll, I do think that all the best people are!) It’s really about using our imaginations to tap into our latent capacity and skill, to give us perspective when we’re in the midst of the chaos, and to help us be the best humans we can be.
If you want to recruit your own cohort of superheroes, start by thinking about who you respect and admire and why. What is it about them that you value? What skills, perspectives and capabilities do they bring to the table?
Then think about your strengths and weaknesses. For your weaknesses, think about who has those as strengths. They might be people you know; they might be characters; they might be someone you’ve heard about.
Try to keep your cohort to no more than 5. Try using them when you next feel overwhelmed or challenged or in need of perspective. Maybe run an idea past them – see what they think. Again, I realise it sounds bonkers, but make time for a metaphorical meeting with them (individually or all together).