An interesting fact about superheroes: Most of them have to go through some pain to get to the place where they are recognized for their extraordinary abilities. They may have to wander some monumental path of discovery and enlightenment, or they may have to traverse a deep valley before ascending the mountain to become the stoic guardian of their domain. During their journey, however, you would probably dismissed them as average and unworthy of recognition. Batman had to watch his parents be killed and then train to be the knight he becomes. Ironman had to catch shrapnel near his heart before necessity and opportunity intersected to birth the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
If superheroes are born from strife and develop superpowers as a result of the difficulties they encounter, let me pose a question: What’s your superpower going to be? What have you fought hard to recover from (or are still battling) that can equip you to impact the world around you? There are issues that you have conquered that will enable you to help those who are suffering just as you have. Superman said it best when he said, “I think the hero is an individual who finds strength to persevere and overcome in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
One superpower I have originates from the pain I endured as I dealt with consequences of my own addiction to hydrocodone 16 years ago. The DEA officers who showed up at my house to discuss my prescribing habits were instrumental participants in my journey. This has allowed me a special ability to communicate with people struggling with substance abuse.
Here are 3 steps that can help you discern your future area of greatness and cultivate your superpowers.
- Observe your areas of suffering.
Overcoming difficulty puts you in a special place to be able to connect with others. When you have had to fight and overcome some monumental difficulty in your life, evaluate that experience to see if you could use that to make a difference. II Corinthians 1:3-4 says that we should comfort others with comfort we have received in our trouble.
- Examine your natural gifts.
You might have a knack for developing a social media presence to call attention to the fight you’re in. Or, writing might be your gift; pen a book or start a blog. If you have a talent in speaking, the arena could be your superhero weapon of choice.
- Be vulnerable.
Until you are willing to expose the mistakes you’ve made or the help you required to ascend from the murk, you are going to be ineffective at answering the call. There are people who are where you once were, and they need to hear YOUR story. You have to become comfortable being vulnerable. This is not for the faint of heart. If it were, everyone would do it. Only superheroes achieve this level of impact.
Your path has created your story, and that script is sometimes ugly, but it’s yours. You own it. As you share the why and the how of your story, other people who are suffering will gravitate toward you, and, because of you, they will find their own way out.
Hey guys, Dee Bonney here. There’s a thing about superheroes and that’s this, they usually have to go through some pain to get to where they are when we finally meet them. Am I right? They usually have to go along this monumental path, on this journey of discovery or they have to traverse this deep valley that’s filled with pain and difficulty to get to the other side before there’s anything super about them. If you were to see them on their journey, you’d probably dismiss them. They’re boring. They’re normal. Think about it, Batman had to see his parents get killed when he was a kid and then he had to train. He had to train to be able to fight evil. Or Ironman, Ironman had to get blown up. He had to catch shrapnel that went near his heart and he had to get captured by enemy combatants before necessity and opportunity cross paths, and the Marvel cinematic universe was born. Peter Parker, he had to get bit by an arachnid. Superman, Superman had to be orphaned and then travel the galaxy to get to earth. Everybody has their story, but the cool thing is that with being a superhero come super powers. Then what’s the point of superpowers though? Aren’t they actually this ability that the superhero has, not for themselves, but to be able to help mankind?
So I want to ask you a question, if superheroes are born from strife and if they develop their superpowers because of the journey that they’ve gone through, because of this difficulty that they’ve overcome, man, what’s your superpower going to be? What is it that you fought and overcome, or maybe you’re still fighting it, so that you have this special ability that you’re going to be able to change the world, that you’re going to be able to connect with people? Because I think that we all have this inside of us. I think that we have things that we’ve dealt with in life that maybe a lot of people don’t even know about us, but if we use them the right way, they become our superpower. They enable us to impact other people’s lives. My friend Clark Kent, you might know him as Superman, said this. “I think a hero is an individual who finds strength to persevere and overcome in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Now I’m no hero, but I have developed an ability to be able to talk to people mostly from a place of issues that I faced, things that I’ve had to overcome in my own life. Two things come to mind. One is marriage difficulties. I’ve got a separate marriage website, but the second is addiction, because I myself had an addiction to hydrocodone 16 years ago.
So let me just share with you a very difficult and vulnerable story. So I had my own problem with opiate addiction 16 years ago, and was still in the middle of trying to sort that out and get better, but not really. And if you’ve been there, you know how that cycle is. And so I was writing prescriptions for family members and then taking scripts and … I’m asleep in my little sleep room, actually like a walk in closet, and actually finally getting some rest, and my wife at the time comes in and wakes me up. So I’m groggy and I’m trying to focus, and she woke me up instantly when she said the DEA is here and they want to speak to you.
And at that point you want to control, alt, delete. You know what I’m saying? You don’t want to deal with that. Like, “No, no, gosh, no. This can’t be happening. What do you mean they’re here?” So here’s what I said, I was brilliant, I said, “Go tell them that I’m asleep.” She’s like, “They’re in our living room. I don’t think they’re going to leave because you’re sleeping after your overnight shift.” So I came out and I had to confront these people, these federal agents that had a very difficult conversation with me, and I’m going to tell you right now, it was not pleasant. I would not have wished that, I would not have chosen it, but it was where I was. It was a consequence of decisions that I had made. I never would have figured on that day in February, March, 15 years ago, that that would have been the catalyst that would allow me to years later, meet people where they were, to talk to people who were struggling with addiction. I never would have thought that that moment would have set an emotion all the events that have happened since then, that’s given me a knack to be able to share my story, to be vulnerable with people, and to let them know that I understand what they’ve been through.
So in that regard, that was my valley that I had to traverse that’s given me an interest and an ability to talk to people and share my story and to show them how to get better. So I want to talk today about three steps that I think that you can take to identify your superpower and to begin implementing it.
The first one is this, the first one is take a look at where you’ve suffered. Take a look at what you’ve been through in your life, what you fought, or maybe you’re still fighting it, take a look at that part of your life because that’s going to be the key to you finding your superpower because I’ll tell you, people want to hear from you. People want to hear from you once you’ve gotten to the other side of what you’ve been facing because they’re there too. You’re not alone. You’re not unique in the struggles that you’ve had. Your particular story is your story. That part’s unique. But the fact that you’ve had issues, that you’ve made attempts at changing your life and failed and maybe fell over and over again, it’s that struggle that is going to identify you as a superhero to somebody. I believe that when we receive comfort, that that comfort comes from God. That’s my worldview.
And I’ll tell you this particular passage in the Bible, second Corinthians one, three and four. I’m going to read it here because I’ll screw it up if I just try to recite it, but this changed the trajectory of my life. It says, “Blessed is the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that” that’s the thing, that’s the thing that changed me, “so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” So that told me that when I’ve suffered in an area of my life and then I found some peace and some healing, that I needed to tap into that because then I have an obligation to take that to other people, to take that to people who are suffering the same way because I got blessed with ways of improving, getting healthier, of healing, and I have to take that to other people around me. I have to impact their world too. I have to impact them too. I have to impact their world just the way my world was impacted.
The second step that I want you to take to tap into these superpowers is take a look where you’re gifted. Take a look at the natural abilities that you already have. So maybe you’re a person who’s a good writer, so if that’s the case, take the suffering that you’ve been through, the healing that you’ve had, and use that to write a blog, write a book. Write. Do something with the gifts that you have. Maybe your gift is speaking in front of people, so if so, get up on a stage and share your story, because that’s going to repurpose the pain that you’ve been through, that’s going to make the pain that you went through worth having gone through because now you’re going to use it to help other people. Maybe your gift is meeting with people one on one. If so, find the people that are hurting, sit down with them, walk this out with them. Maybe you’ve got a gift at raising money, so partner up with your favorite nonprofit that is in the space that interests you, that is helping people who need help just the way you did and work with them. Tap into this superpower that God’s given you so that you can make a difference.
The third step, and this might be the most difficult one, be vulnerable. So your story is unique, but there’s people out there that will identify with your story. There’s people that will identify with your story that maybe won’t identify with mine. Mine’s different. But you have to put yourself out there. You have to get up in front of someone and share that you’ve made mistakes. It’s difficult. It’s difficult to share your story. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it because let’s face it, everyone around you has been through something but nobody’s sharing. So I’m going to call up on you superheroes to be vulnerable, share your story. You think it’s easy for me to let you know that the DEA came and knocked on my door? That’s hard. It’s hard to admit that I’ve had failures, that I haven’t always gotten it right, that I’ve made really bad decisions, that I’ve fallen flat on my face. That’s difficult. But you know what? That’s part of my superpower because it allows me to connect with some of you so that I can show you a better way, so that I can teach you what I found and help you find healing.
When you get comfortable being vulnerable, it will allow you to change the world because for you to get out of your valley, you had to fight and claw, you had to be tenacious to make it to the top of the mountain, so you got to be proud of that because in that space, in sharing that story with someone else, you give them hope. And you know how it is to be back where you were, sometimes all you need is to look up and find some hope so that you could keep going. Somebody is where you were, somebody needs to know that you have the ability to guide them out. You see, your story can shorten how long it takes them to get better, but it’s not going to impact them if you don’t put it out there, if you don’t put it out there and get vulnerable with mankind.
Now, if you haven’t gotten out yet, if you’re still in a valley, let me encourage you, find a guide. Find someone who’s been there, who’s gone before you, find someone who can show you a way out. They’re there. You might have to hunt for them. You might have to dig deep. You might have to make your own self vulnerable and share that you’re still in the Valley, but they’re there. If you are struggling with addiction, we have people at our office who’ve been right where you are. We’ve seen what addiction does to your life, we’ve suffered that same pain and we’ve got people that’ll walk this out with you.
Here’s the issue, you have a choice. If you’ve been through some pain in your life, you can keep that quiet. You don’t have to rock the boat. You can keep going on with life as it currently is. I don’t recommend it because I believe that we need to help each other. I believe in living life to its fullest.
I think maybe the Green Hornet said it best when he said, “It’s not dying that you have to be afraid of, it’s never having lived.” I believe in you. I believe that you have a story. I believe that you have a super power that can impact other people. You just you have to unleash it.
So the first idea is taking a look at places where you’ve suffered. What have you been through that you got through? And now you’re better. That’s a great place to start because there are people out there that are behind you in this journey and you can help them. You can show them how to get out of darkness and into light faster than what they can without your story.
The second idea is to take a look at where your gifts. What do you already have a natural talent toward? Use that focus, that energy on the place where you’ve suffered and right there, you’re starting to become a super hero for someone.
And lastly, get comfortable being vulnerable because it’s when you are vulnerable, when you can actually share with another person that you haven’t always gotten it right, that you’ve made huge errors, that you failed, but that you got back up, that you had the tenacity to keep going.
That’s when you’ll start impacting lives. Listen, I know you’ve got it in you. I just hope that you’ll take this information and you’ll look inside and you’ll begin finding, finding the super power that’s going to allow you to change the world.
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