Ep 49: What is Your Superpower?


In this episode, Bridgette and Irvine define what a superpower is, how you identify your own superpower and ways you can harness it more fully.   



Don’t forget to check out Irvine’s You Tube channel with new videos every Wednesday on emotional intelligence, resilience, and leadership.

Check out Irvine’s new book Leadership Lessons From The Pub.

Check out Bridgette’s book which she co-authored with Bod Duggan  Resilient Leadership 2.0.

And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources some of which are mentioned in each episode. 


Bridgette Theurer [00:00:03]:


And welcome to the Resilient Leadership podcast where everything we talk about is aimed at helping you to lead with a greater sense of calm, clarity, and conviction even in anxious times. My name is Bridgette Theruer, and I am joined as always by my good friend and colleague, Irvine Nugent. And Irvin, say hello to folks and tell them how you’re doing.


Irvine Nugent [00:00:25]:


Well, hello, everyone. I am doing fantastic. Yeah. I love this time of year. I love a little bit of nip in the air. I lived in Florida for 26 years. And when, the summers were brutal, I hated them. And I I love 4 seasons, and I love fall.


Irvine Nugent [00:00:43]:


I even like winter. I I so I do. I like a little bit of hibernation. So, there’s been a nip in the air here, and the leaves have been changing, and it’s just gorgeous. I love it.


Bridgette Theurer [00:00:54]:


Well, you know, I’ve said many times before to you and probably on this podcast that I’m a summer gal.


Irvine Nugent [00:01:00]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:01:00]:


But but I too am appreciating this time of year.


Irvine Nugent [00:01:04]:


Well, wonderful. Well, Bridget, tell us what are we going to converse about today.


Bridgette Theurer [00:01:09]:


Well, today’s conversation, I think I hope will be a little fun because we’re posing a question that I think should be interesting, and that is what is your superpower? And, you know, at first well, our listeners might not think they are endowed with any particular superpower. Right? You know, and and we tend to think of superpowers as related to superheroes. Right? The superheroes in the movies like The Incredibles where they have superhuman strength or flexibility or invisibility and of course, that’s not what we’re talking about. But I firmly believe, and this is just based on not only my life experience, but my 25 years of coaching. I firmly believe every single person has a superpower. And by that, I mean, something they do that is truly extraordinary and that is meaningful to them and memorable to others. And so that’s what we’re gonna explore today. What’s your superpower? How do you know what it is and capture it.


Bridgette Theurer [00:02:15]:


How do you harness it? All of that really great stuff. I have a question for you, Irvin, to get us started.


Irvine Nugent [00:02:22]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:02:23]:


Probably can guess where I’m going.


Irvine Nugent [00:02:25]:


I think I might.


Bridgette Theurer [00:02:27]:


Which is so what’s your superpower?


Irvine Nugent [00:02:31]:


Wow. What a good question. I don’t know if I got a pithy answer, but I would say I’m like a hot water bottle. And I think my superpower is that I have this ability to bring warmth to people. People who come in contact with me, I think they feel warm. They feel they can trust. They feel they’re in a space And it’s kinda coming out from the cold and into a little cozy place, and and I think one of my powers is that I can Create that for people. And, you know, just throughout my life as I think about it, people have, you know, put their trust in me and felt that they could share things and felt supported, and I think that’s a gift.


Bridgette Theurer [00:03:16]:


That’s lovely. And typical you, it’s very creative. You’re a warm hot bottle.


Irvine Nugent [00:03:22]:


So now that that begs the question, Bridget, what is your superpower?


Bridgette Theurer [00:03:27]:


Okay. Well, I’m gonna amend it on the spot listening to you and I’m gonna say that my superpower is compassionate x-ray vision.


Irvine Nugent [00:03:35]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:03:36]:


And by that I mean, that I have the ability to make people feel seen and heard for who they really are and for who they are becoming. I think that’s it. And I think that the way I do that is often obviously through deep listening, but but through speaking back to people what I hear about who they are and who they aspire to be, that when they hear it, they go, you said that better than I could have.


Irvine Nugent [00:04:06]:


Love it.


Bridgette Theurer [00:04:07]:


I think that’s it. Yeah.


Irvine Nugent [00:04:09]:


That’s a I love that. I love that x-ray. Yeah. As we talk about superpower, let’s share with each other a little let’s dig into that concept about superpower, and, Let’s look at kind of maybe some other examples or what makes a superpower a superpower.


Bridgette Theurer [00:04:25]:


Yeah. Okay. So I think we need to define it a little more precisely. Right? So so let’s let’s share with our listeners a definition. So a superpower as we are discussing it today is the extraordinary way you add value to the world when you’re at your best.


Irvine Nugent [00:04:43]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:04:43]:


So let’s unpack each little part of that. Right? So the extraordinary. So what do we mean by that? So we mean that the superpower is something that you do that stands apart from your other strengths, and gifts. You know, we all add value in lots of different ways. Right, Irvin? I mean, you’re not just a warm bottle. You’re many more things than that, but but the essence of what you do is create this warmth that envelops people such that they deeply trust you. So of all the ways that you might add value to a team, to a family, to an organization. What is the extraordinary one? The one that is particularly life giving to you and to others.


Bridgette Theurer [00:05:27]:


So that’s the first little piece of the onion that we’re peeling back. The second part of that definition is adding value to the world. Your superpower is not something that you do secretly and nobody benefits from it. Right? But when we say adds value to the world, we don’t necessarily mean the entire world. Right?


Irvine Nugent [00:05:46]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:05:46]:


But rather your world. What’s the world that you inhabit? Your home, your office, your your organization, your your family, whatever. And some people do have a superpower that seems to impact the entire planet. Right? But for most of us, our superpower might be a little bit more quiet in scope, but nevertheless, equally important and equally valued to the people whose lives we touch. Mhmm. I think the other part of it is how the superpower makes you feel when you’re using it. So in a minute, Irvin, I’m gonna ask you how you feel when you’re using your superpower. But just like generally speaking, we know we’re using our superpower when when we feel confident, when we feel capable, when we have intrinsic joy that is part of the process of it, you know? But let me just stop there and ask you, Irvin, when when you really feel your superpower is at play, what’s that like for you?


Irvine Nugent [00:06:52]:


Such an interesting question. I think there’s an ease about it. It’s so it’s it’s not something I struggle to do at all. It’s just something that that comes. It just it’s there. It emerges. And then when it emerges, there’s a delight in that. I’m able to to really get you know, you mentioned joy from seeing its impact.


Irvine Nugent [00:07:12]:


And then also for me, a deep gratitude in the impact it has on others.


Bridgette Theurer [00:07:17]:


That’s lovely. And I like the way you spoke to the ease because I think that’s important. You know, superpowers are not something that we have to psych ourselves up for. You know, there’s there’s an aspect to them when we’re in the flow, we’re in our element.


Irvine Nugent [00:07:31]:


You know,


Bridgette Theurer [00:07:31]:


and then the other part of the definition is it’s the it’s the extraordinary way we add value when we’re at our best. I think that’s important because, you know, life can be challenging, and sometimes we’re depleted, sometimes we’re burnt out, sometimes we’re just we’re just tired, sometimes we’re feeling a little sad. And in those instances, our superpower may or may not be as easily accessible to us. Right? Because if our bandwidth is thin or shrunk, and I think that’s just important to note. But then what’s kind of interesting is when we use it, it sure does charge us with a sense of fulfillment and joy. Right?


Irvine Nugent [00:08:13]:


Yep. Yep.


Bridgette Theurer [00:08:14]:


Okay. So I think listeners probably would like some more examples. And so, Irvin, when you think about, you know, clients you worked with or friends or family members. I mean, who do you know or whom have you worked with where you could see their superpower at play?


Irvine Nugent [00:08:31]:


I think my father was mister optimistic. I think he embodied this Ability to see good. And no matter what was falling apart or no matter how bad you thought a person was, He always was able to pull something out Mhmm. Of their goodness, and I love that. And then I’m thinking of a person who Who took over me, actually, the organization I left, which, was working with homeless young people. Name of Jeff. And he was amazing. He was mister inspirer.


Irvine Nugent [00:09:04]:


He was able to lift people up who really had come from some pretty harrowing backgrounds and was able to inspire to help them see beyond limitations and really help them kind of lift them up to peek over some of the walls that they built and said, you know, hey. There’s another side that you can get beyond the wall.


Bridgette Theurer [00:09:27]:




Irvine Nugent [00:09:28]:


And then 1 third 1 was a coaching client actually I had recently, Claire. Oh my god. She had this ability To enter into really bold conversations and not draw back. And and she knew the conversation had to happen, and she would do it. And she did it with such Grace and ease and knew it had to happen and was fearless in having those conversations.


Bridgette Theurer [00:09:54]:


Those are some great superpowers.


Irvine Nugent [00:09:56]:


Yeah. Amazing. How about you? What comes to mind?


Bridgette Theurer [00:10:00]:


I’m thinking of a client that I I worked with who it’s interesting. His superpower was perfectly suited to the role that he took on when I was coaching him. He took over a large association with the mandate from the board to bring it into the 21st century and shake things up.


Irvine Nugent [00:10:20]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:10:20]:


And it just so happened as I listened to him and observed him and worked with him that I I really saw this boldness and bravery in the face of change. It was something to behold, you know, and it was perfect Yeah. For what he he needed. I’m thinking of a friend of mine, a very dear friend of mine, and she has this charismatic warmth that envelops people and makes them feel great. I mean, when you are around her, everything feels brighter and lighter. Mhmm. Yeah. She’s really neat.


Bridgette Theurer [00:10:57]:


Another thing about let’s see, my husband and what is his superpower. He’s mister fix it, and his superpower is this undaunted, optimistic problem solving ability. And I’m not kidding. It doesn’t matter how hard or insurmountable. The problem is he wins. And you know what he told me one time? He said that if something happened and people were, like, you know, on an island and there were no doctors and but there was, like, you know, somehow he could do a Zoom call and he had to do brain surgery on somebody, he could do it. I thought, okay, mister Fix It. You’re on.


Irvine Nugent [00:11:37]:


I love it. I love it.


Bridgette Theurer [00:11:39]:


I’m hoping that gives our listeners a little flavor, a little sense of what different superpowers might be, and maybe you’re thinking about some of your colleagues, your your friends, your family, what their superpowers are, but you might also be still, like, thinking, what’s mine? You know? So, Ervin, let’s give our listeners some thoughts about how they might go about identifying their superpower because it’s not necessarily a quick and easy process.


Irvine Nugent [00:12:09]:


Yeah. No. It’s not. It does require some thought and some self reflection, and then maybe as well seeking others’ input. So let’s give you 5 steps That I think may help you in uncovering your unique superpower. And one is just exactly what you were talking about. Think back. I do this all the time when I do facilitated sessions sometimes.


Irvine Nugent [00:12:29]:


I ask people, you know, think about your best day. Think about a day that was just Amazing. When you were on when when something happened that you were at your best, and as you think about that, you know, think about what were you doing, What made it so good? What were you able to achieve? And what impacted others for the better? And just think about, You know, what are what are some of the things either you were doing or some of the qualities you show in that day? And just just write them down, reflect upon them, and maybe choose 2 or 3 days. What may be interesting, they may bring up some of the same things or they may be a little bit different. Just spend some time thinking about that. And then that 2nd step is as you think about them and you compare them, what are some of those examples and what are a list of the gifts That you were able to display are some of the strengths. Maybe it was powerful listening or a compassion or able to speak truth to power. Whatever it is, what what was it what was it you were doing? And then maybe hone in to one of those that just tugs you a little bit more that when you hear it, you say sane, it’s there there’ll be a little feeling within you that’s like, oh, I I really like that.


Irvine Nugent [00:13:43]:


That’s that’s a powerful gift. And almost makes you feel a little warm when you think about it. And maybe this is the beginnings, the seed of your superpower.


Bridgette Theurer [00:13:52]:




Irvine Nugent [00:13:53]:


And then sometimes, you know, we’re not the best viewers of ourselves. So maybe it’s good to kinda reach out to a few people and say, you know what? I’m thinking about my superpower. Here’s something I think it might be. What do you think? And see what people say. Sometimes people will bring up memories An occasion where they’ve seen you in action and seen something that you did, and you may not even remember it. And they’ll say, this always struck in my mind because of what you did. And he’s like, oh, Okay. Because sometimes because it’s so easy Yeah.


Irvine Nugent [00:14:26]:


Sometimes it it passes it because it’s easy. And yet for other people, it’s just remarkable, and it impacts them. Mhmm. A fun exercise for soliciting input as well. I did this a few years ago, and I love the answer I got. I said, if you were to describe me as a car, what car would I be and why? That’s really interesting because people then I have to say, well, I think you would be a Range Rover because you’re strong and powerful and you drive through adversity, etcetera. That that can be creative. You know, when people say, well, I I’m not sure.


Irvine Nugent [00:14:56]:


That can actually evoke metaphors for how they see you and can bring up some interesting Data for you to consider. And then step 5 is after all of that, capture it. See, boil it down to 1, and and this is the way that you add Extraordinary value to the world and wear it. You know, wear it, say how it feels. You don’t have to be wed to it. If you don’t like it, you can move to another one, but just wear it and see How it is for you? Does that resonate with you, Bridget?


Bridgette Theurer [00:15:22]:


Those are good steps, Irvin, and I like the way you said ask somebody what kind of a car you would be. Wait. Did you actually ask somebody that years ago about yourself?


Irvine Nugent [00:15:31]:


I did.


Bridgette Theurer [00:15:31]:


What would they say you were?


Irvine Nugent [00:15:33]:


I got a dig at a Range Rover Because that was it. They because it’s very sophisticated and it’s intelligent, and they thought that I kind of was very intelligent. It was interesting as well that they Some people put down I was a convertible.


Bridgette Theurer [00:15:45]:


Oh, that’s a fun loving style.


Irvine Nugent [00:15:47]:


Yeah. Fun loving style, but so there were I remember asking that, and and there’s very different variations of that. But, like, if you’re at what household appliance would you be? I think things like that are can get people really creative and can give you just, Sam, it’s fun, but it also says, oh, this is interesting, what other people see in me.


Bridgette Theurer [00:16:04]:


Yeah. And that’s what strikes me is that we we do need a little help, nailing down our superpower. We need the input of others, their perspectives because, you know, we we can’t entirely see ourselves. So you get that input and you ask those kind of questions, and then you still have to kind of let it percolate and simmer. Because at the end of the day, only you can really know for sure what your superpower is because only you know how it feels when you are really in your element. You know? When it just clicks and there’s that sense of ease and fulfillment, and power. Right? Yep. So, so neat.


Irvine Nugent [00:16:46]:


Yeah, Bridge. So it comes to mind that now that we have kind of the superpower, We’ve kinda honed in in it. So how do you use it? Now that we’re aware of it, I think we have to harness like any gift. It’s only as useful as extent to which we harness it. So any thoughts on that?


Bridgette Theurer [00:17:01]:


Yeah. I have a few thoughts and I think it always begins with self awareness. Right? So you wanna harness your superpower, you have to become a curious observer of it.


Irvine Nugent [00:17:12]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:17:13]:


So you you capture it and then start really noticing when you’re using it, what does it feel like? When and where does it really come forward the most? How does it really seem to land or impact with other people? And, you know, it’s kind of interesting. Like, you might notice that there are certain situations where your superpower seems to be valued and appreciated and so it flourishes, and other times when you notice it feels stifled. All of that is good. Observe, observe, observe. Because then that helps you, self regulate. You know, your your superpower is potent, but not every situation requires it. So, you know, it’s classic in some of these movies where, you know, like, I’m thinking of The Incredibles again. Did you see that movie, Irvin?


Irvine Nugent [00:18:03]:


I have. Yeah. It’s awesome. I love it.


Bridgette Theurer [00:18:05]:


And so do you remember when the, the father they’re at the dinner table, the whole family, and, you know, they’re discussing the day’s events. And the father’s very distracted, and he’s cutting the stake for his son. And he’s not really paying attention, he’s not being mindful, and he cuts and then he breaks open. He cracks the plate, you know, because he has superhuman strength, that’s his superpower. And this is what can happen sometimes that, you know, our superpower comes out and was like, whoops. They didn’t really want that. They weren’t really asking for that. So I think that’s important.


Bridgette Theurer [00:18:38]:


And I guess the last thing I would say is Self advocacy. You know, you have to own your superpower and you have to be the one to put yourself in a position where it can be both valued and expressed in the best possible way.


Irvine Nugent [00:18:56]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:18:56]:


And I invite our listeners to think about, like, right now, do you have a sense that that your superpower, even if you don’t have the exact words for Nailed Down right now, do you have a sense that where you are in life, in your career, in your work, in your workplace allows for the free expression of your superpower.


Irvine Nugent [00:19:17]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:19:18]:


And if not, are there requests that you need to make, changes that you need to make? I was remembering, Irvin, we were talking about, you know, this topic, and I was thinking about it in advance that Oprah Winfrey, before she became a talk show host, you know, she was on TV doing some kind of news thing, and her boss told her that, you know, the things she needed to change was that she talked too much. And, of course, that is her superpower, not, of course, that she talks too much, but that she’s a fabulous, gifted conversationalist. And it was never gonna come out in that role. Right? So we have to own it, and we have to be the one to make sure that our superpower is making the world a better place. Yeah. Yeah. So what do you think of that? What of the thoughts I’ve shared?


Irvine Nugent [00:20:04]:


Yeah. No. I I love that as well because I think so often, as we mentioned, when uncovering our superpower, we’re not really sometimes we’re not aware of it. So it does take a little bit of a while to own it, to appreciate it. You know, so often I think With a superpower, because it’s so innate to us and so easy, we forget the impact it has. And that’s a good thing because I think it makes us humble. We don’t go around thinking, you know, we’re saviors of the world, but I think there’s something good about being able to to really use it with humility. And then I think being aware of when to use it.


Irvine Nugent [00:20:39]:


And then also, I think it takes a little time of you know, like any superhero, when they learn their It takes a little while when to use it, when not to use it, and I think that takes a little bit time and patience and practice.


Bridgette Theurer [00:20:51]:


Mhmm. Perfect.


Irvine Nugent [00:20:54]:


Yeah. So, we always finish with a practice. So today we thought instead of a lot of we’ve talked a lot about how you can find your superpower, But I think one of the ways that we can appreciate superpowers is actually looking for superpowers in others. So today’s action or today’s practice rather is all about thinking and looking at superpowers of others, a great muscle to exercise. So Two parts to this. 1st part is what we’re inviting you to do is to pick 1 person in your life. That person could be at home. Person could be at work.


Irvine Nugent [00:21:27]:


And I want you to give some thought. Now what would their superpower be? Think about some memories you have, some moments you have with them, Some of their interaction, what really stands out, what shines, you know, at times when they have really been at their best. Think about how they have enriched you or or perhaps others. You’ve seen that happening impacting others. You know, what did their Superpower. What value did it add to you? What difference did it make? How did it enrich you or others or your colleagues? So just spend a little time reflecting on that. And then the 2nd step, really interesting step, is we’re gonna invite you, when you get a sense of that superpower, to share it with them. Tell them what you think their superpower is and why.


Irvine Nugent [00:22:14]:


Can you imagine what a beautiful conversation that would be? Instead of, you know, how was today? Fine. The weather’s great, etcetera. What’s going on at work? You know? And instead of a conversation, I’d say, you know what? I was thinking about you, And I just thought I’d like to share with you, some memories I have, and they evoke within me that I think this is one of your superpowers, And I wanna share it with you. Like, how powerful would that be for the beginning of a conversation? And then just dialogue with them about it. You know? Here’s why I think that. You know? Do you remember, like, a year ago, We were having this team conflict, and Inu walked in, and you just brought a sense where people could breathe and their anxiety just floated away and we could enter into a conversation. Well, you do that all the time. I don’t know if you recognize that.


Irvine Nugent [00:22:59]:


And so I think, you know, that’s ability to Share that with them will really, I think, deepen your connection. And I think, you know, following up on an episode where we’ve come from talking about gratitude, think that other person will be full of a lot of gratitude just for that observation. So that’s a it’s a a practice and a challenge at the same time To choose that person, think about their superpower, and then just go ahead and share it with them.


Bridgette Theurer [00:23:23]:


Oh, I love that practice, and you’re right. What a great conversation, and, you know, I think we can take the pressure off by saying, I know what your superpower is and it’s this by saying, this is something I’ve noticed and really appreciated, and I think this is one of your superpowers, you know, and then maybe they’ll take it from there. Right? But but you’re opening the door to a a beautiful conversation potentially of real connection. So thank you for sharing that, Irvin. I love it. Yeah. Alright. Well, this was fun.


Bridgette Theurer [00:23:54]:


This was fun talking about superpowers and of course, your your creativity shown through and got me thinking about some different ways to talk about superpowers using metaphors. I love that idea.


Irvine Nugent [00:24:06]:




Bridgette Theurer [00:24:06]:


Right? Yeah. So as always, it was fun. It was interesting, enlivening listeners. We hope you enjoyed a moment out from your busy day to think about, you know, what your superpower is and how it makes the world a better place. And we look forward to you joining us next time as always. And, Irvin, Pleasure being with you. Until next time.


Irvine Nugent [00:24:29]:


Absolutely. Thanks, Bridget. Thank you, everyone.


Bridgette Theurer [00:24:32]:


Bye bye now.

Subscribe to our Podcast

Other Episodes You Might Like

Share this post with your friends