I have a super power, too. You wanna know what it is? Here you go:
I can see you.
I know. You're thinking that it's not much of a super power. After all, you can see me, too. No biggie. We've all got eyes.
But I'm not talking about what we see with our eyes, or what we show to the world. I mean I can SEE you. Who you are. What you feel. What you fear. I see through you, to you. Like Haley Joel Osment in Sixth Sense, except you're not dead. Phewf.
Don't be scared. It's not like x-ray vision. I can't tell what colour your underthings are. It’s not a parlour trick. I can, however, read your feelings like I can sense the temperature around me. I'm not usually wrong, either.
When it comes to distinguishing people’s stuff (both the awesome and the stuff they put in front of it), I’ve been told by some amazing leaders that I’m like a savant.
A savant? Well, shit. It feels pretty damn good to be that good at something. My empathy-based intuition is my flying cape.
Like Adam, I didn't really fit in with the cool kids, but unlike him, I didn't not fit in, either. Rather, I sort of fit in everywhere, by making others feel like they fit in. I was complementary and accommodating, which is great if you are vanilla yogourt. It goes with anything.
It's of course perfect that we're married to one another. A chameleon can find another chameleon. They can see through the shifting colours.
Adam thought he was a loser, and so he shifted into whatever role he needed in order to fit in, only to discover he never really fit in, even when he did.
I, on the other hand, believed I needed to earn love, happiness, success, etc. Simply being me wasn't enough. I knew I could make people happy, though, so I shifted into being whomever allowed others to feel like they were good, safe, happy and fitting in, which meant I was good, safe, happy and fitting in, too.
When I was about three or four years old, I distinctly remember looking around our stressful, angry, hurting, sad and broken family and deciding that it was my job to make people happy. And so that's precisely what I did.
How'd I do it?
Well, as a child it was really important that I be able to read volatile people and anticipate their needs before they did, meeting them without being asked. You want something? Need something? BOOM! I’m already on it.
Ever notice how a dog can tell from a mile away if you’re two centimetres left of joyous and they're suddenly next to you with eyes full of love and support? I learned to READ what people weren't saying and fill in the gaps for them.
I didn't even realize I was doing it, because as an intuitive, empathic kid, I wasn't trying to be intuitive or empathic. But I began to understand that I could see what the people around me felt, and I could see who they needed me to be in the moment to feel better.
This meant I found my place by becoming someone people couldn't avoid loving. Who didn't want to have a delightful, polite, intelligent and bright kid around? Being a charming shape shifter meant I was safe and loved.
I was the snake and the charmer, all in one.
And so I charmed, delighted and spread joy and laughter. I achieved. I excelled. I won awards and I aced, in school, in dance and in just about everything I did. I made it into competitive programs. Teachers loved me. Friends' parents called me their extra daughter. Friends said it was more fun if I was there.
The side effects are that I can I forget to make myself happy. I can fall into the trap of pinning my value and self-worth onto how happy I make others, or how much praise they give me. The achievements disappear as soon as they're achieved and I'm already aiming for the next one. I can lose myself in being someone for somebody else.
I stood back, so that others could step forward. Played small so that others could feel big. My radar had a glitch. Or rather, the officer at the radar was misreading the reports and thinking the signal only went one way: Outwards. I began to believe I was small, that I should step back.
But here's the thing: I don't have to DO anything to make people feel good. And love, fun and joy are just who I am. Being me does that naturally. And, it's not actually my job to change the way people feel; after all, they get to have their feelings — the good, the bad and the ugly. They can choose.
I don't need to STAND BACK to be loved. Neither do you.
I don't have to do anything to be loved and my super power doesn't have to be a one-way street. In fact, my intuition is a way to STAND OUT, not shy away. Intuitive leaders are people like Sir Richard Branson. He listened, he saw and he acted.
Ring a bell? My people are like me: They look great on the outside; they're the people you want around you because they’re fun, and you feel great when you're around them. But what you can't see is that sometimes being that person feels like holding up a heavy façade with tired arms, because they don't realize it doesn't have to be held up. They don't even need a façade.
I know that leaders who live life with passion and intention, with awareness and intuition, can change families, communities, organizations and countries. I work with the dreamers and the dream-makers. Make no mistake: These are not dozy-eyed idealists, but intuitive and powerful forces of human nature. These are the Walt Disneys, the Martin Luther King Jr.s, the Rowlings, Vivaldis and Mother Theresas. They are ass-kicking, name-taking game changers who believe in a different world than the one they were given. They listen and they see and they don't stand back: They step forward. They are determined to leave the world a better place than they found it.
Stop standing back. It's time to step up. Will you join me?