003 How to Turn Your Imperfections Into Superpowers
The Key to Unlocking Your Unique Purpose
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
All of us have things we dislike about ourselves and parts of our life story that still get in our way. We spend a lot of time and energy and emotion (and sometimes $!) trying to get rid of them or get over them.
What if there was another way? In this episode, you’ll learn how to turn your “imperfections” and even the hardest parts of your story into superpowers. It’s absolutely possible, and I’m living proof.
The Dying Deer and the Anxious Young Man
23 years ago, on a humid summer evening in suburban Virginia, I was standing over a dying deer in the middle of the road. The front of my metallic blue 1985 Volvo 240 was mangled, and one headlight was pointing its beam straight up into the sky.
But ironically the plight of the deer and the condition of my car were the last things on my mind.
Because I was in the grips of debilitating anxiety. Not about the deer or my car. I was in the grips of anxiety with a capital “A.” The kind that has a life of its own and latches onto anything and everything it can. The kind that shows up suddenly and blows up your life. And at that moment, all I could think about was getting back to my house so I could hunker down in my bedroom and wait out the wave of anxiety that was threatening to overwhelm me.
How My Anxiety Became a Superpower
Despite my best efforts to get rid of it, I’ve lived with Anxiety ever since. But a few years ago, I upgraded my relationship to the Anxiety, and it’s been an absolute game-changer. Tune into the episode to hear the full story of what changed and how. A special thanks to Tim Ferris, whose podcast inspired the insight that allowed me to make the change.
My upgraded relationship with Anxiety transformed it from a hated liability into a superpower:
The Anxiety always felt like a ding against my manhood, something that made me weak and was shameful. Now, though, I can honestly say that I’m grateful for the Anxiety, and I’m able to use it to help others in ways that are really gratifying for me and transformational for them.
It inspired the creation of The Graveyard Group. I share more about what The Graveyard Group is and how it’s changing lives in the full episode.
It inspired the creation of this podcast, Andrew Petty is Dying, as a way to share the power of our Mortality to help us become the people we were made to be and live the lives we were made to be with a larger audience.
The Key to Your Unique Purpose
Transforming an imperfection or a hard part of your story into a superpower doesn’t mean that you suddenly find some unnatural delight in it or that your story is suddenly free of pain. The anxiety I experience is still very often a painful and exasperating burden. But, I believe our story and our unique purpose in life are inseparable. Our story, our imperfections, and our unique purpose in the world are intertwined.
How to Turn Your Imperfection Into a Superpower
You have to accept them. You must begin to see your imperfections and the hard parts of your story as clues pointing to your unique purpose in life rather than as enemies to be overcome and expelled from your life. Only by accepting them can they then become a guide, leading you toward your unique purpose.
And here’s the really magical part: As we tap more deeply into our purpose, the pain and discontentment that our imperfections have caused all our lives begin to fade into the background.
Purpose--white-hot, crystal clear purpose--is the most powerful remedy for pain.
I Challenge You!
Life is just too short to spend it railing against who we’re not, what we can’t do, and why life dealt us the hand we’re holding. And I know that some of you are holding truly painful and difficult hands. Maybe you’ve dealt some of those cards to yourself. Even so...
Stop fighting your story, and start owning it instead. Stop fighting your imperfections, and start using them, instead. Forsake the Victim mentality and re-cast yourself as the hero on a quest to give everything you’ve got for the benefit of the world.
You alone can do this, but you don’t have to do it alone.
In fact, I don’t recommend trying to do it alone. You lack the critical objectivity needed to see your story and your imperfections in a new light. Enlist the support of a close friend, a mentor, or a life coach like me. In my case, Tim Ferriss served as a sort of distance mentor for me to help me turn the corner with the Anxiety.
Whatever you do, though, don’t let another day pass without taking at least one step toward turning your imperfection into a superpower.
And as you take that step, you get even closer to becoming the person you were made to be and living the life you were made to live.
REMEMBER: You ARE going to die. But you’re not dead yet! So get after it!
Who’s Your “Imperfection to Superpower” Hero
Who have you seen turn an imperfection into a superpower? Share your answer in the comments on this episode’s post on Facebook.