Use It Or Lose It

superhero-2503808_640One of my favorite movies of all time is The Incredibles. It’s the story of a family of superheroes who are forced to live ordinary lives and suppress their abilities. The world has grown weary of heroes and the main character, Mr. Incredible, struggles to adjust to a life defined by mind-numbing routine. He longs for something more. He dreams about a world in which he can make use of his unique gifts.

And the frustration he feels is palpable.

But when they time comes for him to don his superhero outfit and spring into action, Mr. Incredible finds that his powers aren’t quite what they used to be. Years of inactivity have diminished his ability. He has lost much of his strength and isn’t sure he has what it takes to win the day.

Sadly, I feel many of us are like Mr. Incredible. Each of us has been blessed with specific talents and interests, but we let them lie dormant. We deny ourselves the joy of fulfilling our true purpose and others the benefits of our gifts. Everyone loses because we try to be something we’re not. Something less.

Talent is perishable. Skills that aren’t used diminish. The inner drive you feel to achieve greatness will fade if you don’t tap into it.

I’ve heard that houses left empty degrade faster than houses that are lived in. Ships that stay in port too long collect barnacles more quickly than those on the open ocean. Even our own muscles will atrophy if we don’t exercise them regularly enough.

The truth is that houses were meant to be lived in. Ships were meant to sail, and we are meant to move. Our calling is not to ignore our talents, but to maximize them – to share them. We were designed to do great things, each of us in our own way. Why do so many of us hold back? Why do we shy away from greatness?

Is it because we are afraid? Is it because we feel a need to fit in? Is it because someone else doesn’t appreciate the gifts we bring to the table? Are saving our best for something else?

How dare we!

I know people who wouldn’t waste a dollar, but they throw away talents that are infinitely more valuable. They let opportunity after opportunity to do something great pass them by. And every time I see them, they look miserable. Just like Mr. Incredible.

Fortunately though, his abilities haven’t completely disappeared. As he begins to exercise his muscles, his body falls more and more comfortably into moving the way it was supposed to all along. And as they follow his example, each member of the Incredible family discovers their own unique gift. They combine their very different talents together in pursuit of a common goal, and emerge victorious.

What’s your superpower? What incredible ability do you bring to the table? What’s keeping you from realizing your full potential?

Take a look at your team’s goal. Identify how you are uniquely positioned to add value, and remove the barriers keeping you from success. Be the hero. Save the day. Use your gift. Otherwise, you’ll lose it.

I dare you to be incredible.