What Is My Superpower?

Who goes to a networking event to sell something?

I hear the cheers.

Who goes to a networking event to buy something?

I hear crickets.

I'd been back in North Carolina for about two years before it dawned on me that I had no customers in North Carolina.

Then I realized I could meet people in person, the old-fashioned way, and try my hand at networking.

At first, I stood in the corner, waiting to be approached, then went home disappointed that networking wasn't working.

But once I learned to

  1. start conversations if I have to, and
  2. find ways to help people, not to pitch my services,

networking became much more effective.

When someone asks me what I do, and I tell them, I will usually hear one of two things:

  1. I've never met anybody who does what you do.
  2. You must be really good at grammar.

As for #1, that's why I'm there. I've met a few fine editors over the years whose specialties complement mine, and I'm happy to recommend them, but for the most part, we're rare animals. I just want you to know that we exist.

As for #2, that's leading me to my superpower. Just in case you thought I'd never get there.

Grammar and spelling can be learned. Yes, some of us learn them faster than others, but we can all learn them if we want to.

(If you don't want to, editing isn't for you.)

But my superpower is my single-minded focus on what I'm reading, to the exclusion of all distractions both internal and external, for hours at a stretch if that's what the deadline mandates. It's like a meditation, actually. It's also my natural state.

I was born this way.

This is my superpower.

I show that same focus when I write, or program a computer, or play piano, or try to play guitar.

Back in the early days of Michael Edits, back when it was called Calico Communications, I used to overbook myself. (Not deliberately.) Then I'd turn to my lovely wife to bail me out. She's taught English for over 30 years, and she's usually my editor.

I eventually realized that if it's an interesting topic, she can focus on it just as well as I can. But if it's about winning before RFP release, or hog farming, or about how much force it takes to destroy a cement wall, her mind's gonna wander.

How did I realize this? She told me. So maybe listening to people is also a superpower. But I'd rather have them put it in writing.

Updated November 19, 2017
© Copyright 2000-2017, Michael LaRocca
Durham, North Carolina 27707