Superheroes, with their stunning save-the-world achievements, not only stop evil-doers. They can also stop us in our tracks, even when we most want to make a difference in the world around us.

Faced with the huge needs we see around us, it can feel as though short of having superpowers, nothing we could possibly do could be enough.

Without a superpower to wield, how could I possibly make a difference? How do I even find a way to start? The sheer overwhelmingness of need can stun me into inaction.

Then I remember: I make a difference when I bring my own deep gladness, that which gives me a profound sense of purpose, together with one of the world’s deep needs.

Every day, people like you and me make a difference by identifying and claiming our gifts and sharing them with the world. These are some of the women who are my heroes. They show me how I can make a difference by sharing my gifts with others.

  • Rachel Troxell founded, a business that continues to thrive 9 years after her death to breast cancer. Her vision and commitment help others living with this disease.
  • Misty Copeland is the first African American appointed as principle dancer for the American Ballet Theater. Though her early life was not an easy one, and though she has encountered other obstacles, including racism and injuries, she has persisted and is dedicated to giving back.
  • My sister Roberta is gifted at almost everything she turns her attention to – music, athletics, poetry, digital media. She has raised three children under sometimes challenging circumstances, overcoming those challenges with spirit and persistence. She continuously shares her gifts with those around her, making a real difference in my life and theirs.
  • Gloria Steinem lived a nomadic childhood. Her mother had serious mental health problems and the family was often on the edge of poverty. As an adult she discovered and used her curiosity, compassion, writing ability and her commitment to social justice to bring about a better world for others.
  •  Ateira Griffin grew up in Baltimore’s East and West Baltimore communities, moving often as a child. In adulthood, and based on her own strong relationship with her mother, she founded Building Our Nation’s Daughters (BOND) a nonprofit aimed at strengthening relationships between single mothers and their daughters, in turn strengthening their communities. Ateira’s hero? Her mother, who earned her bachelor’s degree the same year Ateira graduated from high school.

These very different women have some things in common. A commitment to something larger than themselves. A desire to give back. Determination, persistence, hope and resilience. And, I suspect a certain sense of humor. I’d like to think I reflect some of those qualities myself. I’d like to think that I too, have something to give the world.

Who inspires you to claim your gifts and talents, and share them with the world? How would you describe those people? How do you see those characteristics reflected in your own way of being in the world?

Looking for inspiration and support for being a hero to yourself and others? Kerra Bolton and I have designed an innovative online workshop just for you, WOKE: Changing the World by Awakening to Yourself.

Photo credit: Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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