“You’re next, Superman!”
What? I snapped out of my daydream just long enough to realize the man behind the car rental counter was talking to me. I smiled and walked forward.
He called me “Superman” because my chest bore the coat-of-arms of the fictional Kryptonian of the same name. My sons bought me that t-shirt for my birthday and I’ve been proudly wearing it ever since.
That shirt is one of my favorites. It reminds me of my sons, not only because they bought it for me, but also because we have a longstanding tradition of seeing every superhero movie that comes out.
But aside from that, I have to admit, something about wearing that symbol makes me feel inspired. Superman possesses incredible power and even more incredible integrity. He represents the quintessential good guy and it feels good to be associated with that imagery. It also doesn’t hurt when people call me “Superman”.
When I was a kid, I entertained the idea that if I had a cape like Superman, maybe I’d be able to fly. As an adult, I know that dressing like Superman won’t make me faster, stronger, or bulletproof. I know this because…Superman is not real.
But…that doesn’t mean superheroes aren’t real.
Yes, there are real superheroes. You won’t find them emerging from phone booths wearing colorful tights, capes, or emblems on their chests. You’ll find them in all walks of life, turning visions into reality, changing lives, and even disrupting industries. Who are these superheroes?
They are Entrepreneurs.
Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson describes this superpower by saying:
“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”
In other words, these super beings make big world-changing things happen even if they start with little or nothing. Creating something from nothing sounds like a magical superpower—or at least a sufficiently advanced technology that is indistinguishable from magic.
Consider Patrick from Uganda in 2004. He created a business that ended up creating jobs for several people in his small village. And he built it from the ground up—literally.
You see, Patrick was orphaned along with his brother at an early age. One day he sat on the ground wondering if he would get to eat that day. He had very little—not even shoes for his feet.
As he sat on the ground, he noticed the dirt beneath his fingers. He grabbed some makeshift tools—a broad, flat piece of wood and some scrap metal—and started to dig.
He noticed not all of the dirt was the same. Some of the dirt had more clay in it and he noticed when he mixed it with water, he could work with it—shape it.
Pretty soon he made his first bricks. The first ones weren’t pretty. They were misshapen and crumbled easily. But he kept at it. He kept trying and he kept experimenting.
Eventually, he made some bricks that someone was willing to pay him for. He got less than a penny per brick. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to inspire Patrick to keep going.
His first business investment he made with savings from his earnings was a brick mold. The bricks he made with it had a much better shape and fetched a higher price.
His next investment was a book of matches. He got some kindling wood and used the bricks he made to hold the heat in—a makeshift kiln. The fired bricks were stronger than the previous ones he had baked in the sun and they fetched an even higher price.
Patrick kept going and soon he invested in better tools like a shovel and trowel. Eventually he was able to hire his brother. By the time the author of Clay Water Brick, Jessica Jackley met him, he had a thriving business that employed several people in his village. He had even built a house for himself out of the bricks he made.
This heroic journey inspires me far more than that of a space alien with abilities I can only imagine. Patrick’s story is so inspiring because there was nothing special about him. He had no parents. He had no money. He had no education or special skills.
What Patrick did have was the ability to look around him and see opportunity where others saw nothing but dirt. But most importantly, he had the ability to look at himself and get past all the things he lacked and see someone powerful enough to change his situation.
I am inspired because Patrick’s example reveals a superpower that we all have—the power to choose.
Patrick chose to become an Entrepreneur. His choice changed not only his life, but the lives of the people he ultimately employed.
I also choose. I choose to be like Patrick. I choose to wear the Entrepreneur title with pride. I choose to see opportunity amidst the obstacles.
Finally, I choose to recognize that it is the birthright of every human being to exercise that same superpower. So as you read this, I have only one thing left to say to you…
“Hey Entrepreneur! You’re next!”
P.S. To help you tap into your superpower, I have a FREE 3-day video challenge. Just follow the link, enter your email address, and each day for 3 days I’ll send you a video to walk you step-by-step through the process of finding your unique superpower.