Do You Have Superman Syndrome? - David DeWolf

Do You Have Superman Syndrome?

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This past week my daughter got into a bit of trouble. It was typical 13-year-old trouble, but still enough to throw Teresa and me for a bit of a loop. We quickly moved to action, knowing that catching issues at 13 is a lot easier than waiting until 17.

At least, I thought we moved to action quickly.

Several days in, I started to realize that my relationship with Teresa was strained. I initially thought that the stress of the situation was naturally putting stress on our relationship. I decided to call a good friend and talk through the situation. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t allow the stress to deepen.

“Dude, I know you. You’re Superman. As soon as there’s a problem, you fix it. And you’re damn good at it. But a lot of the time, you plow people over in the process,” he said. “Are you sure that you’re both actually doing this together? Maybe you need to slow down and win the war, not the battle. Use this as an opportunity to strengthen your marriage, not just your relationship with your daughter.”

And you know what? He was right.

As entrepreneurial leaders, a lot of times we plow people over. When the fire blazes, we put it out. But, after the blaze is under control and no one’s life is in danger, it’s important that we step back and take stock of the situation. Do the simmering coals really need to be extinguished right away? Maybe it’s more important to double back and make sure no one on the team got hurt along the way. Sometimes we can do more damage in the aftermath than we saved in the moment.

This is the second time in a month that I’ve caught myself plowing forward to the detriment of those around me. It’s part of who I am. When I take action, I go hard until the fire is totally out. I take charge, I lead, and I fix. I do it at work. I do it at home. Frankly, I do it in all areas of my life. Unfortunately, sometimes I fail to step back and take stock of the casualties along the way. My biggest strength can also be my biggest weakness.

As my friend reminded me, it’s all about winning the war, not the battle.

Do you have Superman Syndrome? Do you plow people over in your attempt to save the day? How can you recognize your warning signs and know when to take a step back? Learn your trigger points and figure out who that person is that you can reach out to.