Sometimes your superpower is apparent at a young age – like your ability to quickly learn foreign languages or a talent for brokering peace between bickering friends – while others might not recognize their unique, standout gifts until later in life. Sarah Apgar, the Founder and CEO of FitFighter, figured out a long time ago that her superpower is optimism.
“We all have unique qualities that are personal to us,” noted Apgar. “Intrinsic optimism is my superpower. Facing challenges in the military and the physical challenge of fire fighting has gotten me though a lot, especially failures. Recognizing those characteristics makes us successful at doing things that aren’t necessarily what everyone else might expect but are authentic to who you are.”
That quality of finding the positive, even during hard times, has empowered Apgar to live authentically and move to the beat of her own drum.
You might not expect a prep school graduate from the Mid-Atlantic to become a military veteran and firefighter. Growing up, Apgar had always been athletic and interested in leadership opportunities. She was exposed to the military and the importance of public service at a young age. So, when Apgar had the chance to have half of her tuition to Princeton paid through a ROTC scholarship, it was a no-brainer.
Apgar loved what she found. She experienced a meaningful career start in her early twenties as a platoon leader and captain in the service in the Engineer Corps, where women could lead platoons.
After leaving military service, Apgar got her MBA, developed a strong interest in entrepreneurship and worked in start-up environments while becoming an elite athlete. But she missed having a sense of community.
When moving to Huntington, New York, Apgar saw the local fire department was looking for volunteers and that seemed like a great way to fill a void. One which lead to her interest in firefighting and ultimately sparked, pun fully intended, the business she leads today – FitFighter.
FitFighter was originally designed to enhance the wellness and readiness of first responders. Inspired by the equipment used in the fire house, Apgar created a strength and stability training system that is used for firefighter job training skills, hose handling, forcible entry techniques and readiness development by combining the deeper elements of emotional competence, mental health, decision making and more. It has been adopted by our nation’s bravest coast to coast, including the FDNY Fire Training Academy and San Diego Fire Rescue Academy.
Now, FitFighter’s training products and programs are available for trainers, coaches, gyms, and the general public. Apgar’s innovative offerings have been spotlighted on Shark Tank, the Today Show, Essence, Oxygen, and other major media outlets – and her optimism continues to shine through.
Interested in identifying and honing your superpower? Try these steps:
- Make a list of your strengths. This can include skills, beliefs, attitudes, and special accomplishments. List as many as you can. It could be your commitment to rescuing animals, an ability to successfully flip real estate, how you can diffuse tense family situations or your gift for improv comedy.
- Review the list and circle your top three strengths. Note how these talents have helped you, others, your business or the community at large time and time again. Let’s say that empathy is one of your standout gifts. Displaying that in your personal life has enriched your relationships and professionally, it has made you an outstanding co-worker and boss. Because you are tuned into how others are feeling, you can tell when team members need more support, praise, attention, or coaching.
- From this short list, what is your superpower – the quality that allows you to truly standout, succeed and make a difference? Name it, describing this gift in a phrase or sentence.
- Feel free to share these steps with a trusted friend or professional coach to get their perspective too; sometimes we overlook what’s most unique and special about ourselves. Their input can reinforce what you have already determined or add additional resonance to this process.
- Now let’s make it official. Complete this Superpower Statement. My name is ________, and my superpower is ____________. Evidence of this superpower includes ________________________. Using these gifts allows me to ______________________________.
- Here’s an example of what that could look like. My name is Jane Doe, and my superpower is an ability to find humor in every situation. Evidence of this superpower includes my career success – making entertaining presentations to clients has helped me secure one of the highest close rates in the division and get promoted twice in the past five years. Using these gifts allows me to diffuse tough situations at work, standout in my career and help others overcome challenges with laughter.
What is your superpower? How has this gift impacted your life?
If you have been feeling a little – or even a lot – stuck these days as we navigate our post-pandemic world, check out my “What Kind of Stuck Are You?” Quiz to gain more insight on what may be holding you back – and what to do about it.
Looking for a step-by-step process to help you get unstuck and stay that way for good? Check out Free and Clear: Get Unstuck and Live the Life You Want. It is chock-full of helpful tips, easy-to-use tools and inspirational stories of individuals who overcame obstacles against the odds.