Everyone has a superpower.

It is the thing you can do better than anyone else and what sets you apart from the pack. It's your competitive advantage and leverage when times get tough.

Your career is essentially building the "startup of you," finding ways to excel in today's working landscape so you can succeed and grow. The sooner you can identify your own superpowers, the sooner you can develop those skills and move forward to deliver against your potential.

As the CEO of a fast-growing startup, I can attest to the fact that we look to hire superheroes--people that are exceptional at what they do and can execute above and beyond the masses. Like any smart investor, we place our bets on the individuals with true advantages over the competition.

So how do find out what your superpower is? Answer the following three questions and you'll be well on your way.

1. What skills are you passionate about developing?

The better we get at completing certain tasks, or improving particular skills, the more we are inclined to do it. It's the idea behind the cycle of accelerated returns: When a person gets better at something, they'll want to keep doing that particular task. The more they continue to do that task well, the more knowledgeable they become within that skill set. Having a passion for your work, as well as a deep understanding of how your particular skill set applies to your business, the more competitive you can be in the marketplace.

Look for some aspect of your own work that you are naturally inclined to improving and working at.

2. What do you do well that has a high barrier to entry?

Some companies can distance themselves from competitors by hurdling high walls to gain entrance to a market or industry. For example, it's generally difficult to build a successful startup in the hardware space. Prototyping and testing is generally more expensive than simply coding an app or creating a website. The higher threshold for entry turns many away, leaving more opportunities for the companies that make it over the barrier.

Ask yourself: what sets my skills and talent apart from other employees? What experience do I have that is unusual in the marketplace? Leverage those skills and abilities to make yourself an indispensable contributor to your team.

3. How can you combine your unique skills and make yourself more efficient?

Your particular set of accomplishments, experiences, and talents may hold the key to your competitive advantage. Perhaps you are marketer that can code, or an engineer who can write. What unique skills can you combine to produce more value for your company?

Remember that you don't always need to be a specialist to be unique. Some of today's most profound business leaders weren't the best coders, writers, or marketers. But their superpowers rested in being able to see big-picture connections and motivate others.

Regardless of what your unique competitive advantage is, focus on utilizing it within your company. With enough serious hard work, you will be able to build yourself an outstanding career.

Published on: Sep 23, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.