3 Unexpected Ways to Leverage Your Sensitivity as a Superpower in Your Career

Melody Wilding, LMSW
5 min readOct 25, 2022
Photo by Laker

Did you know that the superpower of sensitivity can become your greatest asset at work?

Yet all too often we continue to hear, “don’t be so sensitive.” It’s a phrase that’s often thrown around as a jab or criticism.

Many of my coaching clients have been told that they need to “grow a thicker skin” and quit “wearing their heart on their sleeve.”

If you are a Sensitive Striver, then you may also be used to these kinds of critiques. You are likely someone who thinks, feels, and experiences the world more deeply. You’re highly attuned to subtleties in your environment, as well as others’ emotions.

Personally, I’m also a Sensitive Striver, and my life was similarly peppered with insecurity and judgment from others (and even myself). I grew up feeling like an oddball and came to believe that I was defective. I frequently pushed myself to the brink of burnout trying to live up to other people’s expectations, along with the impossibly high expectations I create for myself.

If you recognize parts of yourself in these statements, you may also be a Sensitive Striver. Maybe, at one time or another, you have also come to perceive yourself as weak, attributing it to the way you’re “wired.” What’s worse is that instead of embracing your sensitivity, maybe you’ve hid it as a survival mechanism to fit in with others. But if you’ve ever tried this, then you know firsthand that it usually doesn’t work. When you reject your true nature, you create a war within yourself.

While Sensitive Strivers may be “different,” their brand of neurodiversity is a gift, not a defect. The truth is that the trait of high sensitivity if leveraged correctly, can be your greatest strength and professional asset.

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High Sensitivity as an Advantage

One in five people have inherited a special set of genes that leads to having a highly attuned central nervous system. Psychologist Elaine Aron, who first discovered the trait of high sensitivity, has suggested that it evolved as…

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Melody Wilding, LMSW

Author of TRUST YOURSELF. Executive coach to Sensitive Strivers. Human behavior professor. Featured in NYT, NBC, CNN. https://melodywilding.com/book