Like Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code, Laura from my career empowerment group has honed her innate ability to find patterns in things that are out of order. She can look at a desk, a closet, the trunk of a car, or an entire household, and know instinctively how to organize it so it makes sense. Laura is brilliant – a creative person in every cell of her being, which explains the hipness you detect when you meet her for the first time. She was born with an innate curiosity to make sense of the world. This keeps her on the constant lookout for clues and explains her interest in being a detective when she was a child.

Laura is unique. Like you. In fact, there’s not one other person in this world who has the combination and depth of talents you possess at this very moment. I’m not talking about skills – that is, the abilities you learned on the job or in the classroom. Though skills are important to career fulfillment on some level, our talents are the unique and innate qualities, behaviors and natural abilities which allow us to excel not only in our careers, but in every area of our life.

You can’t help but do these things because it’s how you’re wired. It’s who you are. And, when they come together harmoniously, you’ve discovered your brilliance: that rare combination of things you do better than most. When they’re effectively harnessed at work, you feel energized and vibrant and you accomplish tasks with the utmost of ease and enjoyment. You’re transported to a place where you do your best work with full authenticity because you’ve been good at these things… well, for as long as you can remember.

Conversely, when you’re in a job or work for a person or organization that doesn’t allow your natural strengths to flourish, you feel drained or your work feels forced – as it did for Laura over the last few years.

You see, though Laura has always been drawn to right-brain thinking and design, yet she was diverted from a creative career path that would capitalize on her innate talents by well-intentioned parents. Her first gig was in the advertising industry, but every time she contemplated wandering from the safe space of account management, she stopped herself. After a move to Seattle ten years ago, she serendipitously fell into a successful career as a corporate recruiter. I suspect it was her tenacity and self-discipline which enabled her to excel in this new career, but she still wasn’t filled with energy and excitement at the end of the work day.

It’s simple really - Laura is not interested in creating ad campaigns or interviewing corporate job prospects. She’s passionate about designing with a purpose. And that purpose is function and organization. If you ask her how she spends her spare time, she’ll show you her bag prototype designed to organize the most active professional and mother, or the car organizing concepts that sport clean lines and practical compartments. In fact, Laura is much more interested in things than people, which explains why talking to candidates all day was a miss for her.

Another clue to your brilliance is what often frustrates others about you. I suspect if we asked Laura’s family about her ideas for organizing the world, they’d snicker. Her house is compartmentalized, logical and orderly. So much so, I bet it occasionally feels like a burden to her family. But alas, it’s only because she has been funneling all her brilliance into the home front while her career endeavors have been devoid of opportunities to utilize this self-generating energy.

Sadly, too many of us are living this same reality. In fact, it’s estimated that just two out of ten people at work are using their strengths to do their best work.* It seems Laura was in good company. And I use past tense deliberately.

Laura ultimately opted for a career change to find more fulfillment, but I have just as many clients who are thrilled to discover there’s some internal magic that only they possess. When this awakening happens and we name our brilliance, it’s almost impossible to not feel a re-invigorated and renewed sense of purpose for this thing called work. And you, like Laura, have unique talents and gifts that define who you are and how you get things done. The secret is finding that sweet spot: the place where your talents come together to define that one unique thing you do better than most, because you just can’t help yourself. Once you’ve figured this out, it’s time to find the convergence zone of how your talents align with your interests, passions, life experiences and, yes, skills, which is exactly where Laura finds herself today.

If I were to name Laura’s brilliance, it would be organizing chaos. I’m confident Laura brings this to work every day. If you’re curious if this is true – just ask Laura, who launched Unfettered* a few months ago. She is out organizing the world, one person at a time. That is, until her gadgets show up in a store near you.

* Marcus Buckingham, (2009), The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success
* You can reach Laura at

Author's Bio: 

Susan Crampton Davis is the founder of The Positive Change Network (PCN), ( a Seattle-based consultancy and coaching organization whose mission is to ignite increased career fulfillment and success in the workplace.

Prior to Susan’s work at PCN, she has enjoyed a twenty-five year career in Human Resources, most recently as a senior leader at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition to working at the foundation, Susan has held various leadership roles at Getty Images, Amazon, HomeGrocer, Staples and W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc.

Susan received her B.A. from Evergreen State University, where she focused on Human Resource Management and Leadership Studies. She is also a national speaker with Vistage, the largest CEO organization, a NLP practitioner and a certified hypnotherapist.

Susan brings extensive expertise and passion around employee engagement. She believes people do their best when they work from a place of personal strength, are moved into action through internally motivating factors and self-discipline, and always show up as their best self. This belief led to the creation of PCN and the dedication to create more empowerment, fulfillment and success in today’s workforce – one person at a time.