• August 2011

For a Little Lift, Find Your Gifts

By Laura Berger
Executive Coach
Principal, The Berdéo Group

The other day I was coaching one of my clients, who said to me, “It’s ridiculous that I actually get paid to do my job. I just love what I do. I feel so blessed.”

What a wonderful thing to say, especially given that so many people feel underpaid for the work they do. But my client was talking about having tapped into something that is so important to being happy in our work and home lives.

When I asked exactly what it was that made him feel so enchanted by his job, he said it was because succeeding at work came easy to him. “I feel like I am doing what I was born to do.”

The Secret Recipe

The reality is that when we discover our gifts, and are able to tap into them every day, we attract people to us. We fascinate and engage our clients, and we create champions for our businesses.

So why do so many have trouble tapping into this secret recipe?

Too often, it starts in childhood. In kindergarten, everyone is on a level playing field. Then, a teacher or standardized test points out that we are good in math, but not in English, and are judged for not being good at everything.

The process continues throughout most education systems, pigeonholing us, and all too often condemning us for not being masters of everything. As a result, we learn that just being good at one or a few things is not acceptable.

In an effort to improve on our weak areas, we are discouraged from focusing on what we do well. The result is that we lose sight of what we excel at, of what comes easily and naturally.

As an adult, you have the power to reprogram those old messages.

British psychologist Francis Galton defined the term gifted as, “adults who demonstrate exceptional talent in some area.”

The reality is that when we have the courage and support to actually find those magical qualities inside us—the skills, insights, and intrinsic knowledge that come to us naturally—the paradigm shifts.

You probably have a pretty good idea of what your natural gifts are, but to solidify the list, try this simple exercise.

Ask yourself:

  • When you were young, what skills did people tell you that you had a gift or talent for?
  • What excites you, and lights up your face, even though others might consider it “work”?
  • What do you do very well, but when asked can’t explain how or why it comes so easily?

Ask others:

  • What do you think that I do well that seems unusual or unique?
  • What do you feel are my natural talents, and when do I exhibit them most?
  • When you gravitate toward me for assistance, what is it that you are seeking?

The responses to these queries will help you dive deeper into what it is that makes you tick, as well as what others perceive to be your true gifts. My guess is that it won’t take long before you know exactly what you do best.

Now get to work! And start down the path to embracing your best self, enchanting your clients, and living a more prosperous life.


About Laura Berger

An executive advisor and founder of The Berdéo Group, Laura Berger has 15 years of experience as a consultant, advising leadership in the areas of global operations management and strategy, project and change management, and solution development and implementation. She is a confidant of CEOs and senior executives who consistently realize their potential as leaders by seeing their companies flourish.

Having worked with many Fortune 500 companies, her clients include leaders at JPMorgan Chase, State Farm Insurance, United Airlines, General Motors, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, McDonald’s Corporation, American Hospital Association, Leo Burnett Worldwide, Starcom MediaVest Group, and Walt Disney World.

Her ease and zeal for building lasting relationships, acquaintances, and productive introductions between people is her personal trademark. She has stretched her own spirit and will to combine her passions with her professional pursuits, and she shows others how to live true to their core.

Berger exemplifies this commitment to the life path in a book she is co-writing with her husband, Glen Tibaldeo. The book chronicles the humorous side of the successes and challenges they experienced living in the remote jungles of Costa Rica.

For more information, visit www.berdeogroup.com.