I’m going to expose myself as a bit of an outcast here, but I have actually never read the Harry Potter books or seen any of the movies all the way through. My husband, and all three of our daughters, have—multiple times. I’ve been paying enough attention, though, to hear about many of the incredible symbols for important life experiences—like the Invisibility Cloak!

Why am I talking about an Invisibility Cloak today? And, why is it a major topic in many of my coaching calls? Because it impacts every aspect of your business.

We all have that internal voice that gets caught up in the “I don’t knows,” “What ifs,” and a zillion normal human brain thoughts that have no relation to our abilities. When woven together, they make up the fabric of our own personal Invisibility Cloak.

Does this sound familiar?

“I'm so ready to finally step out into the world and share my message, because I know more people need to hear this, but I just get caught up in the technology.”

“How do I bill my clients?”

“Who manages the chat box when I’m running the webinar?”

“What if something goes wrong???”

I have some fabulous news for you. Your Invisibility Cloak isn’t real—every single thread in the fabric is made up—and there's nothing you have to do about it! You just have to see that it's there. Once you do, it actually starts to dissolve.

In this episode of the Brilliance at Work podcast, I’ll help you recognize your Invisibility Cloak and we’ll start working on dissolving this cloak so it’s no longer a barrier that stops you from sharing your voice, message and beautiful business.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • What an Invisibility Cloak is, what it’s made from, and who has them
  • What you do not have to do with your personal Invisibility Cloak
  • How to begin breaking down and moving through this barrier to sharing your voice, your message, and your beautiful business
  • What to do when you start to get heavy, tired, confused, and lost
  • The value of embracing your lack of slickness

Listen to the Full “Invisibility Cloak” Episode

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Full Episode Transcript:

There's nothing you have to do. You just have to see that it's there. Once you see it for what it really is like this heavy cloak made up of a zillion normal human brain thoughts that don't actually mean anything about what you're capable of. Once you see it for what it really is, it starts to dissolve.

Welcome to the Brilliance at Work Podcast where we shine a light on where great work, charisma and growing a thriving business you love really comes from, I'm Michelle Barry Franco. I've been a speaking and thought leadership coach for more than a decade from TEDx stages to world famous conferences, and I've helped some of the most beloved business leaders grow their businesses and serve in the biggest way possible through their business and through their thought leadership. I love that. I get to share the best of what I've learned with you here on the Brilliance at Work Podcast.

Hello my beautiful friends. I just got off a coaching call, actually a series of coaching calls and I got to say, and every single one of them I ended up mentioning the invisibility cloak usually multiple times and I'm sure that I'll be an outcast for this, but I got to say, I actually have never even read Harry Potter, which I believe is where the invisibility cloak became famous. Most well known, and I saw most of the first movie and it was fine, but there are just so many incredible symbols for important life experiences in this Harry Potter series. So, I've picked them up because we have huge Harry Potter fans in my house. All three of our daughters and my husband have read every one of the books multiple times, watched all the movies when I travel, they play them all again. Anyway, the point is, there's been enough discussion around here that I've gotten to learn about some of these concepts and the invisibility cloak is so perfect for something that I see over and over and over again in the desire to step into leadership as a coach or a wellness expert so that you can serve in the biggest way possible, reach a lot of people and of course build a thriving business along the way.

So I'm going to talk with you about what I mean by the invisibility cloak and how you can drop that cloak. But before we do that, I'm going to ask you to hop on over when you have a minute please to your favorite listening app and give us a rating and review. And if you can think of anyone who you think this would be the perfect piece of information or insight or idea that will help them break through whatever's in the way of their greatest expression in their business, please send along to them. I would so, so appreciate it. I just love it that I'm here with you, that I get to serve you in this way. And I just want you to know that I so appreciate knowing that you're out there listening and taking this in and I'm especially excited about this one.

I think I've said that a lot lately, but it's true about this one too. So, here's the scenario that leads me to bring up the invisibility cloak pretty much every time with clients or colleagues or, by the way, with myself so that my client, colleague or me and my own brain, because I'm definitely not immune to this. We'll be saying things like this. I'm just so ready to do this. I'm so ready to finally just step out into the world and share my message big and bold and proud. I want it to go further. I know more people need to hear this. I just get caught up in the technology. I think my billing system is so bad. How do I even bill them if I'm going to do an ongoing payment plan or if I'm going to invite them into a course, I don't understand how I can bill them in a way that's reliable so that when they say yes to my program or whatever, that it all just goes seamlessly or it'll sound like this.

I know what my story is. I mean, it happened to me. Right? So I know my own story and I know that it's been interesting to my friends and my family and to some of the clients that I've worked with. But what I don't know is how to tell that story on the stage or in my webinar or to write about it in my bio on my website and it's just got me caught. It's got me stuck on creating my new website that I'm already working on with a team, with a branding team and everything, but I just can't get clear on how to tell my story so that it's useful and interesting. You know? It's not just like another story like everyone else who's out there doing coaching or it sounds like this. I love what we put together for my webinars, Michelle.

I can hardly believe that it's all laid out so clearly, but I'm just getting a little caught up. I'm stuck on what happens. Like who manages the chat box when I'm running the webinar and what if something goes wrong? Like with the technology or someone says something weird in the chat and I miss it so I don't respond to it? I'm just afraid I could lose them for good. These people who've trusted me to come to my webinar, that I can lose them for good if I don't have it set up right. And I don't think of all this ahead of time and I could go on with more examples, but my guess is that you've got your own stories like this playing. So, while you might switch out some of these words, some of the circumstances under which you imagine speaking or sharing, the gist of this is the same, right?

There are just all these thoughts and they're big and they're woven together on there. So, there's this big story that you've built up in your brilliant brain, and listen, my beautiful brain plays those same kinds of thoughts and stories too. It's just what brains do. But, here's what I want you to know about every single one of these barriers, quote unquote, these barriers to sharing your voice, your message, your beautiful business, and the biggest way possible. Every single one of those barriers is made up. They're not real. And I know what you're thinking. I mean, yeah, they're realists things like, yes, you are correct. You can be facilitating a webinar and some rogue stranger can be in the chat box saying weird things. I've actually never seen it happen, but I'm sure it's happened. So, yes, those things could happen. Any of the ones, it could be that you need to tell your story in a better way, or more useful way, but they're not actually real barriers to you getting out there with your message.

They're just something to move through. The barriers are the part that's made up. And this might seem really straightforward and kind of annoying, like it's semantics, but it's not actually, it's not semantics. I want you to see what I mean by the difference here. This is your brain, my brain, our brains telling us all of the things we have to do in order to be really, really ready to serve with our message. And, since you're brilliant, of course, cause this is the Brilliance at Work Podcast. After all, you've got a seriously brilliant brain that has built a strong case for each of these stories so that it looks like a barrier to you stepping into the light, like the B kitten that you're meant to be for the people you're meant to serve. So here's the thing. You know that every single person who ever delivers a webinar, a Ted talk, a Facebook live, any of these ways that you serve as a person who steps into leadership in this way, any single person who's ever done these things has the exact same potential issues as we listed out here and all the other ones that run through your brain, right?

Those possibilities do not directly lead to, they are not a direct line to failure or lack of readiness. They're just made up – the fact that they're a barrier. That part is what is made up. So it can't be that these are real barriers. Otherwise they would block every single person ever from sharing their message, their stories woven together that make up the fabric of what I now think of as your invisibility cloak.

I hope you'll think of it this way too, and make no mistake, this invisibility cloak is heavy. It slows you down, it fucks up your view, it makes you weary and tired and it makes you feel lost. So, have you ever been to the dentist and, you know, gotten x-rays at the dentist and they lay that really heavy drape over you to protect you from the x-ray lasers or whatever those are?

Yeah. That's how heavy your invisibility cloak is. It's that heavy in its impact. Extra tricky. You don't know you have it on because it's kind of clearish but not entirely. You actually think the view that you're seeing is the real view. You think that this is the truth, that your story not feeling super clear means you can't get out and share your story. That the possibility that something could go wrong with technology means that you can't get onto technology like Facebook live or Zoom or whatever your webinar platform is and share your message. It's not true, but it looks really true and it's impacting every single thing you do in your business. This cloak, by the way, which covers your whole body more like a sheet. You know? Imagine you've seen when people dress up as a ghost for Halloween. So it goes like over their head.

Right? So your cloak, mine too, by the way. It goes over our heads and then our shoulders and it just weighs us down in that way and it's a little bit, it's, it's see-through so you don't have to cut out the eyes like you do in a sheet. It's kind of see-through, but because it just slowly has grown over time. It was such a slow growth that you didn't even realize it was happening. But do you want to know the good news about this invisibility cloak? There is not one thing that you have to do to remove it. You do not have to go reframe every one of those thoughts. You don't have to go analyze your past and look at how your past has caused you to build this kind of invisibility cloak. Everyone gets invisibility cloaks. It's just part of the human experience.

It is just made up of thought that a human brain creates to quote unquote protect us from being ousted from the tribe. This is that primal part of our brain that says, danger, danger, don't risk putting yourself out there. You might get kicked out of the tribe that keeps you safe, but those just aren't our circumstances anymore. So, here's the beautiful thing. There's nothing you have to do. You just have to see that it's there. Once you see it for what it really is like this heavy cloak made up of a zillion normal human brain thoughts that don't actually mean anything about what you're capable of. Once you see it for what it really is, it starts to dissolve almost immediately. The more you see it for what it is, the less solid it is, the faster it starts to just fall away. When you really, really see this cloak, it immediately begins to dissolve and then you can start to feel it happening.

When you start to get heavy, when you start to get tired and feel confused, and the stories start to build up, though it may not look like that to you, when you just start to feel confused and lost and like this is impossible. Instead of looking at those stories and continuing to build the case for why you can't go out there and share because of all these great, brilliantly crafted stories in your mind, you'll know, Oh, I know what this is. This is my invisibility cloak. That's all it is. And the reason this might be obvious, but the reason I call this your invisibility cloak is because it actually stops you from being out in the world. It stops you from stepping into your role as a leader. It keeps you in one spot. It makes you feel stuck. And so while it may not be a dark, you know, camouflage coloring, we don't even have to get that detailed about it because I think you'll see that this is a metaphor, but this cloak keeps you invisible from the vision you have for your impact in the world for the difference that you're meant to make.

See, you know this, right? Some of us are called to use the lessons learned from our life, our stories and our expertise to serve others. This is not a calling that is about ego or being in the spotlight for the sake of being in the spotlight. It's not about fame and fortune, although if you're hoping for fame and fortune, it is a welcome and invited of course. But if you're here listening to me now, which you obviously are, then at the heart of this is your call to serve. It's your call to serve and the only way you can do that is if you're willing to step forward into the bright light, shine your beautiful radiant beacon light out in the world, not so that everybody goes like, Oh, look how shiny and wonderful they are. No, so that they go, Oh, there you are.

Been looking for you. You see what I mean? They can't say that to you if you're stuck underneath this heavy invisibility cloak and in slow to no motion hidden from the world, and again, beautiful, beautiful news, my friend. You just have to see that it's a cloak and as soon as you do, as soon as you see it for what it is, you get onto this little trick story thing that your brain has created. It just starts to fall away. It will come back, it comes back and it comes back from you all the time. Of course I have my own form of invisibility cloak, but I can tell you from having, having seen for real, like this cloak is so real to me that immediately I know what's happening when I start to get kind of heavy and extra confused. Now it doesn't mean I don't get caught up in some of the same stories.

I have the same human brain, but earlier in, earlier, over time I've been able to see what it is. You will too. And as soon as that happens, you can start getting into emotion quickly. I don't mean you're gonna have to make yourself, you don't have to make yourself. Because I've heard it described, and I love this as let's say like when you're a kid or even as an adult and you see this like shadow. Imagine you're laying in your bedroom and all of a sudden you see this big, black-kind of arms-moving creature-looking thing coming in next to the wall in your room and you're scared to death. Your heart is beating and you're sure that this is it. This is the end, and then a car drives by and shines a light across that wall and you realize that was the shadow of your dog that was walking across the floor in your bedroom and it just happened to hit them just right.

You didn't know the dog was in the room and that shadow is so clear now. That wasn't a scary monster at all. Now the light can go off again. Your dog can be walking across the room and that scary looking creature can go across the wall and you'll never again be afraid of it, right? You'll probably laugh because you know that it's a shadow. Suddenly, you've seen it. Now every time you see it, even if your heart starts to go like, Oh, what's that? You'll go, Oh, that's a shadow. That is what will happen for you with your invisibility cloak. Oh, this is my invisibility cloak. And it's taking all different forums. But I hope that you'll get this visual in your mind of literally, if I could paint or draw, I would draw or paint this for you. Just see all those stories, those really well-built stories about what's in the way of you sharing your message woven beautifully into this giant cloak.

Spacious enough that you can see out of it, but enough of them there so that it's heavy and it messes with your view and it gets heavier and heavier the longer you just let it sit, but not anymore. Because you'll know that this is your invisibility cloak and you'll start to see it sooner, earlier in the process, and you'll watch it dissolve. And then the only thing you have to know next is what's your next right move and that next right move, by the way, might be okay. So, one of the things that felt like a genuine barrier was the tech for setting up my webinar. What do I need to do to support myself in the tech part of my webinar? If I don't want to go learn all the things that might happen so that I can handle them when they come up.

Can I go into one of my business groups and say, “Hey, does anyone know anyone who assists on webinars with technology?” It manages. The chat group helps. Just make sure the technology is running smoothly, works on any tech issues that might come up, and you will have people respond with ideas because I've seen people do this in a variety of groups. I've done this kind of thing in many groups myself. When the clock starts to fall away, it's much clearer. Your clearer view, your clearer vision allows you to think about really good ideas that help you keep moving forward. That's all we ever want to do. Keep moving forward. You don't have to do all the things that wove together to make up your invisibility cloak. You don't have to fix them all at once. Just the next one and then the next one after that, and then you'll probably get into motion and get on that webinar or share that story in your bio on your new website and know that perfection is never what we're looking for.

People want to meet you. People want to meet your humanity. We don't like slickness. There's research that shows that we don't like slick speakers, slick leaders who are too perfect. We actually like the ones better that spill their drink. That's actually a study that I read. I'll have to see if I can find it and put it in the show notes. There's a study that found that literally, when they compared how the audience responded to two different speakers who were leading a session, they responded more positively, felt more positive and connected to the person who actually ended up spilling a drink during the session compared to the one who didn't, who did everything perfectly. You know, nothing went wrong at all in the session. So, the point is, it isn't about you being perfect and, more importantly, that cloak, it's not real, my friends, and it's so beautiful.

It's going to keep showing up. It's part of the human experience, but now that you know it's there, you'll be able to look straight in his eyes and he'll start to fall away. Right, right then and there before your very eyes, which is exactly what I want for you because I can sum up all of the stories, all of the resistance, all of the reluctance that I've heard from thousands of people around sharing their message all into this one invisibility cloak.

This pretty much solves it all. It keeps you in motion. Let it dissolve. You can just drop that invisibility cloak and keep moving forward. You really, really can and I, as always, I'm over here just holding that spotlight on you, my friend. I am just like, I'm pointing all the neon arrows and saying here they are ready to serve because I know that that's what you are meant to do because you were made for this, my friend. I know that because way deep in your heart you know that. Okay, I already can't wait to be here with you next week.

Take care.

Thank you so much for being here with me on the Brilliance at Work Podcast. If you want to know how to tap your own most natural charisma as a business owner, leader, and speaker, you can download a free copy of my book, Beyond Applause, make a meaningful difference through transformational speaking. This includes a free short course that helps you get crystal clear on the message at the heart of your work. You can get a free copy of this book and that short course at brillianceatwork.com/freebook. I hope you'll love it.

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