Ep #82: Natural Genius and Your Unique Brilliance

by | Podcast

Welcome to the Brilliance at Work podcast where we shine a light on where great work, charisma and leadership that makes a positive difference really comes from.

In this first episode of our newly rebranded podcast (formerly The Thought Leadership School Podcast), I want to talk about two very related things. The first is Brilliance. I’ll be sharing what I mean by brilliance, why I chose that word and how it’s going to serve you in this conversation around your leadership in the world and inside your company and wherever else you're leading.

The second thing we cover is your own Unique Brilliance, a term that I coined years ago but haven't talked much about on the podcast yet. We’ll dive into what your unique brilliance really is, what your Natural Genius is, and why looking for strategies outside of us to help us be better, be more efficient, more productive or less stuck isn’t always the answer we are seeking.
When you tune in, you’ll also hear me share some of my own personal insights around my Natural Genius and how this has evolved over the years for me. Listen in, my friend!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The definition of brilliance and What your Unique Brilliance is…
  • How your Unique Brilliance serves you in your leadership in the world and inside your company 
  • Why looking for strategies outside of us to help us be better, be more efficient, more productive or less stuck isn’t always the answer we are seeking
  • What your Unique Brilliance requires to be fully realized
  • What Natural Genius is – and where it originates

Listen to the Full Episode: 

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Brilliance at Work Podcast where we shine a light on where great work, charisma and leadership that makes a positive difference really comes from, I'm Michelle Barry Franco. I'm an executive coach speaking coach and your honored host and I'm delighted that you're here.

Hello, hello. My brilliant friends. I am just giddy to be back here with you on the podcast and you may notice that we've had another evolution. I've decided to just not make a big deal in my mind and out in the world about the evolution of this podcast. I know that we've had a couple of different names of the podcast and the topic has actually stayed that the thread in the center is really, really strong and the same, but I know that we're deepening into what we're really meant to be talking about and one of the things that I've learned over the last couple of years is sometimes you just can't know exactly how you want something to go till you start. That's what this has been. It's been this public together with you evolution of the podcast and I'm delighted and thrilled that we are now The Brilliance At Work Podcast and I'm super excited to be back here with you sharing what I think is an even deeper conversation around how you can make your biggest difference in the world with your amazing ideas, your gifts, your work, at home, and in your personal relationships too.

We're deepening and we're broadening in some ways. You might have listened to the welcome to the brilliance at work podcast. I did a short little snippet just to frame this new version of the podcast, so if you haven't listened to that, you can go back and listen to it. I think it's just like three to five minutes or something, but it'll give you an idea of where we're headed. Again, if you've come here to talk about and learn about and be inspired around public speaking of Thought Leadership, we will still absolutely have that, but we're also going to talk about leadership overall. We're going to talk about the leadership of teams running companies. I've worked with some amazing award-winning founders who've done incredible things out in the world with their products and their services, but also in service of really creating a company culture that feels good to come to work too.

I want to have those conversations as well. We're definitely going to do that. Now before we dive in to today's topic, which is really another way of putting some clarity around where we're going with Brilliance At Work, I want to ask you to please head on over to iTunes or your favorite listening app and give us a rating and review. I know we took a little break. I think that can mess with our ratings a little bit and I'll tell you the reason I care about ratings is only because I want people to find us and I want people to find us because I believe that we're having a conversation that just isn't happening out there for people that want to make a difference in the world with their ideas and really want to serve as leaders inside of their companies, running their companies and as Thought Leaders.

What I've seen out there is just quite different than this. I want to talk about the deeper part of what really lights up our service in the world and that's what Brilliance At Work is about. If you could head on over, give us a rating and review to help other people find this podcast. I would appreciate it.

I don't think I've talked about it on the podcast yet, but I love that it's come back up and in my mind and heart because I think it's a beautiful way to start us off into this newly revised conversation here on the podcast. But first let's talk about this word brilliance. Where did it come from? Why did I choose it and what does it have to do with you? As far as I see it. The first thing I want to say is think about the word itself. This is part of what lights me up about the word brilliance. As soon as I say the word I see sunrays, I see the sparkle off of a jam or a diamond and this is really cool and shiny and beautiful, but then what immediately happens for me and what I'd love to happen for you is that that jam, that diamond, whatever shining like that drops directly into the center of your heart and soul.

That is where I see your brilliance shining so powerfully out in the world and when your brilliance is really centered there in the center of you, it feeds all the work that you're doing. Here's the thing. We spend most of our time looking for strategies outside of us to help us be better, be more efficient, more productive, to be less stuck, to get unstuck. We look for strategies and tactics and practices that we can add to our lives to supposedly in theory, help us contribute at the highest level. Here is what I have seen with so much clarity. Those strategies, those tactics, those practices, and I'm talking about really, really cool things like meditation and yoga and emotional freedom technique, tapping and thought work models and all of it. They don't work without a deep understanding of visceral personal insight around the change that we're looking to create in our lives.

While sometimes those strategies can actually help us feel better in the moment, and I've had that work for me. Lots and lots of times, they start to get another thing to do. Oh my gosh. If I could give you the list. At one point I created this program, it was called the If Today Practice and I was so excited about it. I shared about it on my website, told all the people said this is the answer, because for a short period of time it was for me. I was telling the truth of course, but I think that's how this works, right? So, what I would do was I'd write down all my ideas in the morning. I had this whole practice. It took me like an hour or more than an hour. I'd write down all the thoughts I was having and then I would write down what I really want for my life.

Then I would look at and notice the gap between all the thoughts I was having and what I was really wanting, and I would look for what was it in the way, what was causing that distance? Then I would do some tapping, some emotional freedom technique, tapping, EFT, tapping. In doing that tapping, I would start to feel better, right? I would name the things that were in the way. I would name what I wanted. I would start with what I didn't want with what wasn't going well. I would end with what was inspiring and it felt really good. I want to be clear, because I know some of you probably do tapping or yoga or meditation. This is not me telling you to not do those things. I just want to talk about the way my experience of having these kinds of practices that added a lot of time to my life.

How without a deeper insight, without a deeper understanding seems something new in a new way?  They just became another thing I had to do and that I would fail at it. Then there I was a failure again. What does this have to do with brilliance? It's not sounding very uplifting and brilliant right now. Right? I did all those things, tried all kinds of different things, and then at some point I kind of gave up. I stopped doing anything because I had all the books, I mean bookshelves and bookshelves of self-help and practices, things that had made me feel better for a little while. Things that some of my most beloved teachers were sharing as ways to find freedom, to tap our greatest expression, all of that. I thought, man, something must be wrong with me. I must be broken in some way because even when this works for a little while, I can't seem to stick with it.

I just don't have willpower. I'm just not made like that. I'd have all these things and really it just, I felt worse and worse about myself, so I stopped doing most of them and I also didn't have any new ideas and that wasn't really the answer either. There I was, I had nothing else to go on, but I'm ever hopeful. I always still love listening to good teachers, so I was still listening to people who I felt were inspiring and had ideas that gave me hope about feeling better, feeling more freedom, tapping that place in me that knew I was capable of doing something bigger, of creating the dreams the way I imagined them, but not knowing what to do about the fact that it was there and I didn't know how to get to it and utilize it.

Then I had this really powerful moment. I've had a number of them. You've probably had these experiences too, right, where you hear something, and it hits you at just the right moment and you have this new level of understanding. Well that's what happened for me. I was listening to some, a teacher who was sharing something through video and they said just a couple of things. It wasn't what they said that mattered so much, although a few of the things they said really have replayed in my mind almost on a daily basis, but it was more that I heard it in that moment and I saw it. I still had true; it was in a new way. I'll tell you one of them just because you're probably like, okay, why are you being so mysterious? One of the things that the teacher said was, you cannot be broken.

It's impossible for you to be broken. No human being there is not one human being, no exceptions that is broken. Every single human has innate health, wellness, and wholeness inside of them and my brain just went, whoa. I mean that's true. I just knew it was deeply true and of course then it kicked in around, well what about the terrible people who hurt children and all of those things. Maybe your brain is doing that too. Even as I did that over time, I could see that underneath the thinking that I've been believing that those people may have been believing in. Then acting on underneath all that was so much innate health and wellness and so much brilliance and that's where I see brilliance. That's what I want to talk about. You met, remember the lit up on stage series? It's one of my favorite sets of podcast episodes that I created was under the Thought Leadership School Podcast brand.

I think it was episode 67 68 it was in that domain. There were four of them. Well, you'll see from there that we probably have 10 more episodes after that, but really it was recording those episodes and deepening my own understanding of how powerful it is when we look in that deep place within us that is always vibrant, always lit up, always ready to deliver the highest level. When we keep looking there, there is so much power and passion and clarity and conviction and I just decided, the reason I came around to this brilliance at work title for this podcast is that's what I want to talk about. I want to look at your brilliance, that deep part of you that has so much energy and passion and clarity and ease and freedom. I want to keep looking there. I want to keep pointing there, and this might seem kind of pie in the sky and but what about all the other things in life that are hard?

What about anxiety? I get it. We'll talk about all those things too, but I have to tell you now we're going to keep looking underneath it all because that is the deepest thing that I've seen and when we keep looking there, no matter what we're getting from the outside world, there are so many solutions, so many ideas, so much freshness lives there. That's what I'm talking about when I talk about brilliance. Now I want to talk a little bit about your unique brilliance because this is actually a concept that I created. I don't know, it has to be six years ago or so. What I mean by your unique brilliance is each of us, one of the things that I've seen getting to work with more than a thousand speakers, far more than a thousand at this point individually on their talks. I taught college right for a while.

I helped my college students craft talks and then I've worked with many, many clients since then. I've gotten to really get into the depth of content and ideas and expression and stories and what matters with a lot of people and here's what I've seen. We each have, there's at least one thing, and oftentimes it's more than one thing. We have this with something, it's like a gift or a talent, you might call it. We use other words to describe it, but it's something that we do so easily, so readily, so naturally that we hardly notice it. I think of this, I call this your natural genius. It just happens for you and it probably goes all the way back to when you were a kid. For me, one of the things that I've been doing since I was a kid is asking lots and lots of questions and asking lots and lots of personal questions.

I remember asking my mom and my dad very personal questions when I was really young. I just had this derive this intense curiosity about people and their stories and that has absolutely, it has absolutely woven throughout my life without me thinking about it. In the same domain, I also really loved to learn about something new, take something complex. Now I'm not talking about math problems or big like science projects. It was virtually always in the domain of human experience. Often it was human interaction. So my friends from before third grade, I can't even remember how early it started, would come to me, my siblings, and then later my parents have even come to me and asked me, you know, how do I handle the situation I need to address a difficult situation at work. As I've gotten older, I had mentors come to me and asked me.

That was really surprising at first when this would happen, when I was in my twenties or whatever, but all the way back to when I was young, my siblings, my friends, that's what they would come to me for. I'm in this sticky situation with another person. First of all, help me get some perspective. Am I right or am I right here? Maybe the subtext was, what am I not seeing? Although that wasn't always the way they were thinking about it and then how do I talk with this person about this so we can move through it or so that I won't get in trouble if they had to tell their parents something.  It's a natural genius. It's just been there. I didn't create it. Now here's the thing about natural genius. I have absolutely refined it. I have cultivated a greater expertise over time.

Wasn't hard because I was so attracted to it. Maybe you've found that for yourself as well. Here's some examples of a natural genius that I've seen in clients and other people in my life that just come to me so easily. At the top of my mind, I have a friend who can walk into a space, a home office classroom, and immediately see how it could be rearranged for more easy flow and beauty like she can't help herself. She walks in and that's what she sees. She's already doing it before you even ask her. I have a client, she's so good at coaching and listening. She can hear the story underneath the story that a person is telling intuitively, knowing where to ask more questions and just where they can deepen their own understanding more powerfully. I have a number of clients who can do this.

This is an amazing natural genius for coaches. I have a colleague who can listen while a person is doing a presentation and draw these incredible pictures and create this flow, this visual flow of information that immediately makes difficult concepts that are being shared so much easier to understand. Watching her do it is just astounding and yes, she has gotten better. She's actually an expert at doing this now, but she was already playing with information way before she made this her expertise because it was just this natural genius that was already living in her. My husband, Jim, can process complex mathematical equations in his head in real time, an astonishing way. It doesn't even look like he's thinking that hard. It's just a natural genius for him. I know another woman who can combine spices and other ingredients to make amazing meals, to create flavors that you've never even tasted before without a recipe.

She does it intuitively, so you see how that your natural genius can come from so many different places and look so many different ways. The beauty is there's no natural hierarchy among natural genius. Each is as valuable and delightful as we just allow them to be in our own lives. The key though is to look honestly and openly at what your natural genius might be so that you can let it work its magic in your own life. Now, I want to say something here about this whole concept of natural genius. I want you to hold this whole thing lightly. Now I want you to hold this whole thing kind of lightly. This concept of natural genius. I think it can be really helpful for you to just get a sense of when you're tapping your brilliance, because I think that's part of what we're feeling when we're tapping into this thing that comes so naturally to us, but I don't want this to feel like this.

Natural genius is something that's established when we're young and then it never changes and it's static and not fluid. That's not true. Things change all the time. So maybe you had a natural genius when you were younger and it's evolved and it's kind of fallen away. This isn't about like naming your natural genius and then stepping into it and that's who you need to be. It's more like a way of just seeing deep into the vibrancy and the natural ease of contribution. For you, natural genius is the main character in your unique brilliance. The distinction between your natural genius and your unique brilliance is that you have this natural genius, this vibrant, easeful place of contribution in you. No matter what. You can use it or not use it. It's there. Either way, it just lives in you. It's living there.

Your unique brilliance requires a place to shine in order to be fully realized. We're going to talk about really using this natural genius, this place of ease and flow, and you in contribution, in making a difference in the world in some way. And I don't mean difference like it has to be profound and you need to be on giant stages or running huge companies, but your unique brilliance is really where your natural genius starts to serve, goes out into the world and shows it's pretty fake. Your unique brilliance requires this place to shine in order to be fully realized. This is interesting news, isn't it? On the one hand you have this genius of course, regardless of what you choose to do with it and your brilliance lives inside of you as well as we've already talked about, but the only way to really activate your unique brilliance in a way that's powerful and that you get to experience it is to put it out into the world and keep sharing it with others.

You'll experience it at these new levels. So that's what I want to talk about. That's how I want us to see your unique brilliance as an opportunity to take this natural genius that just lives in you and share it out into the world, contribute with it so that you can see your unique brilliance in action. So if we were to make a formula out of this, which I hesitate to do, just to simplify what we've talked about here today, you have this natural genius that lives in you, and it's a place of ease and flow. It's where you can contribute from a talent or a skill or some way of serving that feels, it feels so natural to you that you hardly think about it and you tend to be really good at it. Even more importantly, it just feels natural and like flow for you.

You have this natural genius and then you have your contribution out in the world with this natural genius through speaking. It might be your work, it might be the way you parent your children, any of that, but when you take that natural genius and you apply it out into the world, we get to experience what I like to call your unique brilliance, your way of sharing that natural genius in service of something new or something different, some new creation. This is the foundation of really your brilliance at work. We'll talk a little bit more about your natural genius and upcoming episodes. We'll talk about your unique brilliance in upcoming episodes at times. But I want us to, again, enjoy putting some words around some of these things that I think all of us can feel within us without getting too heavy on the labeling because it doesn't really matter what we call it, right?

It's what lives in you. We're looking for that flow and that contribution. What I want to do and the reason I like to wrap these words around these ideas is I want you to feel yourself stepping into what you envision as possible. I want you to feel how you can contribute in the way that you've been dreaming of and you absolutely have this incredible bright, light brilliance that lives within you that is always ready to serve at that level.  We're going to talk more and more about that, and I can't wait. I am so happy to be here with you. Again. I hope you're enjoying these new concepts, some new baseline concepts that are setting us up for some wonderful conversations. I have a couple of interviews lined up that I cannot wait to share with you. So those are coming soon. Plus just more conversation about how you can get out there and create the life and the work that you know you're meant to be living and creating. And I'll be over here cheering you on as always because there is one thing that has not changed throughout all of the iterations of this podcast. Whether we're here, whether we're not through all of time, and that is this, you were made for this, and you know how I know that, right? I know that because you know that. All right. See you here next week.

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 leader and a speaker, you can download a free copy of Lead with Your Natural Charisma, Inspire and Motivate Your Team and Beyond with Ease at http://brillianceatwork.com/naturalcharisma.


Enjoy The Show?