Every one of us wants security. We don’t want to encounter danger or sudden trials that would disrupt our routine or career path. Yet, we often forget that we can’t control everything in this world. Yes, we are safe, but we may also be stuck. Does hiding aspects in our lives make us fulfilled? Join your host, Lisa Pezik, as she sits down for a conversation with Michelle McGlade about hiding our brilliance, body, and beliefs to fit society’s norms and run away from our real emotions. Michelle is a bestselling author, podcast creator, speaker, and owner of The Modern Leaders Maven. She believes success is an inside-out game, and leadership of self is the key to building teams and unlocking your next level of growth. She got an intuitive hit that people are hiding—their opinions, bodies, beliefs, genius—and it sent her on a research path. On this podcast, we dive into what we hide, why we hide it, and what steps to take to step into your next level of growth and business.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Why We Hide Our Brilliance, Bodies, And Beliefs With Michelle McGlade
This is the 200th episode. I could not have a better guest on. If you've been around you, you've seen that normally, I do a lot of solo shows, and then every once in a while, I'll bring in some guests. I've been connected to many fabulous people that when I meet them and I have a connection, I'm like, “You need to come and serve my community. Please come on my show.” That's what happened with Michelle McGlade, who I have here. Michelle, welcome.
Thank you for having me on the show.
Michelle and I met through a women-connecting community called The Dames. It's this amazing group that leads with generosity. You have to get to know each other to know how you can generously give, receive, and support each other. Michelle and I got talking about all the ways that we hold ourselves back, and how sometimes we know what we need to do, but then we get stuck. Our brain is like, “Yes, I understand, but I kind of don't understand because I'm still not taking action.” This is not people who are sitting on the couch or can't get out of bed. I'm talking about high-performing people who are achieving and working their purpose and their plan.
We want to talk about why do we hide? Why do we get stuck? Why do we doubt ourselves and our abilities when all the proof is in the pudding that we are capable and we can do it? Michelle, let me tell them about you. She’s a bestselling author, podcast creator, speaker, and award-winning CEO. She leveraged 25-plus years of experience to build three successful enterprises, and coached hundreds of leaders in building, scaling or exiting their business.
The Modern Leader's Maven, Michelle believes success is an inside-out game and leadership of self is the key to building teams and unlocking your next level of growth in business and life. Michelle's work has been featured by Microsoft, Thrive Global, Mpls St. Paul Magazine, and beyond. She's slayed the stage at organizations such as Autodesk, Gilead, and Deluxe Financial Services. Let's dig in. Was there a time where you were hiding in your life? Is that how you got into this work? Where did this come from?
Yes, there's the answer. Now, here's the backstory. I didn't realize it, but 2020 was a year that shook us all to the boots, and it’s the same for me. I was on a podcast journey with my show, taking a little break, and rethinking strategy, “What are we doing next? Who is going to be on the interview list?” I had this tap on the shoulder, that intuitive hit. Do you know what I'm talking about?
The voice that you want to not listen to, “Keep hustling,” and you go, “Yeah, I'll do that.” For some reason, I leaned in and the voice said to me, “Michelle, you're hiding. You're using your show to interviewing amazing leaders to hide from the fact that you need to be that leader and step out front.” I was like, “There might be something here.” That's where the hiding language started for me. When I went on a six-month journey of actual research with other high performers and of course, at first, I started to uncover for myself, “I've not just been hiding. I have a lifetime of hiding.” I am not only an expert in hiding because of the research I've done, but because of what I've been able to unpack for myself.
In my opinion, that's one of the best kinds of leaders. Those that know the research and have done their due diligence and done their work, but then also have that personal experience with it. Sometimes, people can speak about it because they've read about it, they are taking in that information, collecting notes and interviewing people, but then there's that gut feeling or that intuitive hit that you're like, “I can speak about this on such a deeper level because I was the one doing it.”
I feel that way, but the more I get out and share this message, the more I realize we're all doing it. 100% of us are hiding our humanity from other humans. This has come up in the research and I see it all over people. It's like when you first buy the Volkswagen, nobody has it and then all of a sudden, everybody has it.
Sometimes, telling the end of the story is not always helpful for people. It’s the journey that makes a huge impact.
Break that down for me for those going, “What does she mean we're hiding our humanity?”
One of the questions I was looking to answer is if we're hiding, what is it are we hiding? The list is long, but some of the top things that came up for the high performers that I was talking to were hiding opinions, spirituality or lack of or shift in spirituality, and bodies. It is top of mind specifically for women at all stages. Also, hiding our success for high performers specifically and failures, hiding our money situation, making a lot of money, not making enough money, or both at different stages of life. The list goes on and on.
I love to say the punch line up front. I was hiding this information. I sat on it for a long time and as soon as I would lean in, I would lean back. I thought, “Do people want to hear this from me? I've been paid great amounts of money for my strategic mind. I've invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in my intellectual capital. Is this what people really want to hear from me?” What gets my body and everything firing on all cylinders is the fact that in my research, I learned that 2 out of 3 people reported that they were not only hiding in all these ways, but hiding their true brilliance, true magic, and voice from the world. I was like, “That's me.” I thought I was the only one.
This gets me teary-eyed. It gets me emotional, which is one of the things I like to hide so I'll lean into the tears and everything. I thought, “That is not right. I need to let people know about this.” When I say 100% are hiding their humanity, I mean holding back their emotions, opinions, bodies, success and failure, and all aspects of themselves, which makes them human, that's what makes us human. 100% of us are hiding aspects of what makes us human from other humans.
That word brilliance, I bet many people think, “Maybe I don't even have brilliance or I have it because I'm good at this. I've been paid to do this. I have a track record that I'm good at this, but what pokes me is this.”
Because I'm a high performer, I zone in on that. I have spent a lot of time understanding that. For whatever reason, it serves us well to start that path of high performance. We receive something amazing from that, the attention we're not getting at home and the love that we're seeking that didn't come in the shape or form that we needed as a young child. We start to develop a pattern of living our lives externally, and it feels so good. We continue what I call the Action Achievement Model. It's take action, achieve. It becomes an engine that starts going so quickly. We don't mean for this to happen. We're not planning it.
We'd stop receiving at some point, even the goodness that comes from it initially. We're on this train. It's the workaholism, overworking, and always taking on another project. For that to work long-term, we have to shut off our feelings. We have to put them down somewhere tight and deep and close it off, so we can make that model continue to work for us. What ends up happening is that it will not work forever. You will crash and burn. You will have a tragedy happen in your life and you will shut down. I've done all those things, by the way. The other way that you'll see it happen is not a dramatic crash and burn of some sort. You'll destroy your marriage or change jobs over and over. It will look like constant pivots in your life.
Normally, I have many things to jump in and say. I'm just letting this information sink into my brain. Same, Michelle, I can think of many ways I've done that in my life. I probably didn't even have the awareness that I was doing it. Reader, if you pulled over the car or you took a big deep breath, realize that Michelle and I both said we've done this too. Michelle is proof here standing on the other side that you can change. Things can change and you can stop hiding. Did you do a little bit of cha-cha? It's like 1 step forward, 2 steps back, 2 steps forward, 1 step back. How did you get that momentum to overcome all of that?
Let me unpack this for you because sometimes, telling the end of the story is not always helpful for people. I feel like it's the journey. When I left corporate, I was at a great place in my career. I wasn't getting to the next level that I wanted and I felt held back, so I jumped in. It's fun to share with your audience, Lisa, that I went into and started a business in an area I'm passionate about, which is the wellness industry. I was taking part in it since I was eighteen because I had a lot of health challenges as a result of all of my hiding.
I came out with guns blazing and I’ve started my first business. I owned wellness clinics and they did well. I know how to push rocks uphill like nobody's business, and I am a true high performer. I use the exact same attitude that I used in corporate and it worked until it didn't work. I didn't recognize it at that moment, so I didn't recognize that pattern yet. I ended up putting those businesses up for sale and exiting. That's a much longer story, but basically it was because I was overworked and exhausted, and then I lost my father and all of that together. I couldn't keep doing what I was doing.
I went into coaching and consulting, and it made a lot of sense. I started pushing that business up the hill for about three years because it was totally from brick and mortar to digital marketing expert. That ended up crashing and burning in a different way, which was I don't want this for my life. I've looked back and I thought, “I sure know how to get things started and get them to a certain level, but why do I keep pivoting? Now that I'm seeing this in my entrepreneurial journey, if I look back at even the roles that I had at different companies, I would go up to a certain point, stop myself at a ceiling, and pivot and start over.”
I repeated the pattern multiple times. Apparently, they were kicking out the door and knocking me over the head. I was not getting the universal energies. At that point, I was like, “I need to unpack this.” I know hustle, sales and marketing. That's what gets you to the 250-mark. I know all that. The missing component has always been that hookup between the heart and mind, the mindset, the who are you? How does this align with your values and what you want for your life? It took me quite a bit to get there. That's when I started going on this internal journey. I always had the internal aspects to me. I kept them separate. I didn't allow them to merge. As an entrepreneur, you have to allow those to merge. In corporate, you can stay in hiding. In your own business, you can't. You come face-to-face with it.
I was following the gurus. I had already been making investments in masterminds and business coaches, but now, I was investing in coaches who could serve me in the internal game of success. They would get me into a place of feeling aware. They would get me into a place of feeling expansive. What is missing, in my opinion, in that transformational industry as a whole and professional development is yes, they get you expansive. They get you seeing possibilities and they get you more self-aware, but they never teach you, like the hermit crab, to come out of your shell, be completely naked, and move into a bigger shell.
That is what I had to start unpacking with the topic of hiding and that is what led me to see what I had been doing differently. That was your question, “What was so different that now, Michelle, you're able to articulate it in this way and make a transformation that is lasting to get into a place where you can sit back and observe yourself without judgment?” Even though I'm still on my own journey. This is a forever journey. That's the question and I have the answer. Everybody wants to know what it is. This goes back to my wellness route, so shout out to everyone reading. We are important players. It goes to what I call the internal navigation system. If you're not nourishing that part of you and not investing in the aspects of what's going on within yourself, all day long, you can hear the information and from me, it's about hiding. I come from that angle. From others, it's a different message.
You can hear all that information all day long and nod your head, but you will never make a shift because you will still carry around the armor. You'll take the information but you won't let it through into your heart, the space where those things that you've been stuffing down need to start unpacking and letting the layers of the onion peel away so that the full expression of who you are can rise to the surface. You'll walk around nodding your head as a great expert in all of these areas, but you will never unleash the power that you have inside of you. You won't let it out for great fears. Hiding keeps us safe for good reasons, but until you're willing to take a look, you will never tap through that feeling that you keep hitting.
I remember when I was healing from childhood traumas and things. It was until I worked with a healer and they were like, “Get angry. Have at it. Go nuts. Punch this if you want to. Scream at the top of your lungs.” I couldn't remember that feeling of release. It had felt like decades of anger or like a volcano. We're afraid to tap into those human emotions that we go through when something beautiful that is ours, that bigger shell is there for us. I love that analogy. We got to release and let go of the grief, anger, shame, and all of those things. It's scary to go there because maybe you're releasing emotions and things you've never released. You're sharing things about yourself you've never shared and you're talking about things that you're like, “Aargh.”
Holding back our emotions, opinions, and aspects of ourselves makes us human. But we should know when to come out and grow.
Here's the thing. I don't know if any of you reading can relate, but I'm a chameleon and a lot of high performers are. They start to understand who they need to be depending on where they are. I want to give a nod to everybody to say this is way more complex than holding your feelings in. You weave this web that is so difficult initially to see because you're engaging different patterns depending on where you are. Especially high performers, we're on the train of success. We are working so hard. This is how we tell stories, “I'm working so hard. I'm too busy. I'm too tired. It's easier for Lisa. It's easier for Michelle.” We weave these stories that become little mantras in our daily lives.
All of those things create a puzzle that makes it so difficult to see what you're doing to yourself. That's why you can have intellectual awareness but you cannot begin to get yourself into a place to unpack it. We're all in the wellness space. I've been in the wellness space since I was eighteen. I had fibro, so I've been on that train and on that journey a long time. I am going to raise my hand and say I'd never engaged in meditation until 2020. It became a tool that helped to unlock.
If we walk around from the head up, it doesn’t matter. People in the wellness industry do this too. We're not perfect. We're humans. I have a background in Eastern medicine. Until you can get connected with your body, our body is a communication tool and it will tell you everything you need to hear and where to go to start unpacking. Until you're in that space, you can hear all this stuff about the ways we hide, how we do it, and where we do it. I can give you all the answers to the questions, but you're not going to be able to integrate it and make a change until you get back into yourself.
I had somebody use those exact words with me. He said to me, “You live here to here. What happened here?” I was like, “What are you talking about? I have an amazing husband. Nothing happened here. I'm good.” He sent me this meditation to start doing at night this rest and reset. I started doing that and many heart things start coming up for me, but I had no awareness. It was a little bit like a myth. I was like, “I live from here to here?” It takes a lot to get me like, “Huh?” I was almost offended, and then I was like, “Maybe he's right.” I had to surrender that someone else is seeing it for me because they wanted to see me grow. They weren't saying that to be like, “What's the matter with you?” They're like, “I see your next hermit crab shell, and here's your next place to go.”
What I love about this is that there are all types of tools. You can engage with other individuals who can help facilitate the healing process for you. The issues are on the tissues. That's why I say your body is the communication tool for you. It will tell you everything you need to know. We separate it. We think the body is just to inform us about our health and well-being in the mechanics of our body, but it communicates the emotional status and the spiritual status. It's an opportunity for us to receive that information. Where I wanted to end with this point is that it's accessible to everyone such as meditation, walks in nature, eating good food, and not over toxifying your body.
Here's what I always say when I'm speaking to groups and individuals, especially the high-performing type. They like to go into the over-exercise and follow some rigid program. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm detoxing sugar and alcohol, but I'm not going to the extreme and doing it for a year. I do see the importance of moving my body, but I'm not at CrossFit every day. I'm listening to what my body wants and needs. I’m honoring myself. I'm going out in nature and walking, and listening to what the trees and the birds have to say.
It's a connectedness that helps me be more connected within myself. This is not a message to go out and hardcore this. It's about people want balance. Balance is a concept of finding what feels right for you in the present moment. It's not about thinking of the past or the future where you want to go. It's about finding in the present moment. All these things are accessible to you, but you won't take the time to be there.
Do you think there's a lot of misinformation out there? When you were saying don't go rogue on your body, I'm thinking about a certain program. I won't name it because I don't want to offend the creator of it. I'm sure there was great intent behind it. There's a program that everyone's jumping on the bandwagon that's described as a mindset program.
I know exactly what you mean.
You know what I'm talking about.
If we're talking about the same one, which is 75 HARD.
I’m not knocking the 75 HARD creator.
I came to love Andy and his program, but I would caution the way that people are adopting it. He's got a real push, push, push. He loves the pumping and the hard work. I went through that program, but I was walking in nature once or twice a day instead of going to the gym and CrossFit hardcore. I was doing a lot of meditative yoga and journaling. I took it into the realm of what I'm describing here. It's a great idea because it does help to facilitate a commitment to you and a mindset of when you think you can't, you can.
I've struggled with autoimmune challenges, but also low cortisol, adrenaline insufficiency. I've had an orthopedic injury that I could easily tell myself, “There's no way I could work out twice a day,” but I did it. It created a level of strength within myself to see that as long as I listen to my body and showed up, and if it took longer to make a walk or I walk less, I still followed through on the commitment but I dialed it back to honor myself. That is a huge lesson. If you missed it, it's about adopting it by listening to what's happening within you and honoring the commitment to you first.
The nugget here is listening to your body is the guide. Honoring yourself and knowing that at any time, you can adapt and change it to what is true to you and what your body is telling you.
Here's why this is difficult. We've talked a lot about high performers, how this shows up, and the hiding patterns. I want to give you the golden nugget of why you can hear all this and I want to take it one more layer deeper as to what's going on. What I've seen in myself and my clients is that I talk about the Action Achievement Model and having to lock up feelings and self needs of exhaustion and not stopping from the overwork. Ignoring the needs of you emotionally, physically and spiritually.
I picture it as this cage around your heart. It's not just emotions that are screaming to come out. It's your true voice, which is what you feel the nudge to unleash. Why can't you do that with all of the intellectual capital? Because as you go through life and you don't mean to do this, you continue to send the message that you go last. There's a self-worth issue that's a quiet undercurrent because you're so successful on the outside and you're getting all of the accolades, and people are jealous of your amazing life but you can't feel good about it.
Underneath that, when you continue to tell yourself you're not worth it, you start to chip away that trust in yourself. That's the root of all evil of what's going on, why you continue to operate externally, and what you're so afraid to unhide. Maybe you can't get to the next level of success. You can get to $100,000 but you can't seem to get to $200,000 or $250,000, or you can get to $250,000 but you can't break $1 million because you can only get to where you allow yourself to go. You stopped at some point and you lost complete trust and faith in who you are. You sent those messages every day by hiding your opinions, emotions, how you feel about your body, and your success. It's all tiny little decisions that add up to a big, thick layer of armor so that you don't have to see.
Hiding keeps us very safe for very good reasons. But until you're willing to take a look, you will never tap the ceiling you keep hitting.
That comfort zone is not so comfortable anymore because we can't live forever with that cage around our hearts.
You're going to become extremely angry and explosive. You're going to keep pivoting so you don't have to see or you're going to silently suffer. You're going to be sitting there silently suffering going, “What's wrong with me? Why can't I feel good about all this amazingness?”
Michelle, I've never had anyone break this down in such an intellectual way, yet so easily understandable. It’s tangible to see it. That's such a gift to my community. You're making me emotional because I agree with you. I don't think anyone should ever hide their brilliance because that's what leads to regrets on our deathbed. That's what leads us getting to the end going, “I wish I did it different and now it's too late.”
If this show can inspire people to look at the way they're treating themselves, what they're doing every day to their body, what they're saying to themselves on the inside, the choices that they're making, and knowing that they don't have to figure it out on their own. Kudos to you, Michelle, for having the courage to step into this work because you have to have vulnerability in your own life. All those buzzwords like authenticity, vulnerability, and all these things that people are saying, “Be vulnerable and be authentic.”
This show busts that down in the easiest digestible, but a way that makes you want to take action. It’s not because someone's telling you to be vulnerable and be authentic. You can see the true connection when you allow yourself to do that on where your life is going to go or where your life isn't going to go if you don't make a change. Thank you for that beautiful gift. Speaking of gifts, you have A Staggering 2 out of 3 Women Report They're Hiding Their True Brilliance.
That's what my research shows.
If you have a podcast, have her on it. If you have a summit or you've got a big speaking event or something coming up, have her on it. If you need help with anything that you’ve read, this is the nudge. I have a feeling that this show is going to be that voice that someone who needs to hear this message has now heard it. I’m going to share UnhideYourMagicQuiz.com and all your information, Michelle. I don't think I've ever been left almost speechless on a show. That was this one. It was so beautiful to let you be in your magic, sharing your gifts and explain so well. That was such a gift to me and my audience. Thank you, Michelle.
Thank you for creating space for me to share.
Reader, thank you for allowing yourself to be here, be present, take this in, and maybe sit with it. As high performers, we want to go and take action like, “Tell me the first thing we need to do. Let me get my notebook.” Listen and then maybe go for a walk or listen, take a nap, be still, sit with it, and see what comes up for you. Thank you for being here. We'll see you next time.
- Michelle McGlade
- The Dames
- 75 HARD
- A Staggering 2 out of 3 Women Report They're Hiding Their True Brilliance
About Michelle McGlade
Award-winning CEO, best-selling author, content marketing expert and 2X podcast host and owner. Leveraged over 20+ years experience to build three successful enterprises and led hundreds of business owners in building, scaling, or exiting their businesses. Certified Board Candidate with diverse background ranging from Telecommunications to Financial Services, Construction and Healthcare.