"Our ability to truly tap into our creative imagination so that we can do the things that we most want to do, or experiment with different parts of our self, is truly unique to us -- and an alter ego helps to untap that.”
You’ll hear me open up today’s podcast by saying that “this is the most excited I’ve been to interview someone in a long time!” I mean that very sincerely, and that is because today’s conversation covers a topic that is truly unknown and revolutionary for most people (and something I only recently discovered in my own life).
Over the last 21 years, Todd Herman has helped elite athletes, performers, and leaders tap into their “alter egos” and achieve the seemingly impossible. He speaks to over 200,000 people a year in 73 countries, has been featured in The New York Times, CBS Radio, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, and has been called a “training superstar” by The Boston Herald.
However, to get there, Todd had to make his own discovery. He knew that inside himself was a confident, self-assured, intelligent person who could help others get better results in their lives and businesses – and found a specific trick (hint: accessing his “alter ego”) that helped him activate the traits he needed to achieve his goals.
He tells this story in his new book, The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life, and I’m so excited to have him on the podcast today to talk about the tools highly effective people use to defeat fear, imposter syndrome, and self-doubt.
- Why so many personal development books failed to resonate with Todd.
- The reason there’s nothing fake or inauthentic about having an alter ego and how it actually helps us express our natural, true selves.
- What a “trapped self” is – and how to bring out your heroic side so you can live an extraordinary life.
- How to build your very first alter ego – and some of the alter egos Todd’s clients have created.
- When it makes sense to employ an alter ego – and how both “sometimes” and “always” are acceptable answers.
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COMMENT QUESTION: What is your big takeaway? Write it in the comments below.
Hal: Goal achievers, I am excited for this one. In fact, honestly, I cannot tell you the last time I was this excited to interview a guest on my podcast and when I talk about my guest, after 21 years of working with elite athletes, performers, and leaders, it is the one and only Mr. Todd Herman who is going to break down today how to tap into your alter ego and achieve the seemingly impossible. And if you don’t know Todd, his programs, his professional programs are delivered to over 200,000 professionals annually in 73 countries. Todd’s been featured on Sky Business News, The Today Show, Today Show Australia, New York Times, CBS Radio, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and the Boston Herald has called him a training superstar. And in his new book, which is what I’m really pumped about, it’s The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life. And Todd shares his own story. He knew that inside was a confident, self-assured intelligent person who could help others get better results in their lives and in their businesses. When he started using Superman’s classic trick, putting on a pair of glasses, he learned to trigger those specific traits that he needed to achieve his goals. And I’m bringing him on.
Hal: Todd, you here, my friend?
Todd: Mr. Elrod, the most excited man on the planet. How are you, buddy?
Hal: Dude, I’m doing well. So, you and I were just chatting but I was saving this for right now, which is about a month or maybe it’s been two months ago or maybe even three, I don’t know, a few months ago. Within the last few months, I had an alter ego breakthrough before I knew that you had written this book.
Hal: Yeah. And so, I was literally looking in the mirror one night and I just had a hard-core conversation with myself and, personally, I’ve always kind of felt like an imposter and struggled imposter syndrome like I think most of us do, but I’ve also achieved at a pretty high level I’ve achieved a lot but I’ve always felt like the whole Marianne Williamson quote, right? Who am I to be special? I always struggle with that. Why am I successful or why do I deserve? Why me? Why am I not just as unsuccessful as anybody else? And so, I have trouble kind of owning that. And so, I was looking in the mirror a couple months ago and I just went, “Dude, you’re a badass,” and I was kind of uncomfortable and then like it was this version of, it was my alter ego and I literally named it that and it was this version of me. I had a conversation with this other part of me who’s achieved all these great results and I had these two, you know, I separated us. And so, anyway, when I saw your book and I don’t even remember when I did it but I was like, “Wait a minute. Is this like about the thing that I just recently discovered?” Because as you talk about in your book, I’m in Chapter 3, I’ve been devouring it these last couple days but as you talk about in the book, I started to think I’m like I wonder if this is what a lot of other really successful people do. I wonder if they actually have an alter ego that they can like call upon when they’re dealing with their own self-doubt and fear and insecurity and they can just be like, “Dude, I’m just going to be my alter ego right now because that guy’s not afraid of anything.”
Hal: Right? And then I read your book and I’m like, “This is it. This is it. This is the thing.” I just discovered this and now this brilliant Todd Herman who I’ve known your brilliance for a long time, you put it into a book and now I can actually unpack it and understand it and implement it and develop it. So, that’s why I’m freaking pumped up, dude.
Todd: Well, that really excites me. And so, yeah, well, I can’t wait to unpack it for everybody else that’s here too.
Hal: Well, let’s start with the unpacking. Why did you write this book? Why is this alter ego so important?
Todd: Well, I mean, what you just said is one of the great reasons. So, I think one of my great issues with kind of the personal development space and leadership space for a long time is a lot of the books are written by people who have researched the topic but they haven’t been on the field working with people one-on-one like nose-to-nose, toes-to-noes where like the results that you get for people are how you make your living. And I’ve coached people one-on-one for over 16,000 hours now, 16,130 hours to be exact since 1997, and I started off working with young amateur athletes because that’s what I was qualified to work with or who I was qualified to work with and work my way up and start working with pro and Olympic athletes after a few years, and on into working with executives and leaders and entrepreneurs and so kind of the gamut. And when working with people one-on-one, what you get is actually the unfiltered honesty of how kind of the best of the best are truly thinking and operating differently.
And one of the things that showed up after working with better quality or higher performing people was that they kept on referencing a persona, a character, I’d step into someone or something else. They would say these words and, in my head, I was like, “Oh, that’s really interesting,” because when I played football and I ended up playing college football, I was nationally ranked badminton player, I would use an alter ego. I would step onto the field and use that to kind of be very intentional about who and what the attitude I was bringing out to that field so that all of my capabilities could show up. So, that just like you had that mirror moment, so I didn’t kind of fall prey to what I call in the book what the enemy likes to use to trap us, the things that some of the things that it yields or wields is imposter syndrome, something he throws at us to make us question who we are and why us type of thing.
And so, over time, I was like I’m dyslexic as well everybody so I had a classic great excuse as to why I didn’t write this 15 years ago or 16 years ago when I started working people on it on. But then, finally, after enough good friends that you and I both know kind of beating me over the head with you need to get this idea out there to share with other people. I just wanted to share this with everyone because a lot of times what we hear that what it takes to be successful, whatever that means to someone, and what people are actually doing to be successful run very counterintuitive to what’s been shared for a long time and an alter ego is one of those great tools that people use. And the reason that some people have maybe dismissed it in the past is because they think it’s about being fake or inauthentic and yet it’s not. It’s about the most authentic thing you can actually be because just like you perfectly illustrated is that this alter ego is about getting the best version of Hal out there, unfiltered, and beating the resistance so that everything you’ve got shows up on the field because that’s how we truly beat ourselves up.
It’s not like it’s when we put our head down on our pillow at night and we say, “I wish I would’ve said that or I wish I would’ve done that,” or, “You know what, today I said it was going to do all these things but then I didn’t,” and that’s because you’re worried about the fear of others or the judgment of others or the criticism of others and now that’s doing is creating what I call in the book, a trapped self, where you feel trapped like the real you isn’t showing up on the field. So, there are a couple reasons why I really want to get this out to people.
Hal: Well, that makes sense that our – I love what you said and actually, it was one of my questions when I ask you is because I’m so big on authenticity. I want to hear your take on, you got ahead me on that, but I think that you’re right, is that it’s our fears and our insecurities and our self-doubt that gets in the way of our true self. Those stand in the way and so, yeah, there’s nothing more authentic than tapping into this alter ego. So, what’s important to know about an alter ego like what is this? I think everybody listening has an idea but why should we care?
Todd: Well, one, I think what’s important to know is many, many successful people that people know and love have used elements of an alter ego to help get their best selves out there and I talk about all those people in the book and I’ll come back to that in just a second. Another thing that people need to remember is this is actually one of the most natural things. This is truly how we are built. When you think back to when we’re young kids, the great thing about this is when people hear about the concept, they’re like, “Oh, you know what, I think I’ve done that,” or there might be some people might have some sort of resistance because of the whole authenticity thing and that’s because the whole term, “Fake it until you make it,” has kind of propagated too much. And when you think of faking it until you make it, that’s a whole outside in approach or you’re doing it because you want to impress other people. Well, that’s deception and a true alter ego has nothing to do with deception. It’s an inside out approach. It’s you being very intentional about who and what is going to show up on that important field for you so that you can do the hard things that you’re attempting to do.
And so, it’s important to know that this is very natural and we go back to being kids and we’ve all pretended at some point in time to how to be Superman or Wonder Woman or pretended to be a fireman or a nurse or a teacher. That’s all our creative imagination. Just playing with new ideas so that we can see how they feel on us or just pretend. And that’s very natural and then what happens is over the course of time happens to all of us, society, or people around us start to shape us and tell us, “Act your age,” or, “Grow up,” and we start to think that that idea of pretending is somehow wrong and we need to grow up. And so, what we do is we start to move away from this creative core self that’s just sitting there pulsing away with nothing but possibility and we start to kind of let the world around us shape who and what we are and let it define us. And so, this is kind of bringing it back to people and just reminding them. This book, I mean, I didn’t invent alter egos. Cicero mentioned alter egos for the first time in recorded history back in 44 BC when he named the alter ego as the other I or your trusted friend. And I think what you just said about the mirror experience, that’s actually what that was for you. That’s your trusted friend saying, “You know what, I got this buddy.”
Hal: You’re right and that’s actually I wrote, I’m going to see if I can find it, but I wrote whenever I have these breakthroughs like this, I always pull out my journal/affirmations and I wrote to myself about that and that’s kind of what I said is like, “I don’t need to fear anymore. I don’t need to be insecure, concerned, because this alter ego is me and he’s got my back and he’s never let me down.” That’s the thing is it was like there really wasn’t any separation. There was an element of separation in that I was realizing that I can kind of separate the insecure version of me from this ultra-confident, can accomplish anything version of me. I realize I can kind of separate him and then I can call on one. So, it’s kind of hard, you know, it’s like you said, it’s inside out and there’s both elements there. You talk in Chapter 3 I think it was you start talking about this idea of the trapped self and I remember as I was reading and I love the way you put it. Can you explain to people what that means for most people?
Todd: Well, yeah. So, we’re kind of just talking about it when just naturally as we grow up, we start to take signals from the world around us, around how we’re supposed to act and often times too, we start to feel like we can be trapped because of the family that we’re born into and none of my family members were all entrepreneurs so why would I be an entrepreneur? We start to create these narratives about who and what we are, which aren’t true but they feel true to us, and it creates this sensation and feeling in people of being trapped or we end up acting not out of the way that we would most want to. And so, then when we reflect back on that moment, we beat ourselves up and all of that judgment or worry about what other people are thinking about us continues to trap us and what’s really being trapped and the kind of way that other people have said it to me is that I know that what I’m getting as a result in this world, the way that I’m showing up isn’t the real me and nothing can be more frustrating to someone than that.
But at the same time, there is another narrative that goes on with people. And so, I say like, “When we feel like our trapped self is the one that’s kind of showing up in the world,” is we end up feeling that we’re living in a very ordinary world. It’s grays and whites and grayscale and it’s not colorful and on the other side, there is this heroic self that could show up where it’s not to say that there’s any less challenge in that world, which I call the extraordinary world in the book, but you end up feeling like, “I did it like I went after the dragons today and I slayed them or in that moment where I needed to ask for the sale or in that moment, when my kids were screaming their heads off, and I tapped into that heroic version of myself and I knelt down when I could’ve easily flown off the handle as well.” And again, I’m a parent to three young little ones, so I know what that is like, but what I do is when I come home, I got a little wristband that I put on my oldest daughter maybe years ago and I put it on and that’s my reminder as to who is supposed to be showing up on this field because they don’t need the confident, decisive, and articulate version of who I am in business showing up there. They need the fun and playful and wants to get on the ground and play with them dad to show up there.
And so, in that moment, and I embody the idea of one of the elements of the alter ego, that version of me is Mr. Rogers. And so, in that moment when I could easily fly off the handle with them even if I don’t do it all the time, if I do it more often than not, which is better than not doing it, if I stop for a moment and I just catch myself, Mr. Rogers would easily get on the ground on his one knee and he would embrace his son or daughter if they were flying off the handle. And so, that’s the heroic where you did it like you overcame the challenges and the difficulties and the ways that the enemy wants to pull you into the ordinary world and keep you safe kind of thing which is ironic but you showed up as a heroic version of yourself.
Hal: So, here’s what I’d love to, well, basically, let’s give the listeners and me too but a crash course in developing or identifying your first alter ego. Because one thing that right now I’m not totally clear on and I’m not sure even for our listeners are, is the alter ego something that you design from scratch like, “All right, my alter ego has these qualities?” Or is it, “Hey, my alter ego is going to be Mr. Rogers or Dwayne the Rock Johnson or Meryl Streep,” like is it that? Or is it I guess kind of a hybrid of the two almost where it’s like – I’m sorry. The third possibility I was thinking of is, or is it looking within you for the qualities that like for me with my first mirror alter ego experience, I was like looking at all the qualities I’ve proven to have even though I don’t fully believe them about myself sometimes. But I’m like, “Dude, I’ve proven that I can do this, this, this, this like I’ve done all those things.” So, I tapped into my own internal alter ego. So, is it going to be all those? So, that’s where I want to kind of unpack this and give this crash course on building your first alter ego.
Todd: Hal, it’s like you’ve either read the book or you’re about to be my licensed certified partner, because it’s all of those and then some, yeah. And I’ll tell you, writing the book was a challenge because again, folks, I’ve owned a coaching and training company for 21 years and while I definitely have a lot of like group trainings and I got programs around the world that are licensed out there, fundamentally a lot of the one-on-one work is, obviously, kind of a feel process and this was always very much a feel process. It’s almost like the center of town. There’s many streets and avenues and ways to get there. And so, when I was writing the book even though it’s got a process and there’s elements that make up building alter ego, do you have to use all of them? No. I want to take that off the table right away. Do you have to use all of them? No. The more that you use, of course, the more powerful it becomes but I’ve had many, many clients that just tap into a couple of the elements and that’s all they need to get past whatever the resistances that they’ve got. And so, the challenge for me was, “Wait a second, a book is I turn the pages,” but this isn’t sequential, so it wasn’t until Chapter 4 and everybody, when you read it or listen to it on audible, if you do, is I say, “Listen, gang, this is a choose your own adventure. If you’re interested in going and learning about totems and artifacts at the end, which teach you how to activate it, then go and read that because that’s going to open up a loop and send you back to Chapter 7.”
But getting back to your point, you can use it any which way. If there are people on here that absolutely deeply resonate with a character or a fictional character, someone on the movie, someone in television, that they’ve always been connected to, maybe it’s their origin story, maybe it’s because I’m Jewish and they’re Jewish or whatever might be and that’s the character, that’s their alter ego right off the bat. So, they get it based on that type of influence. And then there’s other people who they kind of know the qualities and the characteristics that they want to be showing up on the field or the superpowers that they love to have and then what happens is then they start looking for and hunting for the other people or things that would embody that like I’ve got in the book I talk about one of my clients that her alter ego is a buck. Now, she comes from Germany and she like deeply loves nature and when you think about like a wild buck, it literally fights off and defends itself against bears and does it consistently. That’s one of the things that’s never played on the National Geographic Channel is that bucks actually do beat grizzly bear sometimes.
And her biggest issue was that she’s such a kind soul that in business she would let people walk all over her and she would also agree like she runs an agency and she would allow people to just keep on adding more and more and more stuff to the project and she would never charge for it. So, she always felt like she’s always being taken advantage of. And so, when she heard about this concept, immediately she went to a buck because that’s growing up and where she did in Germany, that was the thing that she always loved and she immediately resonated with it because it stands its grounds. It’s tough, but it’s still graceful. It’s not mean because she thought that and many people do, they make mistake of thinking, well, everything has to be a grizzly bear or a lion or the Incredible Hulk or something. No, no, there’s other parts of your characteristics that can show up and that another thing can embody for you. So, that’s one way that you can build it. So, well, let’s start off with the one thing I always go to first is and you kind of already articulated it is what is the one field of play?
Because we all have different stages of our life that we go and we live on like there’s business version. When I go and play sports, when I go and hang out with my family or when I’m with my friends, those are all different elements of my personality that show up, but we’ve got one of those stages right now that we are on our field of play that’s really important for us or that we’re most frustrated with. So, you either go with what’s the most important area that you really want to perform better in or which area is the most frustrating to you? And that’s where we’re going to start because context matters first. We all build an alter ego for all of our life. We don’t do that. We build it for a specific purpose and stage that we’re on. And so, just as an example, I was working with a client really wealthy finance guy in Houston, Texas. I talk with him in the book and he loves the idea. He’s like such kind of like a hard-charging and he’s like, “I love that,” and he wanted to build one for his business. And I was like, “You’re already successful here though,” and your staff and your team will go to battle for you. And every time we talked, you keep on bringing up the issues that you have at home and so why don’t we think about doing something there?”
And he was a pretty tough Bronx kid that had migrated out there, a great Italian accent. After a little bit of cajoling, he agreed, and then when I went out there three months later so we worked on it and when I went out there two months later, I was sitting down with his staff and if they were ready to go to battle for him before, they were going to go to battle for him definitely now. And it’s because they saw this huge transformation, how much happier he was at work even easier to work with, but it was just a huge transformation at home. And his inspiration came from his best friend’s dad growing up who was always roughhousing with them in the backyard, always threw the biggest barbecue parties in the neighborhood, everyone loved to be around him. And he had all those elements inside of him already. They just were not showing up. And so, he started activating those more and it just kept on, it’s like this domino effect that happened that started permeating out into other areas of his life.
So, anyways, so for all of you, what’s that stage that’s most important? And just for ease of purpose, let’s say business is the one that we’re going to talk about, okay? And now, do you need to build out an alter ego that lives with you every single moment of your business life? Maybe. Some people do. Maybe not. Because if not, maybe there’s just elements of the way that you’re working right now that are frustrating you like you just feel terrible asking people for the sale. Well, that doesn’t serve you if you’re someone who’s in business or you’re working for yourself or whatever because asking for a sale and getting someone to move forward with you, that’s valuable because think about it. They have a problem that you’re completely equipped to help solve and you’re not allowing them to. That’s a problem. So, there has to be some story that’s going on and it could be like, “Oh, I hate sales or sales people or salespeople are blah.” Okay. Well, that’s your definition. That’s not true. And so, what if the alter ego version of yourself didn’t believe that? How would they be operating?
So, anyway, there’s going to be parts of your world right now that are frustrating you. Well, what part of you isn’t showing up or what characteristics do you wish could be that you embodied or traits that you embodied in that field or on that field at that time? I’ll tell you like for me, starting out in business I was 21. I had the face of a 12-year-old. I looked like I was 12 and I was very insecure about who’s going to listen to me about mental toughness and mental game stuff when I look so young on stage? Because in my head, you had to be at least 40 years of age before anyone starts to listen to you but that wasn’t true, because I was already helping people and getting them really good results. I was really good at empathizing with people and I was really good because I was a practitioner. I played sports at a pretty high level and I loved it too. I love athletics. I love kids who played it.
Well, I mean, that’s kind of the biggest battle in business is do you love what you do and I did and I was always trying to improve but it was stopping me. I wasn’t making the calls. I wasn’t trying to get myself out there on and that’s where my alter ego in business started was I remember back to I played football and I used an alter ego and it helped me get into the zone and the flow so I performed my best, not every single game, but way more than the average. And I also remember back, well, when I was growing up, everyone around me that was really smart seems to have glasses and so I had this belief that people who wore glasses are smart so I thought myself, “Well, what if I…”
Hal: We are.
Todd: Yeah. Definitely are. And so, I went out and I was like, “Why don’t I go buy a pair of glasses?” Again, this is 1997, long before wearing glasses was a fashion thing like it is now and so, I went out to LensCrafters in West Edmonton Mall where I lived at the time. I live here in New York City now and I bought a pair of non-prescription glasses, and even the optometrist is like, “Wait. You’ve got 20/15 vision and you want glasses?” And I was like, “Yes.” He thought I was absolutely…
Hal: Shut up. Stop judging and hand me the glasses.
Todd: Totally. But for me, it was, like you had said before, that was my reverse Superman. Superman put on the glass to be Clark Kent. I put on the glasses to be a super version of myself in business and what I did was when I put on those glasses that was like that the decisive, the articulate, and the confident version of myself which were all the three things that I lacked at the time. But I wanted those qualities to show up to help the people that I wanted to go and help. So, thinking about your field of play, that stage in business, what are the things that might be stopping you? Or what characteristics do you want to embody and show more of? Like you, it’s like, “No, I want to own the fact that I’m a badass.” So, that’s how you’re going to show up. Okay. So, then is there anyone or anything like in your mind that embodies that? Is there anything that inspires you?
Hal: Yeah. Well, and, yes, and let me say this.
Hal: What I’m gathering, to me though, so it sounds like and I have to remember for my own life, that the fastest way to develop an effective alter ego that can serve you so if you’re listening to this, here’s my take and, Todd, you can tell me if I’m wrong. But to me, to be the fastest way to build an alter ego is to simply ask who do I know or know of, maybe you know them from watching them on TV but who do I know that embodies the qualities, the confidence that I want to embody? And remember the wristband WWJD, What Would Jesus Do?
Hal: Right? That’s kind of an alter ego access point. It’s like what would Jesus do? And, bam, we access that alter ego. For me, I had a mentor when I was 20 named Jesse and I used to joke WWJD, what would Jesse do? But I would literally, Jesse was super confident. He always said the right things. And so, whenever I was in situations from wanting to ask a girl out to being in a sales situation which Jesse was my mentor, my sales manager, I would say, what would Jesse say in this situation? What would he do? How would he feel? And I would literally be able to very like instantly access he would do with him before. He would smile, he would look over. He would say this and I would just do what he would do and then I would get the result that he got and then it would become part of me. So, to me, that sounds like the fastest way to build an alter ego is just grab somebody’s qualities that you have, adopt those personality traits into your own, implement them, and then all of a sudden you see results and it becomes part of you. So, is that what I heard you say?
Todd: Absolutely. That’s one of the ways. And when you think about how you just unpacked it too, some people might say, “Oh, but if I’m using someone else’s qualities or traits, isn’t that me being fake?” And again, going back to when you think about how you’ve been developed already. If the real you because, again, someone might be frustrated with their current performance. If the real you isn’t showing up, whoever that might be to you, then that means you’re acting to and through certain parts your personality that aren’t you anyway. Like, we’re all shaped by many things, our environment, the people around us. The information that we got fed when we were young and even old now and all those things are very subversive. They end up seeping their way into how we act and, I mean, you know this better than anybody. Our habits and our routines start showing up that might not be serving us as well. And so, yeah, acting through. This is just us being very intentional. That’s what I want people to remember is this is about you deciding who and what is going to show up out there on that field that truly does represent how you feel about yourself or who you think you are, what you think you’re capable of.
And again, to those people who struggle with even a self-image or a self-esteem with having a tough time even believing that they can do something, you know what, that’s what makes this even more powerful for those people because what it does is it circumvents this belief system and it finds a back door to allow you to step into a different version of yourself. Because anyone who’s ever had to work with people on change knows that if you, the worst thing you could do is meet force with force. What I mean by that is, you know, it’s like affirmations. Affirmations, unless you’re actually already confident with the area that you’re trying to affirm or actually proven to make a lot of people feel worse about themselves. And so, when you’re trying to change yourself, you’re going to like just beat it with your iron will. Well, that’s one way you can go at it and best of luck with that. Or you can suspend your disbelief about what you can or cannot do and embody an alter ego that can go and do that.
Like for me, my alter ego in business when I started up never even, it was very deliberate. Wouldn’t even have the thought that he was too young. Wouldn’t even have the thought. Todd did, but my alter ego, Richard, which was actually my first name was like, “No, that’s an odd thing to think. I wouldn’t think that at all because I’m driven by my mission of helping young athletes achieve their goals through smart mental game strategies,” and all of their capabilities just show up because nothing is more frustrating to any athlete than knowing that you could’ve played better if you would’ve have just blah. Well, the same thing, we all do it, executives, leaders, entrepreneurs do it too.
Hal: Yeah. To your point about you mentioned about how me embodying the qualities of my mentor. Listen and go, well that sounds inauthentic. Well, to your expertise in working with high-level athletes, I get an analogy, is that’s no more inauthentic than seeing another player and going, “Oh wow, when he shoots his jumper, he rolls his hand at the end or he spreads his fingers. I’m going to try that technique,” and then you go, “Oh wow, the ball it glides a lot better when you do that.” You’re not being inauthentic because you figured a trait whether it’s a physical trait, a personality trait, or whatever and you’re modeling, and that’s all it is. You’re modeling it and once you do it a few times, wait, now I can own it. I can make it my own.
Todd: 100%. Yup, that’s a great example.
Hal: Am I understanding correctly that it sounds like you recommend if someone can and you recommend having multiple alter egos kind of for various purposes like the alter ego for your kid like Mr. Rogers may not be the alter ego that you want to bring into the boardroom.
Hal: So, you identify different traits, different people, that you want to embody in different parts to your life.
Todd: Yeah. And, I mean, the Mr. Rogers one is a good example now because of his documentary.
Hal: Documentary, yeah.
Todd: Won’t You Be My Neighbor came out last year and if you noticed, that documentary about a third of that documentary is dedicated to them and they name it. It’s dedicated to discussing his alter ego.
Hal: Oh, really? I didn’t know that. I haven’t seen it yet. Wow.
Todd: Yeah. So, the hand puppet, the cat that he used on the show, his wife has this great interview during the movie where she says, “That was his alter ego.” That version of himself, that alter ego was the most true version of Mr. Rogers because it allowed him to talk in a way that he truly felt. And yet if he would’ve said it himself, maybe he would have been seen as too soft or something like that but that hand puppet truly was who he was. And, yeah, it’s so funny because I’ve had friends that know me well and know this concept well and it’s almost like you can’t unsee it now, the people who will hear this interview, you’re going to hear this referenced over and over and over again by many people in different ways and even Oprah Winfrey, she talks about how when she would show up for her show or on a stage, she would show up standing in front of a tribe of many walking behind her. And that was the power that she was using to kind of infuse herself with the confidence to go out there and lead.
And then I don’t share this with many people because it’s kind of like the Easter egg inside the book or maybe I shouldn’t go there, but the glasses that are on the front cover because there’s the cover of the book and there’s a pair of glasses and oftentimes especially friends thought that it was me kind of paying homage to my alter ego and the fact that I use glasses that are non-prescription, but that wasn’t really it. And then people think about Clark Kent and Superman immediately because that’s an easy reference but that wasn’t it either. But those glasses are actually the replica of a pair of glasses that were worn by one of the most important leaders of the 20th century in America who wore those glasses, who wore a pair of glasses just like me that were nonprescription, as a way to step into and honor the important movement that he had created because he didn’t want to get in its own way and he thought of his glasses as a shield to himself to make sure that he stepped into that power and continue to march forward, and that was Martin Luther King.
Martin Luther King did not have prescription glasses. He had perfect vision as well and when he put them on, he was stepping into his distinguished self so he could do the hard things. So, I mean, there’s so many science or history of people using this. It’s the most natural thing that people could do because it truly does tap into the thing that makes a human being unique, which is our creative imagination, our ability to suspend disbelief with who we are what we are, our ability to really create a heaven from hell or hell from heaven. We’re really unique that way. That’s what makes us very unique on the planet. Our ability to love is obviously a phenomenal quality that we want to honor but we’re not the only animal that does that. But our ability to truly tap into our creative imagination so that we can do the things that we most want to do or experiment with different parts of our self is truly unique to us and an alter ego helps to untap that.
Hal: I love this. I think this is like a, I don’t want to use the word shortcut, because it sounds like it’s discounting it, but it’s a shortcut to…
Todd: Well, no, Hal. It is. I mean, and because think about just for my career. There’s definitely the strategies that we use as a long-term strategy to really develop someone’s inner toughness and that’s meditation. I mean, I was teaching meditation in ‘97 before yoga was even cool back then and so that’s a long. We are definitely going to be working on those things. But I would often get called on a Wednesday for someone who’s going into competition on a Friday or a Saturday and so I don’t have time there to help someone who’s stepping into the US Open and they’re in a slump right now. And so, I had to have some strategies both a short-term and a long-term one that could really transcend someone’s existing performance was helping someone build out an alter ego.
Hal: That’s how you’re going to immediately tap into your full potential so, yeah, it is a shortcut. You’re right. That’s a perfect way to put it. Well, Todd, I’m so pumped to keep reading this book. I guess this morning I started. I’ve gotten to the third chapter and I’m just like I just can’t read it fast enough. I’m just devouring it. What is the best place for people to find it?
Todd: Well, they can go to AlterEgoEffect.com where they get all the kind of links to where we have across the world with hardcover, the audible version, the Kindle version, all that kind of good stuff, see some other videos that we have therefore people on and/or ToddHerman.me. We also have a Facebook group that we put together to help called Be The Hero which is all about stepping into that heroic self as well. So, yeah, AlterEgoEffect.com, you’ll find it.
Hal: AlterEgoEffect.com, goal achievers, check that out. Let me know what you think about it, about the book. The book comes out February 5, 2019, is that the update?
Todd: Nailed it.
Hal: Beautiful, man. Well, I’m excited. Thank you for sending me an advance copy, man. I really, really appreciated of that and, Todd, it’s been a pleasure. This is really like I said, I was super excited to have you on and you delivered, man. I’m really grateful for the content and the conversation.
Todd: As expected, this is one my favorite interviews. You’re a champ, buddy. Appreciate it.
Hal: All right. Winner, winner.
Todd: Chicken dinner.
Hal: All right. Goal achievers, thank you for tuning in. Go check it out AlterEgoEffect.com. Check out the book. I think you’re going to love it like I’m three chapters in and I love it. It’s just like I’m so excited to get to the – like it gets meatier and meatier so I’m pumped. Goal achievers, I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast and I’ll talk to you next week. Take care, everybody.
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