What you’ll learn in this episode:
Have you ever wondered about alter egos?
They’re more than just a split personality – they can actually help you transform your life into exactly what you want it to be.
You may know a few famous alter egos, such as Sasha Fierce and Marilyn Monroe (aka Beyoncé and Norma Jeane). How were those alter egos different to the people who portrayed them?
If you could build the ideal person to become, what would you be able to achieve?
Now, make that person an alter ego, and slowly morph your life to become that person and outperform your former self.
Joining me today is Todd Herman. He is an accomplished author and sought-after coach, and today he’s going to be enlightening all of us on the magic of the alter ego, and giving steps for you to be able to accomplish anything in your life by simply using the creative imagination between your ears.
Here’s a glance at this episode:
- When you’re making business decisions and interpreting your data, you need to get really specific. The more specific you get, the better your decisions will be.
- The alter ego is the hallmark of the best athletes, public figures, leaders, and entertainers. We are not trees – we can change our narrative. An oak tree will always be an oak tree.
- If you can see someone else “just doing it”, why not make that someone your alter ego? Beyoncé did it. Oprah did it. Norma Jeane did it.
- There’s one thing that always beats resistance – creative imagination. Instead of fighting against resistance, get creative.
- “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be, until I finally became that person, or he became me. But at some point, we met.” – Cary Grant
- You become an adult the moment you start taking responsibility for everything in your life. This can happen at any age, whether you’re 13 or 95.
- If we have no gravity, then we have no goal. If we have no resistance, we couldn’t appreciate our own development.
- Get rid of the concept of the “self”. Have team confidence in your head – that way you’ve always got a crowd of alter egos cheering you on.
- Being playful can open up your mind, and your capabilities will come pouring out in abundance.
- It’s okay to not have all the answers right away. No one will ever be upset if you took the time to learn and get the right answer instead of giving a half answer right away.
Mentioned in this episode:
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[00:07] Jessica: Hey, Todd. Welcome to the Practical Mindset Podcast. We’re so happy to have you here. Welcome.
[00:13] Todd: I’m happy to be spending some time with Miller.
[00:17] Jessica: I didn’t plan on him saying that. I didn’t plant this, everyone. No, I’m so thrilled to be here with you to talk about all the things. All the things alter ego, performance, mindset – all of my favorite topics on the show. So, one of the things I really wanted to get into today was specifically about the alter ego. I’ve shared with you many times that I’m a huge fan of the alter ego. When I think about how much my life and my business has grown, it was really the gateway to me [inaudible] with you all, and really in the last 14 months, up-levelling my business in a way that I never would’ve thought possible.
[00:59] Todd: Yeah.
[01:00] Jessica: So, the concept of the [inaudible] and all that is very important, and I think it’s something that everyone should really think about when changing their life and changing their businesses to the next level.
[01:16] Todd: Yeah. I mean it’s a concept that, like I share with people, the people who have the most tools with the highest impact in personal [inaudible] leadership or whatever, are the ones who can actually make transitions or transformations far more quickly, and with less resistance or doubt, or self-judgement, or worry, or stress, and in the work that I’ve done for the last 24 years now, when I finally discovered that this alter ego concept or secret identity, or playing with your persona, was the hallmark of the best athletes that I was working with at the time, and then when I got to working with public figures and leaders, and entertainers, that ability to shapeshifter very quickly knowing this identity that I have is custom built for this role that I’ve got over here, and this other identity that I have, and persona, is built for this one. The people who seem to have the healthiest set of mental states – lowest rates of stress, anxiety, and depression, are the ones who understand that they play many roles in life and they’re not trapped by just one role and one identity, or one story and one narrative that they came from. The great thing about human beings is we’re not trees – an oak tree will always be an oak tree. Human beings aren’t that way. Just because you grew up in a certain environment or you had a certain set of things that happened to you maybe when you were younger, that doesn’t need to be the thing that you throw a label on yourself and say like, “I’m a victim” or like me, I’m from Nowheresville, Alberta, Canada, growing up on a big farm and ranch, and now one from my area ever went off and did this kind of thing. So, we do that to ourselves, and alter egos is just such a amazing tool that’s built for speed to help people transform. I don’t know about you, but one of the things I always get frustrated by in the personal development space or the self-help or leadership space, was it was built with a lot of platitudes, like people just say, even the Nike’s “just do it”. We know that. We know that we need to just go and do it, but then what’s the way that we go and do it? How do we go and do that, when I feel with my own psychology or my own issues I might have, I have a tough time seeing myself do it.
[03:51] Jessica: Totally.
[03:51] Todd: I know I need to do it, but I have this hard time seeing myself do it. All that work that I’ve done building up thousands of alter egos with people, the moment you align yourself, attach yourself, employ an alter ego, what you’re doing is you’re saying, “I can see that thing do it. I can see that person do it. Beyoncé can go and do it. Oprah can do it. Or insert the name of someone that you appreciate, like, have an affinity towards.” Okay, well, great. Embody that, and let that take you towards the place where we need to just go and do it. That path of disassociation that people get to experience, where you’re now disassociating from whatever narrative that you’ve got about you, and stepping into a new story, a new narrative, is such a powerful skillset to be able to have. So, going back to be earlier point, a lot of people in that personal development space use platitudes and they say, “fundamentally, you’re going to have to go and do it”, but they’re forgetting the psychology of what it means to be a human being – it’s fraught with so many pitfalls. So, for me, it was always like, “no. Don’t go and do it. You don’t go and do it. Let’s go and build someone else to go and do that for you. You’re going through the motions, of course, but in your mind, it’s the beautiful part of our creative imagination – it is built to conquer so many worlds and the beautiful thing about it is, that word that we use to describe the angst, the doubt, the worry, and the judgments, the things that hold us back – imposter syndromes and things like that. Resistance is the word. It’s the easiest catch word. The thing that beats resistance every single time is creative imagination, which is the thing that we can do better than anything on this planet.
[05:41] Jessica: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting, because the whole concept behind the Practical Mindset Podcast was taking some of these things that are very sort of esoteric, that people have a hard time accessing and grasping, and making them accessible to people, like building tools or helping them think through the “how do I do that?” Or “in what way can I approach this to get to the result?” To your point, you can see it and we know we have to go there, but how do we access that? I know when I first read the alter ego, and I first started to interface with it, it was like bending my brain, because I hadn’t really thought of it in that creative way. I was doing it, to your point, it’s a part of who you are, and you’re learning to access it and tee it up, but to get there was difficult for me to really bend my brain, and my head went to this place of “I’m a fraud if I do this. I’m a fraud if I step into this.” I’m sure you’ve heard this from people before, like they kind of feel like it’s like putting on that jacket – it doesn’t quite fit right yet. So, how do you help them overcome that thing where their brain is used to feeling the resistance, it’s used to not knowing the ‘how’, and it kind of doesn’t want to go there – how do you help them navigate through that?
[07:02] Todd: Well, I mean, my typical way of doing it is going to be trying to use as many examples as possible to show how other people have done it, and how when you take [inaudible], you wouldn’t ever sit there in the bleachers and look at that person and go, “they were fake”, like the results that they end up getting in the end were fake. A good example of that would be, say, Beyoncé using Sasha Fierce. Beyoncé grew up in a gospel singing family in Houston Texas, singing gospel hymns. That’s her first relationship with performing and the types of content of song – so, you’re going to be dressed very modestly at the front of the church singing gospel hymns. Now, all of a sudden, her dad sees her talent in her and her sister, and gets her into a dance troupe of 8, and she gets out there on stage, and because she grew up in such a modest environment, going up there and dancing provocatively, and doing the things she needed to do in order to capture a new type of attention was difficult for her to reconcile inside of herself. So, over time, instead of always battling that, which is what she did for many years, she went and built Sasha Fierce, who, very opposite to how she perceived herself in the beginning – loved being provocative, loved owning stage. Again, her name “Fierce”, like going out there and just owning that stage, was a big part of that new persona, and it was a way for her to access new levels of creativity and just see what she could do. It’s that classic question that we all ask ourselves, “what could I do? If I didn’t have XYZ happening in my life, what could I do?”
[08:44] Jessica: Yeah, what’s possible?
[08:45] Todd: So, what most people do is they just sit inside this merry go round of asking that question instead of going to, “what is a great tool [inaudible] need to do this faster, better, and with more inner strength?” Then, of course, in 2008, with her release of her Sasha Fierce album, she retires Sasha Fierce – she doesn’t need her anymore. She basically embodied the great quote that Cary Grant said back in the 1950s and 60s, at the end of his career, really in the 1970s when he said the quote, and he’s known in Hollywood Golden Era as being charismatic, debonair, and good looking – all these great qualities that every guy would love to have. He said, “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be, until I finally became that person, or he became me. But at some point, we met.” So it’s a beautiful statement, “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be, until I finally became that person, or he became me. But at some point, we met.” That’s taking the idea that, again, we’re not trees. So, to know his history, he grew up in Bristol, England, to a single mom, very poor family, poor upbringing, but he had this little spark of a dream, an aspiration of wanting to go to Hollywood. He got into the creative arts in London first, then he came over to Hollywood, and he wanted to make it. He battled a long time – people don’t really know this about him, but he battled depression, suicidal thoughts at times as well, and in being able to go into the acting world and playing roles, he thought to himself “wait a second, why don’t I use this same sort of method that we use to take on roles in our movies, and use it to actually create the person that I most want to be?” And that’s what he did. He wanted to be more charismatic, and he wanted to be more debonair. Maybe it’s because he came from a very [inaudible], had to wear tattered clothes, and instead he wanted to have a different life for himself, but he created that person. And that’s exactly what Beyoncé went and did with Sasha Fierce. She created this new persona to go out there, custom built for that role to help her succeed in the pop world. All of a sudden, it’s two circles of a Venn diagram, the person she wanted to be over here finally merging with this idea of what she wanted to feel like when she was up on stage, and she didn’t need Sasha Fierce anymore. She wasn’t troubled by going up there and doing all these things. And then, she graduated into a new, more mature Beyoncé in the later years then, the next 10 years, writing more ballads and stuff like that. It was a great mechanism for her. So, you wouldn’t sit back and say she did it all wrong. It’s pretty hard to argue with her success. So, when you take a look at how we develop our identities, a lot of them are developed from the ages pf 0-7 years of age – a time where you didn’t get to choose who you’re born to, what environment you’re growing up inside of, and some of the experiences that are happening to you, because you don’t have the power, and then you create this narrative of what you can and can’t do. And then we get trapped inside of that world, and we say “that’s just me” or “I’m not good at math” or “I’m not this”, and we use a lot of those statements as ways of basically giving up some of our power, and it’s like “but one thing that you are is you’re a creator. You can create.” Once you own that, and it’s difficult for some people because then you need to take responsibility for everything that’s going on.
[12:23] Jessica: Yes.
[12:25] Todd: One of my great mentors, Jim, said to me after I’d just got done a 3 to 4 month cycle of not really growing that much, and excusing it to circumstances at the time, he said, “Todd, when do you think you become an adult?” And I said, “well, statistically, it’s when I get to vote and drive a car, I guess, so 18 in Canada.” And he was like, “no. It’s when you start taking personal responsibility for everything that’s going on in your life. That’s when you’re an adult.” There’s a lot of people who are 45 who aren’t adults, and there’s a lot of people who are 65 who aren’t adults, but I know of 13 year olds who are adults with the way that they carry themselves and stuff. So, that idea that you are a creator, you can take responsibility, and you don’t need to continue to flex this same habitual muscle of this current identity that you have. Of course it’s going to feel a little bit uncomfortable for some people. Other people, I’ve seen them transform in hours, because they’re been waiting for so long to make a transformation, and then this tool comes and they’re like, “a-ha. Finally something that resonates and works.” And the reason I say it resonates and works is because every single person [inaudible] this idea because we get it when we’re children, when we’re the most playful – stepping into playing nurse or teacher, or standing on the sofa and jumping [inaudible] Wonder Woman, or Superman, or Batman, or Thor, or Black Panther, or insert the name of any superhero, or when we’re out on the front driveway and we’re pretending to be our favorite sport’s star, and arguing who gets to be Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky, or insert the name of, again, whoever it is you’re drawn towards. When I’m playing through this idea of being Michael Jordan, I feel like I can just fly higher, jump higher, dribble better, be faster, make more decisive decisions – if all that stuff helps me to level up, then what does it matter how I’m doing it between the 6-inches of my ears? It doesn’t matter. If your experience of me is a better experience of me, I think [inaudible].
[14:33] Jessica: Yeah. Totally. It’s interesting, when you were talking about the idea of that spark in Cary Grant, and I think, for me, even though it felt strange to start that journey on the alter ego path, there was that spark in me. I was so drawn into the book and the concept, and I think there was a part of me that really recognized it as something that I was already doing on different fields of play in my life, especially in my business – if I would go into a consult call or if I’m talking to someone. You would be dealing these things up automatically. To your point, it’s almost like a learned skill from when you were younger. The thing that I found so fascinating, though, is that when I started to dig into the alter ego for me, and I haven’t really talked about my alter ego publicly with people, but as I started to explore that, one of the things that I found out is that where I was getting my inspiration, where I was able to access that inner strength, was coming from all different places. At the time, one of the things that I was really fascinated with was that movie, Secretariat, with the racehorse. I watch it all the time. For anyone who’s not seen the movie, fast forward through this part because I don’t want to give anything away. One of the reasons I loved it is because there were so many structures and frameworks in place that were in opposition to this horse winning – to this idea that he could do the things that he wanted to do. Either you ran fast as a horse or you ran far, you didn’t do both. So, people came into this with these frameworks that this horse could not run far and fast, but it wasn’t until the owner really saw it in him, and they frankly just let him go and do what he was born to do – and he was born to win. He was made for that. For me, when I watch that and I thought about it, I so identified with that piece that the things that I’m called to do, like I am made to do those things. The alter ego framework allowed me to access that in a way that felt strange at first. To your point, if you just let your brain expand, if you go into that place of not “how am I going to do it?” But “what if I could do this?” and then your brain opens up to all this possibility, then you can really access that inner strength. You can start to get really creative, and you literally create your identity. You start to create it intentionally. I think the intention of the alter ego, and the ritual of that, and the totem, and all of those pieces, which is something that I talk so much about in my own coaching – not in the alter ego model, but this concept that you get to decide. Literally, it starts inside. It’s an inner game.
[17:36] Todd: Yeah.
[17:37] Jessica: These tools, like the alter ego, allow people to access that. Whether it’s some of the models I use or the alter ego, they’re so powerful, and they allow you to dial that up in a way you didn’t think possible, and in all varying degrees depending on what the circumstance is – what field of play you are in your life. So, to your point, I don’t have to walk around like Secretariat with my kids. I can be a different alter ego there, and that alone is mind blowing. We’re not stagnant. We can take all that inner strength and dial it up and down, and we can be awesome all around. What a concept, you know?
[18:21] Todd: So, you said two things that I want to ping on, and the second one around the idea that if there is a group of people, and it’s not to downplay the challenges that men have, because there’s many different cultural references and challenges that men are delivered every single day that don’t allow them to access parts of what they’re capable of – when I think of what we’re capable of, I mean the access to certain emotions, I’m saying access to certain parts of our traits and abilities like creativity or humility, or prudence, and determination, and persistence, and fun, and humor. So there’s that side. but, for women, there’s such a strong pull to be sucked into one identity called ‘mom’, like when you become a mom. So, just to prove a point to people, I travel and I speak on stages, and I host my own events, and I include my family as much as I possibly can, because I was very fortunate growing up on a big farm and ranch where there was no separation of work and home – we lived where we worked and we worked where we lived. So, it was integrated. Everything was integrated. So, I’m not a big fan of the idea of work-life balance. I think of work-life integration. I love showing my kids that we work hard and including them in things, and what not. But when I travel, I never get the question – and people know me as being a bit of a, I don’t do this for a brand thing, but I love talking about my family, I love talking about my kids, the stuff that we do, so I’m a kind of a family guy, but I never get asked the question “you must find it difficult to be away from your kids.” But, I’ve been with many other female peers, and we’ll be out for dinner and people would go, “don’t you find it hard being away from your kids?” So, there’s this identity of being a mom that’s sort of really, almost like that Charlie Brown – it’s like a dark cloud that hangs over someone. I’m just saying it’s just a cloud, it’s the main idea that follows women around. So, to your point, that ability to go “listen , I can have multiple Secretariat types of my life. Secretariat is inspiration that I use inside of my business.” But, one thing that you had said earlier that I want to ping on, because I know that, women especially, and this is not a very popular thought and people will almost make it sound like you’re egotistical to think this way, where you said Secretariat was made to win. So, in order for you to connect to – and that’s your takeaway from Secretariat, right?
[21:15] Jessica: Sure. Yeah.
[21:16] Todd: So, that means that in order for you to see that in Secretariat and then feel attached to that, and using Secretariat as an alter ego, that means that you must fundamentally feel like you’re made to win, which is not a popular thought for people to admit to themselves.
[21:32] Jessica: Sure.
[21:33] Todd: I’m just saying this, from a coaching standpoint, hearing you say that – that’s such a massive leap. For anyone that’s listening, to really look at yourself and you think to yourself, “I was made to win.”
[21:45] Jessica: Yeah. Absolutely.
[21:46] Todd: When you really embody that, when you really feel that about yourself – I mean you talk about governors being lifted, or glass ceilings being shattered immediately above your head, when you you really think that “I was made to win, and now I need to release all the things that are causing me to lose, or to be slowed down”, and most of it is our relationships with our past stories, or our relationships with parts of ourselves that we’ve attached a negative narrative to.
[22:15] Jessica: Sure.
[22:16] Todd: I never really attached a negative narrative to the fact that I was from the middle of nowhere. I just knew that I wanted to be somewhere else, and then when I got away from that place that I grew up, I was like, “thank god I grew up there”, because it gave me a foundation of integrity and character growing up on the farm seeing how amazing my parents were, that set me up in so many other – when I found myself in Saudi Arabia doing negotiations, or I’m in Kazakhstan and I have to walk around with a vanilla envelope with payoffs to the Russian mafia that was there. There was still elements of I was able to be liked everywhere I was going, which goes a long frickin’ way when you’re operating in countries that don’t operate with the same levels of status quo that we do here.
[23:05] Jessica: Sure. Yeah. I think that points to this concept of how powerful our stories are, how powerful our beliefs are, and the ability to question those – question what you’re telling yourself, question how you’re showing up in that. I know, just circling back on this, being made to win – one of the things that I uncovered on my journey to success is that, I absolutely held that perspective, but it was in opposition with this underlying fear as a mom, and as a person with a family, that if I grew too successful, I was going to lose them somehow. Like, it was almost this fear of success, and what was I talking about in my head to myself about what is possible for you if you success? And all the narratives around that, and all the stories, and the friction I was feeling. To that end, about when you admit certain things to yourself, how does it physically feel in your body? I Knew thriving and having a big impact, and winning, is what I’m meant to do because I could feel it in my body, but the friction came because of the other narratives that I was telling myself about success that was in opposition to that story. Circling it back to the alter ego, how do I build that person who can live with that dynamic tension? We see this in our life all the time. I was sort of joking the other day with someone, where I said, “some days, you show up, and you’re like ‘life is a hot mess’”, and at the same time there’s this dynamic of holding the other thought to be true that “I know what I’m doing.” Sometimes you’re like, “I have no idea what the hell’s going on”. At the same time, you’re like, ”but, I’m a badass and I know what I’m doing.” How do you shape an identity that can be both of those things and they’re both true, and still keep moving?
[25:06] Todd: It’s the realization that it’s supposed to be that way, though. That it’s supposed to be that way – it’s not supposed to be without something else. If we didn’t have the gravity then there’s no goal. Then we just float off into whatever. It’s the resistance there that helps us to appreciate whether we’re developing a strength or a skill, or an attribute, and helps us to appreciate milestones that we end up getting. If things just came to us automatically, then how could we appreciate anything? Also, how un-motivating of a story is that to tell when you’re writing your biography?
[25:51] Jessica: Totally.
[25:52] Todd: Like, “I wished this would happen and it happened.” And people are like, “well, chapter 2 sucked.”
[25:57] Jessica: Right.
[26:00] Todd: We want to hear that hero go on the journey. So, there’s something you were saying there about even when there’s a hot mess going on around you that you still have this fundamental “I’ve got this.” The famous writer, John Keats, actually wrote about this with regards to writers and artists, that the most successful, the ones that he would be dining with in the late 1700s and 1800s when he was prolific, would be sitting around and saying “why did we make it when we had other talented friends that were writing, sometimes, better stuff than we were, and yet our stuff is being spread?” He went home and he wrote about it, and he called it Negative Capability. I remember reading about this, late 80s, I was probably 13 at the time, and I remember reading about Negative Capability, and the3re’s just something I liked about it – it had both positive and negative built inside. Capability [inaudible], negative. So, Negative Capability was his thought that the people who end up making it have this capability that, despite the fact that the world around them is not going in their direction, the quicksand seems to be pulling them down, they still maintain this optimism that they’re going to find a way through – even though they’re going through the bogs and the swamps, there’s still a way, and I’m going to find the way. It’s having that negative capability which then, once that became an idea in my own head, I started observing for it once I got later on in to the world of coaching and doing the work that we both do, and seeing that it really is very much a hallmark of the people who either would end up making it to the National Hockey League, or NFL, or just different athletes that I’ve worked with over time, is they’ll all tell stories about someone that was way better than them when they were 13-14 on the team, but they just kept on showing up to practice, kept on showing up to the gym, or kept on doing whatever, and at most that was because they really did have a desire and a love for what it was that they’re doing.
[28:28] Jessica: Yeah. I think it also touches on this concept, which is something coming up in another podcast in the future – this concept of self-confidence, and where you get your inner strength from. Self-confidence really does come from your internal game, what you think about, and what you are able to support yourself in as you’re going towards success, right? Your story you tell yourself about failing, your story you tell yourself about what is the building block for succeeding, versus thinking that you’re confident about something, which usually comes from something you’ve done before or something outside of you, which is so different than self-confidence and that ability to almost have your own back – be able to have that positive, optimistic trust within yourself that you’re going to figure it out. You have what it takes to make it happen.
[29:24] Todd: I want to give people just a bit of a distinction with language, because we live through language and language creates the world that we have, and there’s been some phenomenal studies of different cultures that even if they don’t have the context for, say, the word “saving”. There’s a great Ted Talk about this, where the linguistic anthropologist was looking at different cultures around the world, and if they didn’t have a future-pacing word for money, meaning “spending”, essentially, did it change their level of wealth? They found that cultures that didn’t have that pervasive word, like “spending”, ended up having more money – more personal wealth. So, I say that because I think the world of psychology has given people a lot of bad language – we use things like self-confidence and self-esteem, and self-concept, and self-help, and we really understand the real value nested in the alter ego idea and our creative imagination. I have a body. I’ve got one body that goes out into the world and does many different things. This body goes out and it becomes a dad in some situations, and it becomes a coach, it becomes an interviewee in some, and it becomes an interviewer in others. So, this body goes out, but it can morph. In the book, the very end of the book I talk about the story of Norma Jeane who, of course is Marilyn Monroe, and how Norma Jeane was being interviewed by a very famous magazine at the time, and the reporter followed her around the streets of New York City, into Grand Central Terminal, on to the subway, and she was dressed as Norma Jeane, basically. Nobody bothered with her. And then, she came out of Grand Central Terminal, out on to the streets of 42nd street, and she turned to the photographer and the writer and said, “watch this.” She just fluffed up her hair a little bit, changed her neck scarf, or I think she took off her shawl or jacket, and in a couple of seconds, immediately transformed into Marilyn Monroe and was swarmed by throngs of people. Same body going out, but a different identity. A different persona was being played in that moment. The reason I say all of this is because I like to try to get people to unshackle themselves from the idea of “self”. I think the word “self” is what causes so many people to end up feeling they’re doing something on their own, or alone in many ways. So, I don’t think of myself as having self-confidence. I’ve got team confidence in my head, because I have a whole tribe of others that are living in here, and in context to my own world that I’m going into, it’s our confidence. So, now I can borrow – when I’m a dad, during a big part of my day I still do one-on-one coaching with pro athletes. The Olympics in Japan just ended and I had a to of clients. I had a few clients that were going there, and then I ended up with a ton of clients, which happens quite a bit for me, especially because I had a social media post that went astronomically viral around the world, and I ended up doing a lot of late night trainings because I’m in North American time. So, when I’m coaching with an athlete or a leader, or a public figure, or whatever, I’m an entrepreneur – I’m challenging to them, and I need to be challenging to them. It’s the way that I best show up, and it’s my method that I like to work through. Is that the only way that I am, though? Am I only a challenger personality type? No. It would be very easy for me, though, because after 8-10 hours of a day flexing that muscle, that identity muscle, I could then walk out my door and when I see my kids, be a challenger to them. They’re in their nurturing stages, they’re all 8 and younger, so my anchor point in my mind, how I would most like to embody the traits and abilities of what‘d like to deliver to my kids, is Mr Rogers and my own dad – Mr Rogers, because everyone is going to know him most likely, is very much the opposite of a challenger. He’s kind and he’s caring, and he’s thoughtful, and he’s patient, and he’s fun-loving, and that stuff, and that’s what I want to bring there. So, I’m not looking for my own confidence to be a good dad. I’m borrowing team confidence with that. So, just changing up some of these languages gives people the permission to not have to “well, I need to come up with my own confidence”. No. Borrow it. Anchor to something else.
[34:35] Jessica: Yes.
[34:36] Todd: That’s the magic of our human mind, we’re able to do that.
[34:39] Jessica: Yes. I love that. To your point, you don’t feel so alone, and it takes a little bit of the heat out of it – “it’s all on me. I’ve got to figure this out. I’ve got to do this on my own.” Which is so much less fun than having a team of people with Mr. Rogers on it helping me out.
[34:58] Todd: That gets to one of the things, even though in the book I talk about how all the different stories of people that use it as a major transformational device to help them overcome huge traumas in their own lives, and all that stuff. At the core why it’s so successful is there’s an attitude of playfulness with it, right?
[35:16] Jessica: Totally.
[35:17] Todd: In the world that we live in nowadays, and really in any time, it’s not just nowadays, but having and approaching life with a little bit more playfulness, not taking ourselves so seriously, meaning we don’t take our self story so seriously –
[35:33] Jessica: Totally.
[35:36] Todd: – is such an amazing gift to give yourself to be able top level up, because when you’re caught in a playful state, you’re now opening the doorway for more of your traits and attributes, and capabilities to come pouring out of you unfettered or untethered to some outcome that you think needs to be there. This is just the way that I am and how I show up, and some people (even me), some people are going to like how I show up, and some people aren’t, and I’m not going to make an apology for it because I’m not doing it in a way that’s meant to – I don’t go out there going to hurt people. I’m going to challenge you, but I don’t live underneath your whole world construct.
[36:24] Jessica: Yeah. That’s one of the things I loved the most about champion circle. We have a great time – we play hard in there and we’re doing our thing, and we’re busting through all our limiting beliefs, but sometimes it’s just a really good laugh. It’s great to show up and have those moments, and have a community of people that get it, and that we’re all trying to up-level our lives, and sometimes you just need it laugh about it, or just have someone else tell you “yep, totally get it. I’ve been there.” And it’s a lot of mind drama, but stay the course.
[36:55] Todd: It’s definitely a big part of the way I’ll coach. Even when I came on here, I called you Miller, right? I don’t call people by their first names.
[37:04] Jessica: And women, nonetheless.
[37:05] Todd: Yeah, it doesn’t matter. I don’t play that game very much of bifurcating between male or female, it’s just ‘hey, we can have fun’. I’m a big familiar person. I think it’s one of my strengths that I got from my mom. I’ll break down barriers as fast as possible, and I don’t care who it is. Just the chance I’ve had to work with so many well-known people and it’s one of the things that they’ll appreciate, at least what they’ve said is that there’s no pedestal that I have anybody on. It’s just refreshing for them that I’ll treat them that way. Familiarity, for me, and like what you talk about in the champion circle group, we can joke and have fun and we can conquer through important things, and it’s knowing when to also pluck that string, right?
[37:55] Jessica: For sure. For sure. Yeah. It makes that fun lightness, though, part of the business plan, and I think that’s a really important piece to this. It’s like, I think when you loosen up that shackles on feeling like “it’s all me. It’s got to be perfect. It’s got to be right. I’m in this one identity, I’m this person.” When you loosen that up, your whole world expands. It feels totally different, you create different things from there, the circle of people that you then put yourself in the company of changes, and it’s a win-win for everybody. You know what I mean? It’s such a good dynamic in general.
[38:32] Todd: I would just give this – I’ve told this to people who are sort of in the service delivery world, consultants, advisors, mentors, teachers, that phrases that you can learn to say is “you know what? Let me get back to you on that. Let me think about that. I have an answer, but let me sit on it because I want to make sure I give you the right one for you.” And you’ve got to think about, because most people want to posture that they have the answers, and that’s – A, that’s the thing, typically, that will get you into a lot of trouble. By saying that, think of how that client or group of people is hearing it, like “oh, well”. Especially when you look back within 24 hours of 48 hours, or whatever the timeline is, and you go “I’ve been thinking about it, and the best advice I’d give someone in your situation is this.” Now someone feels really cared for, really heard, we’re not jumping to a massive conclusion right away that we have to have an answer right now, because most questions that are given to people that are in a position of advising in some ways, or coaching, are big questions. It’s okay to not have the right answer right now, but when you loop back, it is such a massively different feeling of being care-taken by the other person. So, just something you had said had made me ping that, and I’ve shared that with people. I’ve had some people say “you can do that?” Like, 100%. I’m 24 years in and I’ll repeat that statement many times in a week to someone. I’ve just built so many frameworks and processes over the years, and, for most of them, I can spitball them off really, really fast, but there’s other ones where I’m like ‘you know what? Let me just go back and get the full for you, and I’ll send it to you, okay? So you have it.” And people are like “great.” I’ve never had anybody ever say “no, I need it right now, Todd.” Some people might say, because they do have a need of it given to them soonish. Then I’ll be like “yeah, don’t worry about it, I’ll get it to you in 15 [inaudible], you get the full breadth of it and not missing anything.” But I’ve never had anyone say “I need it right now” or “you’re not a very good coach because I didn’t get the answer-
[41:07] Jessica: Because you had to think about it.
[41:09] Todd: Yeah. Exactly.
[41:10] Jessica: That’s a really good point. Things are nuanced, right? If we’ve learned anything over the last 18 months of our life as this is being recorded, things are nuanced. Sometimes you just need to marinate and think it through and then have an answer, which I think is prudent.
[41:29] Jessica: Todd, this was so amazing, and to this concept of community and people, and win-win, how can we find you? Where can we find you on the social scene and all of it?
[41:41] Todd: So, toddherman.me is my kind of Homebase on the inter-webs. That sort of sends people off into the different rabbit holes I’ve got dug on the internet. And then you can find me on Instagram and LinkedIn and Facebook. Typically, it’s Todd_herman. It’s out there. I’m not someone that posts every single day. I’m the type that, when I’ve got something that I want to share, then I’ll dig deep into it, so you can wait with bated breath. That’s where people can find me.
[42:13] Jessica: Awesome. And the alter ego has it’s own URL, yes? There’s a website where they can go find the alter ego.
[42:19] Todd: alteregoeffect.com is where they can go to find out about the book. Then there’s also, we didn’t talk about it, but one of the other things that I was really proud of in the last couple of years, really just last year, I came out one the 1 year anniversary of my book with the children’s book, My Super Me, which is really built for 8 year olds and less, but it’s a story of a little boy who finds his own creative superpower in a stuffed animal. Because, when you think about what the world is like for a little kid – everything’s too big, too loud, wait till you’re older, constantly told that. So, it’s been fun getting that out to people’s worlds. What I’d just say, if you go and get it, which I highly encourage you to go do, is don’t read it at bedtime, because typically the response I get from people is “my kid feels like they want to run through a frikkin’ brick wall right now”, so it’s a great way to start the day.
[43:13] Jessica: Thanks a lot, Todd.
[43:15] Todd: Yeah. Exactly. Damn it.
[43:17] Jessica: Awesome. Yes. Awesome. Yeah. I encourage everyone to go and check those out. As I mentioned – life changing for me, Alter Ego. For my kids, I have kids that are young like Todd’s kids. They’re just sponges, so get them into everything that you can. But, thanks so much, Todd, for being on.
Thanks you very much, everyone, for listening. Til next week. Have a great one. Take care.