The Alter Ego Effect | Todd Herman on Rich Roll Podcast

Check out The Rich Roll Podcast Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • The Alter Ego Effect is when you access a different personality within yourself for certain situations (sports, business, performances)
  • How to build your alter ego:
    • Identify the places that you’re most frustrated
    • Select a character who has the traits you want to replicate
    • Pick a name for your new identity
    • Create a trigger (could be a ritual or totem) that helps you tap into the character you’re trying to embody 
  • Mental toughness isn’t about being rigid, it’s about adapting to your situation
    • “Mental toughness is your ability to be flexible and adaptable despite what you’re given as circumstances or what the world is giving around you” – Todd Herman
  • “There’s a big difference between the word interested and committed” – Todd Herman
  • Be process-oriented, not goal-oriented: You can control the process, you can’t control the goal
  • Reading self-help books won’t help you in life, but reading AND implementing the wisdom from self-help books will

Intro

  • Todd Herman (@todd_herman) is an author, entrepreneur, business coach and mentor. 
  • Host: Rich Roll (@richroll)

Books Mentioned

What Is An Alter Ego?

  • The Alter Ego Effect is when you access a different personality within yourself for certain situations (sports, business, performances):
  • The root meaning of the word alter ego is a trusted friend
    • “This idea is that trusted friend that can help you go out and do the things that you want to strive to go and do or help you become the person that you most want to become” – Todd Herman
      • “This is a very healthy thing for you to do”
  • Todd wanted his alter ego to be smart and confidant, so he bought glasses even though he had 20/20 vision
    • “I put on the glasses to become the Superman version of myself in business where the glasses meant something to me” – Todd Herman
      • Martin Luther King Jr. did the same thing, he wore glasses even though he didn’t need them
  • Judgment and worry often stop people from achieving more in life–by using an alter ego, you can suspend that disbelief and move forward
  • You can also create an alter ego to improve relationships
    • The first thing Todd does when he enters his house is put on a bracelet his daughter made for him which acts as a totem to trigger him that it’s now time for dad mode and not business mode

How To Build An Alter Ego

  • Here’s how to build your alter ego:
    • First, identify the places that you’re most frustrated
    • Next, identify a character who has the traits you want to replicate
    • Pick a name for your new identity
    • Create a trigger (could be a ritual or totem) that helps you tap into the character you’re trying to embody 
  • Reading self-help books won’t help you in life, but reading AND implementing the wisdom from self-help books will

How Trauma Prevents High Performance

  • Todd Herman has been working 20+ years with high-level athletes and business executives to achieve their peak performance
  • Todd noticed that many top performers have experienced trauma in their lives and about 82% of his clients he’s referred to talk with a therapist
    • Most high performers aren’t aware their trauma is holding them back from reaching the next level
      • You can only hold on to trauma for so long before it bubbles up to the surface and gets released as poor behavior (anger, rage, etc.)
        • Todd has experienced trauma himself, he was sexually assaulted when he was 12–he didn’t tell anyone about the incident for decades
  • Shame and guilt can have a huge impact on a person’s performance
    • Todd didn’t want to put his name out there and expand his brand because he felt ashamed about being abused
      • Eventually, Todd realized the abuse wasn’t his fault and he didn’t do it to himself, and helped overcome his trauma
        • “Shame can’t survive the light” – Rich Roll

Performance Advice

  • Coaches are vital for high performances because they have an outside perspective and aren’t wrapped in the internal narrative
    • “Life becomes so much easier when you can lean on other smarter relationships than your own” – Todd Herman
      • Side note: A good litmus test of a kid’s coach is how many of the kids of the team return  to play the sport next year (the higher the better) 
  • One superpower humans have is the ability to tap into their imagination
  • Core values shape your behavior even though you may not be aware of them
    • The people you hang out with, the job title you own, the country you’re from, all of these values shape how you behave 
  • “There’s a big difference between the word interested and committed” – Todd Herman
  • Be process-oriented, not goal-oriented: You can control the process, you can’t control the goal
    • You can’t control whether or not your book comes a New York Times bestseller, but you can control how good of a book you write
  • Enclosed cognition is the concept that humans enclose meaning into the things around us 
    • In one study, students who wore a lab coat made less mistakes on a puzzle and finished it quicker than students who weren’t given a lab coat
      • People unconsciously associate lab coats with people who are smart and detailed
  • “Writing is the doing part of thinking” – Todd Herman
    • Because you can’t write as fast as you think, it slows down your mind
  • Mental toughness isn’t about being rigid, it’s about adapting to your situation
    • “Mental toughness is your ability to be flexible and adaptable despite what you’re given as circumstances or what the world is giving around you” – Todd Herman
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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