Todd Herman (@todd_herman) is an entrepreneur, coach, mentor, and author of The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life.
What We Discuss with Todd Herman:
- How you can harness the power of your own secret identity — and why you would ever want to.
- What it takes to adopt seemingly out-of-character characteristics and dominate your personal and professional life.
- Why taking on an alter ego isn’t a “fake it ’til you make it” scheme, but channeling little-used facets of yourself you may not even realize exist.
- The hidden enemy forces that oppose your attempts at accomplishment and how to resist their subtle and not-so-subtle influences.
- How to honestly understand and come to terms with what truly motivates you — and deal with what keeps you from following these motivations.
- And much more…
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To us mere mortals, world-class athletes and other high performers sometimes seem like superheroes. They exhibit skills, focus, and drive beyond what most of us can even fathom, yet surprisingly come across as everyday people when encountered in “real” life. The most aggressive NFL player is a nurturing dad and friendly neighbor. The ear-biting, skull-cracking cage-fighter is a goofy video game nut. How — and why — do they transform from one identity to another, and is there a lesson to be learned here that we can harness for ourselves?
In this episode we talk to Todd Herman, coach to many of these high-performing athletes and author of The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life. He’ll explain the power of these secret identities, what we can do to break type and — like working out muscles we hardly ever use — channel out-of-character facets of ourselves we may never have realized existed. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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More About This Show
“Fake it ’til you make it” is a mantra many have adopted in an effort to step over the comfort zone border and make changes to their lives — even when every fiber of their being rallies against this effort. It’s admirable at its core because it means these people are willing to chase achievements beyond whatever fears have been holding them back, but it also rings with an air of inauthenticity.
So how does Todd Herman, author of The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life explain the difference between this suspect platitude and the idea that we should learn to channel our alter ego as a way to expand our boundaries?
“‘Fake it ’til you make it’ is a terrible message; that’s why there’s so much resistance against it — no one wants to fake it,” says Todd. “The definition of being inauthentic is trying to deceive or trick people. An alter ego has nothing to do with that. An alter ego comes from Cicero, who coined it in 44 BC. In its root form, it means ‘the other eye’ or ‘trusted friend.’
“And that’s a really useful idea for people to keep in mind. Because when you think of how many people operate in their own heads, it’s sometimes a merry-go-round effect of constant self-bullying, telling yourself you can’t do it, what an idiot you are, judging yourself, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ All that kind of stuff.
“An alter ego steps in in those areas where you’re really trying to perform and bring your best self out there and acts as that trusted friend. So all of a sudden, in your own head, it’s really healthy to understand that there’s this duality that we all exist inside of.
“There’s up, down; there’s inside, out; hot, cold; same thing in our head. There’s that Carl Jung shadow — if there’s a shadow, there has to be a light. So the alter ego we bring in and we use as a mechanism for our creative imagination as a force to push that shadow self — what I call the enemy in my book — to the sidelines and allow that more heroic self to get out there.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about your greatest superpower and how to leverage it with your alter ego; why you’re too nuanced as a human being for the phrase “just be yourself” to mean anything; why your alter ego isn’t a false construct, but an amplification of your own existing (perhaps dormant) assets; the difference between being childish and being childlike (and why you may not have tapped into your alter ego since some adult told you years ago that it was time to “grow up”); and much more.
THANKS, TODD HERMAN!
If you enjoyed this session with Todd Herman, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Click here to thank Todd Herman at Twitter!
Click here to let Jordan know about your number one takeaway from this episode!
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- The Alter Ego Effect: The Power of Secret Identities to Transform Your Life by Todd Herman
- Todd Herman’s Website
- Todd Herman at Facebook
- Todd Herman at Instagram
- Todd Herman at YouTube
- Todd Herman at Twitter
- A Community of “Second Selves”: The Alter Ego Dynamic and the Nature of Aristocratic Influence in the Late Republic by Adam Littlestone-Luria, Society for Classical Studies
- Carl Jung’s Psychology of The Shadow Projection by Adam Evans
- TJHS 127: Deep Dive | How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
- Shep Gordon: The Unfamous Man Who Made Everyone Famous by Joshua David Stein, GQ
- The Ultimate Cary Grant Pages
- Legacy of a Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. Exhibit at Hartsfield-Jackson, ATLAirportTV
- The Year of Bo: Bo Jackson Took over the World 30 Years Ago with Equal Parts NFL, MLB, Nike, and Tecmo Bowl, ESPN
- Friday the 13th
- TJHS 21: Benjamin Hardy | What to Do When Willpower Doesn’t Work
- Penelope, New York City
- Two Wolves: A Cherokee Legend
- Black Mamba, Wikill Bill
- Mike Rowe
- Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
- Inside the Final Days of Robin Williams by Dave Itzkoff, Vanity Fair
- Mind Games: Sometimes a White Coat Isn’t Just a White Coat by Sandra Blakeslee, The New York Times
- TJHS 150: Derren Brown | Using the Power of Suggestion for Good
- Deadmau5: The Full NME Cover Interview by Joe Madden, NME
- Paul Bunyan: Friend or Foe? Roadside America
Transcript for Todd Herman | The Alter Ego Effect (Episode 163)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with my producer Jason DeFilippo. Sometimes when I look at world class athletes or other high-performers, they're like superheroes. Somehow they have an air about them, superhuman skills, superhuman focus and drive. It's really impressive and it's something I would think is impossible to sustain and often when I meet these people in real life, they're surprisingly normal. The most aggressive NFL player is a nurturing dad and a friendly neighbor. The ear biting skull cracking cage fighter is a goofy video game nut. What is going on here? How do we transform from one identity to the other? And more importantly, how do we harness this for ourselves? Today, Todd Herman, coach to many of the high performing athletes we see on TV and on the world stage, talks about the alter ego effect, how we can harness the power of so-called secret identities and adopt characteristics we need to dominate at work or even at home and develop these superpowers for ourselves.
[00:00:56] Todd's been a close friend of mine for years now and he's great at helping people shake bad habits and practices so they can become champions, and we're taking a page or two out of his work here today. By the end of the show, you'll know how to create your own alter ego. Turn it on like Superman changing in a phone booth and utilize your new found superpowers to take your work and personal life up a notch and operate at peak level essentially on command. I book guests like Todd and have great people in my network because of systems, because of the consistency, because of tiny habits and a little bit of help from some software here and there. I'm teaching you guys how to do this. It's important because it makes the world better and it'll make your business and personal life better. There's a free course for all of this at jordanharbinger.com/course. So if you haven't checked that out yet, go grab Six Minute Networking for free, jordanharbinger.com/course. All right, here's Todd Herman.
[00:01:48] Now this alter ego stuff that we're talking about here, I'm fascinated by it because I thought, “Oh, I need this, you know.” I need to find out what version of me is what I want to present. But that's not quite what the alter ego thing is about.
Todd Herman: [00:02:04] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:04] Because that to me, I've originally was like, “Oh, I can be fake.”
Todd Herman: [00:02:06] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:07] No problem.
Todd Herman: [00:02:07] Yeah, I know. Everyone can be. Yeah, that's what the--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:10] I looked at LA.
Todd Herman: [00:02:11] The wrong idea that it gets entangled with is the idea of fake it till you make it. And like anyone who knows anything about, you know, messaging something is a terrible message, fake something till you make it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:23] [indiscernible]
Todd Herman: [00:02:23] Yeah, that's why there's so much resistance against it because no one wants to fake it. I mean that's like the definition of being inauthentic is trying to deceive people or trick people.
An alter ego has nothing to do with that. And alter ego in its root form comes from Cicero, who coined it in 44 BC, and he's like, Roman statesman, Roman philosopher argued as one of the most important of them all by some people. And he said, and it's rude. It means the other eye or trusted friend. And that's a really, really useful idea that for people to keep in mind because when you think of like how many people operate in their own heads, it's sometimes very much a merry-go-round effect of like constant self-bullying, telling yourself you can't do it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:07] Yeah. That sounds about right.
Todd Herman: [00:03:08] What an idiot you are judging yourself. Why didn't I think of that? All that kind of stuff. And alter ego steps in, in those areas where you're really trying to perform and bring your kind of best self out there, and acts as that trusted friends. So all of a sudden in your own head, it's really healthy to understand that there's this duality that we all exist inside of, right? There's up, down, there's inside, outside, something hot, cold. Same thing in our head. There's that Carl Jung shadow, right? That Carl Jung would talk about. Well if there's a shadow, there has to be a light. So then the alter ego we bring in and we use as a mechanism for our creative imagination to you know as a force to push that shadow self, what I call the enemy in my book, to the sidelines and allow that kind of more heroic self to get out there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:57] Oh, we'll get into all of this in detail of course. But does this mean that we're just not good enough as ourselves? A lot of people are going to go, “Oh no, you know, I don't want to have to front.”
Todd Herman: [00:04:08] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:09] I don't want to tell my normal self that I'm not good enough to do what I want to do. All that stuff.
Todd Herman: [00:04:14] Yeah. What is the normal self? Like people are operating with about a kindergarten like education of themselves and psychologically how we operate and they say things like, “Oh well you know, shouldn't we just love ourselves anyway?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:28] Right. Yeah, exactly. Imagining every Instagram influencer.
Todd Herman: [00:04:32] Wonderful idea. And that's my biggest issue with the personal development and self-help world to begin with anyway is it's all a bunch of -- a lot of it is like bubblegum pop, you know, cotton candy type ideas. Sound wonderful. It's the stuff that ends up going viral.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:46] Yeah, bumper sticker BS.
Todd Herman: [00:04:47] Totally.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:47] Exactly.
Todd Herman: [00:04:47] But you know, I've been working with people one-on-one for 22 years now. 16,000 hours of one-on-one work with people. Not like in a group, not in a stadium in front of 5,000 people standing on a stage, you know, awkward--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:01] Not like eBook downloads or whatever, right?
Todd Herman: [00:05:03] Treating everyone like a nail because I'm a hammer kind of thing. No. Like human beings are fantastically nuanced and our greatest superpower, the thing that totally makes us unique on the planet is our creative imagination. That's it. Like that's what separates us from everything else that's here. Our ability to create worlds in our heads, to tell ourselves story, to narrate, to suspend disbelief about what we think we can and cannot do. And so an alter ego is simply leveraging the super power that we already have to help you go out and do the difficult things because we are all -- anyone who's trying to strive -- listen, if you're someone who wants to sit on the couch and do nothing with your life, there is no need to read this book or any book about improvement.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:48] Get on off something good then.
Todd Herman: [00:05:48] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:48] See you later.
Todd Herman: [00:05:49] See ya. But if you're someone who wants to constantly explore more of what you can do, if that means that you're going to probably confront challenges and obstacles along the way, and maybe over the course of your life, you've had some trauma in the past that causes you to maybe not think so highly of yourself. Or maybe there's this impostor syndrome that might be running around in your head where you're saying, “Oh, well, any achievement I've ever had in life is just out of dumb luck or where I grew up.” And you dismiss away every single thing that you've done. Or maybe there's like I talked about in the book, like the tribal narratives where you've got, you know, well my family has never been an entrepreneur, so why would I be an entrepreneur?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:27] Oh, yeah. there's a lot of that.
Todd Herman: [00:06:29] no one from my country has ever gone and done that or no one with my color of skin could go and do that. Like those are insidious little hidden forces that pull people into that shadow or that kind of trapped self like I call it. And so this has nothing to do with the idea that, well, shouldn't I just be myself? You are extraordinarily layered, and it's important to understand that we live in context in life. Who you are with me right now is of course going to be slightly different than who you’re when you're home with Jen, or when you're with family, or when you're on the sports field, or like, of course--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:06] I’m never on the sports field. Let's be realistic. Yeah, yeah. I get the point.
Todd Herman: [00:07:10] So that is literally the shadow. That's the only way that you're on is you like some shadow has been cast on a sports field. But so we all have elements of our personality that show up, highlighted in different, in these other areas. Very, very useful for people and so when we're building alter egos for ourselves, and I'm doing it with like athletes or executives or public figures or entrepreneurs. It's in context too. We're trying to be very intentional about who and what you're bringing to that field to help you succeed because maybe there's elements of your current way that you're operating, that are getting in the way of that success.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:47] Okay, I don't like the term Devil's Advocate, but what comes to mind is great, so if we're successful, if I'm successful and people then love us and I'm applying this alter ego thing really well, where it's like, I've got this best version of myself forward, don't they then just love our alter ego, thereby reinforcing my already crippling imposter syndrome because I'm like, “Oh yeah, well, of course they like this, but it's all my alter ego now?
Todd Herman: [00:08:17] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:18] I can't even accept the fact that I have this fandom or whatever.
Todd Herman: [00:08:23] Yeah, well, I mean again, this goes back to the context of, and we don't know everything about everybody anyway. So everyone's love for each other is in the context of what I already know about you, right? I can't know everything, you know. I shared something deeply personal a little while ago and I'm sure you were like, “Holy crap. I didn't see that coming.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:48] Sure.
Todd Herman: [00:08:48] I thought that guy had it all figured out or something like that. But we're not building it again. I am not something in my mind using this trusted friend, an alter ego to help me go out to impress other people.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:02] Okay.
Todd Herman: [00:09:03] Okay. It's literally acting upon the natural intrinsic motivators that are inside people, to go out there and grow, to learn, explore more of ourselves, seek adventure, curiosity to see what we can go and do. That's the spirit that when you infuse that to push that heroic self-using an alter ego out there, we can whether -- I intellectually understand that the version that people are interacting with me is not a complete version. Of course, it's not. It's impossible. They're not in my home with me when I'm with my kids and my wife. So people shouldn't be overly concerned about, that's the version that’s people are falling in love with. I mean I talk about in chapter number two with I'm Chef Gordon, right? A Chef Gordon, one of the most prolific Hollywood agents, working with some of the biggest stars in music, Alice Cooper, Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross. And he always told them that never forget when you're on that stage, people are in love with that version of you. That's why we build that second self for that performance, so that we can protect that other kind of like more gentle or sensitive self that you might have. So that when someone's writing a review of your work, they're not attacking that identity. They're talking about the identity that you're presenting on that particular field of play.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:34] Okay.
Todd Herman: [00:10:35] Okay.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:35] So we want that this to protect us because the alter ego takes all the damage when someone's like, “Oh Todd Herman's book sucks.” It's like, well that's fine. It doesn't mean anything about me as a father.
Todd Herman: [00:10:48]. Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:49] Entrepreneur, it just they're attacking the alter ego writer of his book.
Todd Herman: [00:10:54] And again, it's that Cary Grant, the famous Hollywood kind of golden era actor, well known for being debonair, charismatic. He had this great quote before he passed away where he said, I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be, and I finally became that person or he became me, or we met at some point. The only thing I would change about his quote in the way that I work with people is I activate it. I activated somebody I wanted to be and I became that person or he became me or we met at some point. And it's very useful for people to think of it that way because if you think of your current self as like we've got this two circle Venn diagram, there's where you are right now and what you think you can do. And then there's this version of like that vision of how you want to be living, and that creates a gap and maybe you have the hardest time thinking that you can go and do that right now. So an alter ego becomes that bridge.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:53] Oh right. So it's like maybe I can't do that, but super Jordan can totally do that.
Todd Herman: [00:11:57] Super Jordan who's inspired by Superman or by whoever can help do that.
Because what you're doing is you're suspending your narrative and you're now stepping into someone or something else's narrative to help you get there. Now I always ask people, which one is the actual you?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:12] Yeah, that's what I'm worried about, right? Like I do so much great work with Super Jordan, right? And then people love that. But then regular Jordan still feels like a turd. You know, what's the problem here? Because isn't everyone's love piled on Super Jordan going to reinforce the gap between who I feel I really am.
Todd Herman: [00:12:33] No, again, you're going back to how people are trying or you're thinking of other people and that context. Whereas if you're always going to be in the mindset of thinking of other people, that will always keep you trapped. That's what I call like an outside in approach. Your motivations are for how other people are thinking of you or your motivations are for only winning the metal or for winning the race. That's all about outcome. And that creates extraordinarily high levels of stress and anxiety, like helping with people for performance. We always need to pull people into the process cause that's where the flow state sits, and the more and more that you do this because, okay, there's a version of Jordan that's sitting here right now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:18] Right.
Todd Herman: [00:13:18] And I'm thinking that this version of Jordan is definitely different than the version of Jordan three years ago. You've built up skills, you've built up new aspects of your personality. So it was that version of you fake three years ago?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:30] Definitely not. No.
Todd Herman: [00:13:30] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:31] Probably a little too real. I don't know.
Todd Herman: [00:13:34] But there's this development that happened.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:35] Yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:13:36] All an alter ego is doing is helping you to develop yourself. It's just that you're doing it on your terms because you're being very intentional about who and what you're trying to be bringing out there. Not so that you can impress other people, so that you can actually get the results that you're looking at, that you know that you have the capability for. Nothing is more frustrating for people than with it. They'd put their head on the pillow at night and they say to themselves, “Why didn't I say X, Y, Z in that meeting? Or why didn't I raise my hand and speak up? Or why didn't I say this when I had the chance? Or why didn't I,” when that person looked like they would be a perfect client for me, I didn't close the deal. That makes people feel trapped, right? Because the real you that knows you can do that didn't act up.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:23] Sure.
Todd Herman: [00:14:24] In that moment or didn't speak up. Well an alter ego might be a vehicle for people to do it. And again, it's not a weird idea. This is not strange at all because every single listener listening to this right now has 100 percent at some point in time use this idea, because it's a part of the human psyche. It's part of the human condition. There's no denying it. No one has ever said that they haven't used this, because when you were a child, you pretended to be your favorite rock star or your favorite sports star, or you pretended to be Superman or a cowboy or a nurse or a teacher when you were playing. We naturally do that, and we're doing it at a young age because that's when our most creative. That's when we were using the most of our imagination, and then what happens? People start telling you to grow up or act your age or stop being childish. And we internalize that as being, “Oh, the things I did when I was 6 and 7, we need to shed that and I need to start acting more serious like an adult, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:24] Right, right.
Todd Herman: [00:15:25] And so this isn't about acting childish right now. There's a big difference between childish and childlike. What this is doing is bringing, I mean, if there's a mission with this book of mine, it's to bring people back to help people realize that your creative imagination is truly the thing that will help set you free or get you to where you want to go with a lot more grace and a lot less friction. You know, if there's a mission with this book, it's to get people to understand and to appreciate that our creative imagination is our ultimate tool to help us to get to where we want to go with more grace and less friction, and so this idea of being childlike and tapping into an alter ego isn't something new. This is like for me a great remembering for people, is that you have already done this, and then they're extraordinarily successful people that I highlight in the book that have already done this too. I highlight some clients, but I am more importantly highlight people from history that have used this.
[00:16:28] One in particular, which is actually the inspiration for the image that's on the cover of the book. So a lot of people that know me know that when I started in business I was terribly insecure, lacked confidence, and it was not decisive with any of the work that I needed to be doing to get my business out there because I felt like I looked like I was 12 years old and who was going to listen to me?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:49] Baby face.
Todd Herman: [00:16:49] Yeah. It’s a baby face.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:51] I hadn't thought about that. I have that too. So now I can worry about that also.
Todd Herman: [00:16:57] Oh my God. You're going to be my client for a long time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:00] Yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:17:02] But until he was stopping me and I was like, “Who's going to believe me to talk about mental game stuff?” I look like I'm 12 years old. All this narrative in my head. Was it true? No, because I was already getting really great results with young athletes that I was working with. I wasn't asking to go work with pros yet. I wasn't qualified, but I was qualified to help that young group of teenagers who were ambitious, but I still wasn't getting out there. So I developed a belief at a young age that anyone who wears glasses is smart, articulate, they're intelligent. Because my best friend growing up, Mark had glasses, and I mean he won literally the National Math Test in Canada.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:46] He’s a mathlete.
Todd Herman: [00:17:48] Yeah. Oh, he was so smart. He got me into the appreciating science and so he had glasses. And so again, we adopt beliefs at a young age and whether they're true or not. So I was like, “Wait a second, what if I used this alter ego when I played football?” And it was “Geronimo”. Geronimo really doesn't fit for first business.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:08] Yeah, could also be a little racist.
Todd Herman: [00:18:10] Yeah, too aggressive. And so I was like, but this idea would work. So I went out and I stepped into that character when I put on my helmet and I clicked that chin strap on. That was the moment where I be intentional about that self that I was bringing to the table. But I talk about how important it is to have like a totem or an artifact, put something on, wear something.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:36] We’ll get to that a bit.
Todd Herman: [00:18:37] Yeah. And then now get into that there's the psychological phenomenon, the science behind why that's effective. But I went out and I bought a pair of nonprescription glasses in the late ‘90s, long before wearing glasses was actually cool.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:48] They have lenses. They're not lenless, like that's very popular.
Todd Herman: [00:18:51] Yeah, they're you know, now it's popular to wear for dress. But I went out to LensCrafters in West Edmonton Mall and I bought a pair of glasses and even the optometrist was like, “You've got 20/15 vision. You don't need glasses.” And I'm like, “No, no, no. I get that. I get that. Just give me the glasses please.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:07] My alter ego needs glasses, his vision is terrible.
Todd Herman: [00:19:09] Is terrible. But I used it as my reverse Superman. I put on those glasses and I stepped into that Superman version of myself in business. And that name that I gave myself was Richard, which was my first name. I was Richard in business. And Richard never thought of himself to being indecisive or insecure about any of that stuff. He went out and you took action because he believed 100 percent in what he was doing. It allowed me to move past whatever those insecurities I had. And so people think that sometimes those glasses are like an homage to like myself and it's not. Those are a replica of the glasses that Martin Luther King wore because he had perfect vision as well. And I did a speech in 2004, and I talked about how I use the glasses but then how I use it in a larger context where I'm working with athletes to help build an alter ego for their performance and other professionals in business. And just started talking about just the mental game of stuff. And this lady came up to me afterwards. She said, I loved your talk and I loved what you were saying and what the glasses, because Martin never used glasses either or never needed glasses either. And people don't know that. And I looked down at her name badge and it was Coretta Scott King .
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:23] Oh wow. That’s unbelievable.
Todd Herman: [00:20:24] And then she went on to tell the story about how he used them because he felt like he was carrying such an important mission and he didn't want to get in the way of that with his own, maybe frailties or insecurities, and he really wanted to honor that. He wore them to be his distinguished self, and those glasses were almost a shield against any of those sort of arrows that would thrown his way and
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:48] Wow.
Todd Herman: [00:20:49] And now at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, there is--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:51] I know they're on display.
Todd Herman: [00:20:53] They're on display. And there's a little note card that says “He had perfect vision and he used these to step into his distinct herself.”
Jason DeFilippo: [00:21:02] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Todd Herman. We'll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:07] This episode is sponsored in part by Intuit. If you could live your most prosperous life, what would that look like? Would you open your own business? Would you buy a new home? Would you go back to college? LOL. Maybe pay off your loans and save for retirement? Whatever your vision Intuit can help you get closer to that future with financial tools that help you save time and money. Easy to use software like QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Mint to make invoices, budgeting and taxes and expenses as simple as possible. From helping you get your maximum tax refund to automating your businesses accounting to helping you manage budgets, Intuit helps make complicated finances easy. With their tools, you can confidently manage your money and work toward a more prosperous future.
Jason DeFilippo: [00:21:48] Your long term goals could be closer than you think. Join over 50 million people who are using Intuit’s products to achieve prosperity. Learn more at intuit.com. Intuit, proud makers of TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:01] This episode is also sponsored by UNTUCKit. Here's a tip. No guy looks good in a long, bulky dress shirt when it's untucked. You know you think it looks casual but the shirts that are not designed to be untucked, they're cut differently. I didn't realize that until I was probably like, I don't know 30. But it looks so bad when you have those untucked. Especially if you untuck it in the middle of the day. So now you've got this weirdly cut and wrinkly bottomed shirt.
Jason DeFilippo: [00:22:27] With the tag hanging out too because there's always that tag on the front.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:30] I know.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:17] We’re calling that random now? Is that the size of you are?
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:20] Got it.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:26] Your randomness. Mitigate that randomness.
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Jason DeFilippo: [00:24:00] If you’re random size. Yes, exactly. Try the original untucked shirt and remember, use promo code JORDAN for 20 percent off your first purchase. Don't forget we have a worksheet for today's episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Todd Herman. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast.
Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more about our sponsors and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. If you'd like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Now back to our show with Todd Herman.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:38] You got to put a little QR code on the display case. 12 percent off my LTEO book.
Todd Herman: [00:24:44] I need to do a partnership with Warby Parker. That's what I used to do.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:46] Yeah, there you go. I'm going to head there after this and pick up my alter ego glasses. You met Bo Jackson too, who we all know from the Tiger electronics game that flips over one side is football on the other side is baseball or possibly Nintendo.
Todd Herman: [00:24:59] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:01] He uses this too. A lot of the people in your book of course are people that figured this out maybe on their own some circular way.
Todd Herman: [00:25:08] Yeah. So I was doing, again, I was doing another talk in Atlanta and I was in the green room waiting to go on stage and all of a sudden this physical specimen of a human being walks through the door and I'm like, “Oh my God, I played that guy on Nintendo as a kid. That's Bo Jackson.” So he like beeline and kind of walked over. I was the only one who was in there and he's like, “Hey, I’m Bo Jackson.” I said, “Yeah, I know who you are. You won me a lot of games on Tecmo Bowl as a kid.” Because people don't know he was the cheat code. You could hand the ball off. You can hand the ball off to Bo Jackson. You couldn't tackle him. You could maybe push him out of balance, but he would never be tackled. He was the ultimate cheat code.
[00:25:46] So he's like, he laughed and he's like, “Yeah, I've heard that before,” and he said, “Are you talking?” And I said, “Yeah, I'm going up next.” I said, “Although I might've just got bumped by you.” And he laughed. He said, “No, I came in really early here to see a friend. So he said, “What are you going to talk about?” And I said, “I'm going to talk to them about like just you know what I call the triune athlete, the mentally, emotionally, and physically tough athlete. But I'm going to talk to them about how to build an alter ego to really bring out the best of their capabilities and really find the zone. And he kind of looked at me and he got this like quizzical look on his face, kind of cocked his head to the side. And he said, “Bo Jackson never played it down in football his entire life.” And I'm like, “Interesting. Tell me more.” And he was like, “Yeah, you know, if you know my history, I was an angry kid. Like I gotten into trouble and it sounds like anger would be a great emotion to take on the football field, but it wasn't helping me because it I'd take penalties. I wasn't that coachable.” And one night I was watching a movie and this character came on the screen that was cold, calculating, methodical, unemotional. And I sat there and I thought, “Wait a second, why didn't I go out on the football field as that? And so I don't get into as much trouble because right now I'm super emotional and that's not helping.” And it was Jason from Friday the 13th. So his alter ego was Jason, and every time I tell that story, people like, “What?” He's someone who's angry and he chooses the serial killer.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:11] A serial killer, yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:27:12] And I'm like, this is the power of the human imagination. It's your takeaway, not my takeaway. Someone else judge that and says, “Why would you go out as a serial killer? What does it matter?” The results he got was the only athlete in the history of American sports to be an All-Star in two major sports, major league baseball and the NFL. Kind of hard to deny that he's maybe figured it out a little bit. And again, he also had phenomenal physical skills, but there are so many athletes I've come across and other people I've seen who are like, “There is no way that guy shouldn't dominate in the league and they wash out and they don't make it happen.” So yeah, he stepped into Jason and that's who he activated when he went out there and he said, “I'm sure you had talked to the kids about goals, but you know, I didn't have a goal of getting to the NFL. I just had one mission to destroy anything that got in my way.”
[00:28:01] Now on that field of play, again, context matters. On that field of play, what a wonderful way to get the best of yourself because if you're carrying a football, destroying everything that gets in your way is kind of what you need to do because you need to run over people. So very powerful. But could he take that out into the real world or real world or off that field? No, but that's the power of this. If people started living more in context, when I go home, I don't bring confident, decisive and articulate dad to my kids. That's not who they want. That's not helpful. Instead I bring playful, fun, and gentle self. And where I got the word gentle from is because I'm a new dad, my oldest is coming up on six, and a few years ago I was home, and again, I'm a challenger personality. That's all I do is coach, train, do live events where I'm challenging people constantly to push past things and to get out there and perform. I'm dealing with some tough personalities like pro-athletes, not necessarily easiest personalities, public figures, not necessarily easiest personalities. And I need to break through that because they've got nothing but yes, people around them. Well, they're not hiring me to be a yes person, and so it'd be very easy after nine hours or 10 hours of that in my day to go home and just carry that emotion itself, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:30] Sure.
Todd Herman: [00:29:31] So easy and in some ways I would. Now I definitely challenged my kids but that's because I want them to grow but it's a different thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:39] You’re not like this art work sucks.
Todd Herman: [00:29:41] Exactly, exactly. Who do you think you are? Get to your room.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:46] So the alter ego, first of all, we can have more than one. So you have like the dad alter ego that brings out the best qualities in your natural self than would fit that context.
Todd Herman: [00:29:54] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:54] So the alter ego is a version of who we are deep down because even with Bo Jackson and his anger.
Todd Herman: [00:30:00] You nailed it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:01] He wasn't born angry.
Todd Herman: [00:30:03] That's exactly it Jordan. That's exactly it. You nailed it. It's that you just said natural self. What's the natural self? That's where we're all trying to get back to, is figure that thing out, right? I mean my job is to peel the onion away. I talk about in the world of performance, the number one thing I am doing with people more than anything else is subtraction. I'm deleting and removing most of the time. If you're trying to climb to the top of the mountain, the people who get there the slowest or the ones who want to take everything with them, right? All of their trauma, all of their past hurts, all of their judgments or whatever. Or it could be like building a house, it's just anyone who's trying to pack a lot of stuff on them, it doesn't get there. It's slow.
[00:30:51] The most highest performing people we're constantly moving doesn't work. Get rid of it, chuck it away, and so I'm subtracting and deleting. And what an alter ego helps us do is compartmentalize, you're like, “You know what? I'm not going to take all of this other stuff but I'm going to act through Oprah because we do this, kind of it taps into this grass is greener on the other side effect that we all do, right? You look at me or you look at someone else and you're like, “Oh I can see why that guy has it altogether. That lady has it all together.” We do. We just, we minimize a lot of things. Well, what the personal likes to do is try to fight the internal resistance with another force called willpower. It's been the number one tool that's been bandied about for sure decades and decades. Willpower, just do it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:40] Just do it. Grind it out.
Todd Herman: [00:31:41] Just do it. Just grind it out. You know, get it out. And I'm sitting here with my clients going, “Why? Why would you do that?” Why would you meet force resistance? Which is backed up by who knows what narrative. I don't want to go poking around all that stuff to see, because again, I'm not a therapist. I'm not saying you don't figure that crap out. I'm a perfect example of that. But that doesn't mean it has to stop you from doing the things you want to do right now. So you've got this force called resistance, and it's backed by any one of a number of different things, judgement, imposter syndrome, trauma all sorts of other--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:17] Social programing.
Todd Herman: [00:32:19] Nefarious things. Exactly. And then they say, “Yeah, but we're going to meet with the force of willpower.” Resistance is backed up by the unconscious. A bunch of unseen things that habitual attitudes, beliefs. Willpower is very much a conscious idea. That's like a mouse staring down at an elephant. Good luck with that. Have some people use willpower to overcome things? Sure, they have. Because again, this isn't about a saying that something doesn't work.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:47] Yeah. You're just swimming upstream though if you do it that way.
Todd Herman: [00:32:49] Yeah. So I'm like, “Well, why would I that -- that doesn't make sense in my head that I would use that force. Instead I'm going to use the most powerful force that we have, our creative imagination, suspend the disbelief. So if you think that you stepping into Wolverine or the Bblack Panther or Wonder Woman or Ziva David from NCIS, or insert any character that you're inspired by to move through, it moves around resistance with far more grace so that you can get yourself out there. I've had this --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:26] Yeah, so you're sidestepping this instead of meeting it head on.
Todd Herman: [00:33:29] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:30] It's like, “Oh, that resistance Jordan deals with that, but Super Jordan doesn't have the same [indiscernible]
Todd Herman: [00:33:34] It's like the principle of Aikido. It's power versus forest. Sure, I'm going to take that force and throw you this way. Don't worry about it and continue to move through.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:42] Tell me about the enemy. This is another force that stops us from being our best self, but it's kind of required, right?
Todd Herman: [00:33:48] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:48] You can have the yin without the yang.
Todd Herman: [00:33:49] Yeah, exactly. The enemy isn't there for us to hate on it. The enemy is there for, again, us to establish this like healthy relationship in our head. Where instead of having this like merry go round of just beating ourselves up. Understand that no, no, no, there's this enemy that's here to try to keep us safe for whatever reason or to whisper kind of seeds of doubt so that we don't go out and take action. Again, it's to keep us safe. Well, this enemy, again, I talked about it in the book about how it uses these forces. Common forces are things like we always talk about things like judgment and worry and doubt and social pressures and trying to conform and things like that. But then there's more insidious ones that we've kind of highlighted, personal trauma, tribal narratives like us acting through. Some people say they don't even realize that they're doing things because they're actually an American.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:46] Really? Like what?
Todd Herman: [00:34:47] Well so--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:48] Versus as opposed to a Canadian or North America?
Todd Herman: [00:34:51] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:52] Okay.
Todd Herman: [00:34:52] An American does this, this is who I am. This is what Americans are, or Canadians, this is --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:57] What kind of examples are you thinking?
Todd Herman: [00:34:58] Oh, Canadians are so nice.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:00] That's right.
Todd Herman: [00:35:01] Yeah, Canadians are nice.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:02] Correct.
Todd Herman: [00:35:02] Yeah, I'm Canadian. So I get to say it, right? Or Americans are proud. Americans are tough.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:10] Oh yeah. The tough thing is real.
Todd Herman: [00:35:11]Yeah. And so how that plays out then is quick to argue maybe, you know that--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:21] I'm not quick to, Oh wait. Yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:35:23] But I'm not saying that that's everybody, but sometimes we can act through a that national self. While Bulgarians don't do that or Italians don't do this or Italians are this way. And you and you end up playing to a stereotype and you don't even realize that you're doing it wrong.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:43] This tennis player, Rachel from the book was doing this, right?
Todd Herman: [00:35:44] Yeah. So one of the kind of other forms that tribal narratives comes, tribal narratives are all things that or there's this layer that sits below our unconscious called core drivers.
And these core drivers are things like our family. You know, we can be very motivated by our family or we can be sometimes trapped by what we think we can do because of our family. Then there's like, sometimes you know, you end up adopting the core drivers and the attitudes and beliefs of the profession that you're in. You put on a police uniform and all of a sudden you start acting in a certain way. A lot of times it's actually very helpful, but sometimes it hurts you. But one of the other qualities is this thing called values, right? We operate through our values. And Rachel was a top tennis star and started working with her and I was working for a little while and I hadn't quite cracked the nut on why she was sort of sabotaging herself on the court. And we were sitting down at lunch one day and Rachel, by the way, she was the type that classic was supposed to be winning a bunch of major championships, but she hadn't yet.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:02] And everyone's going, what's going on here?
Todd Herman: [00:37:03] Yeah, this is amazing talent, but she's not winning. And so we're sitting down at lunch one day here in New York City over at Penelope on the East Side, best BLT in all of New York City by the way. It’s a great place, and I grabbed the bill when it got a place down and she reached across to grab it from me and he started getting like really annoyed by me because I had paid for the previous two lunches that we'd had. And then it kind of dawned on me, I'm like, “Oh wait, she is 100 percent driven by fairness.” And that was why she was sabotaging herself on the tennis court because she would get out to a fast start on people and just start beating him because she's just that much better than them.
But then she would immediately start taking the foot off the proverbial gas and allow that person to start getting back in the game because she was feeling bad that she was beating people so badly at her core, at her core drivers. She felt bad for the other person and so she wants to beat them, but not like terrible, and that's her being fair and that's her being fair. And so when I brought it up to her, and so she would take the foot off the gas. And the worst thing you can do in sport is give someone momentum. Momentum is everything. So you get some momentum, then they have confidence when they have confidence, they have certainty. And now you've got someone that has average, that has now been equalized to your level. And then she would lose matches that she should be winning.
[00:38:32] So fairness though on that field play, does not matter. Now we're not talking about sportsmanship. That's a complete different thing. But being fair actually you're being very unfair by not beating someone like you can because you're robbing someone of the opportunity to grow because that person is not getting an actual insight into how good they actually are. And so if you beat them as badly as you can beat them, what you've just done is you've given them and shown them the real gap that exists and that, you know what? Maybe I need to be getting myself on the court more. I need to find myself a better trainer or whatever the case is. So it's actually more fair to do that. And to other people, I mean I'm not going to argue people, but whether that sounds mean or whatever, again, it's the field of play of sport. That's where it exists. We're not talking about in the context of like teaching eight year olds how to play soccer. That is all about development and growth, not about winning and losing at that point in time.
[00:39:27] So anyways, we created the alter ego. So her core self really values fairness but not on that field of play. So we put her to the sidelines and now fairness becomes a part of the enemy's way of trying to pull you back into that world. And her alter ego would in that moment be able to like talk back at it when she kind of find yourself sabotage. She's like, “Listen, now you can have a tennis match conversation with the enemy in your head.” And it's extremely healthy now cause you see yourself as this duel heroic self and this trapped self where the enemy wants to pull you in, and you're like, “Listen, get to the sidelines. This is my court. I own this thing. Fairness belongs out there. Not here. I own this.” Typically the conversation would sound a little more colorful and sometimes people's heads because it helps to really set the emotional tone of it, but that enemy, it's just we all have it. We all have that voice that we can feed it. It's like the Cherokee proverb or analogy of the old Cherokee chief talking to his young grandson and the old Cherokee chief says, “I've got two wolves living inside of me. One is the wolf of jealousy, pride, ego, trauma, anger, resentment, judgment. The other wolf is of joy, happiness, growth, helpful, and on and on,” and the little boy says, “Which one's going to win?” And the old Cherokee chief says “The one I feed the most.” And so this helps create that great duality of like really feeding that more powerful wolf that we have inside to.
Jason DeFilippo: [00:41:15] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Todd Herman. We'll be right back after this.
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[00:43:47] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers is what keeps us on the air. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals, and don't forget the worksheet for today's episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast, and if you're listening to the show in Overcast, please click that little star next to the show. We really appreciate it. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Todd Herman.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:18] So we're creating these stories in our head because it's funny that the concept of fairness then melds into this professional tennis player. It's like, “Well nobody wants to be unfair. Nobody wants to be a person to be a good athlete. Some people obviously are doing that. But now, it makes a little bit more sense, that these guys and gals probably can't really control which one comes out. They're feeding the bad wolf because it serves them in the field of play. But then they bring that into the rest of their life and it screws everything up. They can't hold a relationship. They don't have friends. They’re freaking breeding fighting dogs or something like that.
Todd Herman: [00:44:55] Yeah, yeah. Well exactly. And what makes this so healthy is that we start to see ourselves as the many selves that we actually are. In fact, one of the core theories of psychology that's been torn down in the last few years. A fundamental principle of psychology has been that the human being who has a single self, identifies himself as a single healthy self is the most mentally healthy. That was always a key core principle. Fundamentally proven to be untrue now. They've actually abandoned that idea and it's actually people who see themselves as a single self. Jordan here is the same as he is at home, as he is in business, as he is on the sport or with his friends or whoever. That's actually where you find typically the highest rates of mental health issues. People who identify and understand that they have multiple selves. There's multiple contexts of how I experienced life are extremely healthy mentally because we live now on that feels like this is my work self, this is my home self, and so if some of my work self sees me at home and they go, “Oh, you're so different here.” Yeah, that makes sense.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:10] It's like, yeah, I'm not running around yelling at people in my house.
Todd Herman: [00:46:14] I'm not yelling at my kids to finish the project on time so we can get the art campaign out to NBC or whatever the case is. Yeah, of course.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:21] I need to do that. Right Jen? That was a nod that yes nod. So people know that I'm not faking it well.
Todd Herman: [00:46:32] There was a smirk.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:33] Yeah, the um-hmm. It was more of a uh-hmm. Yeah, exactly. All right, so how do we get into the alter ego? How do I come up with the whole thing in the first place?
Todd Herman: [00:46:41] Yeah. So I mean, the first thing I want to just like impress upon people is A, understand you already know how to do this. You did this as a kid. Yes, in the book, I walk through the actual process because codified it, because I was actually, being paid to do this, but there's no one way to do it. It was actually one of the struggles I had with writing the book because it's a book is you got to turn a page and its process and stuff, but really it's like the center of town. There's many ways to get there. So I even encouraged people and I think it's chapter number four after I kind of lay the foundation that going forward, if you want to skip ahead to chapter 12 go do it because then then you're going to bounce back to this one to learn more and that's fine. But how we do it first is always context. Where are you building this alter ego for? Like what is the place that is maybe frustrating you the most or where you want to get the biggest win right now?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:39] Is this something we can do in real time or is it going to take three hours?
Todd Herman: [00:47:41] No, real time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:42] Should we do it right now?
Todd Herman: [00:47:43] Let’s do it right now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:44] All right. So the biggest win for me would be delivering like a really entertaining but educational program.
Todd Herman: [00:47:51] Yeah. Like this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:51] Okay, great.
Todd Herman: [00:47:53] So the context is business more specifically that interviewer person, that's that role that you want it, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:59] Right, yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:48:00] Yeah, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:01] I don't want to be boring.
Todd Herman: [00:48:02] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:03] But I also don't want to be like, I'm so funny. There's no content.
Todd Herman: [00:48:06] Great, so what would you be frustrated with right now?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:11] Like, what could be better or what am I frustrated?
Todd Herman: [00:48:14] Like what isn't coming out right now?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:15] You know what?
Todd Herman: [00:48:16] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:16] I have the answer to this. I was just doing some coaching on camera and one of them I thought, “Oh, I've got to be certain way on camera. I've got to do these certain things on camera.” The whole day was like, “Hey, how come when we talk to you, you're really funny and you have all this cool commentary and you're really relaxed and then the cameras turn on, the mic is on and you don't do any of the stuff that makes all of your friends and family like you.” It's just totally different. People go, see the same person that he is when he's on air. I am more interesting and funny and fun when these cameras are not on when the mic is off. By a factor of 10.
Todd Herman: [00:48:50] Okay. So what is that a byproduct of like is it because you’re more in your head when you're doing this?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:58] Probably, yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:49:00] Because I mean to the listeners by the way, because you interviewed me before, and in fact the interview that you and I did years and years and years ago was the first time I ever talked about alter egos in public. Unless someone had paid to come see me speak alone so.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:13] Sure. Cool.
Todd Herman: [00:49:15] But you are world-class at asking questions. So if you're getting in your own head, you might be because you're out thinking things for yourself, like overthinking things in your, I mean again, I'm just spit.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:29] Yeah. Though that's for sure. True. Yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:49:32] Which means then that there has not built -- that you have not built up possibly an innate trust that if you didn't have a bunch of things written down in front of you, that you would maybe somehow lose control of the interview and it would like derail off into some terrible place or something.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:52] And it's not even just having notes. That's part of it for sure. But even in front of the camera, it was like, Hey, Michael Port, my camera coach was like, “Hey, you're turning into like this.” “All right, everybody welcome back.” And it sounds kind of good on its face, but there's no reason for me to do that. I don't need to do that. I can just be like, “Hey, welcome back. We're doing this.” I can talk like I normally talk and it would be better and more relatable than a BS thing that I've seen on TV.
Todd Herman: [00:50:18] Sure. So okay. So we started to find out like what are the things that are frustrating? What would be those like if there was like a superpower or there's the characteristics that you're bringing out that you -- what are the ability or how do you want to be showing up most? Like what's that version that you want to be in the interview?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:40] I would like to just have my normal personality. This is so ridiculous, but the, you know, I one drink in had a beer sitting at a bar with friends chatting.
Todd Herman: [00:50:49] So relaxed, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:50] There's this element of I'm just like really on fire when I get into certain conversations.
Todd Herman: [00:50:54] Oh I know, I know, because I know you personally.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:50:57] Yeah, that's true.
Todd Herman: [00:50:58] Literally when we go to events, we have to both be mindful of the fact that we don't actually isolate ourselves away from other people.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:04] That’s right. It's like, “Hey, inside voice.” And also you're totally talking about the person who's on stage right now. It's not nice you know, it depends on what we're doing.
Todd Herman: [00:51:13] yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:13] So if I could get that version to come out on and I do sometimes, it happens and when people see that they're like, “Wow! You were on fire on that episode.”
Todd Herman: [00:51:22] This is actually you right now. Exactly here.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:24] Yeah, this is more.
Todd Herman: [00:51:25] But I mean again, it's because A, you can't beat yourself up because you've got, I mean you're one of the top people on the planet in this genre, but it's also because you are trying to bring the best thing to the other person.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:39] It is.
Todd Herman: [00:51:39] Right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:40] You know when that happens, whenever I try to improve my -- I'm always trying to improve my interview skills. So it's whenever I'm on the edge of like, “Oh I need to focus more on this.” I get out of the -- I get back in my head because I'm like, “Oh remember to stick to the practicals.” Oh, remember to guide the conversation.
Todd Herman: [00:51:56] Yeah. But you kind of just hit on one thing, which is that relaxed self that you want to bring out there. Is there anyone or anything that like you look at and you go like, “Oh that's, that's a great kind of shining example on the hill of would be amazing to constantly have that. Like again, so for myself, it was that Superman version. He took off his glasses or put on glasses become Clark Kent. I'm putting them on to put on my cape.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:27] Yeah. It's funny you don't think of Superman's alter ego being Clark Kent. You think of Clark Ken's alter ego being Superman, but it's not true. He was Superman his whole life.
Todd Herman: [00:52:35] Yes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:35] On the farm or whatever.
Todd Herman: [00:52:36] And he used Clark Kent--
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:39] To blend in.
Todd Herman: [00:52:40] To blend it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:40] Yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:52:40] And I say that in the book, right? And how that's because I do it on stage. I'd say, “Hey, who's the alter ego Clark Kent or Superman?” And people would be like, because you merely associate alter ego with super power with, and they go “Superman.” And I'm like, “Think about it.” The real self is Superman, but he put on the glasses to blend into society. Now think about yourself. Who's the real you? Is it Superman or is it this version where you've got all these masks that you're taking out there to somehow blend in, to conform or whatever. So really what I'm doing with the alter ego is helping you draw that Superman version actually back out. So that, just like Cary Grant said, I became that person that I want it to be. So for you?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:26] Yeah, this is an interesting reframe. Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you, but here’s -- I just realized this. I've got the same problem, right? I'm doing the Clark Kent thing on the show, but it's like, “Why are you doing that?”
Todd Herman: [00:53:38] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:38] I don't need that. My alter ego while I break things at your house. Well, my alter ego is actually less interesting than if I could just not -- so my alter egos were not serving me. This isn't the real --
Todd Herman: [00:53:51] A 100 percent.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:52] The Jordan on the podcast is actually an alter ego that's just not tuned correctly.
Todd Herman: [00:53:55] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:56] It's not working.
Todd Herman: [00:53:57] It hasn't been dialed in yet.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:58] Right.
Todd Herman: [00:53:59] Yeah. And so to play this out then, okay, so we identified the context. It's the role of being an interviewer in business, okay? We've found the kind of things that are frustrating you, and how you would more like to be kind of bringing that actual more real you that's sitting inside out, which is kind of my argument in the book in the entire time. The more real you, you're just allowing and using a tool of a character of someone or something else, draw that out of you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:28] I can see though why a lot of people would want a different character. I think for a lot of people when they -- like a comedian, when they go on stage, often they're bringing out that's a different alter ego who's really funny and happy and jovial. Whereas the cliché of comedian is they go home and they're all sad and they're like faking it.
Todd Herman: [00:54:45] Yeah, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:46] Right?
Todd Herman: [00:54:45] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:46] But for me, I have like they in for us where if you could just have microphones on when I'm hanging out with my friends and family, it would be like, “This is great. Oh my God! No wonder this guy's a show.” And then you turn the mic on and it's like, “Wait, what's going on?”
Todd Herman: [00:54:59] Yeah. Okay. But to get back to the idea of that relaxed, that kind of just relaxed you, is there anyone or anything that helps to inspire that? Like is there any other kind of interviewer or -- and you don't have to go so literal. Sometimes it's Kobe Bryant with the Black Mamba, I talk about in the book how he got to the idea of that, by being inspired by watching the movie Kill Bill. And that's where that kind of, it was the qualities of the Black Mamba or I talk about another client who their alter ego is a wild buck like a deer.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:30] Like an actual animal?
Todd Herman: [00:55:31] Like an actual animal, right. Because it's not that they're going to act like a wild, but it's the qualities that that animal represents. And so for you, is there anyone that you just look at and you're like, “I just liked the way that that person just naturally just shows up.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:47] You know, Mike Rowe is a good example. He's a different, it's an entirely different show.
Todd Herman: [00:55:51] Totally.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:51] But when he'll be doing something ridiculous like that, waiting through fish poop in a tank among other literal dirty jobs. And he'll say something like, he'll just say something off the cuff that you know wasn't scripted, that it's absolutely hilarious. And the producers like, “Oh, we're leaving that in.”
Todd Herman: [00:56:10] Yeah, a 100%.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:12] It's just awesome. Everything about it is so funny. He's not even an interviewer. He's just walking around. But you know just by looking at him when he walks into the coffee shop in the morning before filming anything, before looking at anything, he's probably the exact same guy.
Todd Herman: [00:56:30] Same.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:30] You just get that feeling, right?
Todd Herman: [00:56:31] Yeah. I talk about him in the book as one of the people who inspires a couple of other folks is a alter ego.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:38] Oh really?
Todd Herman: [00:56:38] Yeah, yeah, for that exact reason.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:40] That’s great.
Todd Herman: [00:56:40] That exact reason. And I think that's a perfect example for you too. So I'm not saying that that is the alter ego.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:47] But it could be a blend, righ?
Todd Herman: [00:56:47] Because it can be a blend possibly, but it's like that's a good place to start. And when you think about all this conversation that you and I are having right now. Really the place that I'm ultimately trying to get anyone that I'm working with or just the listener right here right now is to this place of trust. When you just like is for you -- it's like when you get to that place where you just trust, you know what? You've been doing this since the beginning of podcasting.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:13] 12 years this month.
Todd Herman: [00:57:13] Yeah. There should be. You've got muscles you don't even know that you've built up on this. And that's actually just this is a perfect example of your dedication to the craft because you're still getting coached.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:30] Oh yeah.
Todd Herman: [00:57:31] To get better, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:31] I’m getting more coaching now than I ever got.
Todd Herman: [00:57:33] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:34] The whole time.
Todd Herman: [00:57:36] Yeah. But the only purpose of all that coaching should be for one purpose and one purpose only. When I'm working with an athlete and they're pointing their skis down the slope that looks like the side of a wall because it looks so steep. If they don't 100 percent trust themselves, trust their skills, trust their training, trust their routines and their practice. And they trust themselves like 90 percent, that is 2 percent that leaves a massive gap for their performance and possibly not trusting and they catch an edge and they fall or whatever. So my point is, is the whole point of all of this coaching that you beginning or developing yourself or showing up is to just trust yourself, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:21] Easier said than done, of course.
Todd Herman: [00:58:22] Easier. Well, yeah, easier said than done, if you face something again, I'm going to willpower it, right? No, that's what we use the idea of micro and like I know step into my inner micro where I'm just like, “I'm going with the flow. I don't care if I say the wrong word.” When I hear something in my head that sounds funny, I'm going to say it like just having that ability because I've been around you, I know that that's exactly who you are.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:50] That is for sure true.
Todd Herman: [00:58:52] And so now you're getting to that point of, okay, so if micro is one of those things, it's like, okay, well it's because I'm stepping into that relaxed self, because that's what I said, remember when I go home to my kids, I go step into that playful, fun version of myself, that's definitely inside of me because we're all just bundles of possibility. We didn't grow up being anger. We weren't born angry. I wasn't born, not playful. But the gentle self is that self that I'm really trying to get to so that I can combat that challenger self, that’s in business so I can bring a gentle self, and that's where my kids, it's more valuable to them. My middle daughter, Sophie has this fantastic emotional bandwidth where she can have super highs and then like, man, like fantastic tantrums. And when that force of having a child's tantrum go off, what you think that the best way to meet that is with your adult parent force of like, I'm bigger than you. I can dominate and you get to your room or I'm going to yell at you louder.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:04] That does not sound like it's going to work.
Todd Herman: [01:00:06] Yeah. And so I could easily bring that. And I'm inspired by that alter ego idea of Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers is like the perfect embodiment of being gentle. And his entire documentary, not an entire, but a large portion of documentary talks about his alter ego. His wife talks about Daniel Tiger, his hand puppet, which he made famous, which is now a cartoon. And she says when he puts on Daniel Tiger, the hand puppet, that was his alter ego, which was more of an expression of who he really was than anything else.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:42] It’s so interest. Have you seen Kidding with Jim Carrey?
Todd Herman: [01:00:45] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:45] He bit, Jim Carrey basically as playing Mr. Rogers, except for his real life is just like that. But there's all these, he has serious problems and it starts to crack because he doesn't have an alter ego. He's just the same guy on and off.
Todd Herman: [01:01:00] Well, Robin Williams struggled with it too.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:02] Oh there you go.
Todd Herman: [01:01:02] Robin Williams is another kind of that, it's that context, right? Like always having to feel like he was on, and it's tough, but so for myself, I'm like, “Oh, I'm stepping into that gentle self that Mr. Rogers self when I'm home so that when she's having a tantrum, I don't meet her with the force that I have naturally developed of challenging. Instead I get down on one knee just like Mr. Rogers would, and I'll reach out and I'll give her a hug. And a first time I did it felt I'm like raging inside because I'm so angry at Sophie for going off.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:35] Like I just want to snap you in half.
Todd Herman: [01:01:36] Oh I know. And I said I embraced her and she melted in a few seconds, melted. And what would've been a tantrum that goes on for 12 minutes was done in 12 seconds.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:49] Wow. And okay.
Todd Herman: [01:01:50] And so that was me showing up, and that's the more heroic self like that is--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:54] It is.
Todd Herman: [01:01:55] That I end my day, put my head on my pillow and I go, “Yeah, I chucked down up. I did good there.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:01] How do we practice this other than just trying to remember to do it in the moment?
Todd Herman: [01:02:04] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:05] Right. I know there's some things in the book about answering questions as your alter ego among other practices.
Todd Herman: [01:02:12] Yeah, yeah. So I mean lots of those things. But again, this is --
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:19] Because we're choosing a person that we admire or an animal. Yeah. Or cartoon I guess.
Todd Herman: [01:02:23] Or an inanimate, a lot of people in sport use like the idea of a train or a bus, it could be a robot. I mean, there's all sorts of things because some people are so all over the place scattered with their emotion that the idea of bringing more of a kind of like analog robot to the situation is really going to help serve them in battle and battle that.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:44] So we have an emotional connection with the thing that we're choosing, even if it's painting?
Todd Herman: [01:02:48] That's why highlighting micro with you, because the moment you said it, I knew that you connect with that history or that way that he shows up.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:57] Super relatable and fun.
Todd Herman: [01:02:58] Super relatable. And so the more you're trying to force this. It's harder to kind of get that thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:05] I'm relatable and funny now. Not going to work for me. Not going to work for anybody, honestly.
Todd Herman: [01:03:09] Totally. And so okay, so then--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:13] So we choose those things then what?
Todd Herman: [01:03:14] Then we choose those things and then we go, all right, what is something that I can use as a totem or an artifact to activate that self? So I use those glasses, right? I put on my glasses and those glasses meant that I was confident, articulate, and decisive. And when I put those things on, I was stepping into Richard, and the more and more I put those glasses on because the arms of the glasses or going past my temples, it's like a switch that's getting flicked, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:41] So the reason we need to tote totem because one of my things was, “Ah, do I need that?” Or can I just like envision it? But you got to have that tangible holding the glasses, feeling glasses going on a good work.
Todd Herman: [01:03:51] Yeah, yeah, again, folks like, or whoever's listening, don't complicate this. All I'm doing is I'm simply leveraging existing psychological phenomenon that we already have inside of us. What this leverage is then called enclosed cognition. We all have this meaning and story that we will attribute and attach to articles of clothing and items. I talked about in the book the study that was done at the Kellogg School of Management where they brought a group of students into a room and they had this kind of like 25 box grid, I think it was where in each box was the word of a color. And then the word was colored in a different color. So green is yellow, red is blue, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:39] It's hard to do this.
Todd Herman: [01:04:40] It’s hard to do it because your brain processes the color first, not the word. And so what you have to do is go through it as quickly as you can and say the words. So it's like a green, blue, and then so what they're doing is they're tracking people's mistakes, attention to detail and their accuracy. So you come in, you do it, dah, dah, dah. They track all the data, you leave next person, next person, next person, next person. Then they bring in another group of students and they hand them a white coat and accept this time they tell them that it's a painter's coat. And so they put on the painter's coat and they do it, track the information, they leave, bringing in another group individually, and they put on the same white coat as the other group. Except this time they're told it's a lab coat or a doctor's coat, and then they do it. Track all the information then, so what's the difference between the people who had the painters coat on and regular plain clothes? Nothing.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:36] Nothing. Oh, the actual difference, nothing.
Todd Herman: [01:05:38] The actual difference in their results was nothing.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:40] Well, The results were nothing.
Todd Herman: [01:05:42] The results were zero. No, they didn't do any better. They made the same amount of mistakes. They did it in the same amount of time. Why is that? Because when you're in clothing yourself in a painter's coat, you're taking on the creative qualities. Creativity doesn't help you do that specific task.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:57] Yeah, it seems mechanical, yeah.
Todd Herman: [01:05:58] But when you had the lab coat on or the doctor's coat, you completed it in less than half the time and you made less than half the mistakes.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:05] Oh, that's so interesting. So just by running the coat take on the qualities of the people that we imagined that we stereotype.
Todd Herman: [01:06:10] Yeah, because lab coat or a doctor's coat is methodical, careful, studious, detailed. So then you brought those qualities to that moment, okay? Now was that you being fake?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:25] No, of course not. You're just, you're just turning some dimmer switches up and lowering some--
Todd Herman: [01:06:30]Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:31] Different ones, that was --
Todd Herman: [01:06:31] That was what elements of the alter ego. All it does is you're just dialing up qualities that are going to help serve you out on that field. And so when I'm putting on the glasses, I'm simply dialing things up that are going to help me perform out there the way that I know that I want to.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:47] And you're naming them as a group, right? You said you'd become Richard?
Todd Herman: [01:06:49] Yeah. So I get myself name and I talked about it on the booklet, just tons of fun, playful ways that you can actually be giving your alter ego a name.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:57] Yeah. What's the process like just in brief?
Todd Herman: [01:07:00] Yeah. So it could be using your name, so Jordan Mikey Rowe Harbinger or like just something like, oh, it could be something, or you can be going with just the quality that you're trying to exhibit. Jordan Mr. Relaxed Harbinger, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:19] I’ll work on that.
Todd Herman: [01:07:20] Yeah. Or Mr. Relax. Again, you're not telling other people this isn't--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:24] So we keep it to ourselves with yourself.
Todd Herman: [01:07:25] Keep it to yourself.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:26] Okay, that makes it easily.
Todd Herman: [01:07:28] This isn’t going and broadcasting it. Totally. No, it's like, you know, I'm certain up as Mr. Relaxed.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:32] What's the most ridiculous one that you've heard from any of your clients or people that have done this?
Todd Herman: [01:07:36] Most ridiculous. I actually don't judge them because it's just, again, it's like personal to each person, but--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:41] I mean you don’t judge it in front of them, but I'm sure that you've thought that's weird.
Todd Herman: [01:07:45] Well, there's ones where I know that need to work on them.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:47] Okay. How about the most ridiculous instead of the weirdest or negative one? The funniest one. How's that? That's a positive judgment.
Todd Herman: [01:07:56] I mean, Bo Jacksons goes down as one of the, I think most iconic.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:59] Jason.
Todd Herman: [01:07:58] For me that's like the one of the most iconic ones I've ever come across. Just because it is a real mind bender for people when they hear it, but oh man, you've really caught me on this one.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:12] That's all right. We'll throw that in later as a bonus. So basically, okay, so we picked something, we have a strong emotional attachment to. We create the totem. The totem is kind of like something simple I would imagine because you don't want it to be exactly uniform or something.
Todd Herman: [01:08:25] Bracelet, necklace. Yeah. Like one of my equestrian riders, her alter ego was one room and she really wanted to step into that because she was highly emotional, which then when you're riding a horse, what does a horse do? Transmutes exactly what you're doing inside. That's why it's the most difficult sport from a mental game standpoint. And so she wanted to, because one of them was like calm, always in control. And so she went and got a bracelet just like one Romans. And the way that I tell people is if you can actually, something else you can add to your totem is if there's a sound that goes along with it because--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:56] That’s very Darren Brown, for the little sound and trigger the process.
Todd Herman: [01:09:00] Yeah. Because well cause auditory is one of the most powerful triggers that we all have. People think vision, but really auditory is just incredible. And so that snap that she had, that's when Wonder Woman who would get activated.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:12] That's good.
Todd Herman: [01:09:13] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:14] So I need glasses that make a sound?
Todd Herman: [01:09:15] Yeah. Or again, anything could be a hat. That's what I actually think you should do.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:20] A hat?
Todd Herman: [01:09:20] I'm going to give you an -- yeah, because you--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:22] I got to wear a head phones all the time though. And the hat is, it messes with lighting for film, so hat has to drop.
Todd Herman: [01:09:27] I know I'm wearing a hat right now so I’m screwing this.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:29] So you’re screwing up the whole the whole video. Look, I don't care how you look and told me about me. I got to look good. You can look however you want.
Todd Herman: [01:09:34] Oh Jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:35] You're here once, I'm here every day.
Todd Herman: [01:09:37] Every day. I'm here all weekend. Yeah. So then you've got that and then it's that activating trigger, like really being very, again, this is tapping into the power of our ability as human beings to choose how we want to respond to things and being very intentional about that self that we're bringing to the equation. And so the moment I started feeling insecure, boom, those glasses came off. Because Richard would never think that way.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:08] Oh, so you want to be able to turn it off if you start going down a rabbit hole.
Todd Herman: [01:10:12] Yeah, that's not a must because there's some totems that people use, whether it can't be done, but it is, you need some sort of reset for yourself just as obviously, hey, that, well, it could be just in your mind. Again where it's like, “Hey, get to the sidelines because this ain't your court. This ain't your field. This ain't your interview.” Hey, like be that like, don't forget at your core you're relaxed cool cat kind of thing. And so Mike Rowe could say that, but maybe Jordan couldn't.
Again, this power of suspension of disbelief, but yeah, just that ability to then activate with intention of like, “Hey, this is who I'm showing up as.” Like even me, so everyone can’t see it, or you can't hear it or not. You can hear what I'm saying. But I've got this replica Darth Vader helmet.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:01] Behind me here.
Todd Herman: [01:11:02] Behind you. I use that when I sit down and have to write any sort of like marketing copy for like--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:09] You put that on your head. I literally put it on, because it's fun to me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:12] You type with that on?
Todd Herman: [01:11:13] Yeah, yeah. I've got video though of like people that get captured and it's just me again, why can't we be playful?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:20] I just feel like it's hard to see out of that thing. I'm not judging.
Todd Herman: [01:11:22] Oh no, no, no. It's gold. It's like wearing like just cool dark glasses with that thing on. Do I wear it for like three hours straight? No, but it's just there because it's like there's Dark Vader would care two shits about whether or not people are judging, whether or not this program or opportunity, like whatever the thing is that I'm going to be running about. Whereas I could eat, because I'm not a natural marketer by any stretch. I like just working with people and building my system that to help people. But there's elements of my rule as a business owner and entrepreneur that I've got to do some things that I'm not naturally gifted at. So those are typically the places where doubt and criticism and worry and stuff creep in. And so because I teach this and then taught this for a long time, I'm like screw that. I'm bringing up Darth Vader. Vader is going to be my boy who writes copy for me.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:19] That would be a tougher thing for me in an interview setting. All right, I needed to do every interview now with a helmet in the Darth Vader. It would freak people.
Todd Herman: [01:12:25] It’s worked for [indiscernible]
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:28] Yeah, yeah, that’s right. It does worked for him.
Todd Herman: [01:12:29] I don’t know, you'd have some entertaining interviews if there's like a.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:32] Yeah, the briefing sound. Oh my gosh, I lose some listeners, but I'd probably gain other one.
Todd Herman: [01:12:37] You’ll probably gain, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:39] We have to reinforce and program ourselves to do this. So one of the drills in the book that I thought was interesting is answer questions as if you're the alter ego. Go to coffee shop in your alter ego. Maybe not the Darth Vader head, but maybe the glasses that goes.
Todd Herman: [01:12:52] Or why not?
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:52] Or why not? It's New York, you know, just--
Todd Herman: [01:12:54] Exactly. Very lucky to live here.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:12:56] Put the helmet on after you get in so that people don't think you're robbing the place.
Todd Herman: [01:12:59] Yeah. Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:00] The other thing that you recommended that I thought was gold was reading and watching interviews. Things that your, if the alter ego is a real person getting more and more exposure to that, right?
Todd Herman: [01:13:11] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:12] Because you're kind of using it as a role model. So maybe if you did choose a buck, you'd want to watch a lot of Nat Geo footage of buck.
Todd Herman: [01:13:18] Of a buck staring down, like I think that's the one thing about like say a wild buck. Every single National Geographic thing shows a grizzly bear or a cougar taking down the buck. It's actually a lot more rare. The buck stands its ground and fights off like hardcore predators and wins a lot of the time.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:37] Stomps them to death or something like that.
Todd Herman: [01:13:39] Well, uses its antlers to keep them away.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:13:41] Oh yeah that too.
Todd Herman: [01:13:43] And that's why they're there. And so yeah, watching that stuff. I talk about one of my clients in the book, a young 13 year old kid in the New York area here. Well literally one of my favorite clients of all time. I think if he could bottle his own personal leadership skills and sell it, he would be just making a mint in corporate. And he was such a great kid, but he was hitting his growth spurt really late. And so he's in sport and all these other kids are starting to get mustaches and they're getting a lot bigger. And he would start going to the batter's box and feeling so intimidated by this six foot tall kid who was on the mountain while he's still five foot two. And it started getting in his head and he was a naturally very, not naturally. He worked really hard at it. He was a very good baseball player, like very good. But he started hitting major slump and anyways, we're talking, I kind of unpack this and as, and I said, “Hey, do you know who the big lumberjack from back in the day?”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:38] Paul Bunyan.
Todd Herman: [01:14:39] Paul Bunyan. Thank you. So do you remember, do you know who Paul Bunyan is? And he said, “No.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:43] Of course not. Yeah.
Todd Herman: [01:14:44] Yeah, and I was like--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:45] He would needed though.
Todd Herman: [01:14:46] Yeah. And I said, “Okay, great. Our little coaching sessions over. I want you to go learn as much as you can about Paul Bunyan, call me tomorrow at four.” Because we talked after school. So he called me at four and he's like, “Oh man. He's amazing. He was this like a 100 foot tall or 96 foot fall, whatever it is, actual size he was, and he was like super helpful for the settlers. He always protected them and he could take down a massive tree in one swing of his acts or whatever. Anyways, long story short is that's who we built out to be his alter ego. When he stepped up to the plate, he was going up as Paul Bunyan, and Paul Bunyan would be like, what is this six foot tall dude throwing a ball at me for? I'm going to--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:27] It’s interesting.
Todd Herman: [01:15:27] He went 23 at the plate.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:29] Wow.
Todd Herman: [01:15:30] Next point 23 bats. And he was smacking home-runs constantly. His dad was like, this doesn't make any sense. And I'm like, “What makes sense of what human beings? So yeah, but to your point.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:15:40] Because we want to reinforce, right? How this alter ego.
Todd Herman: [01:15:43] The more you know about that those qualities, the more it just resonates and connects with you. That's why we love stories and movies so much because we're tapping into something unknown in us. The more you know about that other character or that Black Mamba for Kobe Bryant, that's exactly what he did. He knows more about Black Mambas than probably most biologists do.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:02] Because we want to reinforce what our alter ego believes about themselves and how they relate to the world and then we adopt those by kind of by default.
Todd Herman: [01:16:09] Yeah, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:11] And the origin story is also important, which I thought that was interesting because I thought, “Oh, you can just become this thing,” but you actually need the backstory.
Todd Herman: [01:16:20] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:20] What’s going on there?
Todd Herman: [01:16:20] Again, this is the same thing as like the Paul Bunyan thing. The more and more, again, human beings, the way our brains are structured, we think in story and narrative, right? There's been, you know, multiple scientific studies that show that when you disconnect the connection between your frontal lobe and your decision making engine and your limbic system or the emotional system, it becomes impossible for someone to take any action. So there's the thinking mind, the emotional mind, and then the action and behavior. Well, if you get rid of the emotion, then your thinking and your actions don't match up. They won't happen. So the origin story is that bridge between what you're building in your mind, the thinking, and those actions that you want to create on the field, the play, the behavior that you want. And so the origin story, the more you get connected to that creates a strong narrative and a strong emotions, uses the creative imagination now that you're tapping into, which helps you move past resistance and get yourself out there. That's why being inspired by existing characters, movie characters, superheroes, animals or even people from your past could be an aunt and uncle that nana or papa or grandma, like whatever the case is.
[01:17:32] Those origin stories of where your alter ego came from are really powerful and why they're doing the thing that they're doing. That powerful mission. Like Bo Jacksons, “I was on a mission to destroy everything that was getting going to get my way.” Well why is that? Well because the origin story of Jason is to just be cold, calculating, methodical, and not care.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:51] This is great. Why did you get into this in the first place? I know that we sort of left that off the table.
Todd Herman: [01:17:55] Yeah. I got into this and like doing mental toughness and out of just pure survival for myself. So I had a really tough experience when I was 12 years old at a church camp where I was sexually assaulted over the course of a couple of days by two men, and it like just ruined me inside. Actually when I got home I was 12 and I tried to drown myself in our family pool because there's just no way that I wanted my family to know what happened.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:18:27] You didn't tell anybody?
Todd Herman: [01:18:28] I didn't tell anyone until literally less than a year and a half ago. Carried it with me for 31 years.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:18:32] Your family never knew until.
Todd Herman: [01:18:34] They only found out exactly a month ago when I wrote out a post to myself so that I could call all of my family members individually and I could tell them the same kind of thing and not leave anything off. So yeah, it was December 31st, 2018. I told everybody, and that was after a year and a half of really finally facing it, telling my wife.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:19:01] In 2017.
Todd Herman: [01:19:00] 2017 was when I first told someone was September 4th, 2017. I told my wife and a good friend of mine, because I just couldn't handle it anymore. It would basically bubble to the surface and there's no way I can keep it, you know, under anymore. Otherwise, he was going to end badly for me, and I didn't want to carry it anymore, but that didn't make it easy. I had to face and kind of work my way through it. But it worked out amazing in the end because I said I didn't want to give my kids secondhand trauma. Like it's like second hand smoke, right? A person doesn't deserve to get it and my kids didn't deserve to get this really angry person that had developed inside of me. It wasn't expressing itself onto other people, but it was really, really hard to keep it bottled up, and it was just wearing me out. I knew that on the other side of this would be a way better version of myself. But just to your early question, so I got into this, along with any other kind of mental game strategies that I had to use out of sheer necessity in order for me to survive. I had to like find other ways to navigate this. And so using an alter ego helped me be a little more playful, not take myself so seriously in some ways, forget that trauma. And I actually say to people like, “Don't do what I did.” Don't wait so long to get help and reach out for help. But along the way, despite the fact that I was dealing with all that, I was able to accomplish some pretty good things in life. But it was really using these concepts helped me do that.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:20:44] You can't live your whole life is your alter ego?
Todd Herman: [01:20:47] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:20:47] Right?
Todd Herman: [01:20:48] No. That creates a fractured person for sure. Like again, that's why that power of context matters. I'm building this for them. Mr. Rogers shows up at home, that version of myself, which I know is inside me. It's inside of everybody. Everyone has a gentle self. Of course they do.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:04] That was very Mr. Rogers thing to say.
Todd Herman: [01:21:05] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:07] It’s inside of you.
Todd Herman: [01:21:07] There you go.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:08] I think it’s inside of me.
Todd Herman: [01:21:09] Yeah. It is.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:11] This is been really interesting. I want to give people homework. Of course, the homework will be on the worksheets, which are in every episode, which we'll link to the show notes, but I want people to maybe even if you think you don't need one, just pick a context, create a little alter ego. It doesn't have to be anything complex. Figure out something that you have an emotional attachment to and go to a coffee shop with your alter ego, if you have no other use for it. I find it impossible to believe that this wouldn't be useful at work and at home, which everyone has that context.
Todd Herman: [01:21:38] Yep, absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:39] Even if you're not a performer or an athlete.
Todd Herman: [01:21:41] Yeah, but again, even though you're not a performer, but we're all trying to perform. Context of performance is we're just trying to get a result. That's performing like right now. You're performing the act of being an interviewer. We want to have the best version of that interview or show up, and really the best version of that is that relaxed Jordan Harbinger because he's funny. He asks interesting questions, you know all those, that's what we want.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:22:09] What do we do if our alter ego fails? We kind of touched on this earlier, but I want to wrap with this because sometimes you're going to have self-doubt or I'm going to be like, “Oh, you know what? I've been hyper focused on the notes.” Or “This book is really confusing. So I had to read a bunch of stuff or I didn't adequately prepare for some interview and it's screwing me up.” How do I reset? How do I wipe the slate clean and try to start over?
Todd Herman: [01:22:33] Okay, so A, we're not looking for perfection out of the gate. It's evolving, right? So it's like practicing anything. You need to get used to it. Me, it's very easy for me because I've been using this stuff for 40 years of my life that I can step into it really fast because I've been honoring my creative imagination for such a long time. So for other people then people, they think, “Oh well I'm not creative.” No, you're 100 percent creative because you're acting creative every single day of your life. Everyone just has adopted this belief that creativity means being an artist or a writer or painting
Jordan Harbinger: [01:23:04] Yeah, I suffered from for a while. I'm not a creative person because I don't paint things on canvas or draw.
Todd Herman: [01:23:10] And yet I would probably tell people that are the top five people that are my friends. Jordan is probably one of those creative people I know.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:23:17] It’s funny. Meanwhile stick figures not my forte.
Todd Herman: [01:23:19] Yeah, yeah. So A, just understand that we're practicing it, you're going to get better, and then also know that a lot of times the first alter ego that you choose isn't the one that you end up with. They evolved.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:23:30] That’s interesting.
Todd Herman: [01:23:31] They evolve.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:23:31] So this isn't something where you should be like, “Oh, I know exactly who I want to be because I liked the comic as a kid.
Todd Herman: [01:23:37] Well you can. Some people, they know right away they're like, I know exactly who it is. Other people were like, I know who it's going to be it, and then they're like, “Oh, it's not quite working.” And typically it's because they don't have a strong enough resonant emotion with it. There hasn't been a good connection to the origin yet and so keep on evolving with it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:23:56] That's something I hadn't thought of. So if it's not working for us, chances are maybe we're just not really.
Todd Herman: [01:24:02] You haven't connected with it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:03] Okay.
Todd Herman: [01:24:04] Yeah. Yeah. You haven't connected with it.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:05] How do we know if it's something we've really connected with you?
Todd Herman: [01:24:08] You’re going to--
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:08] You’ll feel it?
Todd Herman: [01:24:09] Intuitively. it's like striking oil. The gusher just hits. You're just going to be like, “Oh yeah, that feels right.”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:17] That's good because I don't really have one thing like I'm not trying to be Mike Rowe.
Todd Herman: [01:24:22] No.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:23] I just like certain qualities and characteristics.
Todd Herman: [01:24:25] Then take that, and that can be enough again.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:28] This has been great. And probably it won't wait too long, but that's all right. It was worth the trip I think.
Todd Herman: [01:24:33] Thanks buddy.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:34] Yeah, thank you.
Todd Herman: [01:24:34] Absolutely.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:24:37] Great big thank you to Todd Herman. The book title is The Alter Ego Effect. And if you want to know how I have all of these amazing friends that do all of this amazing stuff, well I'm nothing special. It's about the systems, the tiny habits that I do every day to keep in touch and reach out to amazing people like Todd. And I'm teaching you that for free. Six Minute Networking is the course I developed on this. It was called LevelOne. I've upgraded it. I've rerecorded it. It's new, improved better everything. And that's at jordanharbinger.com/course, so if you've already taken LevelOne, go grab Six Minute Networking. You'll enjoy that. You'll get a refresher and some new stuff and don't procrastinate. Come on! You know, people are like, “Oh, I don't have time to dig this well, but I need this thing now.” You had time before. You certainly seem to have time to email now. You got to dig the well before you're thirsty. When you need the relationships, you're too late. It takes a few minutes per day, hence the rename to Six Minute Networking, and besides five minute networking was taken. So here we are. That's at Jordan harbinger.com/course.
[01:25:37] Speaking to building relationships. Tell me your number one takeaway here today from Todd Herman. I'm @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. There's a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. The show is produced in association with PodcastOne, and this episode was co-produced by Jason “The leveler” DeFilippo and Jen Harbinger. Show notes and worksheets are by Robert Fogarty, and I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. The fee the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful, which is definitely this episode for sure counts as that. So share the show with those who need a little superpower in their life, a little alter ego action. In the meantime, do your best to apply the alter ego effect for yourself and everything else that you've learned on the show so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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