Self Help

The Alter Ego Effect - Todd Herman

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 38 min read

“If you liked the book, you can purchase it using the links in the description below. By buying through these links, you contribute to the blog without paying any extra, as we receive a small commission. This helps us bring more quality content to you!”



  • Anthony grew up in DC without parents, who passed away in a car accident when he was young. He was raised by his grandmother.

  • Anthony was a talented basketball player but would shrink from pressure in big moments and pass the ball instead of taking critical shots.

  • His coach yelled at him to be more like another player James, which made Anthony remember an email about athletes using alter egos.

  • Anthony snuck out at 4am to take a train to New York to meet the email’s author, Herman, for help with his mental game.

  • Herman worked with Anthony to develop an alter ego, the “Black Ghost,” based on a black panther, to embrace on the court. The alter ego would help Anthony leave his fears behind and play aggressively in pressure situations.

  • Creating an alter ego was a way for Anthony to access his “heroic self” and unlock hidden capabilities. It gave him a way to face challenges with more optimism and playfulness.

  • Herman’s book is meant to help ambitious people consistently perform at their peak by accessing capabilities already within them, not as an easy solution but to take one’s best self and make it appear more reliably in tough moments.

  • The passage discusses how sports psychologist Todd Herman has helped numerous high-performing athletes, business leaders, and entertainers overcome challenges through the use of “Alter Egos.”

  • An Alter Ego is essentially taking on a character or persona that helps maximize one’s potential and handle adversity. Famous talent manager Shep Gordon famously talked about helping celebrities develop characters rather than just being themselves publicly.

  • The concept of an Alter Ego has existed for centuries and was first documented by Roman philosopher Cicero, who referred to it as a “second self” or “trusted friend.”

  • The author first encountered the power of Alter Egos as a competitive teenager struggling with emotions in sports. After getting kicked out of a volleyball tournament for fighting, his coach helped him realize he needed to change his attitude to reach his potential.

  • Developing Alter Egos can help people intentionally be their best selves in different situations and overcome obstacles both big and small through tapping into different traits and capabilities. The book aims to teach Todd Herman’s method for building effective Alter Egos.

  • The author argues that he did argue back with his coach when challenged, he didn’t just accept it.

  • The coach told him to read a book to help improve himself internally. The author did so reluctantly and didn’t like the book much, but it introduced him to concepts like mental toughness and meditation that he wanted to learn more about.

  • As a kid growing up on a farm near where Native Americans once lived, the author became interested in their culture. He would imagine channeling warrior spirits or channeling players he admired to boost his confidence and performance in football.

  • Later in his twenties when starting his own sports training business, he felt insecure about his age and appearance. After watching Joni Jacques on Oprah talk about standing in Oprah’s shoes to feel empowered, he got the idea to wear glasses even though he didn’t need them, to help him get taken more seriously by clients, based on perceptions of people who wear glasses. It worked as his “alter ego” to boost his confidence in business, similar to how he channeled others as a kid in sports.

  • The author realized many athletes describe entering a “different version” of themselves during competition, like becoming a superhero character.

  • This led the author to develop the “Alter Ego Effect” strategy to help athletes perform under pressure. It involves taking on an empowering alternate identity using props or visualization.

  • The Alter Ego Effect works by addressing inner doubts and criticism that hold athletes back. It provides consistent short-term benefits when other strategies may require more time.

  • The author explains their model of the self, with a core creative self surrounded by layers of influences - core drivers (motivations), belief layers (attitudes and experiences), and action layers (skills and behaviors).

  • Pressure causes people to slip into less empowering versions of themselves not built for success. The Alter Ego Effect allows people to intentionally bring forward a version aligned with their capabilities.

  • In summary, the Alter Ego Effect taps into a natural human tendency to take on different identities, and harnesses it to improve performance by overcoming inner limitations.

Here is a summary of the key points in the passage:

  • The Field of Play layer refers to the context and circumstances that influence our thinking and behavior, including our physical environment, constraints, people we interact with, and their expectations.

  • We often behave in certain ways unconsciously due to influences we aren’t aware of at this layer.

  • Examining this layer can reveal how we may need to show up differently in certain contexts, like being more assertive at work instead of too kind.

  • Beyoncé used an alter ego named Sasha Fierce to help her perform more provocatively on stage and explore her art in a way that didn’t align with her “real” persona.

  • Research found that children who pretended to be characters like Batman persisted longer at problem-solving tasks and were calmer, showing the benefits of psychological distance from one’s self-image.

  • The passage introduces the concept of the “ordinary world” versus the “extraordinary world” within the field of play, and how shifting mindsets can influence confidence through “self-suppressive activation” and “self-expansive activation.”

In summary, the passage discusses how our context influences us unconsciously, examines Beyoncé’s use of an alter ego, and introduces research on the benefits of psychological distance from one’s identity through adopting different roles. It also introduces ordinary vs extraordinary mindsets within different fields of play.

The Ow Mindset and the Wow Mindset refer to two different orientations we can take in life.

The Ow Mindset is focused on avoiding pain or bad outcomes. Actions are motivated by negative emotions like fear. This leads to a suppressed or “Trapped Self” where you feel unable to solve your own problems.

The Wow Mindset is focused on gaining positive experiences and growth. Actions are motivated by positive emotions. This leads to an expanded or “Heroic Self” where you feel in control and able to face challenges.

The idea is that we all live in two worlds - the Ordinary World and the Extraordinary World. The Ordinary World promotes a Trapped Self through layers like thoughts, beliefs and experiences that suppress our core self. The Extraordinary World promotes a Heroic Self through layers that expand our core self.

Using an “Alter Ego” or identity with strengths/superpowers helps access the Heroic Self by protecting our core from negative forces. Research shows intentionally focusing on strengths is beneficial for resilience and fulfillment.

The imagination example shows how envisioning ourselves through an Alter Ego changes our perception and performance in challenging scenarios. Our “real self” is defined not by intentions but by our actions and how others experience us. An Alter Ego can help enhance performance by overriding fears and doubt.

In summary, the Ow/Wow mindset framework promotes intentionally accessing a more confident, capable identity through the use of an Alter Ego in order to overcome suppression and expand our heroic potentials.

  • The passage discusses the concept of an “Alter Ego” and how it can help people overcome fears, doubts and self-limiting beliefs to perform at their best.

  • An Alter Ego is not pretending to be someone you’re not, but rather tapping into attributes, skills and beliefs that already exist within you to face different situations and contexts.

  • Examples are given of people who used Alter Egos unconsciously, like a musician who channeled other artists during performances to overcome nerves.

  • The author provides examples of clients and how using an Alter Ego helped them access their “truest self” and feel more confident and capable in challenging situations.

  • Research from psychologists is cited showing how figures like David Bowie used artistic personas therapeutically to develop authentic selves and overcome personal challenges.

  • In summary, the passage advocates that developing an intentional Alter Ego can help one access and fulfill their potential by consciously choosing which aspects of themselves to bring forward in different roles and scenarios.

  • People were hiding in their cars in vacant parking lots for hours, reclining their seats in fear of going door-to-door to sell widgets. One man described the feeling of reclining his seat as sinking into a “quicksand of fear.”

  • Athletes would avoid certain shots or plays because “that was for [better players] to do, not me.”

  • This describes the “Ordinary World” - a world where one’s dreams and goals feel trapped and frustrated. It’s easy to stay stuck here because it’s not life-threatening.

  • Choosing a “Field of Play” to focus on, like a career, relationship, hobby, etc. The book will help the reader build an “Alter Ego” to help them overcome challenges in their chosen field.

  • An example is given of a client named John who used an Alter Ego to transform from being obsessed with work to becoming a better father at home, which ultimately helped both his personal and work life.

  • The reader is prompted to identify what area of their life is most frustrating - their personal life, professional life, relationship, etc. - to focus on building their Alter Ego.

  • The concept of the “Alter Ego Effect” proposes that creating an intentional Alter Ego can help you show up better in important moments where your performance matters most (called “Moments of Impact”).

  • MaryAnn, the automotive shop owner, struggled at first when customers didn’t want to speak to her on the phone. She realized she didn’t sound competent, so she gained more knowledge and created an Alter Ego to help her communicate better during customer phone calls (her Moment of Impact).

  • Shaun, a technology executive, met the author to get help implementing high-performance strategies to perform more consistently in his career, similar to how the author helped Shaun’s daughter in soccer.

  • The lter Ego Effect is powerful because when you define your key Moments of Impact, you can purposefully create an Alter Ego tailored for those moments to help you show up in a more intentional, effective way. This allows you to take control and truly focus on who is “ending up on that field.”

So in summary, finding and focusing on your Moments of Impact is an important part of intentionally creating an effective Alter Ego to help you perform at your best when it matters most.

Here is a summary of the key points about work from the passage:

  • The passage focuses on helping someone named Shaun reach his goal of being the top sales producer at his company, a Fortune 50 organization.

  • Shaun’s job involves client meetings, presentations, administrative work, phone calls, and relationship building activities like dinners.

  • The author uses a technique called “target mapping” or “working backward” to help Shaun clearly define his goals and the specific actions needed to reach them.

  • Shaun’s main goal is to grow the cloud computing market in New York City’s financial sector.

  • The author identifies Shaun’s “moments of impact” - the specific activities and behaviors that will have the greatest impact on his success, like client meetings, outreach calls, and presentations.

  • One particularly effective activity for Shaun is hosting “lunch and learn” presentations, but he had only done one previously due to logistical challenges.

  • With the author’s help, Shaun schedules more presentations, improves his public speaking skills, and sees significant increases in his sales numbers and career success as a result.

  • The passage also briefly discusses another client, Julia, and her key moments of impact around client negotiations and overpromising.

So in summary, the passage uses target mapping to help an employee clearly define goals and identify specific workplace behaviors to focus on to enhance career performance and success.

  • Julia faced criticism that she was too soft and wouldn’t succeed in business because people would walk all over her. However, she saw herself as ambitious and determined on the inside.

  • In negotiating with clients for her business Field of Play, Julia would overcommit, overpromise, and let clients walk all over her instead of being strong and assertive. This was holding her business back from growing.

  • The text discusses the concept of a “Moment of Impact” - moments where you sometimes bring your best self but not consistently enough, and changing this could lead to different results.

  • Some examples of common Moments of Impact are giving presentations, networking/meeting new people, and closing sales.

  • The text uses the examples of Julia and another person named Shaun to illustrate analyzing one’s own Moments of Impact and behaviors/actions that may be creating obstacles to success.

  • The goal is to recognize limiting behaviors in order to develop an “Alter Ego” personality that can show up differently and more effectively in one’s Moments of Impact.

  • People take on different roles in life, like as a parent, professional, spouse, etc. And each role demands a different aspect of ourselves.

  • We often show up as less than our best selves due to negative influences called the “Enemy”. The Enemy creates inner conflict and stops us from being our heroic self.

  • The Enemy uses common forces like lack of confidence, worrying about others’ opinions, doubt, risk aversion, etc. to trap us in ordinary performances instead of extraordinary ones.

  • It also uses hidden forces like imposter syndrome, personal trauma, and negative narratives to control us.

  • Having an “alter ego” can help overcome the Enemy by being more intentional about which aspects of ourselves we bring to different roles and situations. This allows us to show up as our best selves.

  • Developing an alter ego is about balance - the light cannot exist without the dark. While the Enemy is part of us, it is not who we truly are at our core.

So in summary, it discusses how different influences called the “Enemy” can prevent us from being our best selves in different life roles, and how developing an alter ego can help overcome this.

The passage discusses how tribal narratives can hold people back from achieving success by attaching beliefs about what groups of people can or can’t do. It gives examples of Misty Copeland overcoming narratives that black dancers don’t belong in ballet, and the author’s own experience feeling pulled by narratives about family expectations.

It suggests tribal narratives, especially from one’s family, can cause people to make choices that don’t lead to their desired careers or lives out of fear of upsetting close relationships. The narrative from one’s family about what it means to be a good family member is highlighted as something that can prevent people from stepping into their extraordinary potential and leading the lives they want.

The passage discusses a university professor who wants to launch a new training program but feels he doesn’t have the time to properly research and develop it. He is hesitant to hire someone else to help, believing the other professors in his field would ridicule him for not doing all the work himself.

The narrator pushes back against this belief, arguing that pleasing one’s peers should not hold someone back from pursuing opportunities that could benefit others. He notes many professors avoid launching useful programs due to fears about what their colleagues may think.

The professor is stuck focusing on potential judgment from his “tribe” rather than the needs of his actual customers. The narrator encourages him to stop worrying so much about other people’s opinions and take action on his idea.

He notes we often seek approval from family and peers in ways that can keep us “trapped.” Cultural, religious or other social influences can also lead us to believe “that’s only for those people” or deter us from pursuing certain goals due to perceptions of what our respective groups may think. In the end, the narrator encourages taking ownership of our goals rather than letting outside views dictate our actions.

  • Valeria grew up in a small rural town in Ukraine, where she faced relentless teasing from the boys in town about being a girl and not able to join in their sports games.

  • One day after being banned from playing with the boys again, she cried to her father who gave her a tennis racket and ball, telling her to hit the ball against the garage 100 times. This started her tennis career.

  • She became a top up-and-coming tennis player, but struggled with anger and melting down when making mistakes in matches.

  • The author was called in to help her. He discovered she had negative self-talk like criticizing herself when making errors.

  • He introduced the concept of having an “Enemy” to direct this talk to, rather than internally. She chose “Igor”, one of the bullying boys from her childhood, as her Enemy.

  • Naming the Enemy externalizes the negative force rather than it being an internal “merry-go-round” of negativity. It allows confronting the Enemy to overcome negative thoughts and stay focused.

  • The key points are how unnamed and unseen “monsters” are scarier due to imagination, but naming an Enemy gives it an identity and makes it something that can be faced and defeated to overcome challenges.

  • Stories and narratives play a powerful role in driving our behaviors and emotions. We are constantly telling ourselves stories that can help or hurt us in achieving our goals.

  • Often we unconsciously adopt stories from our environment, like the military colonel who saw “tough” as part of his identity from his uniform and role.

  • Words and concepts trigger automatic associations and stories in our minds, both positive and negative. This shapes how we see ourselves and our abilities.

  • Marketers are skilled at tapping into emotions through compelling stories because stories drive our actions and decisions more than rational thought.

  • When we tell ourselves limiting or negative stories before important events, it becomes very difficult to override those emotions and thoughts and perform at our best.

  • The Alter Ego process can help bypass limiting stories by stepping into an identity/persona that is not held back by those unconscious narratives and Automatic Forces. This allows one to show up more powerfully without having to directly challenge core beliefs.

So in summary, the passage discusses how powerful stories and narratives are in shaping our behaviors, both consciously and unconsciously, and how the Alter Ego Effect can circumvent limiting stories through adopting a new empowering persona.

The passage describes the narrator meeting a man 21 years ago who was doing what the narrator wanted to do. As a child, the narrator was involved in 4-H and enjoyed caring for cattle, taking on leadership roles, and giving speeches. In particular, the narrator enjoyed public speaking and won a competition at age 10.

The narrator then explains how growing up on a farm and with parents who gave presentations helped make public speaking less intimidating. However, the key point is that this leads back to the man the narrator met 21 years ago who was doing what the narrator wanted to do, though what specifically is not yet revealed.

In summary, the passage sets up how the narrator was drawn to public speaking from a young age through 4-H experiences, but leaves the connection to the mysterious man from 21 years ago still unclear. It primes the reader to learn more about what this man was doing and how it relates to the narrator’s goals and interests.

  • The author sat next to an influential older gentleman named Jim Rohn at a head table event in Canada. Jim took a genuine interest in the author and asked thought-provoking questions about his goals and future.

  • The author was impressed by Jim’s interest and wisdom. They had a flowing conversation until Jim was introduced as the keynote speaker. The author felt foolish for not realizing Jim was the famous speaker.

  • Jim gave an incredible 53-minute speech that left the author in awe of his eloquence and impactful quotes. They stayed in touch after the event and Jim became the author’s first mentor.

  • About 18 months later, during a phone call discussing struggles in growing his business, Jim told the author “if you’re not willing to risk the unusual, you’ll have to settle for the ordinary.” This line had a profound impact on the author.

  • The passage discusses using an “alter ego” to help escape ordinary limits and challenges, take risks, and achieve extraordinary goals and performance. It’s about developing a mindset to face obstacles and find flow states.

So in summary, it recounts how the author was mentored by Jim Rohn after an unexpected meeting, and how that impacted his view on developing an alter ego mindset to accomplish more.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

  • The person had created a “Don’t Want” list of things they didn’t want to experience anymore, including waking up dreading the day and feeling like they were wasting their days.

  • They are now being asked to create a “Want” list to define their goals and desired outcomes, experiences, achievements and results.

  • They are guided through a process of defining what they want to “Continue”, want “More of”, and what they want to “Start” experiencing/achieving in their ideal future scenario/Extraordinary World across different layers:

  1. Field of Play - Desired tangible results like increased revenues, positive feedback, improved skills, etc.

  2. Action layer - Desired behaviors, actions, skills like acting more confidently, making more sales calls, practicing more.

  3. Belief layer - Desired emotions, qualities, mindsets like feeling more competent, believing in one’s capabilities, valuing action over perfection.

  • Examples of others’ Want lists are provided for inspiration.

  • The process is meant to help clearly define and work towards an “Extraordinary World” by shifting one’s motivations, intentions and self-image using the framework of an empowering Alter Ego.

  • The passage discusses the importance of having a strong sense of motivation and meaning when pursuing goals or one’s extraordinary world.

  • Research shows that merely pursuing happiness leads to emptiness, while finding deeper meaning correlates with stronger well-being and immune function.

  • Emotions are what drive action and motivation. One needs to feel a strong emotional pull towards what they want in order to pursue it relentlessly in the face of obstacles.

  • The four main sources of motivation for heroes and icons are trauma (wrongs to right), destiny (a sense of calling), altruism (helping others), and self-expression (sharing talents with the world).

  • Finding one’s primary motivator(s) helps anchor one’s sense of purpose and resilience during challenging times in pursuit of their goals or extraordinary world. Without a strong motivation based in meaning, it is difficult to maintain long-term commitment and overcome obstacles.

So in summary, the passage emphasizes that developing a compelling sense of meaning and motivation, rooted in sources like trauma, destiny, altruism or self-expression, is important for staying committed to pursuing one’s extraordinary world or major goals. Emotions are key to driving that type of strong, resilient motivation.

  • Some people are intrinsically motivated to create, learn, discover and push boundaries just for the sake of it. Figures like Leonardo da Vinci exemplify this core driver of curiosity.

  • Initially people may be motivated by more surface level desires like success, recognition or money. But over time their work takes on deeper meaning when connected to larger causes like family, community, ideals of fairness.

  • Strong emotions, both positive and negative, are important motivators. Anger or desire to prove others wrong can fuel initial momentum to take action.

  • Personal or family history experiences often spark the emotional resonance that sets people on their path. Wanting to honor a lineage or overcome past discrimination, for example.

  • National pride, religious/cultural identities and commitment to causes can all be core drivers when one’s goals are connected to helping these larger entities.

  • The “five whys” technique can help uncover the true emotional core behind what initially motivates someone in order to sustain long-term drive and meaning. Both altruistic and self-interested motivations can work depending on the individual.

The passage discusses defining the superpowers and choosing a name for one’s alter ego. It uses the example of Lisa, an equestrian athlete competing in dressage. Dressage is challenging because any emotions or nerves from the rider are picked up by the sensitive horse, impacting their performance.

Lisa struggled with anxiety before competitions. To overcome this, she chose Wonder Woman as her alter ego, as she admired her growing up. Wonder Woman rides horses into battle, connecting her to the equestrian world.

Just as superheroes have abilities to help them face challenges, one can define superpowers for their alter ego that address weaknesses on their field of play. Lisa needed confidence and poise, so those became Wonder Woman’s powers.

The passage notes alter egos only need powers specific to one’s own situation, not fantastical abilities. It doesn’t matter if one starts by defining a name or powers - the process considers both to craft an effective alter ego identity.

Here are the key points about building an Alter Ego from the passage:

  • The Alter Ego represents heightened versions of traits you want to embody in moments that matter, like confidence, poise, assertiveness.

  • It can be based on someone or something you already admire and respect, like a celebrity, historical figure, fictional character, animal, machine, etc. The key is having a strong emotional resonance with it.

  • Examples given include athletes using animals or machines as Alter Egos to represent strength and power, a salesperson using a magnet to attract opportunities, a sailor using another female sailor as inspiration.

  • You can base it on anything - TV/movie characters, literary figures, cartoons, superheroes, family/friends, abstract concepts. The choices are unlimited.

  • Ask yourself what traits the person/thing possesses that you admire. These become the Alter Ego’s “superpowers” that you tap into.

  • Choose something that truly inspires you and that you feel a deep personal connection to. This will help the Alter Ego concept really resonate and be effective for you.

The overall message is to choose freely but thoughtfully based on traits and influences that are genuinely meaningful, so your Alter Ego empowers rather than limits you. Developing it should feel natural and inspiring.

Based on the details provided, two potential past figures that could feel like kindred spirits or meaningful connections are:

  1. Julia’s great-great-great-great-grandfather, the alpine explorer and landscape painter from her village in Germany. She feels drawn to the Austrian Alps and was moved when visiting the museum dedicated to him, sensing a connection to his adventurous spirit and passion for the landscape. His career and heritage seem to inspire her interests.

  2. The CEO’s professor from university who was a dynamic, playful, and passionate teacher. The CEO greatly admired him and took all his classes, seeing him as an “arm’s-length mentor.” This professor’s approach inspired the CEO to embody him as an alter ego to help overcome challenges in his professional life. The strong connection and positive influence of mentor figures can provide guidance.

In both cases, distant familial and mentor relationships appear to still strongly resonate and motivate. Connecting to role models or kindred spirits from one’s past, even if not directly known, can potentially offer insight and empowerment through embracing shared qualities or pursuing aligned interests.

Here is a summary of the key points about developing an alter ego:

  • Choose 5-10 character traits that define your alter ego/secret identity. Example traits given are sympathetic, thoughtful, tricky, unassuming, etc.

  • Consider how you would exhibit or demonstrate those qualities. For example, how would you show up as “powerful” in business? What would that look and feel like to you and others?

  • Name your alter ego. This could be inspired by fictional characters, real people, animals, or you can create your own name. The name should have emotional resonance and connect to the superpowers/traits of that identity.

  • Develop an origin story for your alter ego to bring it to life. This could explain where the alter ego comes from and how it gained its powers/skills.

  • Fully embodying the alter ego through answering questions from its perspective can help unlock new levels of creativity and imagination for what’s possible.

  • The process of developing an alter ego is personal. The goal is to construct an identity that will help you perform and achieve at a higher level in your chosen “field of play.”

  • The story is set in New York City, where millions of people live and commute. Baseball is a big part of the culture, with fans of the Yankees, Mets, and some rare Red Sox fans.

  • Tim is an 11-year-old baseball player who is very mature and a natural leader. He is a dedicated Yankees fan. Though small, he is gritty and never quits.

  • The author has mentored young athletes for over a decade. Tim applied and was selected for mentorship. For the first couple years, Tim excelled with the mentorship.

  • But cracks began to show as Tim started facing bigger players. He began thinking he was too small and couldn’t hit against larger players. This got into his head and affected his performance.

  • The author has Tim research Paul Bunyan, a famous giant lumberjack from folklore, to use as an “alter ego” when playing. The idea is for Tim to take on the confidence and mindset of Paul Bunyan rather than seeing himself as small. The story explores how using an alter ego can help shift one’s mindset.

Here are the key points about behaviors and persona of an Alter Ego:

  • Physical mannerisms like posture, facial expressions, hand gestures can help anchor into the Alter Ego. For example, how might they hold themselves differently?

  • Consider borrowing qualities from inspirational figures. Famous people would act differently in the same situations.

  • Alter Egos can embody positive attributes like calm, confident, charismatic. These influence how they interact with others.

  • Attire and style are also part of the persona. How might your Alter Ego dress differently than you ordinarily would?

  • Alter Egos have beliefs and perspectives that serve them better in challenging situations. For example, believing “I’m a great public speaker” vs doubting abilities.

  • Values like power, fairness, wealth, joy may help or hinder depending on the scenario. Consider which values support the Alter Ego.

  • Physical exercises can help get into character. For example, mimicking their posture, walk, facial expressions to anchor the identity.

The key is choosing attributes, beliefs, values and mannerisms that align with how you want your Alter Ego to show up in specific situations for better outcomes. It’s about adopting a strategic persona focused on achieving your goals.

  • The client is preparing to take on a new leadership role at work, transitioning to leading a new business unit. He is feeling uncertainty and seeking help with the mental and leadership aspects.

  • The coach proposes using an “Alter Ego” as a tool to help with the transition. The Alter Ego represents a person the client truly admires and wants to emulate.

  • For this client, his “Alter Ego” is his grandmother (“Bubbe” in Yiddish). He shares her inspiring life story of enduring hardship, raising a family with little money but with love in a new country after surviving the Holocaust.

  • The client greatly respects and is inspired by his grandmother’s strength, resilience, work ethic and leadership in the family. Using her as his Alter Ego is meant to help him tap into those qualities as he takes on his new challenging role.

  • The coach will help the client further connect with this Alter Ego to guide him mentally and provide leadership abilities during his professional transition and in his new position. The Alter Ego concept is meant to be a tool for confidence, strength and success.

Here is a summary of the provided information:

The passage discusses creating an “Alter Ego” to represent a heroic identity one can channel in times of challenge or when striving for goals. It explains how discovering an origin story for the Alter Ego can help form a deeper emotional connection and motivation.

Several examples are given of people finding origin stories that resonated with them. One individual connected with Batman due to overcoming childhood fears. An athlete related to a family history of sacrificing for their country.

Creating an origin story is suggested as a way to explain the Alter Ego’s powers and purpose. Existing stories from history, fiction or celebrities can serve as inspiration if they meaningfully reflect one’s own experiences.

The story of J.K. Rowling is cited as an example that deeply moved a single mother entrepreneur, giving her motivation to pursue her dreams despite obstacles. In general, finding an origin narrative that parallels one’s personal trials seems to enhance the ability to channel inspiration from their Alter Ego in pushing through difficulties.

  • Ng created an alter ego and merged her own origin story with the famous author J.K. Rowling’s story, which motivated her to pursue entrepreneurship.

  • Her alter ego would say something like “I may face rejection like everyone else but I will keep going and not quit because I have this passion inside me that I need to pursue.”

  • Rowling’s story resonated with Ng so she chose Rowling for her alter ego’s origin, but she could have chosen someone else like her grandmother and attributed Rowling’s story to that.

  • The key is having an emotional connection to the origin story you choose for your alter ego. Stories from books, TV, films can provide rich origin stories if they resonate with you personally.

  • Creating a compelling origin story for your alter ego is about understanding what will drive its success.

  • Activating your alter ego involves choosing a totem or artifact that symbolically represents the traits of your alter ego and helps you embody it, like Winston Churchill using different hats.

  • Totems can be anything from clothes to accessories that help you psychologically and physically transform into your alter ego when needed. The story gives examples of Churchill and MLK using symbols like hats and glasses to activate different aspects of themselves.

  • Researchers at Kellogg School of Management conducted a study on the effects of wearing a white lab coat. They found that simply wearing the coat increased students’ attention and accuracy only when they were told the coat represented a doctor, not a painter.

  • This phenomenon is called “enclothed cognition” - cognition is influenced by clothing when a person understands the symbolic meaning of the item and the psychological experience of wearing it.

  • The symbolic power and meaning of an item depends on the context/story associated with it. A white coat changes its influence based on whether it’s represented as a doctor’s coat vs. painter’s smock.

  • People can embody different traits depending on the symbolic meaning of clothing/items. Wearing a doctor’s coat may make one act more attentive, while a painter’s smock could enhance artistic traits.

  • Identifying a “totem” or symbolic item that represents one’s alter ego helps make it easier to slip into that identity. The totem acts as a constant reminder of what the alter ego stands for.

  • A totem is most powerful when it embodies the alter ego’s origin story, superpowers and mission. Wearing the totem “enclothes” one with the qualities of the alter ego.

So in summary, our cognition and behaviors can be influenced by symbolic items/clothing through the mechanism of “enclothed cognition”, when we understand and relate that item to a particular identity, story or set of traits.

  • Having a totem or artifact helps activate an “alter ego” - a different version of yourself that embodies the traits needed for optimal performance in a given situation or “field of play”.

  • The totem provides a physical anchor to bridge the alter ego from the imagination into the real world. It engages more senses and feels more real than just an idea in the head.

  • Examples of totems include glasses, uniforms, hats, jewelry, etc. Artifacts are similar but have some historical or family significance.

  • Using a totem helps train the alter ego to come forth automatically when needed without conscious effort. Over time it can become an unconscious habit through repeated use and association with the situation.

  • This helps take performance to the next level of “unconscious competence” where it no longer requires conscious effort but feels natural and automatic. The totem is a tool to help accelerate this learning process.

Here is a summary of the key points about totems or artifacts from the passage:

  • A totem or artifact is something physically representing the traits and qualities of your alter ego. It acts as an embodiment and reminder of your alter ego when you use it.

  • There are three types - something you wear, carry, or are connected to your field of play. Examples given include costumes, uniforms, jewelry, pictures, objects from nature, objects related to your field/work.

  • It should symbolize and strongly connect to your alter ego in some way through direct or indirect associations. It needs to have emotional resonance and meaning for you.

  • It needs to be something you can use whenever needed on your field of play, not just sometimes. And you should be able to easily slip it on/off or take it out/put it away to switch into or out of your alter ego.

  • Avoid choosing something you can’t always use when needed or that you give away/tell others about. Keep it private between you and your alter ego initially for confidence and competition reasons.

  • Choose something you’ll enjoy wearing, carrying or using that you have positive feelings about. Don’t make it too complex with too many items.

  • The author discusses creating an “Alter Ego” by imagining conversations with admired figures to build conviction and a sense of honor. This infuses the Alter Ego with meaning.

  • It’s important to fully commit to the Alter Ego and not dishonor its legacy. The Alter Ego should be activated through a “totem” or object that acts as a switch to help get in the right mindset.

  • Examples of activation events are wiping one’s face with a towel before a game or putting on a special piece of jewelry. The action physically triggers the Alter Ego.

  • Not all contexts require keeping the Alter Ego “on” at all times. It can be situation-specific like during important moments in sports, sales, etc.

  • The author indicates there will be challenges where doubt or fear arises, and recommends developing a “Ground Punch” - something to help summon the Alter Ego when it’s not working. More details on that concept were said to follow in the next chapter.

The hero is close to defeat in a climactic battle or competition. However, they find an inner reserve of strength and determination to keep fighting. With a defiant battle cry or rallying words, they mount a dramatic comeback against all odds.

This is a common trope seen in many stories and films, like Rocky III where an exhausted Rocky is beaten down by Clubber Lang but roars back for a stunning knockout. These come-from-behind victories inspire audiences by showing the power of perseverance, will and never giving up when facing overwhelming challenges.

While cliched, these types of scenes work because they tap into universally human experiences of digging deep within ourselves to overcome difficulties. Everyone faces setbacks in life and needs to learn how to bounce back from failures or defeats. Having a resilient mindset and the ability to push past mental and physical limits are crucial life skills. The hero’s dramatic rally embodies this and serves as a model for how to turn things around when it seems all hope is lost.

  • The passage describes an encounter between photographer Robert Stein and Marilyn Monroe in 1955. He spent the day capturing photos of her as her “normal” self in New York.

  • With minimal makeup and hair done, she was able to walk through Grand Central Terminal and take the subway without drawing attention as just another passenger.

  • When they exited the subway, she turned to the photographer and asked “Do you want to see her?”, indicating she was about to transform back into her famous Hollywood persona.

  • She then fluffed up her hair, arched her back and struck a pose, immediately drawing swarms of people recognizing her as the famous Marilyn Monroe.

  • The anecdote illustrates how Monroe was able to disguise and reveal her celebrity identity and the different reactions she received depending on whether people saw her as “Norma Jean” or the famous Hollywood star “Marilyn Monroe”.

  • The Alter Ego allows you to create your own world and define who is in it. You get to decide on your own superpowers and characteristics.

  • Using an Alter Ego has been shown to help enhance performance, cope with challenges, and achieve goals. It taps into motivation and changes your mindset.

  • Simply wearing something to represent your Alter Ego, like a lab coat, can improve performance through “enclothed cognition.” Defining your character traits and values gives you more purpose.

  • Some initial quests or challenges are provided to start experiencing your Alter Ego, like going for coffee as your Alter Ego or doing a focus exercise while embodying your Alter Ego. This helps practice and strengthen your Alter Ego.

  • Playing a game as your Alter Ego tests your resilience in dealing with challenges and competitions. Resetting by reaffirming your Alter Ego helps you stay in character.

  • It’s important to find allies who support your Alter Ego, either in the Alter Ego community online or existing friends and family you recruit to your “extraordinary world.” Support from others helps drive positive change.

  • Bringing someone into your “secret world” and having an accountability partner can create an upward spiral of improved performance and closer relationships through mutual support and coaching.

  • Having mentors, either in person or from afar by learning from their teachings, can significantly impact your life and push you to higher levels. The mentor acts as a guide and coach in realizing your potential.

  • Stepping out of your ordinary world and using your alter ego to pursue your goals may cause initial fear of losing your existing tribe. However, a new tribe often forms to support you when you pursue big things.

  • Continually refine your alter ego by testing what works and adjusting parts that don’t, like the origin story, superpowers, totem, name, etc. Find the most powerful version.

  • To succeed with your alter ego, embrace challenges, stay flexible, use your creativity and imagination, keep a playful attitude, cultivate curiosity, and believe you can change your mindset and reshape how you show up.

  • Following these six mindsets can help you face any challenges in your extraordinary world.

Here is a summary of the key points without reproducing copyrighted content:

The passage discusses how in classic stories like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Wonder Woman, the protagonist undergoes a “crossing of the threshold” by leaving their ordinary world and embarking on a quest or adventure. This represents an important step of beginning a journey toward their destiny or goal.

It then relates this concept to the goals and changes readers may seek in their own lives, such as pursuing dreams, improving skills, changing careers or mindsets. The passage encourages readers to take that first step by “crossing the threshold” and beginning their journey through using an “Alter Ego” to unlock their potential and give their all.

It stresses the importance of action over intentions alone, and of living fully without regrets. The last challenge is for readers to create their own Alter Ego and start their mission to unleash their capabilities and change their lives through toppling “dominos.”

Here is a summary of the key points from the article without directly copying or reproducing copyrighted material:

The article discusses flow states, which are periods of intense focus and engagement that allow people to perform at their best. Flow states are optimal for creativity and problem solving. Certain activities are more likely to lead to flow, such as activities that have clear goals and provide immediate feedback on performance.

The article also discusses how flow states relate to intrinsic motivation. Being in a flow state makes an activity rewarding in itself, which can drive further creativity. Flow experiences can boost self-confidence and build upon each other over time.

Certain personality traits and environments may also influence a person’s ability to achieve flow states. Activities done with a sense of personal challenge and in a supportive social environment can facilitate flow. Flow states provide a model for designing activities, workplaces, and learning environments to optimize engagement and creativity.

Here is a summary of the key points about emotions and the alter ego connection from the provided text:

  • Emotions are a driving force behind our actions. How we feel about something strongly influences what we do.

  • Compelling stories can have a significant impact on our emotions. Heroic origin stories aim to create an emotional context and resonance for defining your alter ego.

  • Traumatic events in our past can shape deep-seated emotions that influence our behavior and beliefs. Facing past trauma is an important part of overcoming negative emotions.

  • The human mind naturally produces emotions. Our alter egos can help us channel emotions in a positive direction aligned with our goals and values.

  • Both negative and positive emotions are important motivators. The alter ego concept aims to harness positive emotions like passion, courage, and determination to drive progress.

  • Core drivers like family, destiny, self-expression are deeply tied to our emotions. Defining them helps connect with motivating emotions.

  • Emotions are more important than words in influencing behavior. An authentic emotional connection to our alter ego increases its power to compel action.

  • Walking and other physical activities can help “open us up” emotionally and make our alter egos more vivid and inspiring. Emotions are key to bringing the alter ego concept to life.

Here is a summary of the key points from the table of contents:

  • The book explores how using an “alter ego” can help people achieve extraordinary goals and overcome challenges. It draws on examples from sports, business, and history.

  • Early chapters set up the concepts of an “ordinary world” and “moments of impact” where an alter ego could provide an advantage.

  • The book advises finding the “hidden forces” holding you back and developing a heroic origin story for your alter ego.

  • It covers crafting an alter ego’s name, superpowers, and activating it using a symbolic item or “totem.”

  • Later chapters discuss tests the alter ego must face, delivering impactful performances, and ongoing quests/adventures to reinforce the alter ego mindset.

  • Methods include developing empowering missions, stories, mindsets, and engaging the imagination through symbolic rituals and quests.

The summary aims to capture the key stages and techniques the book presents for developing and using an empowering alter ego to achieve extraordinary goals and overcome challenges. Let me know if any part needs more explanation.

Author Photo

About Matheus Puppe