Unveiling Your Alter Ego: A Powerful Tool for Personal Transformation with Todd Herman and Joe Polish #204

Episode Summary

Todd unravels the power of alter egos. He also shares the unconventional marketing strategies that propelled him into the sports industry, and the secrets behind mastering the mental game for peak performance.

Here’s a glance at what you’ll discover from Todd in this episode:

  • Unveiling Alter Egos for Success: Explore the power of alter egos for personal growth and success
  • From Hockey Pucks to High Performance: Learn how Todd Herman’s unconventional marketing revolutionized the sports industry
  • Mastering the Mental Game: Gain insights into Todd’s coaching mastery in the mental game for top athletes and leaders
  • Environmental Influence for Peak Performance: Understand how environmental factors impact achieving peak performance.
  • Marketing Magic: Todd’s Lumpy Mail Success: Discover Todd Herman’s creative marketing strategy and its unexpected positive response


Get the first chapter for FREE and a limited-time viewing of "Connected: The Joe Polish Story"

Show Notes

Defining Alter Ego:

  • Todd explains the origin of the term “Alter Ego” by Cicero in 44 BC, meaning the other self or trusted friend within.
  • Encourages viewers to adopt characteristics from others to develop a vision of their desired self.

Unlocking Playfulness and Brainwave States:

  • Todd explains the concept of playfulness associated with Alter Ego and its connection to brainwave states.
  • Explains how children naturally operate in a state of flow and creativity, providing actionable insights.
  • Emphasizes the importance of bringing a playful attitude to identity transformation for optimal results.

Identity and Creativity Nuggets:

  • Todd discusses the profound impact of identity on shaping reality and performance.
  • Challenges the idea of a single, authentic self, encouraging viewers to adopt different selves for various roles.
  • Relates the Alter Ego approach to intentionally using creative imagination for enhanced performance.

Application to Real Life:

  • Joe and Todd explore the relevance of the Alter Ego concept in everyday situations.
  • Discusses the impact on imposter syndrome, self-view, and the multifaceted aspects of identity.
  • Offers practical advice for viewers to implement Alter Ego principles in their own lives.

Marketing and Principles Discussion:

  • Joe and Todd draw parallels between their books, discussing situational behavior and ethics.
  • Emphasizes the need for boundaries when being a giver and providing assistance to others.

Unveiling the Childlike Playfulness:

  • Todd Herman draws a fascinating parallel between human development and the playfulness of children.
  • Explores how, unlike baby elephants who must fend for themselves immediately, humans go through a sponge-like phase, soaking up everything without a concrete sense of identity.
  • Discusses the malleability of children’s identities, adopting various roles like nurse, teacher, superhero, or athlete effortlessly.

Shifting Identities and the Playful Alter Ego:

  • Todd emphasizes how children shape-shift identities effortlessly, driven by their desire to emulate those they perceive as big or influential.
  • Highlights the lack of ego in childhood play, allowing for uninhibited creativity and exploration.
  • Connects the concept of playfulness to optimal performance and the removal of ego in various life roles.

Transition to Adulthood and Developing Identity:

  • Explores the pivotal age of seven and a half or eight when frontal lobe development brings a sense of self and identity.
  • Discusses the risk of losing the creative, playful self as individuals start to develop a distinct identity.
  • Todd shares personal experiences, citing Joe Polish’s office as an example of embracing playfulness and removing ego.

Elevating Performance and Overcoming Challenges:

  • Todd delves into the importance of playfulness in the process of removing ego and enhancing performance.
  • Discusses the danger of individuals becoming overly serious, losing the playfulness they had as children.
  • Addresses the impact of patterns and identity on personal growth and how Todd’s methodology helps individuals navigate challenges.

Uniforms and Enclothed Cognition:

  • Introduces the concept of uniforms, totems, and artifacts in shaping identity.
  • Shares personal anecdotes about wearing non-prescription glasses as part of his work uniform since 1997.
  • Discusses the psychological impact of associating meaning with clothing and artifacts, referencing Tom Hanks’ experience portraying Mr. Rogers.

Identity Evolution in Business and Life:

  • Todd relates the concept of unlearning to peak performance, emphasizing the process of subtraction, removal, and deletion.
  • Draws parallels between the hustle mentality of early entrepreneurship and the need for a shift in identity towards creating security and stability.
  • Explores the importance of consistent discipline in refining and optimizing plays for sustained success.

Discovering Alter Egos:

  • Todd reflects on his struggle with procrastination and self-judgment.
  • Inspired by an Oprah episode, Todd realizes the potential of using alter egos.
  • He shares his experience of using an alter ego named Geronimo during his football days.

Building Super Richard:

  • Todd details the creation of Super Richard, his alter ego for business success.
  • Influences include Superman, Joseph Campbell, and Benjamin Franklin.
  • The alter ego becomes a powerful advocate for Todd, boosting his confidence and decisiveness.

Fake It Till You Make It vs. Adopting Alter Egos:

  • Todd distinguishes between “fake it till you make it” and adopting alter egos.
  • Emphasizes the importance of choosing empowering terms and messages.

Stone Soup Analogy:

  • Joe Polish discusses the concept of “making it up and making it real” in entrepreneurship.
  • He shares the analogy of Stone Soup, highlighting the importance of genuine intent.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Beyoncé:

  • Todd reveals stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and Beyoncé adopting alter egos.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. used glasses to step into his “distinguished self” before delivering speeches.
  • Beyoncé created Sasha Fierce to navigate the challenges of her evolving stage persona.

The Process of Building an Alter Ego:

  • Todd outlines the five main steps to building an alter ego.
  • Define the role you want to improve.
  • Identify traits causing frustration and their opposites.
  • Choose a source code of inspiration (person, character, or animal).
  • Embrace the characteristics and build rituals using totems and artifacts.
  • Realize the transformation over time as you embody the alter ego.

The Power of Creative Imagination:

  • Todd emphasizes the creative imagination as a unique human ability.
  • Encourages reconnecting with the imaginative self, especially from childhood.

Shifting from Caring to Commitment:

  • Joe Polish discusses the difference between caring and commitment.
  • Todd suggests that adopting alter egos provides leverage, bridging the gap between intent and action.

The Lumpy Mail Story:

  • Todd recounts his early days in the sports mental game coaching business.
  • Inspired by Joe Polish’s marketing programs, Todd buys 14 hockey pucks, cuts them in half, and mails them to NHL teams with a captivating letter.
  • The letter highlights the importance of the mental game, using the analogy of playing hockey with half a puck.
  • Todd glues half a hockey puck onto each letter, creating a memorable and attention-grabbing presentation.
  • The audacious move costs Todd $967.36, almost maxing out his credit card.

Response from Vancouver Canucks:

  • The Vancouver Canucks respond positively, finding Todd’s approach amusing and unique.
  • Despite the initial humor, the team acknowledges Todd’s commitment to the mental game coaching concept.
  • Vancouver Canucks connect Todd with agents, opening doors to work with NHL athletes.

Lesson Learned:

  • Todd reflects on the mistake of not capitalizing on the momentum gained from the initial success.
  • Acknowledges the importance of persistence and following through with marketing efforts.

Applying Alter Ego Concept in Business:

  • Todd shares personal experiences using alter egos, referencing Super Richard and Geronimo.
  • Discusses the power of adopting alter egos to overcome mental blocks and enhance performance in various aspects of life.

Discussion on Addiction and Recovery:

  • Joe Polish opens up about his experiences with addiction and recovery.
  • Todd offers insights into the alter ego concept’s potential application in recovery, emphasizing the importance of changing one’s self-perception.

Creating Momentum in Business:

  • Joe Polish highlights the significance of maintaining momentum in business.
  • Todd shares additional anecdotes, including wearing Darth Vader’s helmet to enhance focus during marketing copywriting sessions.

Environmental Influence:

  • Both discuss the impact of environment on performance and how consciously shaping surroundings can boost productivity.


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