Who is Your Alter Ego?

This episode on TCS is going to be fun. I’m going to help you create an alter ego. What I mean by that is have you ever saw someone who was just incredibly confident and you thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I could feel that way. I wish I could be like that. I wish I could stand the way they stand. I wish I had that confidence. I wish I had belief in myself in that particular situation, the same way they do, because I know what they would do, I know how they would behave. I know how they would act.”

You can actually use that to your advantage. It’s almost like the Beyonce Sasha Fierce. It’s like this alter ego that you can create for yourself. What you’ll find is that it really does make you feel like you’re pretending a little bit, but it works. The crazy thing about pretending … You’ve heard “fake it until you make it.” Don’t think of that as being phoney. Think of that as telling your brain to believe your body, the same way that if you’ve ever called in … I use this example often. I must have been doing it a lot when I worked for somebody else, when I had a J.O.B.

I did used to call in sick all the time because I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to be sitting at a desk reading depositions. I’m sorry. I’m sorry Mr. [inaudible 00:01:10] if you’re watching this right now, but I felt dead when I was sitting at a desk reading depositions day after day after day. There’s only so much I could take. Then I would say, “That’s it. I’m going to call in sick tomorrow, and I’m going to work on my dream.” I would worry about that. Then I would convince myself, “You can do a really good job of acting and just really … That started the day before.

The day before, I would be like, “I’m starting to get a sore throat. I’m not feeling well. I’m getting a headache.” “Do you have a sore throat?” I was like, “Yes, it’s so bad.” I’m admitting it. I’m not proud of it, but I’m admitting it. Then I’d have to go on throughout the day and just act real mopey. Eventually I’d be like, “Maybe I am getting sick.” I’d start to think, “Maybe I just knew I was going to get sick. I think now I really am sick.”

I wake up the next morning and I’d make sure my voice still sounded all scratchy and tired. I’d be like, “Ah man, Susie, yeah, my throat is killing me. I’m really sick. I can come in if you need me to, but … ” They always went, “Oh, no, no, no, honey. You stay home.” Then I would lay in bed for half a day going, “I think I am sick.” I would convince myself. I was such a good actress that I was convincing myself that I was sick and tired. It always ruined my day off because I’d already mentally … My brain had started to believe this acting job that I was doing to convince my boss that I was really sick.

The thing that happens is when you sit up straight and you pull your shoulder blades back … I know you just did that because you heard me say it … You pull your shoulder blades back and you start to smile a lot more. You actually tell yourself, “I feel quite relaxed and confident and assured, and I’m not nervous. I feel empowered.” You start saying those things to yourself, your brain starts to believe your body language. It’s almost like playing a role. It’s like taking on somebody else’s persona.

My good friend Dr. Mcayla, likes to tell her clients, especially those who are just paralyzed by fear… They have this fear that someone is going to break into their home, let’s say. They’re like, “I can’t sleep at night because I feel like someone is going to break in at all times.” She will ask them to pretend you’re somebody else. If you were the most confident, self-assured woman, what would that woman do if someone broke into their house and was going to attack their children?

This client said that they could picture themselves becoming this person. They know exactly what they would do. When we know exactly what we would do, it makes us feel confident because it’s that uncertainty that takes away our confidence. It’s like, “If I know what I’m going to do, then I sit confidently, I feel assured.”

What I want you to do is pick an alter ego, a Sasha Fierce, a Justin Timberlake, a whoever it is. Maybe it’s Jay-Z. I don’t know who it is, but it’s somebody. Maybe it’s someone you know in real life. That would even be better. Who you know how they would deal with this particular situation that is the most scary to you and take on their persona. I have been speaking for years, and I’ve been on as many stages. I’ve done Toastmasters, and I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars to experts to teach me to be a better speaker.

I remember the first time that I saw Dr. Pamela speak onstage. I thought, “Wow. Man, I don’t need to talk about the things she is talking. I don’t need to look like her. I don’t need to be her, but I need to feel what she is feeling.” I studied her, and I watched the way … I hope you’re watching. It would be so cool if she heard me share the story, but I remember the way she stood there with her feet grounded and slightly apart and her shoulders back. The second she took the stage, the first time I heard her speak, I said, “I don’t even know what she’s going to talk about, but I know she is going to take care of me.”

I thought to myself, “I want to make other people feel that way that when I take the stage, don’t worry. I got you. I’m going to take care of you. You can relax.” The worst thing is to be sitting in the audience and a speaker takes the stage and you’re like, “Oh no, they’re super nervous. Oh no, now I’m nervous for them. Oh great, now I wanted to learn all this information, but I can’t even relax because I’m so worried about them because they can’t take care of me. I’m going to take care of them. I’ll lean forward and smile a lot for them so that they’re not nervous. Now I can’t relax because you’re not taking care of me.”

I wanted to take on that persona, and I literally changed my stance because I knew my material, but I wanted people to feel that. I would literally just before I’d go on stage remember what that powerful, empowered stance looked and felt like. She’s probably about 8 inches taller than me, but I just tried to embody that for a moment.

Who is your alter ego? If you can just pretend to be them in that moment, it’s amazing how your brain starts to believe you. My son is a high school quarterback depending on when you’re watching this. Maybe some day he’ll be a collegiate quarterback. I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. Do you know why? Because the kid has got confidence. No matter what he does, he will be successful, I promise you that.

I ask him last night, I said, “In those moments when you have all these giant humans rushing at you 1,000 miles per hour with these big helmets on and you’ve just stepped back and looked up and there’s thousands of pounds of flesh coming at you, what do you think? What’s your thought process?” He said, “I pretend I’m Tom Brady. I just say, ‘I don’t know exactly what to do, but if I were Tom Brady, I would know what to do.'” I’m like, “That’s pretty cool.” I don’t know … I asked my husband, I’m like, “Is Tom Brady a good person to pretend to be?” He’s like, “Oh yeah, that’s a good person to pretend to be.”

Who is your person? Who is your alter ego. Decide who that is. Now I want you to start thinking in all situations where you feel a moment of fear and self doubt, how would they speak? What would their vocal inflection sound like? How would they sound? How would they make other people feel? What would their facial expressions be? How would they hold themselves? That’s a huge part of confidence is our physical awareness. When we are confident people, we make other people around us feel confident. Imagine even if for a moment you have to pretend. This is not faking. This is taking on another person’s strength and power so that you can make it your own.

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