All of us have many responsibilities, particularly as we get older. We take on roles, and roles come with expectations. We have a role to play in our family. In our school. On our team. In the organizations that we join. With different groups of friends, we might even take on a different role in each group. And as the roles and responsibilities become greater as time passes, we lose parts of ourselves, or bury them, or forget they existed. According to author Todd Herman in his new book The Alter Ego Effect, those parts of ourselves become The Trapped Self.
On the other hand, Herman writes, The Heroic Self is the part of us that’s doing what she wants, when she wants, for her own reasons, and “you get caught up in the flow of activity.” Sounds a lot like Prince when he was making music 20 hours a day, doesn’t it? Or me, when I’m writing. Or you, when you’re running. Or drawing. Or playing with your kids.
The word “alter ego” is Latin for “the other `I.'” This weekend, I’m going to spend time sketching out my “other `I’.” I love the idea of using her to, as Herman puts it, “create some distance between how you currently see yourself and how you’d like to perform.” Because as it turns out, the alter ego is used by many high-achieving athletes and performers. I’m writing a list of the qualities I want my own alter ego to have. I’m thinking of her name. I’m brainstorming a prop that when I wear or carry it (think of Prince and his canes), BOOM. I become my alter ego. We’ll work on this together next week. May is going to be quite a ride.