Are you dreaming of a different “you”? Maybe a more successful you, a healthier you, a thinner you, a blonder you, a richer you? A you that can eat chocolate 24/7 with no negative consequences (wait, maybe that’s just me…)?
Fact: when you spend your time dreaming of becoming the person you want to be, you can’t focus on the actions you can take right now as the person you actually ARE that will help you achieve that outcome you want. Execution – not pretending – is what makes that happen.
Pretending to be what you want to be isn’t the vehicle that’s going to get you to where you want to go.
There’s a lot of hubbub about right now about alter egos and I can tell you, that old ‘fake it ’til you make it’ adage has been around as long as I can remember (and I’m old, so that’s a long time).
The term alter ego actually originated in the early 1700s with Anton Mesmer’s work around waking state behaviors as compared to hypnotized state behaviors, even though the phrase itself didn’t come into common usage until much later, and in a rather negative context. It’s nothing new.
In business, it’s frequently compared to Superman and Clark Kent, but that’s seeing it through the wrong lens. Bass-ackwards, in fact…
Clark Kent IS the alter ego, not Superman. Superman assumes the identity of that mild-mannered reporter – someone without any super powers at all – in order to present himself in the “normal” world without tipping anyone off to who he really is. Superman has the special powers. Superman is the man of steel. Superman has got the goods. Clark is the ordinary, unassuming guy that doesn’t draw attention to himself at all – even though he possesses the same powers as Superman, because Superman is who he really is. Get it?
Clark only has superpowers because he actually is Superman underneath that calm exterior. If Clark jumped in front of a speeding train to save a school bus, he could pull that off…because he actually is Superman beneath that amiable and deferential disguise.
Beyonce HAD her alter ego, Sasha Fierce, whom she reportedly “killed off” in 2010, according to the Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/12/28/finally-free-of-sasha-fierce-beyonce-is-a-grown-woman).
Sasha absolutely had an incredible voice, but ONLY because she was Beyonce underneath. Sasha was unashamed of her sexuality, while Beyonce maintained a ‘butter-won’t-melt-in-my-mouth’ appearance of innocence and propriety. Sasha was a tool for Beyonce – not an identity.
If I jump in front of a speeding train, I’m gonna get my ass kicked, no matter how hard I’m pretending to be Superman (or Wonder Woman, as the case may be) or how much I believe in my own abilities. I can alter ego ’til I’m blue in the face, and I’m still gonna get splatted by Amtrack.
If I hop on stage in front of a sold out stadium full of people in little more than my undergarments – well, let’s not even go into that. I’ll spend the rest of the day ugly crying on my living room floor…
The key to everything is knowing what my own superpowers actually are and acting on those…not pretending or making them up as I go along.
Take some time and evaluate what you have…and then AMPLIFY it! Because really, no one wants pretend you. No one.
Sensing a theme here?
It’s ALWAYS all about what’s really underneath. For everyone talking about authenticity and alter ego in the same breath, I call bullshit. You absolutely cannot pretend to be someone you aren’t and expect to attract the clients you really want, the money you really want, or even the life you really want.
You cannot be authentic and present your alter ego to the world at the same time.
Make believe is for children. If you aspire to be an overgrown toddler with fake glasses and a pocket square, go for it.
But if you really want to become the YOU that you want to be, you absolutely MUST start by being YOU – flaws and all.