• lynneeveratt

A fun way to alter your reality

Wellness pillar discussed in this article: Reflect “This definitely isn’t the most comfortable place in the world to switch garments, but I’ve got to change identities—and in a hurry!”- Superman Ziggy Stardust, Sasha Fierce, Sasha Carter, Clark Kent. These are the alter egos of David Bowie, Beyoncé, Adele, and Superman.* (*Yes, Clark Kent was Superman’s alter ego and not the other way around. Clark’s mission was to fly under the radar as a mild-mannered reporter so that Superman could better understand humans.) I too have an alter ego. Her name is Svutlana, and her purpose is to be courageous. Svutlana rescued me when I signed up for a six-week stand-up comedy course that was to end with a live performance at a comedy club in Toronto. The first week of the course I discovered I had a big problem. I wasn’t funny. Lynne wasn’t funny, but I knew someone who was. Svutlana from Svutlandia (little island in Baltic Sea) was an outrageous character I created to amuse myself in my writing and to occasionally appear at cocktail parties. I needed my Svutlana alter ego—a funnier, less inhibited version of myself—to allow my comedic instincts to have a safe place to play. Svutlana could say the brazen things that I wanted to say, but couldn’t. She’s a fearless straight talker on any topic (but mostly sex) who can command attention in a way that I can’t… Svutlana (answering the phone): HELLO!!! How you be? Caller: Fine thanks.This is Bill from Ace Duct Cleaners. Did you know that your home may be circulating mold, bacteria or insects? Your ducts are to blame, but there’s a solution. We're currently in your area, and for a limited time we’re offering 50 percent off professional duct cleaning. Svutlana: Oh, Mr. Bill!!! Have Svutlana absolute no molds, bacterias or incest inside Svutlana house, and have absolute no ideas why peoples repeat call Svutlana with try for get Svutlana for clean.In Svutlandia have us charity for clean ducks. Volunteer take bubbles, brushes, and little rubber ducks for park and try for catch ducks so can clean these extreme dirty birds! Have Svutlana absolute no ducks in house! Why everybody here seem for have ducks inside house? [Silence] Svutlana: Hello? Hello? Where you be, Mr. Bill? Svutlana for self: Maybe Mr. Bill find dirty ducks inside his house for clean… Svutlana is the most playful, courageous, and openhearted part of me, but I hadn’t given her much thought lately until I picked up Todd Herman’s book, The Alter Ego Effect. Herman made me think more deeply about how Svutlana has helped me, and how at this moment in my life I might want to choose a different alter ego.The Alter Ego Effect describes how you can intentionally use alter egos to help you perform during “moments of impact” in a particular “field of play”. I used Svutlana to give me the confidence to perform on the comedy stage, but I could use an alter ego in any area of my life where I feel I need help. And you too can draw on the power of an alter ego. Here’s how: Choose your challenge: Pick one area of your life—your field of play—that you’re struggling with. (You get bonus points if you use an alter ego to help you adopt a “sleep-step-sweat-reflect-connect” fitness practice.) Who can meet the challenge? Imagine the three most important qualities a person would need to have to win in your chosen field of play. Birth your alter ego: Your alter ego could be a famous person, an animal, or, like Svutlana, somebody you make up. It doesn’t matter as long as it has the qualities you need to draw on to be successful, and you feel a strong emotional connection to it. Name it: Describe your alter ego’s mission, give it an heroic origin story, and add as much detail as possible to its profile. Give your alter ego a meaningful name. For example, Adele’s Sasha Carter alter ego is a combination of Beyoncé’s alter ego Sasha Fierce and the country legend June Carter. If you’re really keen to bring your alter ego to life,describe your alter ego in writing. But if you’re not feeling it, ditch your alter ego and find another that fires you up. Find your cape: Give your alter ego an item of clothing or an artifact that you can use to evoke your new persona. My “cape” was Svutlana’s distinctive voice, a cross between Borat and my mother-in-law. Rehearse: Just as I practiced performing as Svutlana during my six-week stand-up comedy class, you too can call on your alter ego to appear in low-pressure situations. For example, in The Alter Ego Effect, Todd Herman suggests going to a coffee shop as your alter ego, or playing a game with friends as your new persona. Once you become comfortable, you’ll be ready to take the stage and perform when the stakes are highest. I know what some of you may be thinking, but this is not a silly exercise in fake-it-until-you-make-it. When you become your alter ego you’re not pretending. You’re embodying, literally, an “other I”. A 2016 University of Minnesota study demonstrated how alter egos can work for you. Children were given a glass box, a ring of keys, and the task of opening the box. It was an impossible task because none of keys worked. Those who were given the option of pretending they were Batman, Bob the Builder, Rapunzel, or Dora the Explorer persevered longer in the key task and remained more calm than children who behaved as themselves. When asked how he was able to keep trying, a four-year-old responded… “Batman never gets frustrated.” The concept of an alter ego has been traced back centuries to the Roman statesman Cicero who called it, “a second self, a trusted friend.” Who couldn’t use a trusted friend to help them achieve their goals? When you have an alter ego, you create psychological distance between yourself and the task at hand. You give yourself permission to step outside the story that may be holding you back. And when you repeatedly and successfully draw on the power of your alter ego, don’t be surprised if something remarkable happens… “I don’t need Sasha Fierce anymore because I’ve grown, and now I’m able to merge the two.” - Beyoncé Get Charged Up on Your Alter Ego The Alter Ego Effect: the power of secret identities to transform your life, Todd Herman, Harper Collins, 2019. “How to create an alter ego” Chris Ronzio interviews Todd Herman on Process Makes Perfect, YouTube, 2020. “The Batman Effect: How having an alter ego empowers you,” by David Robson, BBC website, August 2020. “Beyoncé said she killed Sasha Fierce” by Hillary Crosley, MTV website, February 2010 The Alter Ego Effect website

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