The Alter Ego Effect – Todd Herman (Interview) | 579

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the alter ego effect

Todd Herman, an accomplished entrepreneur, who worked with many successful athletes and coached numerous business owners on high-performance leadership and business growth, came to our show today to tell you about the alter ego effect and how finding that inner self can help you achieve your goals. Learn what the alter ego effect is, when he first thought about this concept, and how you can use it to attain the desired results.

the alter ego effect

What You Will Learn About The Alter Ego Effect – Todd Herman (Interview):

  • How Todd Herman’s business looks like
  • What the alter ego effect is and how your inner self can help you perform better
  • When Todd used his philosophy for the first time
  • What he focuses on while working with people
  • How the demand for his book was created
  • What Todd appreciates the most about his work
  • The first step one should take to start getting results using the concept behind the alter ego effect
  • Where you can find more about Todd’s work

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Transcript: 

Matt Theriault: Hey, rockstar, Matt Theriault here at Epic Real Estate. Got a hot show for you today. A really good friend of mine, an accomplished entrepreneur and we’re just about to blow today’s episode of Thought Leader Thursday up. Stay tuned. Alrighty, so our guest today is an accomplished entrepreneur who has coached thousands upon thousands of athletes on developing that mental game advise, hundreds of business owners on high-performance leadership and business growth. He is widely known for creating the 90 Day Year, a program for business owners who are frustrated with their level of performance and want a highly refined system to get out of their own way and see their business and personal leadership thrive.

It’s actually the same program that inspired The Epic 89 Program here at Epic Real Estate and I’m really grateful for him introducing it to me and allowing me to access. He has helped craft the alter egos of hundreds of professional Olympic and amateur athletes all around the world. It’s how he built his name in the sport and he’s just written a book around this topic and it’s why I asked him to be here today to join us to see what there is for us as real estate investors inside of this concept of alter ego. The book is released here as we’re listening to this and just next week on February fifth, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. So without further ado, please help me welcome to the show Mr. Todd Herman. Todd, welcome to the Epic Real Estate Investing Show.

Todd Herman: My friend, thank you for having me on. You are a champ.

Matt: There’s a bunch there. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything. So I was reading right from the paper. I don’t think anyone could tell too much. But good to see you, buddy.

Todd: Thank you. Thank you.

Matt: Yeah, lots of exciting things happening for you right now. What does business look like for you these days? What does it look like today?

Todd: It’s frenetic is what I mean. I’ve got this traditionally published book with Harper Collins coming out on February the fifth and so I’m graciously getting invited onto platforms like yours and tons of others. So we’re doing a lot of travel, just doing the work and then, of course, I’ve got all my private clients that I work with, and then the other businesses that I have. So it’s busy. Let’s just say that.

Matt: Right. Is this your first book?

Todd: It’s my first book, I’m dyslexic, so I pushed it back years and years and years until I finally couldn’t push it back any further.

Matt: Got it. And Harper Collins, that’s a big deal.

Todd: Yeah, it was. I say this, not to brag, because it actually is more about the power of the idea but we actually broke a publishing record by having 19 publishers bidding on the book. And folks [inaudible 00:02:33] publishing space, that would be like 200 homeowners or 200 investors wanting to bid on the exact same home. It’s really rare to get above even eight publishers willing to meet with you. But like I tell people, it’s actually the more the power of the idea. Alter egos have been used for centuries for people. People dismiss it as may be something that’s only used for someone maybe in sports, which I’ve got tons of stories in the book about that or entertainers about, “How can I make that work for me as a real estate investor or a parent or whatever?” And I go into it in the book of just the scientific power of using it, and how it actually brings out the most real version of you that there is.

Matt: You’ve said it’s been around for a long time, it’s actually pretty much a very brand new concept to me. I mean, I’ve never really heard of it as a tool or as a resource or as a method for performance until I met you. Can you explain to me what is the alter ego effect? And why is it important to performance?

Todd: Yeah, so, well, I mean, The Alter Ego Effect, the book I mean, it talks about just the effect that alter egos have on people, right? Then there’s the method itself that we use. But alter egos, it was first coined in 44 BC by the Roman statesman and philosopher, Cicero. And it’s the root of the term means the other eye or trusted friend. And I’ll come back to that in a second why that’s really powerful for the people that are listening. But it’s about, there’s so many … We have this, we as human beings, the one thing that we truly have that makes us really unique on the planet as an animal is our creative imagination. I mean, you know this as an investor, it’s like, if you only have one way to make a deal, well, best of luck with that.

Matt: You’re right.

Todd: You’re pretty one dimensional. And it takes a lot of creativity to sometimes make deals work. I mean I know that you talked to your crowd about that all the time. And so our creative imagination is the thing that really makes us unique on the planet, our ability to love, our ability for affection and caring and gratitude for other things, those are all powerful emotions, but they’re not unique to us, but our creative imagination, our ability as human beings to create stories in our head to suspend the disbelief about what we can do and possibly channel someone or something else to get out there and do the hard things you want to go and do or to create a heaven from hell and a hell from heaven, which we can do, right? I mean, two people coming out of the exact same circumstance, one excels and one falls into oblivion, right?

Well, one created heaven from the hell and one created a hell from what could have been a heaven for them as well. And so this creative imagination is really important. And what an alter ego does is it simply taps into that native power that we have and allows us to maybe move past some internal resistance that we might have towards the goals that we have and leverage, someone something else to help make that happen. And I mean I know that you deal with that, with investing crowds.

Sometimes we get to a threshold of what we think that we can invest in. Like, “Oh, I do single family homes, I could never go do a multi-family type of thing.” Right? Yeah, but I know in the inside because I live here in New York City, and I work with high-level Wall Street people all the time. I know though, the fact that someone just said that means that they actually wouldn’t mind having a multi-family home but they just can’t see it for themselves. But if they stepped into their inner Matt Theriault or whatever the case is or whoever it is, maybe that person can.

Matt: Right. Well, can you give me an example of where you first practically used this, where you stepped into your inner Todd Herman-

Todd: Sure.

Matt: And you saw it actually make a difference?

Todd: Well, I mean highly recruited football player. I’m Canadian, I grew up on a big farm and ranch up in Canada, moved all around the world and now live in New York City. But when I was playing sport, I ended up kind of falling into this concept and using it. And again, it’s one of those things where young people do it all the time. I mean, this great thing about this idea is I don’t really actually need to teach people anything new, people already know how to do this because it’s an innate part of the human condition. We’ve all used them when we were kids when you pretended to be a cowboy or a fireman or Superman or your favorite baseball player. You’re playing Don Mattingly at the LA Dodgers, Super Camp, whatever.

Matt: Right.

Todd: So we’ve all used it. There’s nothing complicated about it. It’s just that we forget that it could be used maybe in other applications. So I use it on the field, for the football field and I had my inner alter ego on the football field was Geronimo, and Geronimo was actually a composite of a whole bunch of different characters. One was Walter Payton, I revered him. Ronnie Lott the great defensive safety for the San Francisco 49ers.

And I’m a huge Native American buff and so I built this tribe in my head and right before I go on the field when I’m in the locker room in my mental movie theater, in my head I would imagine Walter and Ronnie walking in through two separate doors and then the tribe walking in as well and they’d approached me and Walter would carry the cards with him, the five trading cards three of them were Walter Payton and two of them were Ronnie Lott and he would hand me the cards in my head and he would say, “Here you go, take a piece of each of us with you out on the field and show up exactly like we would out there, but don’t you for one second dishonor who we are and how we played by not showing up like we would.”

And so for me, it’s about like when you’re really going to take that idea with you, empower it by always staying committed to it. So that’s what I would do and then when I take one of Walter Payton’s cards and I put it in my … Because I had five trading cards, I put one on my helmet because I wanted to think like him out there, and I wanted to see the field like he would. And then I’d put one of Ronnie Lott’s in my shoulder pad and the other one of Ronnie Lott’s in the other shoulder pad. And then I’d put the final two of Walter Payton’s in my thigh pads because I wanted to run like Walter and I wanted to hit like Ronnie, and I wanted to think like Walter, but I wanted to carry the spirit of the Native American tribe with me out there as well. And so that was me. I go through as Geronimo. Todd didn’t [inaudible 00:08:52] on the field, Geronimo went out there.

And again, I’m not a physical specimen. I’m not six foot, four and 240 pounds. I was six feet and 156 pounds soaking wet when I was in high school, but I played way bigger than I looked. In fact, I actually in one game, I broke two football helmets of my own right down the middle. Because I hit guys so hard, doesn’t make any sense to someone when they would look at me. But I did. I played at a high level for myself. Fast forward though, and how it worked out in business, though, for me was after I got done playing football, I started volunteering at a high school teaching the defensive backs football or just the defensive side of it, and I’d spend more time with them on the mental game like, “You guys, you need to develop some better routines. You need to set some better goals for yourself and you need to use some visualization skills.” And so I give them all the toolbox stuff that I would use and I started getting great results.

And then a good buddy of mine in Canada is one of the top hockey trainers in the world brought me into his Hockey Academy. So I started talking to them, but I started getting really insecure because this suddenly was rolling into a business and I looked like I was 12 years old. So I was like, “Who’s going to listen to a 21-year old talking about mental game stuff?” I don’t have a degree in this or whatever. But I had come in contact with a bunch of sports psychology people, and they didn’t know jack squat about helping people perform. They were just bookie people that were deep into the nerd stuff that wasn’t actually working on the field to play. They were getting kids to think too much. So I knew my stuff was working. But I was stopping myself from getting out there. So well, just one day, I was like, “Wait a second, I used this idea when I was playing football, why can’t I use it in business as well? I feel insecure. I don’t have the confidence to go out there and do things and I’m completely indecisive.”

So I wanted to be confident, decisive and articulate and, and I was like, “Well, how can I make that happen for myself?” I wanted to step into a superman version of me. And then just, I thought of the classic Clark Kent Superman thing. But I wanted to use glasses to step into the more Superman not … Superman put on glasses to become Clark Kent, the mild-mannered version of himself so he’d be accepted by society. I didn’t want to be mild-mannered at all, because that’s how I was showing up already. And so I went out, and this is long before glasses became a trendy sort of fashion thing. And I went to West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, where I was living at the time. And I went to lens crafters and I bought a pair of non-prescription glasses.

And this was, again, when it wasn’t cool to wear them and the optometrist was like, “Wait, nobody comes in and buys glasses when they don’t need them.” And I said, “Just give me the glasses please.” And that’s what I did, and I’d put them on and I’d step into Richard. Richard is actually my first name, but I would step into the … That was like my Superman version and I would be confident and articulate and decisive, and that’s what really helped get me past those insecurities to get out there and do the things I wanted to go do.

Matt: Got it. So is that the process when you’re working with somebody? Is identify the deficiencies or the weaknesses and build a superhero around that?

Todd: Yeah, exactly. And so in the book I walked through like the process of building it but even, after chapter three, because chapter one, two and three just build up just the foundational part of it tells you the back-story, the history of it, I talk about stories of Bo Jackson and myself and his alter ego and the many other people throughout history that used them and then the science of it. But then after that point, I even tell people in chapter four, “Listen, this is a Choose Your Own Adventure type book. If you want to go read about totems and artifacts like glasses, in order to step into that alter ego, go right ahead.” That’s in chapter 14 and you can bounce around. But if I’m truly working with someone, I’m looking for those deficiencies, those frustrations, those ways that someone is possibly beating themselves up for not getting out there, so what aren’t you doing right now? Or how are you feeling about your investor self? Right?

And this is actually a really important point for people. People have to understand and the mistake that human beings make and it actually creates mental health issues with folks is you do not operate as a single self, you do not take one person into every single area of your life and act as the same person, right? Who you are with me right now is, of course, going to be different than who you are with your kids. Makes sense. And we all get that. It’s just that we don’t take that and really start thinking of our life through that lens and acting with intention in the context of that space. And this is really important if I’m a mental game coach to investors right now, I’m like, “Who and what needs to show up on that field of play in that role that you’re playing as an investor that is pre-built to succeed?”

Suspend the disbelief about what you think you can and cannot do and what resources you do and do not have Okay, screw all that stuff. But what type of person would you want to bring out there? And then the [inaudible 00:13:58], and then you define those. What are those qualities? What are those characteristics, those superpowers, those traits that you want to exhibit out there? Is it you want to be methodical, you want to be detail-oriented, you want to be someone who’s shrewd, you want to be someone who’s confident when you’re negotiating so that you can own the space that you’re standing in and you’re not going to take something that is less than what you should or whatever. Again it could be many things, I mean I’ll ask you when you think of yourself, because I mean you’re extremely accomplished at what it is that you do, what are the qualities that you developed that helped you become so successful?

Matt: Belief, when you’re learning something new, you’re not going to look good while you’re learning to do it, so be okay with looking silly as you’re learning something new.

Todd: Yeah, the humility then.

Matt: Yeah, the humility.

Todd: Of being coachable and all that. When you take a look at the qualities and the characteristics of the people who have been some of your best students, how are they showing up? What are they doing?

Matt: Coachable is a really good word. Resourceful, not so needy, “Oh my god I’m stuck what I do, in panic.”

Todd: Yeah.

Matt: I guess calm and being able to be, “Okay I can’t get a hold of Matt this very second, where else could I find the answer?” That being resourceful and not totally abandoning their intuition.

Todd: Okay. So if I’m asking that to anybody else, so if those are the qualities you’re going to bring, someone who’s resourceful, someone who when they’re dealing with their mentor is someone who is coachable, someone who is confident maybe not confident and it’s not confident that you know all the answers but this goes back to resourceful, but confident that you know that you can figure it out. Like for me, I know I’ve got that. I know I can figure it out.

Matt: Right.

Todd: Not because I’m smarter than everyone else, but because I know that someone else is going to quit on the treadmill before me. I just know that that’s … So I’m persistent as hell. And I think that’s actually one of the big qualities of people that I know that are great investors, whether it’s in stocks or whether it’s in real estate is they’re persistent. I think, I would say, as I’ve seen a couple of friends get into real estate investing, the biggest mistake is they thought they were supposed to find their moon shot on the very first deal.

Matt: Right.

Todd: And then they’re like, “Oh, well, this doesn’t work.” And it’s like, “Really? Are you sure? Because I literally see tens of thousands of other human beings on the planet, build massive wealth with this, so you’re kind of full of crap with it.” Well, it’s true. It’s like-

Matt: No, totally. No, persistence is huge, I definitely add that to the pile for sure.

Todd: Yeah. I mean, well, this gets down to your belief thing, right? I mean, you got to remember, I’ve been doing this for 20, 21 plus years now. I’ve been rattling around between the six inches of people’s ears for a very long time. There isn’t anything that I haven’t heard quite yet. And I talked about it in chapter three of the book, that if you think of the layers of how we develop our self, there’s a layer called the belief layer that I kind of unpack and there’s an info-graphic in the book that I walk through with it. It’s really, really helpful for people as a context, but a belief isn’t true, a belief is true to you, but a belief isn’t necessarily true to me.

If you and I are walking down the street together and we’re both walking on the sidewalk we can both point to the sidewalk and say, “Yeah, that’s a sidewalk.” How do I know that? Because you’re experiencing it and I’m experiencing it. That’s the truth. We look up at the sky, the sky is blue, that’s the truth. But you telling me that real estate is only for middle-class white guys, that’s not true. That’s just your belief.

Matt: Right.

Todd: Right? And so I have to challenge people constantly on what’s true and what’s not true and then are you willing to give up your belief. And so I think something you had said there is belief is really important, yes. But what also is important is the willingness to give up old beliefs and accept new beliefs. It’s like Bruce Lee, he always said to people when it came to training, “What does it take for me to get to where you are? An empty cup.” You can’t come to me with a cup that’s already filled up with your knowledge, you need to be willing to empty that cup and allow me to pour in my knowledge and let it overflow even because otherwise my mixing my stuff with your old stuff just isn’t going to work. And that’s getting back to that idea of coachability. So long way around many different conversations there, but yes, we start with what are the characteristics that we want to bring to a specific field of play.

Matt: Right.

Todd: Okay? Yeah. Even myself, so I wanted to be a … Who I wanted to show up as in business was someone who was confident, articulate and decisive. Three things that I was not having at the time. Now in other areas, totally confident. You put me on a sporting field, I feel confident that I’ll figure it out. But in business, it was so new to me, I just lacked that confidence. And now it didn’t take that many or that long before I truly became that person. But when I go home to my kids, I got three little ones five and under, and when I go home, do they want confident, decisive and articulate dad? Of course not. That’s not what they want. So I don’t wear these glasses around my kids. Instead, when I go home I want to make sure that that role that I’m playing with them is the playful, the fun, the gentle Todd because I’m a challenger personality.

In order for me to work with the Olympians and pro-athletes that I do, they’re around big personalities and tough personalities, I have to be a challenger to them. I have to challenge them because they have nothing but yes, people around them and I’m the exact opposite with them. And it’s very easy because I reinforce that habit of the way that I act over and over again every single day with all my clients just like you would. It’s so easy for me to just go home and continue to be the challenger personality. Well, a little three-year-old doesn’t need that, doesn’t need me challenging them and getting in their face, right?

And so when I go home, when I was a new dad, my middle daughter Sophie, and I think probably everyone has one son or daughter that’s like this, where she has an emotional bandwidth that has very high highs and some fantastic tantrum lows, that she can get to. And she has a decibel level that she can get to with her voice that just drives me mad. And so when she would be in that tantrum space, that force that was coming at me, I would stand up and I would bring my force to that. Well, force versus force typically doesn’t work in any situation right? And then all you’re doing is you’re sort of playing your large adult scary role on top of them. And she would have the attention that would last 15, 20 minutes because of that. And then I thought, “Wait a second Todd, let’s go back to this idea of the alter ego. Who would I most want to embody when I’m with my kids?” I’ve already got the fun playful thing taken care of, but how could I be more gentle with them? And merely I went to Mister Rogers.

It’s inarguable that the man is not prolific with children, right? And so then it just, immediately it takes eight seconds for all of us, especially if you’ve had an experience with that character that you would think about playing. I’m like, “Well, immediately Mister Rogers would get down on his knee because he always gets on I level and he definitely wouldn’t meet force with force, he would probably go in for a hug or something like that.” Anyway, that night Sophie had a meltdown and I did exactly that. Now inside, I’m like, because that voice just gets to me. But I just followed through. And in fifth, she melted because I leaned in, I just grabbed her, I gave her a hug, and boom, she was done. 15 seconds, the meltdown was over. And it’s just like with any kid, 20 seconds later, she’s off playing with her siblings and all the things are fine. That’s a perfect example of embodying the spirit of someone or something else to help you perform at a higher level. Right?

Matt: Nice. Yeah.

Todd: And anyone can use this because most likely you’re dealing with ambitious achievers and so it’s not just limited to investing. They probably have other fields that they want to do well on parenting, or grandparenting or whatever the case might be fitness and nutrition. Well, why not be a little bit more playful with ourselves? We already have this creative imagination and let’s start tapping into it. I by very nature, I’m a very serious person and so for me, it helps prevent me from taking myself seriously as well.

Matt: It’s great. So, Todd, I like what you said, you’ve been rolling around in the six inches between everybody’s ears for the last two decades.

Todd: Yeah.

Matt: And you’ve built this business around deploying this, I don’t know technology, I’d almost call it.

Todd: Right.

Matt: What happens or what has happened in your career? Or what happens to create such a demand for the book?

Todd: Yeah.

Matt: Because up until right now, I understood it but I didn’t understand it, and you took me through a great journey there and really I’m much more connected to it now.

Todd: So the demand for it, why now? I think one thing is it’s a classic idea of investing. How does a lot of wealth get created? Well, a lot of people trying to go out into the ocean and create their own wave, very frustrating and that’d be like someone who’s just marketing, marketing, marketing, trying to create demand, demand, demand, demand. Well, when you take a look at the majority of the wealth that’s ever been created by people, it’s putting a surfboard in front of a wave that’s already coming, right? And just carrying that wave forward. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison all those guys, it’s not that they were smarter than everyone else, they definitely deserve credit but they were on the technology surfboard when the wave was building, so you’d have to be close to an idiot to not get wealthy at least a little bit in that space.

So right now it could be artificial intelligence, a wave that’s building. Well, right now with this book I think it’s just catching a wave that’s been building around people, getting really, really tired of … Especially because of social media, there is this pervasive narrative and storytelling of people’s highlight reels of their lives and then if it’s not that then it’s the very toxic side of the internet that goes along with it. And I think there are people that are caught in the middle and they can get caught up with the idea of looking bad to other people, judgment, criticism, worry, doubt, doubting themselves. And it’s getting back to this place of truly honoring who and what you want to bring out there and not be so concerned about what other people are thinking or your circumstance or your situation and like you kind of said it is equated to more of a technology to go and use it, but it’s tapping into something that it’s not hard, people get this stuff. I don’t know if you’ve seen the documentary on Mister Rogers at all? “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Matt: I’ve seen clips, I haven’t seen that in entirety.

Todd: It’s fascinating, it’s really good. And I mean, probably 25% of that movie is dedicated to talking about Mister Rogers’ his alter ego, Daniel Tiger, and his wife says it best, she said, “Daniel …” And now Daniel Tiger is a very popular cartoon for kids. And she said, when he had that puppet on, that was the most real Fred that you could find. That was really him because it was really bringing out that kind of gentle self. That’s what she called it in the documentary. And so this idea has been around forever, and all I’m doing is just picking up all the breadcrumbs and just showing people that, “No, this is actually something that’s very natural.

It’s the most real self that you can bring to the table because nothing beats you up more than when you put your head on the pillow at night. And you say, why didn’t I say that? Why didn’t I do that? Why didn’t I actually take action and invest in the thing that Matt put in front of me at that event? When I know based on what I’ve seen of him, he can help me get to that next level.”

So there was some sort of self-doubt that that person had. Most people don’t doubt, most people, I would say, because I’ve been around you for a very long time, and I’ve seen your results that you get people, people aren’t doubting you, most people are doubting themselves. “Because I’ve purchased other things before and it didn’t work out. So why is this one going to be different?” Well, I can tell you why. Because Matt focuses on implementation, not on teaching you stuff, right?

So just this, I think it’s such an accessible idea. I think people get it right away. And when I unpack it, and I … Because people go, “Yeah, I get how that could work for Bo Jackson or Beyonce using Sasha Fierce, but those people are entertainers and athletes. But how would that work for me as an investor? Well, that was why it’s important that I kind of just share just some of those ideas that people could tap into. Because it is, it’s super accessible.

Matt: I didn’t know Daniel Tiger was related to Mister Rogers.

Todd: Yeah, that was his hand puppet that he used on the show, that was his first-hand puppet I believe that he brought out on the PBS show, so-

Matt: That’s great. Yeah, as you can tell I’m a dad because I know exactly who that was. What do you like best about what you do Todd?

Todd: Working with just very interesting people constantly and problem-solving of it all. I just love figuring it out now. There aren’t that many different problems that I’m going to come across because everyone pretty much operates inside of the same ecosystem of, it could be past personal trauma that could be stopping someone, it could be imposter syndrome, it could be the hidden force of like I said before, tribal narrative of, “Well, my family wasn’t investors. So why would I be an investor?” Or, “No one from my town has ever made it to the big league, so why would I make it?” All those things are very insidious, they sit below our unconscious and we sort of act through those things. But because I have the framework, I just love sort of weaving my way through and figuring out that problem and solving it because there are few things in life that can be more gratifying. And I think you would agree. You’ve seen the success stories for yourself of having someone just kick their life up to another level. Yeah, I mean, that’s easily the most satisfying part of it.

Matt: It’s pretty remarkable, totally. When you get to be a part of that and you get acknowledged for it as well and even feels better.

Todd: Yeah. I mean, I was asked at an event not too long ago, how can you get around, again, they’re being nice, but they are, “How can I get around someone like you?” Or, “How can I …” You talked about your Rolodex and relationships and that being the ultimate superpower, which we could talk about in a second, maybe with people but how can I get around and just improve that Rolodex? And I said one of the easiest things you can do is if you’re someone who actually consumes information, a book even, or you go to a seminar, or you buy an online program, or whatever the case is, loop around to that person and send them a note or an email or a short little video saying, “Hey, Matt, just want to let you know, I’ve actually been following a bunch of your social media posts. And just from those alone, this is what my life has turned into and like.” Right?

If you want to get on someone’s radar screen, send people that, because we have, I mean, some of us have thousands and thousands of clients around the world that we know we’ve helped. But people are busy, and it’s just natural people are busy, and they forget to loop around. But if you want to get on someone’s radar screen, which then turns into like, “Hey, would you mind if we gave you a call? I’d love to hop on the phone with you and figure out …” Now the ball starts rolling. That’s exactly what I’ve done. Every day, the very first thing I do when I sit down at my desk right here is I write a handwritten note, I write a handwritten note and I’ve done it since I was 21.

So I’ve written over 4400 handwritten notes. “Daniel Day-Lewis, he responded back. Philip Seymour Hoffman before he passed away, he responded back. Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan.” I think the percentage is somewhere around 91% of all the people I’ve sent in a handwritten note to have responded back. And again I use a wax seal, the classic old thing and I use a specific wax so that it doesn’t break when it goes through the US Postal Services machines and all that kind of stuff. But you know what, the most common response back I get from people? The most common response back I’ve gotten from people is this, and this goes from the top achievers all the way down to just some random person that I just really liked their book and I sent them a note. Same thing. “You have no idea how much I needed to get this today.” Life is hard for many people.

Matt: Yeah.

Todd: Right? We’re all sometimes just caught in the hard slog of stuff. And to have someone that sat down and write you just a simple handwritten note, it’s not two pages, it’s one simple page, just expressing my gratitude for that person writing the book, creating the video, congratulating them on the award that they got, or whatever it is, or something that they did that has helped shape me means so much to that person at that moment. And I think if we did more of that stuff, you’re definitely to open up doors because I don’t know about you, but easily when I take a look at the slowest times in my life where I was growing or developing as a business or a person it was when I did not have mentors and coaches or good relationships around me. I was not pursuing and developing those more.

Matt: Actually gave me chills Todd. Yeah, I needed to hear that today. Because I’ve been on both sides of that.

Todd: Yeah.

Matt: And so I get it. The book, The Alter Ego Effect, it’s in stores online, available everywhere. Books are sold February 5th. What’s one action someone could take right now to start getting results with the alter ego?

Todd: First thing or there are many things that we could do, but-

Matt: [crosstalk 00:33:11] leave something with something practical.

Todd: Yeah, exactly, use something to activate it. So I talked about the glasses, the glasses were something that I used to activate it. Use a totem or an artifact, find something and by the way what you’re doing is you’re using something that we have psychologically called enclothed cognition. We have this phenomenon inner mind where when the things that we wear changes our mental state, we give clothing meaning. And so there is a study. If you don’t mind I’ll talk about this quick little study, Kellogg School of Management did this study on enclothed cognition and they brought a bunch of students into a room and they got them to look at this puzzle on the wall. Have you ever seen those boxes wherein each box is the word of a color? But the color inside of the word is different than the color.

So it’s yellow, but it’s in green. And then blue is in red and brown is in pink. And what you have to do is you have to go across and say the word and it’s really hard to do it because you see the color and you’re like, “Okay, well, yellow is what I see. But it’s green, is the word.” So anyway, I brought a bunch of students into a room, and it’s a five by five grid, I think it was. And they just tested their accuracy and attention and the detail to see how quickly they could get through the puzzle without many mistakes. And like I said, so they tracked all the data that group leaves, bring in another group, this group, they hand them a painter’s coat or hand them a white coat and they tell them it’s a painters coat and then they get them to do the thing. Great, capture all the data they leave.

Next group comes in and again, they’re bringing in each person individually and they hand them the same white coat as the previous group, except this time they tell them it’s a lab coat and a doctor’s coat and then they capture their data. So between the painter’s group and the first group just plain clothes, what do you think the difference was in their results? How quickly they could do it and the amount of mistakes that they made.

Matt: Wow. I would imagine the painters coat kept on saying the color and the lab coat kept on saying the words.

Todd: Well, between the painter’s coat and the plainclothes people, there was no difference whatsoever.

Matt: Oh nothing, it’s okay.

Todd: Nothing. Yeah. But when you get to the [crosstalk 00:35:18]. Yeah, the lab coat, doctor’s coat people, they did it in half the time and they made less mistakes than everybody else. Why? Because when you’re told that you’re wearing a lab coat or a doctor’s coat, you’re enclothing yourself in the cognitive state of someone who is a doctor. Well, what is a doctor? Detail-oriented, smart, eye for detail, don’t make mistakes because if they did, then surgeries would be in a lot of trouble, or lab, that their lab it’s processed, it’s very careful and methodical, all that kind of stuff. And so just by putting on something new, it changed performance.

Well me, who’s running around inside the head, I’m not so concerned about the terms of authenticity or whatever, I care about whether or not you’re getting a better result, right? And that has nothing to do with faking it till you’re making it, I’m simply leveraging something that’s already there. And so these glasses mean and meant smart, confident, articulate. And so when I put them on I was enclothing myself in something new so that I could step into it.

Same thing with other clients and customers, when we find that other totem, that artifact that they could put on, that they could wear, clients who use something that they were given from their grandma or their grandfather or whatever the case might be, that allows them to indoctrinate themselves into that persona, if that helps you perform better than all the power to you. So as a tool, take that thing away and think about stepping into that investor self when you get out there or parent or whatever the case might be.

Matt: Yeah. Reminds me of the Deion Sanders saying, “If you look good, you feel good.”

Todd: [crosstalk 00:37:00] yeah.

Matt: You feel good you play good.

Todd: Yeah.

Matt: You pay good, they pay good.

Todd: I miss him out on that field man, I grew up with that dude so yeah, anyway.

Matt: Nice. Super. Yeah, I guess I was going to ask if someone wanted to get in touch with you what would be the best way for them to do that? And maybe a [inaudible 00:37:18] the book [crosstalk 00:37:20] something else [inaudible 00:37:21].

Todd: I would love it if I could meet people in the pages of the book itself and … But toddherman.me is my home based on the Internet, so people can find me there and alteregoeffect.com if people want to go learn a little bit more about the book, I’ve got some other videos for people there and then, of course, there are links on my home base for across all the social media channels as well.

Matt: Fantastic Todd. Well, congratulations. I hope this wave catches you, I don’t think it could happen to a better person.

Todd: I appreciate it, Matt. Thank you.

Matt: And I’ll stay in touch, I’ll actually see you probably next month, worst case.

Todd: I will see you next month.

Matt: All right buddy.

Todd: See you.

Matt: Take care.

Todd: Bye.

Matt: Alrighty, so that’s it for today’s episode of Thought Leader Thursday. I’ll see you next week on another episode of Thought Leader Thursday, right here on The Epic Real Estate Investing Show. Take care.