Eight years ago I got a tattoo that I was almost instantly ashamed of.
It was a tattoo I had been thinking about for some time, and I was completely amped while I was having it done.
The next morning I woke up, stumbled into the washroom, and glanced at the mirror. As my sleepy eyes regained their focus, I saw the following word stamped across my chest.
My first thought: “What the hell have I done?”
My disenchantment was due to fear.
Fear of what others would think of me. Also, that I may no longer be socially acceptable at public pools.
But that isn’t the question.
The question is, “Why? Why Mitch, did you get HITMAN tattooed across your chest?”
My Alter Ego
In my 20’s I did a little bit of partying (maybe a little more than a little).
My friends and I came up with alter egos, who only came out when we were drunk beyond reason.
It was a fun, stupid game.
Mine was Hitman.
Hitman was loud, abrasive, and sometimes a lot of fun.
He was also my scapegoat, used when I did or said something stupid.
“That wasn’t me, dude. That was Hitman.”
The Power of the Alter Ego
Believe it or not, a drunken scapegoat isn’t the most effective way to use your alter ego. They can also be used to help you perform at a higher level.
The greatest performers in the world have been using alter egos to get out of their own way for years.
Beyonce has Sasha Fierce, who she says is fearless and sexy in her performance.
David Bowie had his androgynous alter ego, Ziggy Stardust.
And of course, Superman has his alter ego, Clark Kent, who allows him to blend in to every day life here on earth.
On the surface, these alter egos may seem like a stage gimmick, but they have a powerful effect on the performance of the individual.
The point of the alter ego is to act, speak, or perform in a more powerful way, so you can deliver in any given situation.
It allows you to draw upon qualities that are necessary for your performance, and eliminate those that are harmful.
Think about Beyonce’s alter ego, Sasha Fierce.
In order to crush a performance, Beyonce needs to be fearless, sexy, and aggressive.
While she may not always feel she has those qualities, Sasha Fierce has them in spades.
By sliding into that character, she now embodies those same characteristics.
She can also distance herself from the fears and reservations that Beyonce has, since Sasha doesn’t fear sh*t.
Your Gym Alter Ego
If you were to morph into a character every time you walked into your gym, what would his/her name be?
What qualities would he/she embody?
Maybe you turn into The Kraken, and destroy every weight you touch.
Or maybe you morph into Valkyrie, and you never hesitate to demolish a strength circuit.
Here are a few keys to consider when designing an alter ego:
You Want Me To Fake It?
It may feel like you’re faking the funk.
You’re not that cool, or brave, or aggressive. You’re just pretending.
But really, this alter ego isn’t a fake personality. It’s more of a spotlight, shining itself on certain aspects of your personality that have been buried and forgotten about.
It allows you to call upon your strong and fearless self, and bring to the surface the aspects of you that burn the brightest.
P.S. I’ve since grown to love that tattoo, and everything it stands for.
Also, I no longer care if I’m socially acceptable at public pools :)