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How I successfully launched my start-up using a secret identity

And how can you win the mental game when you need to perform at your best

In February 2018 I was a wreck: mentally, emotionally and professionally. I was going through a tough mid-life crisis, with no idea about how to pick the broken pieces of myself, crawl up from depression and rebuild myself from the ground up.

Everything came crashing down when an important joint venture partner lost heart and decided to move his part of the business elsewhere, just months after the abrupt ending of a too-good-to-be-true love and engagement story.

I was also facing my first large-scale event. In two weeks, I needed to step on a stage and orchestrate a one-day summit for 350+ high-achieving women. It was my first event under BODYOLOGY, my freshly launched start-up. It came packed with old fears and phobias around speaking in public on top of the internal turmoil that consumed me.

I was fighting the “I’m not good enough” and also “what if it’ll be a disaster” but especially “what if they say I don’t know what I am talking about” or “what if they walk out and I’ve wasted their day” and my favourite “what if I fumble mumble, sprain my ankle on that stage or embarrass myself”. The option to hide, stay small, assume a moderator role and not really own it seemed more and more attractive, as it kept happy that part of me that was terrified of being exposed and judged.

Who came up on that stage?

When you’re peeking through the cracks of the door watching 350+ strong women walk in, you may get a little nervous. Cold-sweats and heart pounding kind of nervous.

The point of no return – here goes nothing, because either way I HAD to make my way on to that stage.

Lights turned on, the curtain pulled back and in walks Spartan Victoria. Poised, confident and a smile that would make Leonidas himself sink to his knees.

Who is Spartan Victoria?

Spartan Victoria is one of my two alter egos. She helped me step up and seize the opportunity with grace, conviction and without letting my fears hold me down.

Sounds too good to be true? Some weird Neo-Voodoo magic?

No! The alter ego creation is a process that is scientifically proven & tested by leaders, top athletes and world-class entertainers for over 20 years.

A different level of courage

I had become familiar with the Alter Ego method a few years ago reading a great book and then, when I took Todd Herman’s 90 Days Year mastermind. Part of the training was about his method of developing an Alter Ego to help live your full potential in high-stakes situation.

It’s a tool that anyone, in any situation and in any profession can use to unlock their heroic self – the way to win at the mental game when we need to perform at our best.

For me, it helped me access a different level of courage that drove me forward, to action, even in moments when my instinct was to run in the opposite direction – as it often happens in important situations.

It helped me achieve more than I thought possible and I was really excited to see that Todd has generously shared his method with the world through his recently launched Alter Ego book.

Define your field of play

Alter Ego basically means looking at our daily existence similar to a field of play: a distinct terrain where you need to bring your best self, to win the game.

It starts with defining the field, understanding which are the most impactful moments and which characteristics or traits you need to have in order to win on that particular field of play.

Define your super-powers

It’s a process that can be applied to any domain, but will trigger different traits needed for success if you want to play on different fields of play from business to parenting. Defining that instantly helps you be more focused and intentional.

Identifying what traits and behaviours you need to demonstrate to achieve success already propels you into action. And going one step forward brings you a trusted ally and friend that makes sure you don’t stumble or lose heart when the inner critic or the survival instincts tell you to quit, play small or just let it go.

Access your trusted ally

Once you set everything, you go through a distinct process of building your specific Alter Ego, the one that empowers you and gives you a shortcut to access reservoirs of power and confidence that you might not have discovered by yourself.

It’s not about a split personality, or “fake it till you make it”. It’s about accessing, in a structured and specific way, a different persona that also sits inside you.

The one that wants you to triumph, achieve everything you’re capable of, and has no concern about playing small to stay safe. The one that’s actually closer to your truer self: the one that pushes you forward and send that inner critic to the sidelines, instead of messing you up in key moments, on the field of play.

Where does it all come from?

Creativity doesn’t stop when you’re 8 years old – and playfulness is such a good natural antidote to fear, procrastination and indecisiveness. I love this metaphor: the field of play – it always resets my mood and approach, makes me loosen up and have some fun on the way.

As a kid, I’ve been fascinated by warrior queens and particularly Sparta, the same way other girls were fascinated by Snow White and Cinderella. They were educated, they owned lands, they were fit, free, had opinions and economic power. As a little girl you cannot be other than fascinated by strong, independent females in a context where other women were dominated and seen as subservient to men. I credit that to being raised in a Spartan way, due to my aunt’s German origins and my uncle’s military background.

Along the years, growing into an adult slowly faded the memory of that fierce girl playing war games and brought insecurities, fears and complicated situations that made me question myself.

Not anymore! When building my Alter Ego, the little girl in my head rose to power. Owned my most defining moments, walked in the arena welcoming the challenge and sent my inner critic to the sidelines.

My choice of a fearless queen ready to rise came naturally: I invented Spartan Victoria or just recognized that she was already there. She became my ally and refuge whenever life got tough.

Todd’s method is that it’s both playful and structured, creative and methodical in the way it teaches you to use imagination and other resources that we so easily accessed as kids, to inspire you to be brave, show up and take that action even if it’s scary.

It gives you the courage to fail and grow and it by-passes other people’s expectations by having the guts to stand true to ourselves and getting rid of limiting beliefs that keep us trapped.

Why should you bother?

Maybe your story is different and your struggle has nothing in common with mine. However, if you feel that, in key moments, you don’t show up as you know you’re capable of, and you could use a friend to boost your performance, just give it a try.

Maybe you go silent in boardroom meetings because it’s easier to hide, maybe you don’t like conflicts so you give in too easily – or, in a different way, maybe you’d like to enjoy being more present and playing with your kids more.

Maybe you’d like to show up differently in your personal relations and surprise your lover with an escapade that you don’t plan because you’re not “that kind of person”.

It’s based on Todd’s daily practice of helping world-class performers achieve that extra-edge needed to win and it’s been tested on many fields of play, for more than 20 years.

If you’re willing to put in the work, focus and discipline, you will achieve more than you do today. It’s one of those books whose power starts when the book ends, because it transforms you: it’s meant to be put into practice, prompts you to take action and gives you that extra-edge you need to achieve your goals.

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