In my humble opinion, ALL artists do this in the beginning.
But, most of you never get over it and your artist spirit dies on the vine.
OR you don’t master the productive pieces of what I’m about to describe and you stay stuck.
We all create a secret identity for ourselves.
Actually, we all create many secret identities for ourselves.
Often, a secret identity conceals things about ourselves so we feel or, in fact, actually fit better into society but sometimes this behavior hinders us and therefore we suffer.
The world also suffers because it never sees or experiences the fully realized version of our artist soul.
Think about Superman for a second.
Quick question: With Superman, which identity is the secret identity?
Most of you would say Superman because that identity was kept secret, duh.
But, you would be wrong.
I’m about to geek out a little bit, but this is important.
Superman’s birth name is Kal-El and he was born on planet Krypton.
Kal-El, AKA Superman IS the original being, the genuine soul. the plane-saving, train-stopping, building-jumping real deal.
Clark Kent is the secret identity.
Even though Superman was kept secret, and Clark Kent was made public, the alter ego of Clark Kent was created because Superman felt he needed to fit in more to society.
Another way to put it is that Superman felt the need to hide.
How are you doing right now?
Am I ringing any bells?
You’re Superman (NOT gender specific in this case, ladies).
The artist IS who we truly are and the other stuff amounts to alter-egos created to fit in so we don’t piss off our parents, spouses, bosses, or society in general.
Here’s the thing, all of these different personalities within us are powerful, some are necessary and productive, but some are toxic.
The toxic characters can come from a good place and be well founded, so they don’t seem toxic to us, but they get in our way.
Here’s a great example of a toxic secret identity.
I was listening to a Tony Robbin’s podcast where Todd Herman was being interviewed. Todd works with premiere sports athletes to help them understand, identify, and control these secret identity behaviors.
Todd’s company helps athletes amplify their strengths.
Tell me that doesn’t sound psychologically interesting.
He was telling the story about a premiere female tennis athlete who has never won a championship but was amazing enough to be ranked (which is a BIG deal), so she was GOOD.
To this tennis player, fairness was a value that she lived her life by and felt was very important to her.
Picture this, she would hit the court and over the course of a couple games and/or sets, she would DOMINATE her opponent. But, somewhere during the game her inner feelings of fairness would begin to creep in and she would self-sabotage to allow her opponent a chance to come back.
She did this subconsciously because she felt that if the final score of the game was too lopsided it would humiliate her opponent.
Her personality would never allow her to humiliate anyone, but sports are about momentum.
Just ask any New York Giants fan, it’s not uncommon for a pro football team to “limp” into the playoffs (with a 9W-7L record) and “peak” at the right time to win every game including the Super Bowl
Their record shows that NYG were not the best team during the season, but that doesn’t matter in the playoffs. They found their momentum at the right time and what happened previously didn’t matter.
This is what would regularly happen to the tennis player. Her concern for the feelings of her opponent would trigger the self-sabotage which would change the momentum but the pendulum swung too far causing her to lose momentum. Often, she would never recover.
Todd and the tennis player would talk about how fairness is an admirable trait in humanity, as long as the game was being played according to the rules (aka “fairly”) it had no place on any sports scenarios.
Your job is to win, period.
Fair and square? Yes, of course.
But forget about how it looks or makes the other person feel because that’s not your concern when you’re both professional athletes.
Her opponents will have to learn to step up next time (they’re pros after all) and, of course, she’s always a good sport, win or lose.
Winning to the point of dominating your opponent doesn’t make you a mean person.
We all have secret identities that are quite beneficial. If you have kids, you probably behave one way at work and then shift gears when you come home to play with the kids.
Maybe you have a certain approach with one set of friends that differs from another?
How about the difference in your personality at work vs. your secret identity in the bedroom?
What about a radio or podcast interview/performance?
Do you take on a different personality to a degree when you do a live show?
See what I mean?
What if you have to make a deal with your booking agents, or team members?
It’s important to understand what personalities are required for each task and make sure the right ones show up and the wrong ones don’t!
On my first tour, I was feeling so blessed to have that first contract (which is a GOOD thing) but they got over on me. I could’ve negotiated a better deal and it cost me dearly.
We had a killer band (product), a killer 2×3 foot full-color poster (marketing), and the agency was in LOVE with us (buy-in). If I knew what I was doing, I could’ve inked a 10% commission rate instead of 15%.
That may not sound like much.
But, showing up with a different personality for that one meeting would’ve meant the difference between the tour breaking even and Ryder Truck Company sending me an $8,000 bill after the dust settled.
See my point?
You can be blessed and grateful, but shrewd at the same time.
It’s OK to have humility and love but be intentional with your business dealings.
These behaviors are not a contradiction to your personality, it’s good business and good business is fair.
Think about it, your most important role of a loving parent or best friend doesn’t always manifest itself in the form of endless puppy dogs and ice cream.
Sometimes you have to be the bad guy.
I negotiated a 10% commission with our booking agent down in Florida on the Kidd Gypsy version of our journey and we lived a far better life because of it.
FYI, you’re probably thinking it’s just 5% of the gross! Big deal! To the agency, this was a 33% reduction in their possible revenue from us over the course of a year. But, it would’ve meant us paying 50% more than we needed too had we settled on the original 15% they asked for.
I promise those numbers make sense when you think about them in terms of relativity.
My concern is that y’all created your own versions of Clark Kent and you’re buying into the role a little too much.
It’s a false reality.
YOU’RE SUPERMAN. Own it.
Stop trying to be somebody that you’re not (Clark Kent) and start embracing the Superman in you.
You’re an artist. You can be an artist if you really want to, but you must be intentional about it or it isn’t going to pan out for you.
Live your life on YOUR terms, not anyone else’s.
If you’re going live out the life you really want, which is making a living as an artist, then you’re going to have to understand and identify all your secret identities and master them.
Some athletes actually create back stories for their secret identities on the field of play.
Many pro athletes create names for these secret identities, THAT’S how seriously they take this concept!
I want you to win.
I don’t want you to get too caught up in a toxic secret identity that has you getting in your own way.
Don’t accept any identities that tell you it’s ok to wait. Your time is now. Be patient but never stagnant.
A really good portion of my job description at Daredevil Production is teaching artists how to get out of their own way.
This is a common way we all self-sabotage.
I hope this helps you in some way.
If you liked the content in this article, please SHARE and COMMENT below.