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This week I’m shaking things up a bit because I’m bringing on my very first dad guest, Todd Herman.
Many of you might know Todd as the award-winning author of the Alter Ego Effect, the founder of the 90 Day Year, author of the children’s book, My Super Me, or just as the secret weapon behind many of the professional and Olympic athletes out there.
He’s dedicated the past 23 years to creating systems, programs, and coaching the world’s elite athletes, leaders, and public figures and has been featured on the Today Show, Sky Business, CBS Sports, NFL Films, and the NY Times.
Todd is extremely good at helping ambitious people calm their minds and master their inner voice. But most importantly, he’s a husband to Valerie, and dad to 3 little kids – Molly, Sophie, and Charlie, and today I’m really excited to share this episode because I get to bring out the parent and dad side of him.
Normally we hear about Todd the mindset coach or the systems guy, but today we’re going to talk about
Parenting and how he parents to build “tough” (meaning independent and resilient) kids
The 4 questions he asks his kids daily
How we can reframe our mindset on how we communicate with our kids about outcomes to build more emotionally and mentally centered individuals
How we as a moms can differentiate our identities in order to thrive in our different roles whether that be as a mom, a wife, a CEO, etc…
I literally could listen to this episode over and over and keep pulling out new “ah ha” moments so I hope that you learn something new too!
Book: Alter Ego Effect
Children’s Book: My Super Me: Finding The Courage For Tough Stuff
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[00:00:00] Stephanie: On this week’s episode, I’m shaking things up a bit because I’m bringing on my very first dad, Todd Herman. Many of you might know Todd as the award-winning author of the alter ego effect. The founder of the 90 day year author of the children’s book, my super me, or just as a secret weapon behind many of the professional and Olympic athletes out there.
Todd’s dedicated the past 23 years to creating systems programs and coaching the world’s elite athletes, leaders and public figures. He’s been featured on the today. Show sky business, CBS sports, NFL films, and the New York times. Todd is extremely good at helping ambitious people, calm their minds and master their inner voice.
And I know that personally, because I have been working with Todd for the last three years, but most important. He’s the husband to Valerie, a dad to three little kids, Molly, Sophie and Charlie. And today I’m really excited to share this episode because I get to bring out the parents and dad’s side of him.
Normally we hear about Todd does the mindset coach or the systems guy, but today we’re going to hear about Todd as the dad. We’re going to talk about parenting and how he parents to build tough, meaning independent and resilient kids. We discussed the four questions. He asks his kids daily, how we can reframe our mindset on how we communicate with our kids about outcomes in order to build more emotionally and mentally centered individuals and how we as moms can differentiate our identities in order to thrive in our different roles, whether that be as a mom, a wife, a CEO, et cetera.
I could literally listen to this episode over and over and keep pulling out new aha moments. So I hope you enjoy it and learn something new, too.
Welcome mommies back to Mommy’s on a Call. I am super excited because today I’m actually bringing on the very first stat on the show to do you know, you are my first dad. This is kind of for the show. So I know it’s called mommy’s on a call, but I thought you were the perfect person to bring on for this very subject.
We’re going to go into, I’ve known you for a few years now, and you’ve seen me go from one kid to two kids to three kids. And actually I was pregnant at both of your lives. So you see me through like every single phase and I’m a little nervous right now because I feel like I’m in the wizard of Oz and unveiling.
What’s behind the curtain. Like what’s this secret person behind a lot of the stuff that’s gone on in my life. So, yeah. Welcome wizard, Todd.
[00:04:07] Todd: It’s you’re placing such a huge expectation that I deliver some sort of massive results or meaningful stuff to everyone, but, oh, it’s a pleasure. It’s fun to get on here and jam with you and hopefully give people some perspective on from a, from a dad’s side of things.
[00:04:22] Stephanie: on that note, what is your biggest dad win of the week? And if you say it was teaching, Charlie had a second noodle up his nose, the conversation’s over.
[00:04:31] Todd: Yeah. Stephanie’s referring to the fact that I posted a video of it. Teaching my son, Charlie, how to suck a spaghetti noodle up his nose, which I think every good parents should teach their kids to do.
Now I’d say biggest win of the week with my kids would be. Actually, I’d say my kids noticing the fact that my birthday is actually this week and you know what little kids are like, they’re always asking you for gifts and presents and birthday, this and birthday, that, and this is the first year that both my daughters, Molly and Sophie asked me what I wanted for my birthday.
And so I just feel like they’re progressing now as to like self-aware kids and wanting to do. Us what we do for them every week. So that’s, that feels like a win. What
[00:05:17] Stephanie: do you think Charlie we’ll actually give
[00:05:19] Todd: you probably a dirty diaper. That’s probably
[00:05:24] Stephanie: so to give the audience a little bit of context, cause that’s your favorite word is context.
Give us a little bit of background about your family structure, number of kids ages and the role you and your wife play in parenting. Yeah,
[00:05:37] Todd: so, well Molly is seven and a half. Sophie is six and a bit. They’re only about 15 and a half months apart from each other. So we had them pretty close together. You know, something about that as well.
And, and, and then our little guy, Charlie, he is three and a half. He’ll be turning four in a few months here, but yeah, so he’s a couple years behind the girls. And then the, the kind of role in the roles in the family? Well, COVID has definitely changed up some of the role stuff as well. Like Valerie, my wife has definitely had to shoulder a very heavy load when it comes to the homeschooling that had to happen because we’re based in New York city.
Right now we’re actually taking refuge up in Canada for a little while, because up here schools are open and we get all that nice support. And I got my family up here cause I’m originally Canadian, but my wife’s shoulders. A lot of the, kind of, I would say traditional kind of roles that happen inside of a family.
And. It’s I dunno what it’s like inside of your family, but I ended up playing the role of fairly solid disciplinarian amongst the kids. And you’re the bad cop. Yeah. I can play that one, I guess the most amongst them, but that’s because my car. Seems to get through my now Valerie says that it’s because I’ve got a deep voice and she’s found all this research to say, like, kids respond to a deeper, more resonant baseline voice, which probably is, there’s probably truth in that.
Now I’m also perceived sometimes as the fun one. Because I get them to do all the wacky stuff, like all the crazy stuff as well. And that’s where I think we could have some maybe interesting conversation around roles. And I think it’d be maybe, I mean, I know you did this in the, in the bio, but again, my context is, I mean, I, I do mental game stuff.
I mean, this is what I. Is his work with, I started out working with young teenage kids and, and some of the expertise that I developed is that of roles and, and helping people to shape their, what I call their performance identity. You know, we use alter egos to do that and, and whatnot. And, and one of the things that traps many people is the societal tropes and memes about.
Uh, what it means to be a mom, like insert the name of role, and then we start acting through these roles, very unconsciously, and then it kind of traps us in the. Experiences of family life, home, life, business, whatever that doesn’t serve us at our core. Like we just, it, that’s what I think is very frustrating for a lot of women.
And I know my wife and I have these conversations all the time, and I think it’s a really challenging thing for really women to have to try to be from society. Does this or cultural. Be perfect in all these different spaces and it’s, it’s a challenge and it’s something that’s called role conflict that right.
[00:08:21] Stephanie: And I wanted to talk actually more about that before we get into it. Cause I did want to bring that up about like studies that have come out recently from McKinsey about the role of the mom and the workplace and how things are changing. And along with even your study, you did okay. CEOs versus male CEOs and how they’re reacting, but let’s step back a moment.
And just to give more context, you wrote a book called the alter ego effect, and you have been studying this for years and years and years to the moms out there who might not know what this is all about. Obviously well-versed in it. Give us a little bit of a high level review of what is the alter-ego effect and how you came up with this concept.
[00:08:57] Todd: So the alter ego is, is a mental model. All of us live through because we all use it when we’re kids, when we’re, you know, trying on new identities to see what we can do, like the little kid playing Superman or Spider-Man and seeing how far they could jump off the couch when they have their superhero qualities and attributes, or when we, you know, grow a little bit older and we start playing through the identity of our favorite sports hero, or we dance through the.
Dance or that we might like or something like that. If, if kids are in those classes and it’s our way of disassociating ourselves, from what we think is our own story, our own narrative, our own attributes, you know, qualities and skills, and stepping into this more empowering version of ourselves to help us unlock more of what we can do.
And we do this very naturally, every human being does this and then. As we grow older, our frontal lobe, you know, the, the reasoning and thinking part of our brain really starts to take over. And we, we judge those things that we might’ve done when we were kids as being childish or childlike or something.
And that’s actually us moving away from one of our main superpowers as a human being, which is our creative imagination. And I stumbled back onto this. Well, a I used this. I didn’t move away from it like other people did. And that was because I went through some really hard trauma stuff when I was a kid and I stayed glued to this altered reality that I tried to create in my mind because of just the, the difficulty of trying to navigate that trauma.
And I use. Alter egos to how many, to still pursue the goals that I wanted in life. Even though my own identity was very challenged with my belief in myself, you know, confidence in things. And then when I started getting into building this business, which started back in 97, I graduated through the ranks of working with different athletes until I got to pro athletes, Olympic athletes.
And there was this constant theme that they would use or bring up in our conversations around having a persona that they would play through or compete through or alter ego or secret identity or a performance identity. And those were all things that I used early on. I would just say, oh, that’s amazing.
I did the exact same thing. And then it was one particular. Swimmer for the U S Olympic team that was preparing for the Athens games in 2003, the games were in 2004, but a year out, we were doing some prep work and she mentioned her alter ego and just all these things clicked in my head of all these past conversations.
And I said, wait a second. This is an actual. Like, this is a real tool that people are using. It’s not just a coincidence. And I went through all my data, all my spreadsheets of clients that we track their performance and the ones who consistently performed at peak levels and had the best sort of emotional resilience, bounce back from challenges faster, all had this concept that they play with.
So I started building out the method to use it. And so you’d said you explain more about the alter ego effect and so alter egos are one thing. Now, the effect that I found of it though, is. We use all these amazing little paradigms, or we use these ideas to share with other people to encourage them say things like, you know, you got to be your authentic self, you gotta be your real self.
Right. You gotta be true to yourself. And all those things sound nice. They sound right even. But the reality is there’s no meat on that bone for people to chew on. Like, there’s nothing that says. Yeah. But then how do I go? And that’s, what’s been fascinating to see what the alter ego effect is that when people play with an alter ego, they actually find it.
More of their real self. They actually find more of their true self because it’s in the unshackling from your own habitual narrative and story of what you think you are and you using the model of another individual. Animal or thing in your own mind, you actually are able to draw out of yourself, new qualities that have been laying dormant that sit there.
And so that’s the, that’s the effect of this kids do this stuff. Naturally. There’s so much better than adults are. But the reality is that some of the biggest leaders, superstars performers, public figures, entrepreneurs, leaders that are out there have used this concept. And it just stays hidden because it’s a private thing for most.
So anyway, it’s been fantastic and a lot of fun to, to see it go out there and.
[00:13:08] Stephanie: Well, I know like kids, kids do this a lot. My son pretends he’s a ninja and suddenly he can like kick really high. He can do all of these different things. He’s not afraid to jump off the couch. He’s not afraid to do these things.
Why do you think we lose this sort of side of us and how can we keep our kids? Keeping their imagination going so that they develop this kind of on their own. And how do you raise a child? I know you wrote a book by super me. My son absolutely loves that kind of confronting, you know, that fear, but how can we keep that creative imagination going in our kids?
[00:13:39] Todd: Thanks. Uh, well, three things actually. Sorry. One is, what do you think. How do we access someone’s brain? Like how do we, you know, to use a term that would be useful? How do we hack into their mind kind of thing? The way that we do that is questions. That’s one of the ways that we do that. And so we, as parents need to get really good at asking our kids better question.
And so, because I’m someone who I’m purveyor of this, you know, training, I’m always asking the kids more about how to access their creative imagination, you know, like, you know, oh, you know, who would, who could help you do this? And it’s a question that’s important to ask because we all know. Anyone that’s, you know, you, that’s listening, you know, the importance of having great friends, great allies, great mentors around you to help you just navigate life and go to with questions.
And, you know, the quality of those people helps us to build a more quality life. You know, that’s how you and I can. Was was the same way. And so the reason that question is so important is, is one of the gifts I want to give people is to remember that, yes, it’s really important that we surround ourself with amazing mentors and allies and friends to help us do things.
But it’s just as important to build those, that mentorship and allies. In between the six inches of your ears, our creative imagination gives us the possibility to sit down at a round table with some leaders throughout history or some of our favorite people and ask them questions. And your ability to do that really starts to allow you to flex way more of the attributes and qualities and capabilities that you’ve got, that you might.
Access, if you just sat there and ask yourself questions. Right? And so that’s one thing is, is really getting a lot better at asking them questions in a, in a few minutes, I’ll, I’ll share with people a set of questions that they can be asking their kids at nighttime or at bedtime as a routine. Cause this is what we do with our kids.
And then the second thing is storytelling. Now we read them these amazing books before bedtime. And what would be really powerful for parents to do is. To remember, to allow your kids to see you get just as excited and engaged in this story and talk about the characters. Like bring them more to life because remember your kids are watching you and they’re modeling you.
And most of the time, the reason that kids are that we ended up losing this. You ask that question, how do, why do we lose this? Well it’s because our frontal lobe allows us to start developing. Okay. We can now project into the future with pre cognition and predict what’s going to happen. Young kids don’t do that very well.
It’s actually not a big part of the mental processes. And so this pre-cognition starts to go in to power. And what we do is we look at the kid who’s nine years old or 11 years old, or 13 or 15 or 17, and we’d see them and they’re just acting. You know, they don’t play the same games as us anymore, or, you know, we look at our parents and they’re more serious and more logical and we think.
That that’s the way that we’re supposed to be. And so we start acting into these models of what we think the world is about, and yet we’re just giving really bad models. Interesting.
[00:16:57] Stephanie: Yeah. I was going to say, I find myself saying a lot to my five-year-old don’t do that. A five-year-old wouldn’t do that, but what’s to say a five-year-old would or wouldn’t and instead we’re almost like.
Forcing ideals upon them on how we think they should be acting.
[00:17:11] Todd: Yeah, exactly. And I mean this, because we look at it and Miguel, like, that’s such an idiot thing to do. Like, that’s why, like, for me, like you were joking about me, me putting the spaghetti noodle up Charlie’s nose. Right. And it’s like, yes, that, yeah.
I joked that I was getting the parenting of the year award when I was doing that. But it’s. I want my kids to see that it’s okay to still be playful. And the reality is all the people who are out there that can’t shove a spaghetti noodle up, their nose are really not leading the most fun life. Okay. So that’s my frame on the world, whether that’s true or not, but it’s just so important that that’s why going back to when you’re reading these stories to the kids, because again, stories are another way that we make sense of the world.
So when you’re a parent and your getting just as engaged with the story, what you’re doing is you’re sending them a signal that it’s okay. And that it’s right. Even mom and dad loved these stories and that’s really important. And to even if they have a favorite show, get engaged with the show to like, talk about those characters with those, with them too, like, are my kids pop patrol is a popular one.
And you would know that too. And other parents have got young kids know pop patrol, how important that is as a show. And I joke around with them all the time. I’m like, oh, isn’t rebels the one who wears the police uniform. Right. And they’re like, no, dad, that’s Jason. And, um, okay. Yeah. And then Marshall is the one who can swim in the water really well.
And they’re like, no, that’s Zuma dad. We’ve told you a million times. Right. So just the fact that you’re taking an interest in their stuff helps. And then the third thing, which I’ve kind of already already mentioned is, is the modeling is, is showing up this way. Like we’re in a month right now. So we’re in the month of October and it’s.
My favorite month of the year. Cause it has my favorite day of the year, which is Halloween and Halloween for me has always been, I’m an extroverted person. I’m gregarious. And I’ve always thought that Halloween is the night of the year that everyone else gets invited to. Yeah. That I have the rest of the year.
Like everyone, when you put on a uniform, you put on a costume, whatever. And now all of a sudden, what do you do? You start acting a little bit differently, seeing a little bit more, you know, playful or fun or gregarious or whatever the case is, which actually gets to the point of my book, the alter ego effect, the power of, because one of the principles in it is the power of a uniform, how it activates new traits.
And so I tell people I’m like, okay, so you’ve got on the lion outfit or the witch’s outfit or the vampire outfit. And you’re acting this way now is that you being disengaged? No, but it’s actually doing is it’s actually, it’s actually freeing you to bring out another side of yourself. So, you know, for kids allowing them to continue to play dress up as long as they want.
I mean, never, never losing that, that power, that ability isn’t. And
[00:19:48] Stephanie: also, I know you talked a lot about totems, but my son will carry around. Like he’ll just wear on top of his normal clothes, like a belt that has like foam numb chucks on it and then, or a sword. And he just thinks he’s more powerful. And like, those are foam.
Those don’t do anything. But I realized, wow, I am stunting his creativity and imagination because he thinks he is a ninja and in-charge in daily life when he wears those things. So, yeah.
[00:20:14] Todd: Turn that for him is because we do this with totems and artifacts. We give it some of our power, right? So he feels, he’s more powerful when he’s carrying his nunchucks.
Okay. His Nerf nunchucks or whatever they are. And then what you do is when you’re out with him. And if he does something that’s brave or courageous, because again, kids do this and they’re very transparent about why they’re doing it. Well, He’s wearing it. Cause it, for him, it helps him feel like he’s more confident and courageous.
Okay. He’s not going to say confident cause that’s not really their word, but bravery and courage. They know that one. And so when you’re out with him, when you notice him doing something that is pushing his comfort zone or is a challenging thing, let him know. It’s like, dude, did you see how courageous you were?
And you didn’t even have your nunchucks with you so that you can reinforce his identity. When he’s not wearing the uniform, that he’s, that he’s already courageous or that he’s built his courage or he’s built his braver, or he’s built his ability to make friends or approach other people because it actually honors one of the key ideas of developing our own ideas.
Which was summarized really beautifully in this quote, by the Hollywood golden era actor, Cary grant, where he said, I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be. And I finally became that person or he became me, but we met at some point. And what he was talking about within an interview right before he passed away was how he really created.
Debonair and charismatic human being because he was a very insecure person he developed or not developed, but he’d battled depression, a lot of his life, but that’s who he really wanted to be. And so he acted into that person. And so because your kids are acting into qualities, that’s, they’re trying to, they’re just trying to develop themselves.
They’re trying to make a sense of the world. I mean, that’s what my, my kid’s book is all about. My super me around how listen your. The world’s too big. It’s too loud. It’s too. This it’s too, that it’s scary. It’s you know, your parents tell you that, oh, you can do that when you’re older. And so you feel like you’re operating in a world that’s not built.
And it’s intimidating then. And you know, so I feel like it’s my responsibility as a good shepherd to my kids that I’m constantly reinforcing and developing their, their confidence and their self-reliance and their own grit constantly. So it’s a, it’s a really important little kind of nuance that when he’s not wearing his stuff, notice the things that he thinks he has when he is where.
[00:22:39] Stephanie: advice. And then you said you had questions that you go through with your kids at night. What are those questions?
[00:22:46] Todd: The purpose of the questions is to help them develop really important mindset skills. So one of the first questions that we ask them is, you know, you’re tucking them in at night and every single, every kid has their moments with us.
So we asked them, so Molly, what’s something that you’re really proud of that you do. Okay. And what’s amazing about these questions is, and you can really start asking that about the age of three. And they’re going to ask you clarifying questions. What do you mean by proud? Right? Cause they haven’t heard the word before.
And so you explain to them what proud means. So what’s something that you really proud of that you did today and it’s funny. Every parent at some point in time will hear this because most of us have kids who are going to climb a tree. And it’s like, oh man, when I was climbing up that tree today and I was a little bit scared to reach for that one branch, but then I did reach it and I climbed up that one extra higher thing.
That’s, that’s something I’m really proud of. And like, and then you go, oh man. Now what you do is you reflect back to them. Something about that thing that they did is like, yeah. When I was watching you, I was thinking, cause this is what I do. I’m like, then this is an actual example. I’m like, yeah. When I was watching, I was like, I don’t know if Molly’s going to go for that other branch.
We’ll see, what’s going to happen. And then you did. And I was so excited to see. Find the courage to go up one more branch. It was really awesome. And I was staying at, I don’t know, did you see me at the bottom of the tree? Cause I had the biggest grin on my face like that for them is huge when they S when they know that you’re noticing them.
Cause they’ll, they’ll talk about that. So that’s one, what’s one sense. What’s one thing that you’re proud of today. Another question to ask them is what’s one thing that you’re grateful. Getting them to learn the skill of gratitude. So what’s one thing that you’re grateful for. And even though, cause this is a common theme with our kids anyway, they can fight like cats and dogs with each other.
They’ll say that they’re grateful for something that one of their siblings did or they’re grateful for their family or they’re grateful for whatever. And you do have to seed them because. They ended up kind of giving you the same answers pretty much every day. And so you got to teach them what gratitude, like what gratitude, it’s just, it just opens up a conversation for you.
Like, you can be grateful for the book that you read. You can be grateful for the food or the muffins that grandma made for you or whatever. Like, so that’s, that’s really important. It’s developing that. The next one is, and this one’s really important to anesthetize your kids to this idea because it’s grips most people is what’s something that you failed at.
We want to ask them fail questions because most people’s association with failure is it’s negative. And yet it’s not because all of us know now that we’re more mature. We know that failure is where we learned the most or where we like doubled down on ourself and we overcame something. So if you ask my kids this question, yeah.
Or if my kids asked you a question, this question, because they do this to people, they’ll say what’s something that you failed at today. And so if someone says, uh, nothing, then because Molly has done this to people point blank and she says, well, that was a wasted day. Wasn’t it? Cause that’s my response back to them.
If you haven’t tried something new today that you failed at, whether it’s failed that initially, and then you overcame it or failed at it and you’ve got to try and conquer it again tomorrow, then in my view then, yeah, it was a bit of a waste. For you,
[00:25:56] Stephanie: how do you talk to them about that? Without making them feel bad about it?
Like a failure? I don’t want to say like, oh, you feel that, that, you know, you’re not good enough. I don’t want it to come across as that. So how do you round out that question?
[00:26:08] Todd: Yeah. So I’m like, Hey, are you feeling like I grin? So, cause we’re at the playgrounds all the time, right? I’m like, Ooh, that was a good failure.
Hey. Like if they like, you know, so monkey bars as they’re climbing across the monkey bars, if they didn’t make it today. And I’m like, oh, that was a really good failure. That was a really good failure. Like, it’s just, it’s so positive. It’s the framing of it in a very positive way, because for them, they know that for us failure means the attempt and the trying.
That’s what you’re, you’re attempting and you’re trying, and you’re pushing yourself. Like that’s the frame and that’s, what’s really important. It’s a good question to ask because it’s, if you frame it in the wrong way, Then yeah, they could feel judged by it, but just so you know, too, like everyone has to understand that even when we’re teaching ideals to other people, there’s still an element of judgment to that.
Right. Everyone’s so concerned about trying to remove all judgment from speech. And it’s like, that is like the most impossible task. Now it’s the quality of the judgment. So for me, it’s like, oh, that was such a good failure mall. Like they just, they. They just don’t have the same relationship with the word that’s other kids do, because I’ve heard, I mean, I’ve had these conversations with other parents on the playground.
He was like, wait, did you just tell your kids that they’re failing? And I’m like, oh yeah, yeah. We tell them that every. Does Val
[00:27:31] Stephanie: do that too? I, and I’m curious because you know, hanging out around a lot of moms, it’s a different attitude, even the way my husband and I speak to our children. And the way, like when chase was learning, how to ride a bike, I would cringe every time I would see him almost fall or he’d hit his knee.
I’m like, okay, honey, let’s go home. I’ll get you better. And Mike, on the other hand is like, no, get up. You’re fine. Let’s do this. Trust me when you get it, you’re going to feel so good when you’re riding that bike. And I’m here going, he’s bleeding. Like it’s, it’s a total difference. And so I’m curious, you’re a dad saying that.
How does Valerie,
[00:28:06] Todd: Val, we are on the exact same page. Yeah. Yeah, she is now would, would she, like, she learned it more from definitely being around me again, like this is my kind of wheelhouse of expertise. So she sort of trust, I mean, she’s enemy AI. I married my biggest fan, so I’m super lucky that way. So she defaulted it.
Understand. Okay. I’ll follow along with Todd, but she’s a very smart, I mean, she’s got a graduate degree from Georgetown. She’s smart, but it’s that when given the two options of sort of babying them versus the other way, she’s like, well, this other, we get a way better result when we don’t baby them this way.
And she did it very naturally, too. Like when the kids would fall down, she’s like, oh, that was good. Or, you know, and of course it’s all context. Like if they have a really serious injury, then we know that we’re not idiots when it comes to that side of things. But no, she’s, we’re very much on the same page.
I’m probably just, I might be just a little bit. I’m not, I’m not gonna say better, but I’m just more advanced because of my coaching background of being very disciplined with me constantly recognizing when they’re showing up with the qualities that I know are going to help them in the future, reinforcing them immediately, like speaking, then this is a really other important thing that I’ll get to in a second.
And so make sure I don’t forget, which is the importance of the context between outcome and process when talking to them. So I just want to make sure that we wrap up the whole talk about failure. And, and so it’s just a really encouraging way to like talk to kids about failure, but something that you failed at today, you know, and it could be like, wow, that was really trying hard with keeping my crayon between the lines.
And then if you’re there reinforcing it to them by saying, yeah, I saw you really working hard. At that you’re really focusing on that and really important words, which I’ll get to in a second as to why you say really working hard. And then the fourth question. So I say, we asked them, you know, what’s something that you’re proud of today.
What’s something that you’re grateful for. What’s something that you failed at today. And then the fourth question, which helps them develop really important, the skill of thinking forward in time in a positive way, which is what’s something that you’re excited about. And the, really what this does is this pokes a hole in the fact that most of us parents, cause this is what it did for me.
Most of us as parents don’t do a very good job of educating our kids on what’s. Right. Because the only way that they can, I mean, I don’t know if you do this, but you know, the only way they can answer that question in a, in a good way is if they know what’s actually happening tomorrow. So then now all of a sudden they’ll go, well, I don’t know.
And then you can say, well, this is what we’re doing tomorrow. We’re going to be doing this and we’re going to be doing that. We’re going to like, whatever it might be. And they go, oh, I’m really looking forward to seeing grandma. Well, I’m really looking forward to going swimming at grandma’s more, or I’m really looking forward to going to swim class tomorrow now.
And that’s important because I want to leave my kids at the end of us doing our nighttime routines, them feeling positive and hopeful for what’s happening. I
[00:31:04] Stephanie: like that. We do that about like the weekend, like, oh, this weekend, you know, so-and-so’s coming or this weekend we’re going here. Or even we built a countdown chain for the holidays or something like that.
So chase always asked how many days till Halloween. And so we’ll say here, let’s create this chain so you can practice counting, but also something to look forward to. And so. Adds in the physical and mental aspect, because a lot of kids might not process. Like he still doesn’t know the difference between Monday and Friday.
He knows Fridays at the beginning of a weekend. Monday is the beginning of the week, but that doesn’t really physically sink in for him, like looking forward to each day. So we kind of made it more tangible.
[00:31:41] Todd: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s great. And I don’t know about you, but I mean, the fun part, we had a big trip that we had to, to Mexico and the best discovery that I had.
Leading up to that trip was we would spend whether it felt like it was almost every night, me going through the pictures of the place that we’re going to go stay at and all the stuff that we were going to be doing. And it just got them look so looking forward to it. And we started that probably about three or four weeks out from the trip itself.
So like what you’re doing the counting down is, is really good. Plus one of the. It also teaches is just the importance of delayed gratification or even goal setting. Like, you know, we’ve got an end in mind, we’ve got an outcome that’s coming and there’s work that we’ve got to do ahead of time. So I think the, one of the worst things that parents do is they just.
The kids just get to go and experience the big trip, as opposed to getting them involved in a K-12 you’re going to have to pack your bags. So, first thing is let’s start writing out all the stuff that you want to bring. So that’s, that’s, that’s a good example you’ve got going on with, with,
[00:32:38] Stephanie: I wanted to ask you back to the failure question.
Do you close that loop with maybe giving advice on how to fix that failure? Or do you just let it go? Like that was a good failure moving on
[00:32:47] Todd: or yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. That’s those are all coachable parenting moments. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. A hundred percent. Exactly. But it’s the, uh, some of it is just, the expectations are going to be trying again, like, oh, that was a good failure.
I can’t wait to see what you do with the next one. Got it. Yeah. Right.
[00:33:03] Stephanie: You said onto, I don’t want to forget about the outcome versus processes.
[00:33:07] Todd: Yeah. So this came to a big head when I was starting out with working with young athletes and I’d be around them. No sports parents that not every day would the parent be at the game.
Okay. And sport is very much an outcome driven language, right? We have scoreboards with goals and touchdowns and everything else that goes along with that. And when a parent isn’t around their kids, And they come home from their game. One of the first questions that parents ask their kids is, Hey, did you win the game?
Or did you score any goals? It could be about the game or the team, or it could be about the individual. So them, so as a, Hey, did you score any touchdowns you scored and goals. Did you hit a home run or did you get on base or all this it’s outcome driven stuff. Now as a peak performance guy with a lot of like training systems out there for people to sink their teeth into, it’s one of the worst languages that you could be developing.
Having an outcome mind is, is important because it allows you to goal seek and you know, know where you’re trying to go to, but in the context of how you want to, you know, move forward and grow and lead yourself, it’s processed that matters. And so. Tell parents that the more that you ask kids, these questions, what they start to interpret is that when I come home and I tell mom and dad that we won, or that I scored a goal or scored a touchdown or whatever the case is, they get excited.
So now, again, they’re modeling, they’re seeing you and you get excited and they give you a high five, like, oh, that’s awesome. Or if I come home and I say, I didn’t score a touchdown. Now here’s their actual experience. And again, we did a study on this inside of my sports company. They’re actually four.
Eight minutes to 10 minutes before they get home or wherever they gonna see you, that parent silently dreading the fact of what they’re gonna have to tell their parents if they didn’t win the game, because they had been conditioned over all past interactions that when I don’t win or I don’t score a goal or something, mom and dad don’t love me as much.
Those are their, that’s their exact words because their interpretation of mom and dad high five and them are getting excited or saying, oh, way to go. That’s awesome. Is that mum and dad loved me more when I score goals and when I score touchdowns and when we win games, Translate this to any other field, mom and dad loved me more when I get A’s
[00:35:29] Stephanie: right.
And that’s why you don’t say good job. You’re not supposed to, or quote in all the parenting books. Now don’t say good job when you do this. Or like, and praise them because they feel like they have to measure up to that in order to get
[00:35:41] Todd: your approval. Yeah. I think in a lot of the parenting books and some of the kind of stuff that’s out.
Some people are trying to prepare kids for a world that doesn’t even exist though. Right now that’s not my, that’s not my frame on this. My frame on this is just, that’s why even the failure question, right? Like, I mean, where, where are you going to see in a parenting book asking that question about failure and yet even Sara Blakely, Sara Blakely talks about how the one question that her dad asked her and her brother every single night at dinner was what did you fail at today?
And Sarah points to that as the most important question that my parents ever asked me. Because I didn’t care about failure. I just cared about moving forward. And failure was a part of the process. That’s all I’m doing with my kids. I’m just teaching failures are part of the process like who cares? So there’s probably a process.
And now I’m creating sort of elements of safety around it by languaging back, back to them that, Hey, I saw you. And I’m excited that you failed. And now I can’t wait to see what you do next, because now they’re getting support from, at this point in time, in their age and development, the most important people in their lives.
So, but to the earlier point, I mean, I think there’s, there’s some of the ways that people are parenting kids right now that are developing really, really soft. Really soft kids. I mean, I’m just not, I’m going to develop tough kids and tough kids doesn’t mean that they’re mean that’s not what tough means.
Tough means that they have a resiliency factor both emotionally and mentally and physically that allows them to pick themselves back up and move forward. So going back to this now, if in what’s the question that you should be asking your kids, if you weren’t at their game or whatever, you know, one of them is, is.
If you know that they’ve been practicing a certain move or a certain thing, ask them if they were able to execute that in the game. It’s like, Hey, I know you’ve been practicing your, your bank pass off of the boards. If they’re a hockey player, did you try your bank pass when you were out there today?
Like, no, no, no, but mom, I scored a goal. Great. Was it after you did the bank pass thing? I’m like, no, no, no, no, no. And they can tell you now they’re all excited, but let them go with it. But just, you started the conversation with bank. And I think, oh yeah, I did like, whoa, that’s amazing that you did that. So process centered.
Thanks. And if you’re at the game and they scored two goals, And the first thing that you do when you see them afterwards, isn’t dude, you scored two goals. That’s amazing. Instead compliment them on something that they did during the process of scoring the goal. So it’s instead it’s like Stephanie, when you were out there, I saw you do that one spin move, where you put your foot on top of the ball and you spun around that one defender and it gave you the opportunity to then get the ball on.
Okay. Even that I haven’t even said that you scored the goal yet because you did that. It gave you the opportunity to then kick the ball on net. All things that who can control Stephanie. Right. Whether the goalie saved it or not. I’m more excited about the fact that you did the thing that you’ve been practicing.
You finally executed in a game and then they’ll always be like, yeah, I scored the goal, mom. And you’re like, yeah. Yeah. But I was more excited about the fact that you did the thing. And then, because this is the feedback I get. Cause parents go and do that and they go, my kid gives, I’m bringing you back to outcome.
And I’m like, yes, because they’ve been trained to think that way, because they’re trying to recenter you to the fact that you’ve, that they scored the goal and your job is to recenter them towards process. So just because they try to bring it back towards the fact that they scored a goal or a touchdown or something like that, or they got an, a, you’re going to see.
Yeah. And what’s amazing is seeing you for the last two weeks, really work on your flashcards every single night, because we want to instill in them the power of their workout. All things that they can control. And when you do that, you’ve got a more emotionally and mentally centered
[00:39:33] Stephanie: individual. I think actually now all of that can transition and apply to the mommy mindset because I feel like just hearing all that like about failure and talking about the process, I feel like as a mom, we also in our role, we’re hard on ourselves and we all see this as outcome driven, like, you know, What are our cha children is our like output, I guess, our production.
And so I wanted to just talk a little bit about the study you did about, you know, women CEOs and thinking about caretaking along with kind of this whole mom mindset like Val, you know, taking a step back and really fulfilling these roles right now in this time as the traditional mom. And how can we kind of strengthen our own mindset right now, when we feel defeated.
The McKinsey study that came out on working mothers, it was that there was a significant amount of percentage. I forgot the number. I have to look it up of women who have considered leaving the workforce right now because they have other duties at home. And it’s really hard for us to detach our roles from each other.
Everywhere we go. We’re always like mom, first mom first, even when we are in that CEO seat, we’re thinking, oh, we have the kids at home. We have this, we have to go grocery shopping. We have so many other things. Is there anything that we can apply? In order to kind of shift that mindset and detach ourselves from that, or should we not detach?
Like how do we become a peak performer as a mom?
[00:41:04] Todd: Yeah. Yeah. Well, again, right there, the question now frames the debate, right? So are we asking ourselves how to be a peak performing as well? Because if that’s the only identity that you identify with. So even when I’m a CEO, I’m a mom CEO. Now, mom, this is filtering everywhere.
And you know, that’s, I think that’s the great challenge that our that’s thrust upon moms over dads. You, and I’ve shared this before. Like, For work. Sometimes I travel well, you know, none of us really travel for work for right now. But once things come back to somewhat older state of affairs travel is there.
So, you know what I was saying to you before in different conversations? It’s interesting to me that when I travel, I never get asked the question. Do you find it hard to be away from your kids when you’re traveling? I’m around lots of other moms that are entrepreneurs and leaders, and, uh, been sitting at dinner tables when people go, oh man, you might find it so hard to be away from your little ones when you’re, when you go away.
People don’t ask me that the only reason that someone would ask me that is a big part of my life or my brand, I guess, is I talk about how being a dad is the most important thing. And so people might ask me that occasionally, but it’s very, very rare. And so isn’t that interesting that right off the bat, our context of women is that it must be hard.
And here’s what I know people are like, no, actually it’s not that quite hard. It’s actually really nice to take a bit of a break away from, you know, all of my responsibilities that I’ve got at home. So I think it’s the, we need to be careful with the questions that we’re asking ourselves and, and saying, no, like you don’t like me.
Valerie or with you as I honor the fact that you’re not just a mom, right. And even that phrase can trigger some people. Apparently it was like just a mom. Like doesn’t trigger a dad when they go. You’re not just a dad. Like, you need to recognize that in yourself, you have many roles that you can. Okay. And the many roles that you play in life when you feed each of those roles makes you feel like you’re a healthy individual.
And so just because the rest of the world uses language, that feels like it’s trapping too. Me. Moms who are also happened to be leaders and CEOs, and are also, entrepreneurs are also athletes as well. I’m not going to accept the rest of the world’s frame, that I’m only a mom. Right? And so like, you must be hard for you to be a mom and a CEO.
Well, why can’t it be the other way around? What, couldn’t it be? It must be really difficult for you to be a CEO.
[00:43:34] Stephanie: I think cause it’s judgment. So we take upon the judgment of other women who say, oh, I can’t believe she does that. But then it infiltrates our head and now we’re ruining, what’s the six inches between our ears because we are jaded by all that.
[00:43:49] Todd: Yeah. And you know, my, my question back to people on that would be, I don’t know, you’d have to ask my kids. Right. Cause I mean, all I’m doing is I’m projecting now. Here’s what we know when they’re little kids want us around all the time, but I’m not even gonna accept my kids, his frame on what I should or shouldn’t be doing because it’s also really healthy and important for kids to see their parents striving and doing things.
I mean, Come across a lot of people who have been extremely ambitious in their careers. Weren’t the kind of stereotypical parent that is around for every single thing. And yet their kids grew up to be super high functioning individuals. Right. And I’ve met other people who were around for every single moment of their kids’ lives and their kids turned out to be disasters.
So, I don’t know if there’s, I’m not, and I’m not projecting on other people. I’m going to tell you how to live your life. Really. I am going to tell you about just the psychological makeup of human beings, and that’s understanding that we have roles and sometimes there’s role conflict. There’s the, the mom and the CEO or the mom and the professional or the mom and the leader.
And it’s when you’re a CEO or when you’re a leader or when you’re a professional, be the professional, your inability to unshackle from the. Responsibilities of what you think a mom should be doing at the time. Like when you’re at work, that’s your own psychology. That’s allowing other paradigms to be falling into the way that you’re operating.
It’s not true though. Like, cause when you’re a professional, you can be a professional. And then Hey, on my schedule, this is when I show up as being a mom, you know, from five to five to nine and then from nine to nine to 10 that’s when I get to be away. I like really taking a look at your schedule because our calendar is truly our field of play of activity.
That’s where we show up, you know? So our ability to then schedule our identities on our calendar instead of scheduling activities, schedule your identity. So, you know, in this window, I’m showing up as Stephanie, the podcast interviewer, I’m not, yes, it’s about mom topics, but this is, I’m not a mom right now, because if you were a mom, you would be parenting.
Right. Right. And
[00:46:00] Stephanie: I think that’s interesting. You say scheduling because. Also, I think, I feel like as a business person, as a mom, I feel like I need to be peak performing in each of those though identities. So it gets exhausting. But also I think the back burner of it’s like the battery’s always running on being a mom and behind the scenes, whether or not you want to take that hat off.
So you’re trying to run peak performance on each of those cylinders and you just get burnt out. And I feel like that is kind of the feeling of a lot of us right now. And so I was curious, you talked about on one of our calls about being average, but just having an average day, can you kind of explain that?
Because I thought it would be interesting to just say like, I’m going to have an average mom day. I’m not going to make dinner. I’m not going to. But just explain kind of what it is to schedule average.
[00:46:48] Todd: Yeah. So it actually came up in the context of one of my professional athlete clients, where they had such high expectations of perfection for themselves.
And I said to him, because he was a hockey player, plays in the NHL and I said to him, okay, you’ve got three games this week. Pick which game. You’re going to be average, we’re going to do it as a test. And he’s like, what do you mean average? And I said, no, I want you to pick one game and you need to commit to just being average for that game.
You’re not going out there with a whole bunch of expectations that you need to like, get this many points and all that kinda just that’s your game to be average. And I said, you gotta be willing to commit to this stuff. I don’t want you to be in peak performing mindset for it. And so I picked it and ended up being his highest production night of, in a very, very, very long time.
And he was like, it was free. To do that. And then I explained to him cycle, I’m like, I couldn’t have told you this before, but when you schedule average, you sort of just allow stuff to roll off of you. Right? Like you just, you just gave a great example of, listen, I’m not going to cook the perfect three square meal today with vegetables, a starch and a potato in a, in a meat or whatever it is.
Right. Like it’s just. And because I’m ordering in and I’m being averaged today. I’m not going to judge myself for ordering in today. Right. Like what happens is you break down all of these expectations and it’s the expectations that cause most people, a lot of strife with the way that they’re operating in their days.
And so, you know, yeah. What if you had two days a week where you schedule. Being average, not even just at mom, but like today’s, you know, Tuesdays and Saturdays are my average days. Like you don’t get the best of me. And then what happens is it allows you to find what I mean, what I care about and helping people do, which is finding.
Because when you find that flow state, now, all of a sudden, and even though you scheduled average, a lot of times what happens is it’s your absolute best day, right? So the screaming, you know, like instead of being supermom today where my kids don’t scream, they, all they do is hug and love each other and share their toys with each other.
Every single moment of the day, today’s going to be average. I’m going to allow them to scream a little bit. I’m not going to set the expectation in my mind that when I go out. To CVS or Duane Reed or wherever you may go. My kids are going to just flawlessly, hang onto mom and hold. My hand is like, no, no, no.
They might run around and wreak a little bit of havoc inside the store. Today’s an average day. I love that.
[00:49:22] Stephanie: And it takes the pressure off a little too
[00:49:24] Todd: huge. It’s so important. And so people, cause I’ve talked about this from stage people like, wait, you’re like the peak performing guy and it’s like, yeah, but that’s, I’m giving you real tools.
Like this is actually how you create it. Like keeping the expectation of being perfect every single day is just exhausting. It’s an exhaustingly mindlessly stupid game and you’re playing someone else’s game, by the way. That’s not true. That’s just not, it’s not a true way to lead it. Yeah. Well, I
[00:49:51] Stephanie: want to wrap this up with a couple of final questions, being the alter ego, super super hero person.
What is your dad’s super power that you gained when you became a dad? So what superpower did you gain once you became
[00:50:07] Todd: a dad extreme? That’s one, the other one was extreme. Lack of caring about what other people thought I was already already developed. Both of those things. I was already pretty good at focusing.
I was already, I was already pretty good at not really caring what other people thought, but all of a sudden that sort of circle of caring got so much. This is the, yeah, this is, this is the group that really matters. Right? And, and then when I say super focus, it’s the challenge of being somewhat of a public figure is that you get a lot of people reaching out to you and you know, wanting stuff and that’s fine.
They can, I mean, a hundred percent, they can do that. And I don’t want people to stop. The ability to learn how to really say no people hear that a lot. But when I had that focus of being listen, like this is a major part of my life as being a phenomenal dad to my kids. There’s a lot of things that can’t happen in my life anymore, that used to happen, that I need to get rid of.
And so that super focus helped and listen at the end of the day, like there aren’t that many people who are. Gonna make that big of an impact on my life that I should be caring about their opinions whatsoever. So those are two skills that became going into super mode.
[00:51:27] Stephanie: I also think for me, when you were saying about focus, something I learned from you is just about the values and how you align those focus points based on your values.
So they don’t fit in that, just helping to create. That focus and then kind of to wrap it up. What would be your number one survival tip right now for moms out there during this time.
[00:51:49] Todd: Number one survival tip
[00:51:52] Stephanie: to whether this, this period. Cause it could be the new normal it could be. We don’t know how long.
So what would be your
[00:51:59] Todd: survival tip? It’s a mindset frame for you and it’s that depending on how you show up now, there’s other going to be someone that you. In 90 days or half a year from now that you’re really, really excited to meet, or there’s going to be someone that you’re going to meet 90 days or, you know, half a year from now, that is the same.
That is that didn’t get better in some way. And that’s, and this is a really important frame because chaos and crisis is the fastest way. To develop anything, human being a business, whatever. And so a mentor of mine always said to me, never waste a good crisis, never waste a good crisis. And so, you know, there’s a way that we can all be showing up right now that by developing that muscle every single day of being hopeful of being centered when we’re around other people, cause what’s happening around us.
Everyone’s most people are very emotional. All over the place. But if you’re this, if you’re someone who’s very emotionally centered right now, like a that’s you developing that? That sinew sits on your muscle now, and then the version of you that shows up 90 days or half a year from now is a very, very transformed individual.
Cause there’s going to be a lot of people who come out of this that are unfortunately not going to have, they will have wasted this good crisis. So I just, I call about like, you know, this, I call it feeding your future. You, you know, so as a, as a tool is like, The more that we can look at ourselves from the future standpoint of, you know, there’s a way that I can be acting today.
That’s going to set me up to be very powerful in the future. What happens is you’re actually powerful now and powerful in the future. That’s the kind of amazing tentpole that you create with that situation. Well, thank
[00:53:46] Stephanie: you. So where can we find you?
[00:53:49] Todd: Todd herman.me is my sort of home base on the interwebs.
And from there you can find links to, you know, alter ego effect.com is where the book is along with my super me. They can find those books on, you know, anywhere books are sold and all the links towards my social media stuff for there too.
[00:54:04] Stephanie: Thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate it. Thanks Carney.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of mommy’s on a call. Your support means the absolute world. To me. You can find the show notes for this episode and other goodies over at mommy’s on a call. And if you enjoyed this episode or have gotten value from the podcast, I would be so grateful if you could head on over to apple podcasts and leave a rating and review so that we can reach and empower more moms all over the world together.
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