Character Invention: Beyonce and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Frameworks and Tools

Beyoncé, the iconic singer, songwriter, and performer, captivates audiences worldwide with her powerful stage presence and magnetic energy. Behind her extraordinary talent lies an alter ego named "Sasha Fierce." This intriguing persona has become synonymous with Beyoncé's commanding performances and fearless artistry. What few people know is that Beyonce developed this character to overcome her imposter syndrome when she steps on stage.  

Everyone battles some form of self-doubt.  Even the best in the world get insecure.  The difference between them and us regular folks is that they found ways to work with it skillfully.  The technique Beyonce uses is Character Invention.  Character Invention is a captivating blend of drama therapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). The technique requires you to invent a character who can do what feels scary to you. Then, the “character” performs outside your comfort zone.

Beyonce, the kween herself is a master of Character Invention.  Beyonce created Sasha Fierce to be her stage persona. Sasha is a fearless, audacious, incredibly brave performer.

In a captivating interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2008, Beyoncé was asked about the inspiration behind her alter ego, Sasha Fierce. Beyoncé shed light on the significance of Sasha Fierce and her artistic journey. She explained, "Sasha Fierce is the fun, more sensual, more aggressive, more outspoken side and more glamorous side that comes out when I'm working and when I'm on the stage."  

Beyoncé revealed that Sasha Fierce emerged as a way for her to tap into a deeper level of confidence and unleash her powerful presence on stage. She added, "It's a way for me to not only embrace those parts of myself, but also to have a name for that person that I become when I'm on stage." With this insight, Beyoncé showcased her understanding of the duality between her authentic self and the dynamic persona she embodies during performances, emphasizing the transformative power of Sasha Fierce in her megawatt performances.

Sasha can do the pop star stuff on stage that Beyonce Knowles would be totally embarrassed to do.  That’s the power of Character Invention. The version of you who has all your normal insecurities, worries and self-doubts marvels at what your character can do. Performers like Beyonce aren’t the only ones who use this technique.  Top Executive Coaches teach Character Invention in seminars that cost over $10,000.  But you can create a character for free. There are 5 steps to Character Invention:

Step 1: Envision the Character

The first step in character invention is to envision the character you wish to create. This involves tapping into your creativity and imagination to develop a clear picture of the character's personality, background, and motivations.  Get specific. Let the character have a personality.   Borrow from fiction, history, heroes, etc.This will help you bring the details to life. 

These questions will help you develop the persona.  

  • What does this character do when you feel fear?
  • What does this character do when you feel nervous?
  • What does this character do when you  feel insecure?

Step 2: Find the Name

Once you have a clear vision of the character, the next step is to find the perfect name. Select a name that resonates with the character's essence and captures their unique qualities. The name acts as a symbolic representation, adding depth and meaning to their identity.  

All great characters have a name. What do you call your Sasha Fierce? Give it a badass name that represents the values your character effortlessly brings to life.

Step 3: Source the Trigger

Every character has a trigger or catalyst that propels them into action. This trigger represents a significant event, emotion, or circumstance that influences the character's journey. To create a compelling character, identify and understand the trigger that sets the story in motion. Delve into their experiences, conflicts, and desires. 

 Identify the action or moments that initiate you to step into the character.  For Beyonce, this is when she puts on her stilettos before going on stage.  Find a physical action that launches the character. 

Step 4: Develop the Physicality

The physicality of a character encompasses their body language, gestures, voice, and overall presence. In this step, explore how different physical attributes and movements can convey specific emotions and traits. Experiment with voice modulation, postures, and mannerisms to fully embody the character's essence.

Explore how the character feels in your body. Sasha Fierce has a specific posture, walk and even a way she holds her body in space.  If you are in your head, you’re dead. Your character is connected to your body. Explore the postures and physical movements of your character.

Step 5: Practice

The final step in character invention is dedicated to practice and embodiment. Engage in rehearsals and role-playing exercises to fully inhabit the character. Immerse yourself in their world, interact with others as the character, and refine their speech patterns, reactions, and interactions. 

You can order coffee at Starbucks as your character. No one needs to know. Practice accessing the character when you need it in low-stakes environments. Repetition is the mother of skill. More reps help your character be available when you need it most. 


Character Invention is a technique that allows all of us to transcend our everyday identities and tap into a heightened state of creativity, expression, and confidence. This character, like Beyonce’s Sasha FIerce, can help us shed inhibitions, push boundaries, and explore aspects of our personality that may not always be present in our day to day life. Next time you are closing a deal, making a speech, or giving a sales pitch, try inventing your Sasha Fierce.

If you want to see the ultimate Character Invention live, watch the first couple of minutes of Beyonce’s Super Bowl Performance.  

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