The Other Accomplice Saboteurs

In the previous post, we described the Judge, Avoider, Controller, Hyper-Achiever, and Hyper-Rational. There are some more and a question for you is which one/s have the loudest and most insistent voice/s in your head (aka self-sabotage “self-talk”). When your Sage is active, your self-talk (ok, your brain) can be your best friend helping you with constructive next steps to work on whatever opportunities and challenges you may be facing. When your Saboteurs are active, your self-talk/brain can be your worst enemy. It’s apt that Shirzad Chamine called these “brains” the “Survivor Brain” (Saboteurs in action) and the “PQ Brain” (Sage in action). That is, PQ is your Positive Intelligence Quotient. It measures the percent of time your brain is working positively (serving you) vs. negatively (sabotaging you).

The Survivor Brain is triggered by fear (fight or flight) and “protects” us in ways to help us survive and usually not in ways that help us grow. Our survivor instincts and actions may keep us stuck, immobilized, or worse, do things that make our situation even worse than it is. The PQ Brain is enabled by calm and confidence (opportunity-seeking) and works to transform negatives into positives so that beneficial outcomes are made possible even out of adversity. The PQ Brain helps us to thrive and not just survive.

The Hyper-Vigilant is about looking out for dangers that keeps us anxious and anxiousness that keeps us vigilant about everything that can go wrong. The Pleaser is about satisfying others to gain acceptance usually at the expense of one’s self, thus causing unhappiness and resentment. The Restless is about keeping busy and looking for the next activity for more excitement. The Stickler is about finding the impossible perfect and can cause anxiety. And, finally, the Victim is about indulging in feelings of pain and seeing one’s self as always being victimized by someone or other. Did these brief descriptions remind you of people you know? Maybe even yourself?

Take note that recognizing our Judge and its loudest accomplice Saboteurs is part of the process of accepting that they are there, and will perhaps never be gone, and to remind us to take pause when we catch their volume getting louder and hurting us. That is, their appearance becomes an opportunity to do some “PQ reps” and activate the wisdom of our Sage. Shirzad Chamine uses the metaphor of building our “PQ muscles” by doing “PQ reps,” just like going to the gym to strengthen and build our physical muscles. The metaphor makes developing our Positive Intelligence more accessible and using our Judge and accomplices as reminders to turn their presence into taking steps to develop new patterns of thinking and acting. He suggests doing 100 PQ reps daily and this may sound difficult but assuming that our Judge and accomplice is super active, and we use each “appearance” to remind ourselves to think and act differently can and will help burn in new habits.

Photo by Andres Ayrton on

The three strategies Chamine shares to strengthen our PQ include weakening your saboteurs, strengthening your sage, and building your PQ Brain muscles. He then gives specifics on how to apply each of these strategies to help start changing deeply ingrained self-sabotaging patterns of being, thinking and acting.

More to on these in the next post. In the meantime, have you figured out which is your worst enemy? Is it the Judge and Hyper-Rational? Is it the Judge and the Stickler? You can choose to embark on a journey of personal growth to thrive instead of staying in a self-sabotaging mode of fear and just surviving.

I hope that by now you are ever more curious to learn more so why not try out the free Saboteur Assessment on the Positive Intelligence website?

Developing Your Positive Intelligence

Happy New Year, dear readers! With the New Year, what will you do more of, do less of, and continue doing, that will elevate your quality of life and that of others around you?

One of the things that make life happier and more meaningful is having a positive mindset. A positive mindset or outlook creates an upward spiral while a negative mindset or outlook creates a downward spiral. One may not always be self-aware about one’s habitual mindsets or patterns of thinking and how these are impacting one’s quality of life and success or lack of it.

There’s more to a positive mindset and one resource that has been quite a discovery (for me anyway) is the concept of Positive Intelligence (PQ) as developed and written about by Shirzad Chamine. It’s not just about having a mindset per se, but a realization that our patterns of thinking may be skewed one way or the other and thus shape who we are, our relationships, and our lives. Happily, with evidence supporting neuroplasticity, the possibility of making different choices exist. No more the blind acceptance of the old adage about old dogs can’t learn new tricks.

Diving into PQ, one realizes that we do all have our Saboteurs and our Sage. Our Saboteur is that voice in our heads or self-talk that is always looking at the bad side and keeps us stuck. Our Sage is that voice or self-talk that is open to the good side and allows us to get past being stuck. The Saboteur has many faces, namely, the Judge, the Controller, the Stickler, the Avoider, the Hyper-Achiever, the Pleaser, the Victim, the Restless, the Hyper-Vigilant, and the Hyper-Rational. Each one may have one or more dominant ones that drive our thinking, feeling, and actions. Developing awareness of which Saboteurs are your dominant ones is essential to overcoming them with one’s Sage.

The most common and familiar may be the Judge which beats you up for whatever shortcomings real or imagined. You may hear self-talk like this one and you’ll know it’s the Judge: “You missed your deadlines, you’re no good. You missed your targets, you’re incompetent. You don’t do anything right. Co-workers complimented you on your hard work, and you feel you don’t deserve it because they don’t know the real you.” The Judge activates your other Saboteurs, and the impact is that you get stressed, anxious, fearful, insomnia, and feel unhappy. Instead of focusing your energy on taking constructive action, you end up wallowing in self-pity, bitching, moaning, and whining (“BMW”), and being stuck where you are not knowing what to do.

The Judge can be very difficult to overcome especially if you have a mental knee-jerk reaction of judging yourself and everybody else. How come? It happens fast and without self-awareness. The Judge can make you feel bad about yourself, but sometimes it might also make you feel good about yourself as being superior to someone else. For example, when judging others as “incompetent and stupid,” that automatically puts you on “I’m better than this stupid guy or gal.”

By now, I hope that the concept of Positive Intelligence, our Saboteurs, and our Sage, has piqued your interest in learning more, and how you can develop your PQ. Can you really? Yes, you can. More on the other Saboteurs and how you can build your PQ to follow in the subsequent posts. In the meantime, if you’d like to go ahead and read up, visit and read the post “How We Self Sabotage” on Shirzad Chamine’s website. You can also check his book on Amazon: “Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential AND HOW YOU CAN ACHIEVE YOURS.”

The New Year is a good time to start fresh. But really, every day is just as good to start fresh. So, what will you do more of, do less of, and continue doing, that will elevate your quality of life and that of others around you?