I’ll Be Happy When..

It’s never good enough! I’ll be happy when I land the big contract. Why not an A+ instead of an A? I’ll be happy when my partner is less stressed. I’ll be happy when Covid is over. I’ll be happy when I have a million dollars in the bank because then I can… and so on and so forth.

Ever notice yourself thinking anything similar? Oh, the toxic impact of the mind chatter and how it can manifest in our behavior!

There’s little celebrating or rest for those with a strong Hyper-Achiever. They continually kick the can of happiness and yet fool themselves into thinking one more accomplishment or achievement will be the moment they pause to practice some basic savoring techniques. Problem is, happiness is only generated by consistent practice. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating – happiness is an inside game and is like a muscle that grows from use. This is the premise for Positive Intelligence™ – to maximize more ease and flow in all we do to experience more positivity, access the thrive aka “sage” part of our brain and dramatically increase our performance and well-being, not to mention help with creating thriving relationships within our sphere of influence.

Hyper-Achievers depend on constant performance and achievement for self-respect and self-validation. As a result, there can be a little too much yearning for attention and acceptance from others to fill the void. And unsustainable workaholic tendencies result in the frantic hamster wheel syndrome and detachment from others’ emotional needs. We Hyper-Achievers are a hot mess huh?  

Well, I reassure you that all of the saboteurs are no picnic and are what we call “equal opportunity destroyers“.

It’s not all bad though. The strengths when balanced, are pretty incredible and include being:

  • driven, pragmatic, adaptable, goal-oriented and self-directed
  • capable of growing self and others to achieve full potential (works for me in the talent potential profession!)
  • inspiring self and others towards meaningful growth and development

The lie of the Hyper-Achiever is that life is about achieving and producing results. And portraying a good image helps achieve results while feelings can be a distraction that just gets in the way.

And kicking the can of happiness to achieve more and suppress connections with others results in the exact opposite outcome of what is desired! No satisfaction!

So do any of these statements resonate with you?

  • Peace and happiness are fleeting and short-lived in brief celebrations of achievement 
  • Self-acceptance is continuously conditioned on the next success
  • Lose touch with deeper feelings, deeper self, and ability to connect deeply with others 
  • Others might be pulled into the performance vortex of the Hyper-Achiever and become similarly lopsided in their focus on external achievement 

Here are a few tips to recalibrate so you are achieving and not Hyper-Achieving to your detriment:

1. If you relate to “I’ll be happy when,” the first step is to become aware of the emptiness of a Hyper-Achievement-oriented fulfillment. Get brutally honest with yourself about how long you allowed yourself to notice and celebrate an accomplishment before jumping to the next item or asking yourself ‘Now what’ or ‘Then What.’

2. Contemplate the cost of depending on others’ attention, acceptance, and validation. This can be a very difficult acceptance for most; many people don’t want to admit or be honest with themselves that they have a high need for external validation.

3. Contemplate and reframe how you are giving away your power and ultimate impact by pushing yourself to the limits with projects or performance goals. What’s it costing you in your relationships, highest impact and well-being. How may you be more unconditional in how you demonstrate self-love and empathy for yourself?

4. Since the Hyper-Achiever results in lower achievement (by focusing on quantity instead of quality), how can you incorporate more fun and levity into your role? Ever try turning projects or tasks into a game for yourself? It’s ok to be passionate about winning while being less attached to the outcomes. This letting go will liberate and likely produce the opposite result in more desirable outcomes.

5. To be fully self-actualized requires knowing yourself. And this also requires being honest, open and willing with yourself too!

6.  Understanding your emotions and allowing time to process them will help you know yourself more deeply and move up the ladder to a more desirable emotion.

7.  Use meditation, mindfulness practices or better yet – explore the many different varieties of PQ reps that can be used to get grounded and activate the executive part of your brain. 

If you’re feeling stuck, curious, or might benefit from accountability and more ideas, let’s connect!  Click the button below to schedule your complimentary strategy session and come to the call with a challenge or opportunity!

Or if you’d like to see if you have a strong Hyper-Achiever saboteur, CLICK HERE to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and how you might be overusing your strengths.  

When Will the Other Shoe Drop? The Impact of Worry

When accessed from the sage, thrive part of our brain where the highest level of executive function resides, those with a strong Hyper-vigilant are the guardians of families, communities and institutions. They are loyal, reliable, dependable and hardworking. They are also sensitive and aware of risks and dangers to themselves, others and institutions. There are more positive qualities when this quality is truly a balanced strength instead of a saboteur. And yet there is a huge difference between vigilance and being Hyper-vigilant.

If you remember the story of Chicken Little, the poor character was on overdrive and consumed by constant worry that the sky was falling. The Hyper-vigilant is consumed by continuous, intense anxiety about things that could go wrong. It’s an eternal vigilance that never rests. And it’s exhausting and dangerous to the point that it can prevent you from seeing real, true threats or dangers.  

Maybe you or someone you know is:

  • Always anxious and doubts themselves or others
  • Has an extraordinary sensitivity to danger signals
  • Constantly expecting mishap or danger
  • Suspicious of what others are up to and believes that people frequently mess up
  • In constant need to seek reassurance, safety, or guidance in procedures, rules, authorities, or institutions

Many moons ago, in the mid-’90s, I worked with someone who over-anticipated, worried and frequently tried to waste my time by sharing her concerns. Needless to say – I couldn’t stand being around this person! She was a drain. She was a mood-killer and frankly, someone I consider to be a toxic individual! The gift from this experience is the wealth of information I learned about ways to not interact with others and I swore from that time that I would always go to lengths to build up others and espouse an optimistic attitude as a leader.

The lie of the Hyper-vigilant is that life is full of dangers and if I don’t look out for them, who will? This drives individuals with a strong Hyper-vigilant to be cynical, anxious, fearful of making mistakes, and untrusting of others.  

And isn’t it utterly exhausting to live this way, in constant worry of when the other shoe will drop? By worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong, there is a greater opportunity to miss true threats. Effectiveness is diluted. There is a ton of energy that is expended that could be put to much better use. And so…

  • performance and productivity suffers
  • others avoid the Hyper-vigilant because the intensity of the energy drains them
  • Hyper-vigilant lose credibility from the constant “crying wolf” or “sky is falling” phenomenon
  • the hyper-vigilant burns out 

Tom Hanks a few years ago, said something along the lines of “why worry? By doing so, we potentially put ourselves through a difficult situation twice.” And isn’t this essentially a form of self-torture? And of course, the impact on others is draining and it’s truly miserable to be around someone who is so cynical, untrusting, and suspicious. 

So how do we tame the Hyper-vigilant?    

1.  Expose the lie. Sadly, we want to be “right” so much of the time that it can take great resolve and facilitated accountability to dial down the lie that safety and security can not be found by controlling external circumstances.  Like happiness, vigilance is an inside game. Mindset!

2. Build up your self-command muscle by focusing on one physical sensation. Use these power breaks to disrupt and distract. This is all neuroscience and positive psychology in action!  

3.  Contemplate what gift or opportunity you may instead harness by building up either knowledge, a specific skill, or inspiration. What can you learn NOT to do from an annoying Hyper-vigilant? Maybe it’s also an opportunity to develop greater empathy, patience, and compassion.

4.  Finally, create 80-20 buckets. Buckets help to organize and strategize! Understand and practice that 20% of risks are worthy of a ‘Sage Vigilance’ while 80% of everything else doesn’t deserve the attention. Because even if something goes wrong, you’ll be just fine!  

These steps and building up the three core mental muscles through Positive Intelligence will have a dramatic impact on your well-being and performance.  To experience more moments of being ‘in the zone’ requires:

Intercepting the saboteurs ⇒ Building up and using the self-command muscle ⇒Applying the sage perspective and sage powers

If you’d benefit from accountability and more ideas, let’s connect!  Click the button below to schedule your complimentary strategy session and come to the call with a challenge or opportunity!

Or if you’d like to see if you have a strong Hyper-vigilant saboteur, CLICK HERE to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and how you might be overusing your strengths. 

The Cost of Avoiding – Especially to Teams and Your Most Important Relationships

Procrastinating tasks or projects, steering clear of difficult conversations, saying ‘yes’ to more than is realistic – do these characteristics sound like they belong to anyone you know? Although people who have a strong Avoider are typically even-keeled and flexible, there is indeed a cost to their well-being, performance and especially upon relationships. Anxiety and resentment are common feelings that bubble up when work piles up as a result of procrastination and because the workload is overwhelming. Those who have a strong avoider saboteur tend to take on more because keeping the peace and maintaining harmony with others is an important value. But the outcome is always the opposite of what is intended. Conflict is exacerbated because issues are left to fester, performance and productivity take a hit because the avoider focuses on the less important tasks, and there is a dangerous impact upon well-being as work and relationship pressures seem almost insurmountable. The ultimate cost? BURNOUT.

And, like all the other saboteurs in the Positive Intelligence (PQ®) model, when the strengths of the Avoider are in balance, they are pretty fantastic and include:

  • seeks peace and harmony – with self and others
  • has an easy-going and even-keeled temperament
  • is flexible and adaptable
  • leans toward being positive and is not as judgmental toward others

Avoidance of the difficult or unpleasant will eventually backfire with workload and have a nasty ripple effect upon stress and anxiety.  But one area that is less understood is the avoidance of conflict.  Those with a strong avoider saboteur buy into the lie that no good comes out of conflict when in reality, the strongest teams, marriages, leader-follower relationships ALL flourish when their bonds are deepened through HEALTHY CONFLICT.  

Appropriately, in the annual Positive Intelligence program for teams, there is a module devoted to developing healthy conflict.  And if you’re familiar with the work of Patrick Lencioni and his 5 levels of high-functioning teams, conflict is the second step on the pyramid.    

Here are the 5 levels: 

5 levels of high functioning team

 Here are a few quick tips to incorporate immediately to build healthy conflict:

1.  As awareness is always the first step, anyone with a strong avoider benefits by first understanding the difference between “numbness” as a strategy for generating peace vs. discernment and springing into action.

2.  Practicing healthy “no’s” to themselves and others, to prevent from taking on too much responsibility. Aligning with values is important, especially when deciding the pros and cons of making a decision of what to take on and what may be declined.

3.  Create a to-do list, or list of items procrastinated, review and get honest with yourself about the highest-level task you’re willing to tackle immediately. Also use a healthy, small reward system to celebrate the completion of steps or tasks to help reinforce desired behavior.

There’s a lot more to incorporate to create healthy conflict. Understanding the three listening levels is important, as well as applying empathy, striving toward active, constructive response styles, cultivating a psychologically safe culture, and so much more.  

If you’d like to explore more ideas, let’s connect to discuss possibilities.  Just click the button below for a complimentary strategy session.

Or if you’d like to see if you have a strong Avoider saboteur, CLICK HERE to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and how you might be overusing your strengths. 

WANT TO NURTURE HEALTHIER TEAMS?  Learn more about your strengths and blindspots by answering 12 quick questions. CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT A HIGH PERFORMING TEAM

Why Many Training Programs Don’t Stick

‘Buckets’ for everything help with organization and also drives performance and productivity.  And if we follow the 80-20 rule, or Pareto Principle as it’s more formally known, 20% of effort typically results in 80% of results.  Following this formula can help keep the Stickler at bay and the otherwise anxiety-ridden need to have everything perfect and maintain order at any cost (and there is always a cost when the effort is 100% all of the time).   Did you know that perfectionism is correlated with “fight mode” in the Fight/Flight/Freeze response?  Fight isn’t so noble.  Let’s do a makeover!

Think about the last time you attended a training or seminar and were so excited about what you learned and then got back to the office, got busy with the fires of your day and decided to punt applying some of your insights.  Then another day lapsed and you didn’t get to techniques you learned about and again, postponed incorporating ideas.  More and more time lapses and now…..you’ve forgotten a large portion of all the great information you learned.

How many times has this happened to you?  I hear it all the time.  And it’s truly one of the reasons I prefer coaching to training, because smaller, frequent sessions is how we get results with lasting power.  It’s just like preparing for an exam – cramming doesn’t result in retention of information because the information never gets transferred to long-term memory.  Slow and steady ALWAYS wins the race when it comes to learning and growing.

Most training models rely upon the 80/20 rule:  the majority of results and impact rely upon retaining 80% of information learned and retained.  The other 20% is attributed to practicing and applying the ideas or new concepts so the information is transferred to long-term memory.  But without some sort of practice or application, the results never happen.  This is why experiential learning is so much more effective.

Behold, a different type of training that relies less upon retaining insight, more like 20% to be precise and more systematically relies upon 80% of practice and simple, experiential learning for durable, lasting transformation.  

Until You’re willing to be wrong about many things you know, you will never change”  – Dr. Eugene Choi

And if you never change, how can you grow? – Doni Landefeld

Most professional development training programs fail for two reasons:

1. They rely upon 80% insight and retention of information (which is unrealistic even for the most well-intentioned and disciplined professional) and…

2.  They don’t go to the root cause of fixing problems, so the change is unlikely to be lasting

Many training programs, self-help techniques, and professional development programs are only successful to the extent that an individual consistently practices their teachings and doesn’t get mentally hijacked when stressors cause them to fall back to their baseline behavior.  

Many of these otherwise well-intentioned programs and attempts are just like slapping a band aid on a wound.  Under wear, tear and stress, the band-aid will fall off and the wound is once again exposed.  Unless we get to the root cause to overcome and heal the underlying ‘symptom,’ there will be no lasting change and transformation will be impeded or not happen at all.  

This is the main reason I now begin the majority of my Emotional Intelligence engagements with Positive Intelligence (PQ) as a foundation.  Building the foundation of PQ is essential.  It helps us to understand when we get mentally hijacked and how we may pre-empt and intercept our saboteurs.  The self-awareness to understand and pre-empt these set-backs expedites skill building so it lasts.  

PQ (Positive Intelligence) + EQ (Emotional Intelligence) = New You!

Ready to do some re-balancing of your strengths and add some new skills on top?

Or if you’d like to see if you have a strong Stickler saboteur, CLICK HERE to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and how you might be overusing your strengths. 

The #1 Factor at the Root of Employee Engagement

Do any of your employees seem more withdrawn than others? Perhaps these same individuals often feel like they’re misunderstood. Or perhaps their highly developed sensitivity and introspection is applied to the point that it is a detriment and these otherwise individualistic and empathic folks come across as temperamental with streaks of martyrdom showing up at work (or home).  

Behold the ‘victim’ saboteur which is arguably the most misunderstood of the ten saboteurs on the Positive Intelligence platform, especially considering all the many strengths that can be leveraged when those who have a strong victim are energized. Don’t be mistaken by the label, we all display tendencies of the victim saboteur from time to time and it is no better or worse than any of the other nine saboteurs.

One of the ways the victim saboteur can be triggered and derail employee engagement is when one fundamental ingredient is missing in organizational culture. And it begins and ends with leadership and how well leaders cultivate a climate where their employees feel psychologically safe. Psychological safety is the alpha and omega when it comes to driving employee engagement and so of course communication, including how feedback is delivered, becomes critical in conveying psychological safety. 

Ever wonder why those performance reviews weren’t received well? One of the main factors that must be incorporated is in achieving psychological safety. And reviews are not something that can be attended to just once per year, if the feedback is to be meaningful to the extend that employees feel psychologically safe. As you can see from the diagram below, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs displays how safety is toward the bottom of the pyramid. And we’re not just talking physical safety – psychological safety is just as important.

Remember, it’s quite difficult or impossible to progress up the pyramid until a previous level on the pyramid has been achieved. So until safety is achieved, the next level (love and belonging) where engagement begins, will not take place.

A great guru on the topic, psychologist William Kahn, defines employee engagement as “the simultaneous employment and expression of a person’s ‘preferred self’ in task behaviors that promote connections in work and to others.” Kahn indicates that it’s necessary to think of employee engagement as an expression of how well they are connected, committed, and contributing to the organization and its goals.

These 3 C’s have a direct correlation with productivity, quality of work, employee retention and more, so organizations and their leaders really need to nurture psychological safety. And there’s tons of room for improvement because data from 2021 indicate that only 20% of employees globally, are engaged. Wow, this is sobering!

Pyramid illustration

So what are the steps necessary to create an environment where employees feel psychologically safe? There are four areas to address. And a key factor to consider, according to Professor Kahn, is to create and maintain an environment where vulnerability is both encouraged and rewarded so employees feel:

1.  Included 

2.  Safe to explore and learn

3.  Safe to contribute

4.  Safe to challenge the status quo

Expression of vulnerability must start at the top and be valued and conveyed by executive leadership. Otherwise the lack of consistency will smell of hypocrisy and then senior and middle managers will not be inspired to model and reinforce the “desired behavior.” Critical for all leaders is to consistently communicate in a way that does not punish or instill any fear of negative consequences when employees attempt any of the 4 stages listed above.

Environment Enables Employee Expression

In the end, psychological safety will only be achieved by modeling and rewarding vulnerability. When an employee feels safe and their vulnerability across the 4 stages is both valued and rewarded, reap much higher engagement! 

So if we want less of the victim saboteur to show up, attention to these 4 stages will tame the survivor brain where the victim resides and instead activate the executive part of the brain where creativity, performance and more sage behaviors reside.  

Need more help or would you like a great book recommendation?  Simply click the strategy session below and let’s figure out next possible steps for you and your organization.

Or, if you’d like to see if you have a strong Victim saboteur, CLICK HERE to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and how you might be overusing your strengths. 

The Cost of the Controller at Home and Work

It shows up at home when we parent and at work when we think we know best and decide to not delegate. There are many other ways the controller can rear its head and although those of us who have this as a top saboteur believe we mean well, the impact is usually the opposite of what we intend. Think about it… As parents, we love our kids so much and just want the best for them, so we hover over and attempt to control most moves they make – all in the name of wanting the best outcome. At work, we believe we know the best way to execute and efficiently complete a task, so we don’t share any responsibility and consequently, get in the rhythm of taking on more and more.

Top reactions of those with a high controller include yelling, threatening, withdrawing or nagging.

And the top negative feelings associated include irritation, frustration, worry, exasperation and even fear.

Those who have a strong controller have an anxiety-based need to take charge and control situations and people’s actions. And when they are not able to achieve this level of control, impatience and even more anxiety result. Might as well hop on a hamster wheel for the same outcome.

Hamster wheel

The controller “motivates” according to the following lies below. I call them lies because it’s too easy to fall into a trap of believing their power. But, rationalizing isn’t always rational.

The Lies…

Without the controller, you can’t get much done. You need to push people. If I don’t control, I will be controlled and I can’t live with that. I am trying to get the job done for all our sakes

Does this sound like you or anyone you know? 

Now, it’s not all bad because remember, all saboteurs represent our greatest strengths that are overused. When used in the right amount, the positives of the controller include:

  • Confidence, action-oriented, decisiveness, willful, persistence
  • Ability to challenge self and others  (positive when it comes from a vantage of pulling instead of pushing!)
  • Able to do the right thing, even if unpopular
  • See possibilities and activate self and others towards the outcome

A lot of leaders have a high controller saboteur and when channeled in the appropriate way and balanced, the impact can be phenomenal. Hello, high and inspiring performers! And when overused, relationships suffer and stress is high. Hello, the blow to employee engagement because psychological safety has been compromised (more on this topic next month).  

Here are some of the characteristics to be on the lookout for so you know when the controller might be reeling ‘out of control’

  • strong energy and need to control and take charge
  • connect with others through competition, challenge, physicality, or conflict rather than softer emotions
  • willful, confrontational, straight talker
  • push people beyond their comfort zone
  • comes alive when doing the impossible and beating the odds
  • stimulate by and connects through conflict.  Surprised that others get hurt
  • Intimidate others.  In your face communication interpreted by others as anger or criticism 

The thoughts that drive those with the controller are pretty absolute with little grey area or middle ground:

  • You are either in control or out of control
  • If I work hard enough I can and should control the situation so it goes my way
  • Others want and need me to take control. I’m doing them a favor
  • No one tells me what to do

And then there’s the feedback loop with feelings:

  • high anxiety when things aren’t going as expected
  • angry and intimidating when others don’t follow (criticism and condemnation NEVER motivate)
  • impatient with others feelings and different styles
  • Rarely admits when feeling hurt or rejected

The impact of the controller saboteur upon others is the exact opposite desired result. As with all saboteurs, there is a paradoxical impact or statically speaking, an inverse effect because the more control exerted, the less control is actually achieved. The controller will get temporary results, but it will be at the cost of others feeling controlled and resentful; others won’t be able to tap their own greater reserves. The controller also generates a great deal of anxiety because many things in work and life are ultimately not controllable.

I’m not advocating permissive parenting or a lack of oversight at work. But, both kids and team members need to feel empowered to learn. This will reward the behavior next time around so they take initiative and do pleasing work or take the desired action. Letting go of some of the attachment to the outcome is required and is the only way to fuel learning and initiative.

So, want to have relationships that are less strained and so the important others in your life are more connected and committed to you and contribute what you desire? Then we need to tame the controller.

Let’s rebalance the Controller saboteur so your relationships are enriched and you may practice happiness a little more effortlessly to reap more joy in your life. 

Or if you’d like to see if you have a strong controller saboteur, CLICK HERE to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and how you might be overusing your strengths. 

Pleasing Others So You May Truly Give Thanks

If the Goldilocks principle applied to all areas of life, there would be no conflict, little stress, and productivity would be chugging along at a welcome rate of incremental growth. Everything in life – at home, work and everything in between would be “just right!”  

Yet when it comes to pleasing others, many people struggle to find the right balance, so they are not over-giving and depleting their ‘well of resilience.’ Individuals who have a strong Pleaser saboteur, have many positive qualities. The problem is they tend to draw on this strength too much, go out of their way to help/please/rescue/flatter and then punt their own needs. Then resentment creeps in. Or burnout.

First, let’s look at the strengths of people with ‘The Pleaser:’

  • emphatic
  • loving and giving
  • tuned into others’ feelings and needs
  • emotionally self-aware
  • potential for high emotional intelligence

These are all positive qualities, right?!   

The problem is many individuals with the pleaser default to giving of themselves too much of the time to the point that they are no longer giving from a place of joy. Too much of anything, even giving, can take a toll.

Pleasers will try to rationalize by reminding themselves that they don’t give for their own sake, that it’s to help others in a selfless way and that they don’t expect anything in return. And the world would be a better place if everyone did the same. But where should the line be drawn? Boundaries ensure balance.

There are some distinct characteristics of the Pleaser when it is being overused or abused, including:

  • a strong need to be liked by people and extreme attempts to earn appreciation or affection
  • a need for frequent reassurance from others about their acceptance and affection
  • difficulty expressing their own needs openly and directly.  May do so indirectly by having people feel obligated to reciprocate care
  • can come across as “needy”
  • can be too forceful and intrusive in trying to help others 

And the thoughts that drive the Pleaser, some a bit irrational, include:

  • To be a good person, I should put the needs of others ahead of my own
  • It bothers me when people don’t notice or care about what I have done for them. They can be selfish and ungrateful
  • I give away too much and don’t think of myself enough
  • I can make anyone like me
  • If I don’t rescue people, who will?

And then working in tandem with thoughts are the following feelings:

  • Expressing my own needs directly feels selfish
  • Worry that insisting on own needs may drive others away
  • Resentful for being taken for granted, but have difficulty expressing it

The impact of the Pleaser when on overdrive has serious consequences for individuals as well as those in their sphere of influence. When pleasers over-give of themselves, they can suffer emotionally, physically and financially. They may also burn out from accruing resentment when others either don’t appreciate them or reciprocate. Co-dependency can also develop as some others may depend too much on the pleaser and an unhealthy relationship unravels. Then there are those on the receiving end who may be driven away by the Pleaser’s intrusive attempts to help. Needy is creepy!

The Goldilocks principle is so important for those with the Pleaser.  And it is possible to rebalance their strengths, so Pleasers are giving and helping from a place of joy instead of mounting resentment.  

Have problems saying NO or need to re-balance so your well of resilience is not depleted?  Or maybe you have an employee or loved one who would benefit from keeping the strengths of the Pleaser while squashing the negative characteristics, thoughts and feelings?

Let’s rebalance so this Thanksgiving and holiday season, the giving is something you may truly be thankful for and celebrate! What will happen six months from now if you don’t take the first step?

Or if you’d like to see if you have a strong Pleaser saboteur, CLICK HERE to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and how you might be overusing your strengths. 

WANT TO BE A BETTER BOSS?  The Goldilocks principle is important for managers and leaders too – to give in just the right amount and delegate.  Learn more about your strengths and blindspots by answering 12 quick questions.  CLICK HERE IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE A BETTER BOSS.

Mr. Spock was wrong… Is this skill hurting your relationships and productivity?

“It’s highly irrational” – was one of Spock’s famous sayings. If you ever watched any of the vintage Star Trek series or any of the movies from the 80s through current times, you’re probably familiar with Spock and how he focused upon logic, data and rational thinking. Good stuff right?  

Yes and no is the short answer. Here’s the longer answer… Logic, data, and rational thinking are all helpful in certain situations. Some professions, like accounting, actuarial science, medicine/healthcare, and many types of engineering rely upon the skill of analyzing data, applying logic and deduction to arrive at answers. This approach doesn’t work however when relating to others or unleashing creativity.  

Logic and relating to others live in different parts of the brain. 

Spock’s strength was a detriment when it came to relating to Earthlings. If Spock were to take the Positive Intelligence assessment, he would surely have the Hyper-rational as his top saboteur.  

Those who have the Hyper-rational tend to apply an intense focus on the rational processing of everything, including relationships. And the result is these individuals can be perceived as colddistant, and intellectually arrogant.

Hyper-rational is a skill. And like any skill, there are strengths and detriments (when the skill is overused).

Here are the strengths of Hyper-rational, sound familiar about you or anyone you know?

  • Capable of deep insight and understanding through objective analysis
  • Can be very observant and perceptive
  • Has the power of great mental concentration
  • Drive towards great expertise  (SME – subject matter expert)
  • Can be a great explorer and inventor

Those with the Hyper-rational can have an intense and active mind though come across as arrogant, aloof, or secretive. And those who are in a relationship with a Hyper-rational (work or home) may say the Hyper-rational is too private and doesn’t let others into their deeper feelings. Instead, feelings show up through passion about ideas… but watch out if you don’t share that passion! Hyper-rationals tend to prefer to watch the craziness around them and analyze or judge from a distance; they can be cynical and debate from a place of negativity or even hostility. And they can lose track of time due to intense periods of concentration.  

And there are typical thoughts and feelings that accompany the Hyper-rational including:

  • The rational mind matters most
  • Feelings are distracting and irrelevant
  • Many people are so irrational and sloppy in their thinking
  • Needs and emotions of others distract me from my projects
  • I need to shut out intrusions
  • What I value most is knowledge, understanding, and insight
  • Self-worth is attached to mastering knowledge and competence

And so, the Hyper-rational may feel:

  • Frustrated with others who are emotional and not rational enough
  • Anxious about preserving personal time, energy, and resources against intrusions
  • Feeling different, alone, and not understood
  • Skeptical or cynical 

As part of our identity, any skill becomes a preference that we use as a “go-to” tool. And this skill becomes dominant and can feed us lies that seem totally convincing. For the hyper-rational, it is that the rational mind is the most important thing. It needs to be protected from the wasteful intrusion of people’s messy emotions and needs, so it can get its work done.

BUT… there is a cost of overusing this “strength.”

Relationships suffer and productivity decreases because creativity is stunted. Overusing the skill of Hyper-rational limits the depth and flexibility of relationships in work and at home by analyzing rather than experiencing feelings. And this can intimidate less analytical people.

The important takeaway here is to use all strengths in moderation. Problem is, we tend to use our strengths most of the time, for all tasks and situations. Without some insight, you or your employees may surely have some blind spots. And this will hurt interpersonal relationships and productivity, and of course, will negatively impact happiness. It’s a cycle.

As always, the first step in growth is self-awareness. Want to see if you or someone on your team has the Hyper-rational saboteur? Then we can tackle re-balancing, so this skill is used when appropriate and not overused or abused. Click the button below to schedule a complimentary strategy session. 

Or if you’d like to see if you have a strong Hyper-rational saboteur, CLICK HERE to opt-in to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and where you’re being held back. 

Why You May Have Difficulty Focusing or Living ‘Fully in the Moment’

As we continue to acclimate and adjust to an unprecedented time in contemporary humankind, many more people I run into are stressed out and longing for more. The “Great Resignation” – so many departing from work altogether or work as they knew it before Covid, is one example of the quest for wanting more meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.  And it’s not necessarily a negative unless the strategy becomes debilitating or is a detriment. So let me ask you…

Does this sound like you or someone you know? 

  • You’re easily distracted and get too scattered
  • Stay busy, juggling many different tasks and plans
  • Seek excitement and variety instead of comfort or safety
  • Bounce (escape) from unpleasant feelings very quickly
  • Seek constant new stimulation 

Impatience, Fear of Missing Out (FOMO!), More More More, Better to Bury Pain and Worry to Avoid Overwhelm

While most of us experience some of these qualities from time to time, if any of these characteristics resonate with you frequently (or someone else in your life), chances are good that you/they have a strong “Restless” saboteur. Those who are Restless are constantly in search of greater excitement in the next activity or being in a constant state of staying busy. They are rarely at peace or content with the current activity. And not savoring, not living fully in the moment and appreciating the present time can lead to unhappiness, dissatisfaction and burnout.   

And sometimes, people might defer to this Restless strategy to escape from facing fears, anxiety or painful feelings. The ‘ostrich head in the sand’ can have crippling effects on relationships and well-being. Do you bury negative feelings or engage in self-destructive behavior to numb the pains in your life? Sooner or later the volcano will erupt and the outcomes can range from miserable relationships to life-threatening episodes. 

It’s not all bad though.  Restless when not in overdrive, is associated with many positive qualities.  Some of these strengths include:

  • High energy and vitality
  • Openness, curiosity and spontaneity
  • Contagious enthusiasm and appreciation for life
  • Capable of great productivity and creativity
  • Energizing and engaging others in co-creation
  • Capable of great breadth and activity and pursuits

The key, as with most things in a healthy, fulfilling life is all about moderation and finding your balance. As with all of our saboteurs, there are many thoughts and feelings we must address, so we don’t justify the lies and stunt our potential (and well-being). So it’s ok to want fun and excitement, but not if you’re coming from a place of anxiety to ‘do it all’ or because you’d rather not deal with something unpleasant. And if you’re struggling to focus or concentrate on issues and relationships that truly matter, it might be time to enlist some help. Or if you’re having a rough time building anything that is sustainable and others are having difficulty keeping up with your frenzy or chaos, this is a red flag that your Restless is in overdrive.

It might be time to leverage your Restless so it is serving you instead of holding you back and annoying others in your life!  

Curious about how to intercept your Restless Saboteur?  If you’d like to ask some questions and unwrap how Positive Intelligence may transform your life or your organization, click the green button below to schedule a complimentary strategy session.

Or if you’d like to see if you have a strong Restless saboteur, CLICK HERE to opt-in to receive a link to the free PQ assessment where you’ll learn about your saboteurs and where you’re being held back. 

Why Your Understanding of Your “Judge” is Wrong

Do you ever…

  1. Beat yourself up over past mistakes or current shortcomings?
  2. Focus on what is wrong with others instead of what is right?
  3. Insist a circumstance or situation is “bad” instead of looking for the opportunity?

How does your Judge show up? Your judge is that inner voice, an inner critic that says things like – it’s never enough, you could do better or could be so much more. Or maybe your Judge is even more brutal and tells you that you’re an idiot, a failure, or will never be like (insert someone’s name here whom you admire or wish you were).

Many high performers and high achievers, including CEOs, claim that they thrive from their Judge and:

  • without it pushing them, they will grow complacent or be lazy
  • without punishing them for mistakes, they won’t learn from them and instead repeat mistakes
  • without being scared about bad future outcomes, they won’t work hard to prevent them
  • without judging others, they will lose their objectivity and not protect their self-interest
  • without the judge making them feel bad about negative outcomes, they won’t do anything to change the situation

Do you relate to any of these thoughts?

Our judge can show up in three different ways and finds fault with ourselves, others and circumstances. When we are unhappy about something, it is because our Judge has been activated. And then a series of other negative emotions typically follow and might include – shame, guilt, anxiety, regret or anger. These are some of the lowest and most undesirable of emotions and they all manifest from the Judge. We all have this universal saboteur and it can be sneaky in terms of how it shows up.

So, if you are content, at peace, feeling fulfilled and happy most of the time – congratulations, your Judge is being kept at bay! And, if you are feeling more stress than you’d like, struggle to maintain your happiness, feel like you’re on a hamster wheel of overwhelm or have relationships that are strained – it’s because your Judge is on overdrive. Our judge focuses upon what is wrong instead of what might be right or just as true.

If you are high-performing and believe your success is generated by your Judge, ask yourself, are you happy? Our judge can certainly give us an edge to perform and achieve success, though this practice is not sustainable. In fact, what’s wrong with the Judge is it has the opposite impact on long-term success and happiness. And when not discredited or dis-empowered, can lead to burnout.

What to do? This is where the application of both Positive Intelligence(PQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ) becomes critical. And with practice, can unleash your greater potential by improving performance, relationships and your well-being. How to do it?

The foundation involves 5 strategies, one of which is empathy and one of my favorite’s to use for self and with others. And, it’s key to master, beginning with self, because we can only go so deep to truly empathize with others only after we’ve done so with ourselves.

Challenge Time: When your judge rears its head, what would be the most compassionate thing you could say to yourself or to others? Like Jim Carrey smacking himself silly in the movie “Me, Myself, and Irene,” self-brutality won’t get you where you want to go. Neither will criticizing others or victimizing over a negative situation.

Empathy is a strong skill worth mastering for both PQ and EQ and in this blog, you have some options for further exploration. One is the empathy 101 checklist that appears alongside this blog (simply opt-in to receive). And a second option is to listen to the podcast featured in the link under the “Cool Tools” section, I share more the 3 Rs of empathy.

The Judge no longer serves our needs. Back in cave people days, the judge used exaggerated reacting as a survival strategy. Our brains have not evolved as quickly to keep up with the pace of contemporary threats that are now more psychological instead of physical. The good news is we can do some re-wiring of our brains to learn new skills that serve us better while unleashing greater potential.

Let’s quiet your Judge and leverage your strengths so they are serving you and others. Next month we’ll dive into a different saboteur (based upon popular request, so stay tuned). In the meantime, if you’d like to ask some questions and unwrap how Positive Intelligence could transform your life or your organization, click the green button below to schedule a complimentary strategy session. Or ask me about taking the PQ assessment to find out where you’re being held back.