Even before I became a full-time coach, I was always interested in understanding how the mind works. Our brains are so complex and while we know much about its function, I believe we are only scratching the surface of the power of our thoughts and emotions to affect our health and wellbeing, both positive and negative.
It’s fascinating to think about the ways we can train our brain to improve our performance, increase our happiness, and achieve our goals.
The Positive Intelligence program promises to do just that – unlock our full potential by rewiring our brain for positivity.
I participated in a Positive Intelligence cohort training, and I was so impressed with the changes I saw in my own life that I began to use it as a foundation of my coaching programs.
In this article, I’ll share with you what Positive Intelligence Training is, how it works, and the benefits.
Introduction to Positive Intelligence Training
Positive Intelligence Training (PQT) is a program designed by Shirzad Chamine, a former CEO and Stanford lecturer, based on years of research in neuroscience and psychology.
The program aims to help individuals and organizations develop mental fitness by improving three key areas of the brain: the Saboteur, the Sage, and the Self-Command center.
The Saboteur is the part of your brain that acts as our inner critic.
Saboteurs are the voices in your head that generate negative emotions when you handle life’s challenges. They exist in the brainstem, limbic system, and parts of the left brain, producing much of your stress, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, shame, guilt, and frustration. That familiar “mind chatter”? Your Saboteur at work!
A common misconception is to think these negative emotions are helpful to you, causing your discomfort so you are provoked to act.
In fact, negative emotions are only briefly helpful, as they alert you to dangers or issues. However, staying in these emotions (which many of us do without even realizing it) hurts your perspective of situations and prevents you from choosing the most impactful response in the moment.
The Sage, on the other hand, lives in a different region of your brain–the middle prefrontal cortex, “empathy circuitry”, and parts of the right brain. It allows us to see gifts and meaning as we handle life’s challenges. It also produces positive emotions such as empathy, compassion, gratitude, curiosity, and joy.
It is the source of laser-focused action and calm when we need it the most. This region is wired for creativity and allows for “big picture awareness” which supports your best course of action.
Think of a time when you felt really in your element, doing something you love and feeling very confident and comfortable—that is your Sage.
As Chamine explains, your brain is made up of neurons. When a signal travels down a neuron, it results in activation of other neurons based on synapses that connect neurons. But there are multiple options for which direction the signal would travel. Every time a neuron activates another neuron, they become more closely linked, making it more likely that the signal will go in that same path next time. This becomes a “neural pathway.”
This is how a repeated action becomes an automatic habit—something you don’t even think about before you act.
Our brains are very, very efficient. Anything which can be automated will be.
Think about how individual activities are involved in getting out of bed in the morning, brushing your teeth, or driving your car. But you don’t think about them individually; you merely do.
That’s because you’ve developed neural pathways throughout your life which direct your behavior once you decide to act.
The Self-Command center
The Self-Command center is the part of our brain that helps us focus, make decisions, and act.
In Positive Intelligence, you use the 10-second PQ Rep technique as a way of intercepting the old Saboteur responses, so you can pause and choose a new response from your Sage perspective. Repetition results in Sage neural pathways (muscles) to counter the old Saboteur muscles.
Therefore, training with these techniques results in sustained change, as opposed to results fading over time. This makes the program extremely powerful for long-term success.
Examples of PQ reps include:
- Rubbing your thumb and second finger together, focusing on feeling the ridges of your fingertips.
- Rubbing one of fingers up and down the fingers and palm of the other hand, focusing on the sensation.
- Breathing deeply and focusing on the rising and falling of your chest and stomach.
- Finding your feet on the floor. Feeling and counting your toes.
- Focusing on a sound in your field of hearing which seems far away and hearing it distinctly.
These are simple, easy activities which can keep you in the present and intercept self-sabotaging behaviors in the moment—making a new choice and building a new neural pathway.
Mental fitness is about building mental muscles and not just stopping at insights.
It’s the same as going to the gym; you build your biceps over time in the same way that you build your mental resiliency muscles.
Mental fitness requires the ability to intercept and discredit the Saboteurs.
This takes practice over time.
Not only does this practice help you intercept negative behaviors you’d like to change; activating this region also results in release of endorphins that counter the negative impacts of stress-induced cortisol, which supports a healthy hormone response.
The Positive Intelligence Mental Fitness Program
The Positive Intelligence Mental Fitness Program is a 6-week program designed to help you develop mental fitness through a series of exercises and techniques.
The program includes daily practice exercises, weekly coaching sessions (either within a group or 1:1), and online resources to support participants in their journey.
An assessment is performed at the beginning of the program to define which Saboteurs are particularly strong.
The curriculum is driven by those specific Saboteurs.
The program is divided into three stages: Awareness, Mastery, and Integration.
During the Awareness stage, you learn to identify your Saboteur behaviors and develop your Sage.
In the Mastery stage, you learn to strengthen your Self-Command center and develop mental agility.
In the Integration stage, you learn to apply your new skills to your daily life and build new habits.
Success Stories of Positive Intelligence Training
The Positive Intelligence program is based on research with more than 500,000 participants from 50 countries, including CEOs, students, elite athletes, and sales, operations, and technology teams.
It yields positive results from both individuals and companies in the areas of performance and overall wellness.
In surveys of participants, typical results include:
- 90% Use Mental/Emotional Energy More Effectively
- 92% Better at Teamwork and Collaboration
- 85% Increase Happiness
- 91% Manage Stress Better
- 83% Improve Self-Confidence
- 84% Better at Conflict Management
See for example the results the finance department at a global 100 technology company reported:
Working with Me as Your Coach
As someone who has completed the program and uses it every day, I am in the position to understand where you are coming from while also being able to apply the program with my clients.
I offer a range of programs where Positive Intelligence is used, and the approach is easy to tailor to the client’s unique needs.
The program produces profound results in a short amount of time, and every client who has gone through the curriculum has found the changes to both their personal and professional lives to be incredibly helpful.
Interested in learning more? Contact me today for discovery call.
I’d love to hear your story and talk to you about how Positive Intelligence can help you take your career and your life next level!