To understand Positive Intelligence and how Mental Fitness works, please read my first eight blogs. This will help you understand how to become mentally fit. Just like someone who lifts weights, becoming mentally fit takes consistent and deliberate. Being physically fit is an analogy to being mentally fit. The graphic above illustrates how all our minds work. The key is to have your mind serving you rather than sabotaging you. How much control of your mind do you have?
In the past four months I have discussed the Universal or Master Judge and eight of its nine accomplices: the Controller, Avoider, Hyper-Achiever, Pleaser, Stickler, Hyper-Vigilant, Hyper-Rational and Victim Saboteurs. In this blog, I will cover the final accomplice, the Restless Saboteur. I will end this blog with an explanation on how to use Positive Intelligence to deal with conflicts and stress.
What is a Restless Saboteur?
The Restless Saboteur is constantly in search of greater excitement in the next activity or constant busyness. They are rarely at peace or content with the current activity.
Restlessness could be a strategy to escape from dealing with fears, anxieties, and painful feelings.
Strengths of People with the Restless Saboteur
- Open, curious, spontaneous.
- High Energy and vitality.
- Contagious enthusiasm and appreciation of life.
- Capable of great productivity and creativity.
- Energizing and engaging others in co-creation.
- Capable of a great breadth of activity and pursuits.
- Easily distracted and can get too scattered.
- Stays busy, juggling many different tasks and plans.
- Seeks excitement and variety not comfort or safety.
- Bounces (escapes) from unpleasant feelings very quickly.
- Seeks constant new stimulation.
- This is not fulfilling.
- This next project must be more exciting.
- These negative feelings are horrible. I must shift my attention to something exciting.
- Why can’t anyone keep up with me?
- Impatience with what is happening now. Wondering what is next.
- Fear of missing other more worthwhile experiences.
- Restless and wanting increased options.
- Worried that focusing on any unpleasant feeling will grow and become overwhelming. Best to divert attention.
Impact on Self and Others
- Underneath the surface of fun and excitement of the Restless is an anxiety-based escape from being present to this moment’s full experience, which might include dealing with unpleasant things.
- The Restless avoids a real and lasting focus on the issues and relationships that truly matter.
- Others have a challenging time keeping up with the frenzy and chaos brought by the Restless and are unable to build anything sustainable around it.
- Life is too short. It must be lived fully. I do not want to miss out.
- Spending any time on unpleasant feelings is a waste of life.
- Should divert attention.
Restless strategy is to use busyness as a distraction and escape from dealing with pain, anxiety, or other unpleasant emotions. It is important to stop and acknowledge those feelings and feel them in your body. Reconsider multitasking. It is far less efficient than taking one task at a time.
The following is one example of how The Restless Saboteur caused a challenge for one of my clients: As a business leader Jeff frequently found his mind was spinning with a million different exciting projects he wanted to accomplish. He would always try to multi-task but by the end of the day he felt like a failure. He would find himself stumbling when he got stuck in a situation that he was not sure how to manage. Instead of putting time and energy into producing a solution or reaching out to a team member, he would move on to the next task. Jeff’s staff frequently became upset with him because he had a million projects started and never finished them, which made their life more difficult and challenging. Jeff’s constant chaos of half-started projects was causing a major moral problem and consequently the entire team felt stuck in this vortex of craziness which was not sustainable!
What is the Justification lie Jeff was telling himself in this example?
Jeff felt life was too short and he needed to feel like he was living fully by working on lots of different projects. However, he would become frustrated when he got stuck due to challenges, he did not know how to solve. He felt like spending time on finding solutions was a waste of his time so he would quickly move to the next project.
How to Manage Conflict and Stress Using Positive Intelligence
I have never found anyone who likes conflict. The following is the Positive Intelligence method on how to deal with conflict successfully. In Positive Intelligence we identify the Saboteurs and use the Five Sage Powers to find the solution to any conflict. As a reminder, the following are the Five Sage Powers:
- Explore Power
- Navigate Power
- Empathize Power
- Innovate Power
- Activate Power
Identify the Saboteurs and determine how they are contributing to this conflict? What Saboteurs might be influencing you?
Explore Power – Be curious and do not judge others when asking these questions.
- Determine what position each of you are taking in this conflict?
- Determine why each of you took this position.
- Determine why it is important to each person.
- Identify the fear or concern each of you have in taking that position?
Navigate Power – Think about how you would feel 40 years from now by consulting your wiser-self looking back. Is this situation important for me to pay attention to? What should I not worry about so much, what is not important?
Empathize Power – Put yourself in their shoes. Why did they take this position? Empathize their why to their position? What might be their fears or concerns?
Innovate Power – What I like about this idea is____________ and I would also add ___________________ (another idea that is triggered from the original idea). Do not judge or evaluate the idea.
Activate Power – Commit to take the following actions that are measurable.
The next time you find yourself in a conflict, try using the Five Sage Powers. Also identify how the Judge and other Saboteurs are contributing to the conflict. Experiment and see how this can help you solve your conflict.
The Anatomy of Stress
- Stress happens at the thought level, Saboteur lies.
- It also occurs at the focus level. You cannot feel stressed if you are present.
- Stress lives and is activated in the Survival or Saboteur brain.
- Saboteurs only exist in the future, or the past – If we think harder, the worse the stress gets.
- There is no stress if you are in the present. Activate your Sage brain where your positive emotions and thoughts are located. Gently contemplate what are the lies the Saboteur is telling you. First look at the Judge and then look at the other Saboteurs. Expose the lie the Judge and other Saboteurs are telling you. How is it a lie?
Face your fear by using the Three Gift Technique.
- Knowledge: What Knowledge could you gain in the worst-case scenario?
- Power: What mental strength or power would you need to grow in the worst-case scenario so it would no longer stress you any longer.
- Inspiration: If the worst case happened, you could decide to set a new goal. Redirect your progress toward this new goal rather than staying connected to the worst-case scenario.
Think about what causes your stress and try using the Three Gift Technique the next time you feel stress. What did you find? How strong is the Restless Saboteur in you? What is its biggest impact? How would this Saboteur interfere with your aspiration to be a successful leader? Can you imagine using the Five Sage Powers to help you manage your conflict or the Three Gift Technique to help you with your stress? What would you see as your biggest challenge using these systems?
Do you like what you see? Want to learn more? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below!
I will be taking a break from blogging until 2024. Have a wonderful Fall and enjoy the upcoming holidays! See you in 2024!
“Positive Intelligence” by Shirzad Chamine or visit their website at www.positiveintelligence.com