To understand Positive Intelligence and how Mental Fitness works, please read my first five blogs. This will help you understand how to become mentally fit. Just like someone who lifts weights, becoming mentally fit takes consistent and deliberate practice.

Last month I discussed the Universal or Master Judge and two of the nine Judge accomplices: the Controller and the Avoider. In this blog we will cover the Hyper-Achiever and the Pleaser Saboteurs.

You can predict a person’s Saboteurs by knowing their greatest natural strengths. Remember no one person has all the distinctive characteristics of every Saboteur. The Saboteur turns your greatest strength into your greatest weakness by abusing or overusing it. Here are two examples:

  • Pleaser: abuses/overuses empathy.
  • Stickler: abuses/overuses being orderly and organized.

The following are some dangerous lies that our Saboteurs tell us:

  • “But my Saboteurs are sometimes helpful.”
  • Your Saboteur is never your friend and never your best option.
  • Keep the strength but let go of the Saboteur.
  • Have your Sage use that strength instead.


The Nine Saboteurs

What is the Hyper-Achiever Saboteur?

The Hyper-Achiever Saboteur is dependent on constant performance and achievement for self-respect and self-validation. They are focused on external validation-attention and acceptance of others. They lead to unsustainable workaholic tendencies and loss of touch with deeper emotional and relationship needs.

Strengths of People with the Hyper-Achiever

  • Driven, pragmatic, adaptable, purposeful, self-directed.
  • Capable of growing self and others to achieve full potential.
  • When inner-directed, can be great in inspiring self and others towards meaningful growth and achievement.

Characteristics of the Hyper-Achiever

  • Competitive, image and status conscious.
  • Good at covering up insecurities and showing a positive image.
  • Adapt personality to fit what would be most impressive to the other.
  • Goal oriented and workaholic streak.
  • More into perfecting public image than introspection.
  • Can be self-promoting.
  • Can keep people at a safe distance.

Thoughts of the Hyper-Achiever

  • I must be the best at what I do.
  • If I cannot be outstanding, I will not bother.
  • Emotions get in the way of performance. Focus on thinking and action.
  • I can be anything I want to be.
  • I am worthy if I am successful, and others think well of me.

Feelings of the Hyper-Achiever

  • I do not like dwelling in feelings for too long. They distract me from achieving my goals.
  • Sometimes I feel empty and depressed inside, but do not linger there.
  • Important for me to feel successful. That is what it is all about.
  • I feel worthy mostly when I am successful.
  • Could be afraid of intimacy and vulnerability.
  • Closeness with others would allow them to see that I am not as perfect as the image I portray.

Impact on Self and Others with the Hyper-Achiever

  • 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.

Justification Lies of the Hyper-Achiever

  • Life is about achieving and producing results. Portraying a good image helps achieve results. Feelings are just a distraction and do not help anything.

The Hyper-Achiever says “You will be happy when …. You get that new car; you get that promotion or new house. Once you get that new thing, how long are you happy? Then what?

My number one saboteur is the Hyper-Achiever. Looking back at my early professional life as an executive director I can see numerous examples of this Saboteur consuming my thoughts and actions.

One example of how my Hyper-Achiever caused challenges:  As an Executive Director of Family Support Council, I was driven and goal oriented. Since this was my first time being an Executive Director, I wanted to wow the staff, board and the community with my knowledge and skills. I wanted to be the best Executive Director and this thought controlled my every action. When I wrote a grant, it had to be perfect which meant I must score #1 of all the Northern Nevada proposals. I told myself that I am worthy only if I am successful! This led me to be stressed and a workaholic.

What was the Justification lie I was telling myself? I had to score the best on every grant I wrote, or the board and staff might think I did not know what I was doing. I functioned as if I was always good and being the executive director was a breeze. I needed to work all night and on weekends so both the board and staff thought I had everything under control and was successful.

How strong is the Hyper-Achiever in you? What is the biggest impact? How would the Hyper-Achiever Saboteur interfere with your aspiring to be a successful leader?

Release your negative thoughts of the Hyper-Achiever by shifting your brain to Sage and use your saboteur strengths to see the gifts and opportunities that are waiting for you!


What is the Pleaser Saboteur?

The Pleaser indirectly tries to gain acceptance and affection by helping, pleasing, rescuing, or flattering others. The Pleaser loses sight of their own needs and becomes resentful as a result.

 Strengths of People with the Pleaser

  • Empathic
  • Loving and giving.
  • Tuned into others’ feelings and needs.
  • Emotionally self-aware.
  • Potential for high emotional intelligence.

 Characteristics of the Pleaser

  • Has a strong need to be liked by people and attempts to earn it by helping, pleasing, rescuing, or flattering them.
  • Needs frequent reassurance by others about their acceptance and affection.
  • Cannot express own needs openly and directly. Does 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.

 Thoughts of the Pleaser

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

Feelings of the Pleaser

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

Impact on and Others of the Pleaser

  • Can jeopardize taking care of one’s own needs including emotionally, physically, or financially.
  • Can lead to burnout and resentment that others do not give back as much.
  • Others can develop dependence rather than learn to take care of themselves, and feel obligated, guilty, or manipulated.
  • Can drive others away by being too intrusive in trying to help them.
  • Can drive others away by coming across as needy.

Justification Lies of the Pleaser

I do not do this for myself. I help others selflessly and do not expect anything in return. The world would be a better place if everyone did the same.

The Pleaser’s Saboteur choice to give is conditional. It comes with your personal agenda to be liked and loved back. It is about you, not the other person.

Empathizing and giving to others is a wonderful Sage choice that can be your greatest strength personally or professionally. The Sage choice to give is unconditional. The joy is in the giving and no return is necessary.

Many of the strengths of the Pleaser Saboteur is why I am a good coach with high positive intelligence, empathic, emotionally self-aware and tuned into others’ feelings and needs.

However, as an executive director the Pleaser Saboteur hijacked me often and caused several challenges. The following is one example:   As an executive director I did my best to put others’ needs above my own constantly. Taking on extra work to help another staff member so they would not burn out was something I did frequently. I would never think about how this would affect me or my family. Afterall, I was the executive director and that is what they paid me to do. I have always been a good listener, but it was always difficult to share my own feelings. If I shared, I thought my staff or board would think I was incompetent or unstable. I have made huge progress in my life in this area over the years and feel as though I am a Jedi warrior now.

How strong is the Pleaser in you? What is the biggest impact? How would the Pleaser Saboteur interfere with your aspiring to be a successful leader?

Next month I will identify and discuss two more saboteurs. Do you like what you see? Want to learn more? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below!


“Positive Intelligence” by Shirzad Chamine or visit their website at