How much time does your mind steal from you every day?

I am a podcaster, speaker and author in the area of self-leadership: the intentional act of creating your freedom, your life, your way.

September 21, 2022

“Are you in command of your own mind?”

I’m not proud of this but when I first heard that question, I thought: “What a stupid question. Of course, I’m in control of my own mind!” There may have been an eye roll involved in there as well.

But the next question stopped me in my tracks, got my attention and erased the eye roll.

The question was this:

“Then are you commanding your mind to wake you up at 3 in the morning, worrying about stuff that you cannot control?”

Ouch! That pretty much described me.

But there was yet another question to drive home the point and that was:

“When something “bad” happens and you stress about it or get stuck on it for hours – or days – are you really choosing that?” 

Of course, I wasn’t choosing it. So, maybe I had some more work to do after all.

How we get stuck:

If we haven’t developed a strong mental self-command muscle, then we are at risk for spending too much time with thoughts that don’t lead us anywhere.

We are wasting time in thought patterns that keep us stuck. 

It’s like the holding pattern that you can sometimes get stuck in while you are circling an airport in a plane waiting for your turn to land. If you’ve ever experienced that, you know how stuck you feel. You are just in this endless, frustrating loop, covering the same ground but not going anywhere.

In coaching people on this, I know that I’m not alone.

I’ve heard from some clients that they can spend hours, or, in some cases days, ruminating over unexpected or unwanted events. Things like:

  • having one of their best employees quit
  • a territory change
  • conflict with their boss
  • conflict among their team members
  • a difficult conversation that they need to have with one of their employees
  • a sales presentation that went poorly
  • an under-performing rep
  • and even things as mundane as the person who cut you off in traffic.

These are all examples of an ambush. They hit you by surprise and they can knock you off your course.

And they steal your time.

I know you might be thinking: “But some of these are important.” Yes, keep reading because I’m going to share how to get the best out of your brain for these important things.

Here’s a quick example: during a coaching session with one of our clients, he shared that he had just lost his best salesperson. He told us that in the past, that would have caused him stress and worry for hours if not days.

But this time it didn’t. The news was still unpleasant, but instead of being stuck in the endless loop of worry, he was able to apply what he had learned in the program and shift to what researchers call the Sage brain.

The Sage brain is where we can access our best resources, including creativity, problem-solving, empathy, and take clear-headed, laser-focused action.  Wouldn’t you rather have this part of your brain working on your most important problems and opportunities?

This is how we can reclaim time and energy.

How can I access my brain’s best resources?

It begins with using the Saboteur interceptor muscle. This is where we become aware of our saboteurs so that we can recognize when they show up and we can immediately stop them.

In case you missed my earlier article on Saboteurs, a saboteur is our automatic way of thinking, feeling and acting. They have very strong and well-worn neural pathways – that’s why it is so easy for us to be ambushed or hijacked by them. That’s what makes them automatic.

A simple way to do that is to say “Oh, there’s the judge again.” Or “Oh, there’s the hyper-vigilant showing up to tell me that I need to worry.” I know this sounds simple, but it works. I can say that from my own experience with it, our clients’ experience with it and the research studies with more than 500,000 people prove it as well.

Just because it sounds simple, doesn’t mean that it happens overnight. That’s why building a practice around it is so important. The more we build up our muscles, the easier it is and the stronger and faster we become at intercepting the saboteurs.

After we intercept the saboteur, we then need to intentionally shift to the sage mode. We do that by making the choice and then doing some PQ reps. PQ stands for Positive Intelligence Quotient and a PQ rep is a mental exercise.

Think of a PQ rep this way: if you wanted to build up your biceps, you would lift weights. This is the mental equivalent of lifting weights.

A PQ rep is an activity that builds up your self-command muscle, which is the 3rd of the 3 mental fitness muscles.

What the research has shown is that when we do PQ reps, we are building new neural pathways. If you were hooked up to an fMRI, you would be able to see that.

Why do we care about that?

By building new neural pathways, we are able to build new, healthier and more positive habits.

A PQ rep is a 10 second interval of intentional and intense mindfulness using a particular sense whether that is auditory, visual or tactile or even focusing on your breath. The PQ app – part of our program – makes that easy as it is a guided practice taking as little as 2 minutes.

But you can do that on your own as well, it just typically takes a little longer and requires more discipline as you don’t have the same level of support. If you want to learn more about how to do a PQ rep, check out the book, Positive Intelligence.  (Or message me and I’ll be happy to put together an article on that.)

Why Mental fitness is critical to our happiness and success. 

The best way to describe it is that mental fitness is our capacity to respond to life’s challenges and opportunities with a positive mindset rather than a negative, neutral, or stressed mindset.

It’s an essential piece of working on ourselves and building our resilience so that we can be the best leader of our own life that we can be.

There is no more important leader in your life than you.

You are running the show of your life.

Too many people don’t realize that and that leads to unhappiness, blaming and bitterness. I don’t want to see that for anyone. I believe we all deserve more than that.

I believe that we can all thrive no matter what.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways that I can help you:

  1. Join us tomorrow, Thursday, September 22nd at 3:00 p.m. Eastern for our free digital eventwhere I will take a deep dive on intercepting our saboteurs.
  2. Take the free, 5 minute Saboteur assessmentand sign up for a complimentary game plan coaching session where you will walk away understanding which Saboteurs are most prevalent for you, as well as some scientifically proven – and client tested – strategies for defeating them.
  3. Hit the notification bell on my profile so that you will be notified when I post more content like this (and, be sure to subscribe to this newsletter if you haven’t already).


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