Mental fitness

How fit are you?

You know you should be physically fit. Life would be better and you’d feel happier. You know how to get fitter. You’ve got an idea of what that might look like. And you know you can measure it.

But how about your mental fitness? You’d be more productive at work, more successful, less stressed. Easier to live with, perhaps. But how do you improve your mental fitness? And how do you measure it?

It’s nothing to do with IQ. And EQ isn’t really the answer either. Research at Stanford University led by Shirzad Chamine shows that it’s a question of PQ – your Positive Intelligence Quotient. It’s only once you’ve addressed the PQ issues that you can build and sustain EQ.

Shirzad Chamine

What’s the big idea?

We’ve known about the importance of positive thinking for hundreds or even thousands of years. (Fun fact: Zhang’s Complete Guide to Positive Thinking was published in Ming Dynasty China in around 1640, although he would probably have given credit for many of his suggestions to sixth-century BC Confucius). But we’ve never had a very effective way of putting it into practice. Until now.

The Saboteurs have a different take on what’s happening in our lives. They give us negative emotions such as stress, disappointment, self-doubt, regret, anger, shame, guilt and worry. They come in different guises – Judge, Controller, Victim, Stickler, Avoider, Pleaser, Restless, Hyper- Achiever, Hyper-Vigilant, or Hyper-Rational – and they’ve not helping!

(You might ask why we have Saboteurs. They start off as our guardians to help us survive the real and imagined threats to our physical and emotional survival as children. By the time we’re adults, we no longer need them, but they have become invisible inhabitants of our mind. Our Saboteurs’ patterns of thinking, feeling, and reacting become soft-coded in our brain through neural pathways. When these neural pathways are triggered, we are ‘hijacked’ by our Saboteurs and feel, think, and act using their patterns.)

 

So who’s in charge, inside your head? They’re both at work, of course, the Sage and the Saboteurs, and the balance of power between your positive Sage and your negative Saboteurs reflects your Positive Intelligence Quotient – your PQ, a measure of your mental fitness.

PQ is the best predictor of how happy you are and the extent to which you are performing in relation to your true potential.

Are you one of the 80%?

You might not want to be!

Chamine’s research was based on work with hundreds of CEOs, with sales, operations, and technology teams, with Stanford students, with elite athletes, and with more than 500,000 other participants from more than 50 countries around the world. It was published in his best-selling book, Positive Intelligence (now translated into 20 languages).

It shows that 80% of us score lower on mental fitness than we need to if we are to reach peak performance. (You can find out your score, for free, in just two minutes, here). So it’s good news that his research shows that, using recent breakthroughs in neuroscience and technology, we can all now find a way to improve our mental fitness. And if we do it properly, we can start to see results within just six weeks.

How? Read on!

Increasing mental fitness

Let’s stick with the fitness analogy.

Your Sage ‘muscle’ harnesses five different powers: Empathize, Explore, Innovate, Navigate, and Activate. For peak performance, you need to boost these powers and know when to use which one.

Your Saboteur interceptor ‘muscle’ is also very powerful. It generates all those negative emotions that sabotage your performance. You need to disempower it, rather than nourish it.

And there’s a third ‘muscle’, self-command. It’s the crucial one, for building mental fitness. It’s the one that helps determine the balance of power between the other two. So this is the one we need to work on. PQ reps are a set of innovative 10-second exercises you can use to do just that. The more reps you do, the more you’ll end up in charge of your brain rather than just being run by it. Self-command enables you to make more use of Sage and stop being hi-jacked by Saboteur, leading to better performance and greater satisfaction, fulfilment and happiness.

This isn’t just an academic theory or yet another bit of pop psychology. It’s a proven scientific model. Shirzad Chamine’s great breakthrough was in realising not only that we can measure our PQs but that we can increase them. Using the fitness analogy again, we can significantly boost our PQs if we work on them, if we practise them, if we do our ‘reps’.

If we follow the programme!

The PQ programme – overview

We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Shirzad Charmine, delivering his phenomenal programme to you with additional support and coaching throughout from a trained PQ coach.

There are three key elements to the seven-week programme.

A weekly video session

In these highly engaging one-hour recorded sessions, Shirzad explains the underlying theory and talks you through the mental fitness tools you’ll be using. He guides you through experiential exercises that deepen and personalize your understanding of the process, leaving you inspired and energised for your daily practice sessions – your reps.

Daily practice

Practice, practice, practice! 15 minutes a day will do it. And the app will help you.

The app gives you a different focus for each day’s practice.

It gives you the first eight chapters of Shirzad’s book.

And it gives you a range of innovative 10-second PQ reps to help build up your Self-Command muscle. You learn to be clear-headed and calm even in the midst of great challenges, able to command your mind to shift from Saboteur to Sage response.

The app tracks your daily progress against minimum targets associated with new neural pathway (muscle) formation. This process of ‘doing your reps’ builds one small muscle at a time, laying down new neural pathways to form lasting positive habits of mind. The cumulative impact by the end of the programme is amazing!

Personalised daily coaching tips from Shirzad both encourage and challenge you to keep going. Even after the programme has finished – you still have access to all the tools and guidance on the app for another twelve months.

At the same time, you can get encouragement and share experiences with the global cohort community. The app will link you in with everyone else who starts the programme the same day you do – across the world. Benefit from their positive energy – and give them some of yours!

Coaching and support

The number of unused gym memberships shows that we struggle to stick to a physical fitness programme unless we have the support of a personal coach. It’s just the same for a mental fitness programme.

You’ll work in a small support and accountability ‘pod’ of between three and six people, with Rosanne Bernard as your mental fitness coach. She’s a fully trained PQ coach (and an ICF-credentialed Professional Certified Coach).

She’ll facilitate a weekly ‘pod’ meeting for everyone to check in, review their progress, discuss any challenges in practice, help set targets for the following week, and answer any questions about the programme and the ‘reps’.

Rosanne will also spend up to two hours over the course of the programme just with you, on a  one-to-one basis, to help make sure you make the most of the programme and to help you deal with any issues arising – which may have nothing to do with the programme itself.

Rosanne Bernard

The PQ programme – week-by-week

For those who like to see the detail (we do!)

Week 1: Boost Your Self-Command ‘muscle’

The schedule is built around the release of the videos. So on the Wednesday before your first ‘pod’ session we’ll send you the link so that you can download the app. Over the next couple of days you can do the online self-assessment (which only takes two minutes) and then on the Saturday your first video will be released. If you can, watch it over the week-end, when you’re most relaxed, receptive – and positive!

Do a few reps over the week-end and some more on Monday and then the first ‘pod’ session with Rosanne will be on the Tuesday morning, at 9am, to run through the key points from the video, discuss how you’re getting on with the reps and, in later weeks, to pick up on any issues from the previous week’s module. Pod sessions will then take place at the same time each week for the next six weeks (seven weeks in all).

In the first week you’ll learn all about the innovative 10-second PQ reps that boost your self-command. They help enable you to run your brain using Self-command rather than being run by your Saboteur-hijacked brain. Self-command is key to intercepting unhelpful mental habits and rewiring your brain to respond more effectively.

  • Try out and discover the PQ reps that are most effective for you. Reach the minimum target for PQ reps/day to achieve your ‘neural rewiring’ goal within 6 weeks.
  • Use the app’s breakthrough PQ Charge Meter to ensure optimal brain activation before important activities.
  • And declare an audacious aspiration – what you want to achieve through this programme. We’re much more likely to stick to a commitment if we declare it, so share it with your ‘pod’ (or just with Rosanne if you prefer – the choice is yours).

 

Week 2: Intercept the Judge Saboteur

For this whole week, you’ll work on intercepting and weakening  the most damaging Saboteur, the Judge. You’ll discover how judging yourself, others, and circumstances is a key source of stress and can seriously damage your performance. Most people find their Judge to be far more prevalent and damaging than they’d suspected.

  • Expose your Judge’s hidden lies, limiting beliefs, and negative patterns.
  • Reveal your Judge’s impact on performance, relationships, and stress.
  • Practise intercepting your Judge before it hijacks you.
  • Rewire your negative neural pathways by redirecting the Judge response.

 

Week 3: Intercept your Accomplice Saboteurs

Every villain has an accomplice! This week you’ll intercept and weaken the top accomplice to your Judge Saboteur, identified through your Saboteur Assessment from the following: Avoider, Controller, Hyper-Achiever, Hyper-Rational, Hyper-Vigilant, Pleaser, Restless, Stickler, Victim.

  • Expose your accomplice Saboteur’s hidden lies, limiting beliefs and negative patterns.
  • Reveal this Saboteur’s impact on performance, relationships, and stress.
  • Discover how to quickly intercept this Saboteur before it hijacks you.
  • Rewire your negative neural pathways by redirecting this Saboteur’s response.

 

Week 4: Shift from Saboteur to Sage 

After weakening your Saboteurs, it’s time to strengthen your Sage, the counterpart to your Saboteurs. Your Sage lives in an entirely different part of your brain, generates all your positive emotions, and achieves peak performance through a calm and clear mind – when you give it the chance!

  • Practise the Sage perspective that every outcome or circumstance can be turned into a gift and opportunity. 
  • Use the ‘3 gifts’ technique to find the opportunity in setbacks.
  • Replace draining self-judgement with energising self-acceptance and empathy.
  • Boost speed of recovery from failures and setbacks.

 

Week 5: Boost the Sage powers

The Sage region of the brain enables 5 primary powers. Analogous to the 3 primary colours, these 5 powers recombine to form all of the emotional intelligence competencies considered crucial to professional success. 

  • Augment your mental toolbox with the 5 Sage powers.
  • Practise 3 techniques to activate each power.
  • Know when to use which power—the right tool at the right time.
  • Boost your emotional intelligence through combinations of the 5 primary powers.

 

Week 6: Take clear-headed, laser-focused action

In our final week, you’ll use your Sage’s Navigate and Activate powers to take clear-headed, laser-focused, decisive action.

  • Use your Sage’s Navigate power to align your actions with a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.
  • Use your Sage’s Activate power to act without fear or emotional distractions even in the midst of great crises.
  • Discover your Sage’s deep wisdom, far surpassing your analytical intelligence.
  • Discover how your Sage generates your highest performance while enjoying every step—being ‘in the zone’.

 

Week 7: Sustain the momentum 

Just when you thought it was all over! In this final session, you’ll discover how to continue using your PQ tools for a variety of work and life applications.

  • Learn how to use your PQ tools to help you reach peak performance in selling and persuading, conquering stress, managing conflict, and mastering relationships
  • Discover how to use the PQ app to maintain your new mental muscles and Sage habits
  • Chart your path to keep progressing towards your audacious aspirations
  • Establish support and accountability agreements to sustain your momentum

PQ or IQ?

Mental fitness is all about PQ.

But this programme will also help develop your EQ.

It will give you a firmer foundation in all the 18 EQ competencies:

Self-awareness

  • Emotional self-awareness
  • Accurate self-assessment
  • Self-confidence

Self-management

  • Emotional self-control
  • Transparency
  • Adaptability
  • Achievement
  • Initiative
  • Optimism

Social-awareness

  • Empathy
  • Organisational awareness
  • Service orientation

Relationship management

  • Developing others
  • Inspirational leadership
  • Change catalyst
  • Influence
  • Conflict management
  • Teamwork and collaboration

Working on your PQ will automatically help your EQ, leading to better performance, better results, a better life!

See more on this in Shirzad’s blog by clicking on the button below.

Results

Shirzad Chamine’s research involved MRI brain scans. Within 6-8 weeks of subjects undergoing his mental fitness training there were clear signs of:

  • Increased grey matter in the PQ Brain region, where your Sage ‘lives’
  • Decreased grey matter in the Survivor Brain region, where your Saboteurs ‘live’

Some of his corporate clients have shared the results they’ve seen as a result of his programme:

  • At MetLife, trained salespeople outsold the control group by 37%
  • Motorola recorded improved productivity in 93% of trained employees
  • A UK restaurant group saw 34% greater profit growth
  • At Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceutical, the average salesperson sold $55,200 more per month
  • At L’Oreal, the programme resulted in a $91,370 increase per sales person

Other clients reporting great results include P&G, Google, Philips, PayPal, Facebook, Amazon, Hewlett Packard, Yale University, and Salesforce.

And independent researchers validated the initial test results, based on a first sample group of 275,000 people from a broad range of organisations, professions, and occupations. They found:

Performance

  • Salespeople sell 37% more
  • Project teams perform 31% better on key performance metrics
  • Negotiators are more likely to gain concessions and close deals
  • Students perform significantly better on maths tests
  • CEOs are more likely to lead happy teams who report their work climate to be conducive to high performance
  • A comparison of sixty teams showed that a team’s PQ was the greatest predictor of its achievement

Wellness

  • Employees take fewer sick days and are less likely to become burned out or quit
  • Higher PQ results in enhanced immune system functioning, lower levels of stress-related hormones, lower blood pressure, less pain, fewer colds, better sleep, and a smaller likelihood of having hypertension, diabetes, or strokes
  • High PQ leads to an almost 10-year increase in lifespan (based on historical data extrapolation by independent researchers)

Feedback

Shirzad Chamine’s work – and this programme in particular – has had some great feedback:

Mental fitness The PQ (‘positive intelligence’) programme gets fantastic feedback. Give us a call on 01582 463460 to talk through how it might work for you or your organisation.