“He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.” —Japanese proverb
You’ve heard the saying … “Don’t let other people push your buttons.” Today, I extended it to:
“Don’t let other people push your buttons, and push your own buttons well.”
I wanted a simple way to capture and express one of the big ideas from a book called, Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Invididuals Achieve Their True Potential, by Shirzad Chamine. We’re reading it as part of our book club.
I lead a book club at Microsoft, with a colleague, called Tribal Word. There’s a story behind the name, but long story short, I was part of a group at Microsoft that was very effective at sharing tribal knowledge and raising each other’s skills in an exponential way.
The the goal of our book club is to turn insight into action — apply the world’s best books to work and life … in tough situations.
Within a few days of starting what I thought would be a handful of people, it’s a membership of a few hundred Softies (the friendly name for Microsoft peeps.) We share our tips, tricks, stories, and examples from testing the books we read. For example, in our first meeting, I shared how to read faster. I thought what better way to help people in a book club, then give them an instant way to finish the books they start, and read more books faster.
For this session of our book club, I shared an “action-framework.” I wanted a way to turn Positive Intelligence, into some simple actions and a simple framework, that I could practice daily:
- Observe and label your Judge.
- Observe and label your Saboteurs.
- Practice Positive Intelligence (PQ) reps at work.
Observe and Label Your Judge
First, I shared with our club, why observing and labeling our Judge is even worth it. I said, “I want to be a better me,” and if the science says that the insights and actions from Positive Intelligence work, then I’m up for testing it. Specifically, I want to hone the ability to rapidly shift from “fight, flight, or freeze” to “ready and relaxed” in stressful scenarios.
I also want to be able to access the power of Sage mode:
- Decisive Action
Imagine the ability to summon your strengths on demand to connect with empathy for yourself and others, or explore an idea with true curiosity, or tap your innovative mind, or navigate tough challenges with ease, or take decisive action. All without the baggage or burden of unhelpful thoughts.
The issue I had though is the belief that the Judge serves me. Shirzard, the author says, that our judge stays in power by warning you that “you would turn into a lazy, unambitious, complacent, or selfish being with it kicking your butt constantly.”
Labeling our Judge is a way to give our behaviors an identity. Shirzad, calls his Judge, “the Executioner” and shares examples he’s heard, including, “Destroyer,” “Insatiable,” “Brutal,”SOB,” “Know-It-All”, and “Sourpuss.” The key is to find a name for your Judge that you identify with.
The big deal here is that you can make it a game of recognizing your Judge in action. Shirzad points out that there’s a big difference between, “I can’t make it,” and “My Judge says I can’t make it.” Or “You made me look bat intentionally” and “My Judge says you made me look bad intentionally.” Or “This is a terrible situation” and “My Judge says this is a terrible situation.” Notice the difference?
Calling out the Judge takes its power away, and help you make better choices.
Observe and Label Your Saboteurs
This step is similar in spirit to observing and labeling your Judge. In this case, Shirzad calls out nine Saboteurs: Avoider, Hyper-Achiever, Controller, Hyper-Rational, Hyper-Vigilant, Pleaser, Restless, Stickler, and Victim. Shirzard also shares some friendly names for some of these. For example, you might call your Hyper-Rational “Robot”, or your Controller “Drill Sargent” or your Hyper-Achiever “Workaholic,” or your Victim “Martyr.”
I shared with our Tribal Word team that I especially like how Shirzad said that observing and labeling is an easy exercise … you can do it in the back of your mind, and it’s fast like stamping a passport.
As members of Tribal Word shared their insights, it was obvious how much shifting your focus, changes the things that you think about, how you respond, and how others respond to you.
A change in focus, changes everything.
Practice Positive Intelligence (PQ) Reps at Work
A Positive Intelligence (PQ) rep is simply practicing your Positive Intelligence in a specific way. The way to do a PQ rep is to shift attention to your body and one of your five senses for at least 10 seconds, 100 times a day.
Why does this work? It gets you out of your head, and it gets you activating more regions of your mind in a very simple way. For example, you might feel your breathing, or focus on the feeling of one of your toes, or how your butt feels on your chair, or the scents in the room, or the breeze on your face. The point is to practice “sensing.” This will help you rapidly get out of “fight or flight” mode, and back to “ready and relaxed.”
Shirzard shares that Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, noticed that it took twenty-one days for patients to stop feeling phantom sensations in amputated limbs. With more research, he found that it takes twenty-one days to create a new habit, and that this might be because it takes that long for new neural pathways to be built and the old ones to atrophy.
So to put Positive Intelligence into action, members of our Tribal Word book club are going to practice 100 PQ reps a day for 21 days … and then share our learnings and insights.
As we turn another page in our Summer months, practicing our PQ reps will be a great way start August off on the *right foot.*
Can you *feel it*?