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The PQ Advantage. Beyond IQ and EQ

Personal and professional growth are top priorities for me and the clients I work with. One conversation that comes up regularly is EQ (Emotional Intelligence), but I believe it’s the little known or understood PQ (Positive Intelligence) that really moves the needle on personal growth and performance in work and life.

I believe Positive Intelligence (PQ) is the Missing Link in Mental Health, Wellbeing, and High Performance Living

Over the past year, understanding and practicing PQ has been a game changer for me and many of my clients. But PQ isn’t just another corporate buzzword or employee development trend. It’s based on solid neuroscience, performance psychology, and practical applications in complex personal and corporate environments. At its heart, PQ is about turning your inner critic, monologue, and emotions into your best cheerleader and action taker. Let’s look at how PQ can transform your perspective and life.

Positive Intelligence

What is Positive Intelligence?

Positive Intelligence (PQ) is the science and practice of developing “mental fitness” to achieve peak performance, peace of mind, healthy relationships, and more positive outcomes in all areas of your life. Think of it as your mental gym, where you train your mind to operate from a place of positivity and resilience rather than fear and self-doubt. The concept, popularized by Dr. Shirzad Chamine in his book “Positive Intelligence,” focuses on understanding the internal voices we all have, and that either help or hinder our progress. He calls these voices your “saboteurs” and “sages”.


PQ vs. IQ vs. EQ

Before we dive deeper, it will be helpful to clarify how PQ differs from IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence).

  • IQ (Intelligence Quotient): IQ measures your cognitive abilities, such as logical reasoning, mathematical skills, and language comprehension. It’s often seen as a predictor of academic success and intellectual potential. In the past (and still to some extent), there has been a large reliance on “book smarts” (school grades, standardized intelligence tests, etc.), but studies repeatedly show that IQ alone is a poor predictor of success, effectiveness, or happiness.


  • EQ (Emotional Intelligence): EQ has been defined as your ability to be aware of, understand, and manage your own emotions and those of others. Since EQ includes skills like empathy, emotional regulation, and social awareness, it is crucial for effective interpersonal relationships and leadership. Consequently, people with high EQ scores generally see greater success, fulfillment, and effectiveness in both work and life.


  • PQ (Positive Intelligence): PQ measures the percentage of time your mind is serving you versus sabotaging you. It’s about building the mental muscles to shift from negative to positive mindsets. Therefore, PQ enables you to handle life’s challenges with greater resilience and creativity. I like to think of PQ as the practical application and “training ground” to improve your EQ skills and it’s been a very helpful model for me and my clients. The best part is it’s highly practical, measurable, and applicable to personal and professional environments.

As mentioned, while IQ and EQ are important, PQ provides a more practical application for everyday life and work. 

How PQ takes IQ and EQ into Practical Action

  1. Holistic Approach: PQ integrates aspects of both IQ and EQ but goes further by addressing the mental saboteurs that undermine your potential.
  2. Actionable Framework: PQ offers specific exercises (PQ reps) and strategies to enhance mental fitness, making it easier to implement and see tangible results. Plus, each PQ “rep” is only 10 seconds and can be done anywhere, any time.
  3. Resilience Building: By focusing on mental fitness, PQ helps you develop resilience to handle stress and adversity, which is crucial in both personal and professional settings.

By practicing simple, 10 second PQ reps throughout the day, we use the science of neuroplasticity to literally create new and stronger connections to our “Thriving Brain” (Sages), while weakening our “Survival Brain” (Saboteurs). In other words, we can move from attacking and holding ourself back each day to opening up more perspective and possibility in everything we do.

This reprogramming of our thoughts, perceptions, and actions is at the heart of all growth and development.


Meet Your Saboteurs

Your saboteurs are those sneaky little voices in your head that thrive on negativity and self-sabotage. They’re like uninvited party crashers who ruin the vibe and bring everyone down. The interesting part is that they are so common and pervasive that many people don’t realize they exist. Commonly, they think that’s “just how my brain works” or “that’s my ‘normal’ inner voice” and they don’t know anything different.

In his book, Shirzad identifies 10 saboteurs (The Judge and 9 Accomplish Saboteurs). They are:

  • Judge
  • Avoider
  • Pleaser
  • Victim
  • Controller
  • Hyper Achiever
  • Restless
  • Hyper Rational
  • Stickler
  • Hyper Vigilant. 

A full description of each is beyond the scope of this article, but here’s a short description of some common ones you may recognize in yourself and others.

Have You Battled These Saboteurs?

  1. The Judge: Your Judge is the master saboteur who is constantly criticizing you and others, making you feel unworthy or incompetent.
  2. The Stickler: This perfectionist insists everything must be done flawlessly, thereby causing undue stress and procrastination.
  3. The Pleaser: Is overly focused on gaining approval and avoiding conflict. As a result, your own needs often get neglected.
  4. The Controller: Needs to dominate situations and people to feel secure, thus increasing stress and straining relationships.

Identifying these saboteurs and their prevalence in your daily thoughts and interactions is the first step to diminishing their power. For example, it’s like shining a flashlight in a dark room—they can’t spook you as much when you see them clearly.


Embrace Your Sage

In direct contrast, your sage represents your true, positive self. This is the part of you that’s most creative, empathic, and solution-focused. Understandably, when you operate from your sage mind, you’re using the full potential of your brain, resulting in better decision-making, healthier relationships, and greater overall happiness.

Interestingly, neuroscience research shows that our Sage powers reside in different physical brain areas compared to the saboteurs. Our saboteurs live in the more primitive “survival” brain regions whereas our Sages lives in the “higher level” brain regions, the ones associated with Positive emotions, Peace and Calm, Clear headed focus, Creativity, Big Picture/Expansive thinking.


At the heart of the Sage Perspective is that every outcome or circumstance can be turned into a gift and opportunity. Thinking this way creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whichever you believe comes true (Sage vs. Saboteur perspective). This closely relates to Carol Dweck’s Fixed vs. Growth Mindset research and research on Luck by Dr. Richard Wiseman (Spoiler, in large part, we create our own luck through a growth mindset and Sage perspective).


 The Sage’s Powers Cover 5 key areas:

  1. Empathize: Going deep to truly connect with others on a human level
  2. Explore: Look at your world through a new lens of curiosity and wonder
  3. Innovate: Let go of initial ideas to create something new. Use the Yes…AND approach
  4. Navigate: Paint your vision and start with the end in mind
  5. Activate: Take action to pre-empt the saboteurs

Nurturing these sage qualities allows you to transform obstacles into opportunities, and setbacks into setups for success. So what else can PQ do for you?


The Benefits of Positive Intelligence

  1. Enhanced Performance: Raising your PQ helps you perform better in work, sports, relationships, and life. Minimizing your saboteurs, frees up valuable mental energy.
  2. Better Relationships: Interactions guided by sage powers will build stronger, more meaningful connections in your work and life.
  3. Improved Well-being: Sage powers reduce stress and anxiety, leading to improved mental and physical health. You become more resilient, bouncing back quicker from challenges.
  4. Greater Fulfillment: Living in alignment with your true self brings a sense of purpose and satisfaction that is hard to achieve when dominated by saboteurs.

Practical Steps to Boost Your PQ

  1. Identify Your Saboteurs: Take a short saboteur assessment on the Positive Intelligence website) to pinpoint which ones are most active in your life. Awareness is the first step to change.
  2. Strengthen Your Sage: Engage in regular mental fitness exercises, such as mindfulness, meditation, or journaling, to shift your perspective from negative to positive.
  3. PQ Reps: Like physical exercise, PQ reps strengthen your mental muscles. This can be as focusing on your breath for 10 seconds or appreciating something beautiful in your surroundings. 
  4. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that everyone has saboteurs, and the goal is progress, not perfection. Embrace the PQ growth journey
  5. Seek Support: A PQ trained coach (like me) is a great way to accelerate your results and connect to a supportive community. This boosts accountability and the joy of the journey.
Remember…these reps only take 10 seconds each and can be completed at any time of the day, in almost any context (including that meeting you are sitting in right now).
Focussed breathing is always a good “go to”. However, one of my favourites is: lightly and slowly rubbing two fingertips together so you can feel each of the fingerprint ridges.
Skeptical? Try it out right now for 10 seconds. I find it amazing for how quickly it brings me back into a calm, focussed, and relaxed state of mind (Sage space).

Final Thoughts

Given the information above, it’s very clear that Positive Intelligence is more than a feel-good philosophy. PQ is a practical science backed framework designed to strategically rewire and transform your thinking, perception, and action in order to enhance your life, wellbeing, and career success. By identifying and managing your saboteurs while cultivating your sage, you can unlock levels of performance and happiness you might have thought were out of reach. So, let’s embrace this journey of transformation together and turn those inner critics into our biggest supporters.

To clarify, it’s not about silencing your saboteurs forever—they’ll always be around. It’s about turning down their volume and amplifying the voice of your sage. We can summarize this seemingly complex journey down to daily practice in 10 second bouts, and it’s exceptionally rewarding! Here’s to a life of greater positivity, productivity, and peace, while enjoying the fact that your inner critic has been relegated to the sidelines!

Ready to get started?

Take that saboteur assessment today and begin your journey towards higher Positive Intelligence. Your sage is waiting!

The Next Step…

Book with me for a complimentary 30 minute Coaching Session to Explore the Results of your PQ Assessment.

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