+380 95 281 1822

The Two Inner States of Leaders – How Leaders can be Coached to Resolve the Conflicts between Their Two Inner Selves

Do you often have conflicting thoughts in your mind for a certain situation or a decision which you need to make – almost as if there were two selves?

All of us have two selves  – the one that is run by our “Positive or Sage Brain” or the “pre-frontal cortex”,

And then there’s the self, run by the “Survival-Brain” or the “amygdala”, that is impulsive and often leads to all our negative emotions

In the Positive Intelligence operating system popularized by Shirzad Chamine (in the book by the same name), we call these two selves as the “Sage” and the “Saboteur” patterns respectively.

The Saboteur patterns are an automatic set of thoughts & behavioral patterns that lead to all of our negative emotions like fear, stress, anxiety, shame, blame, guilt, disappointment & so on. It’s not hard to understand that these patterns are called “Saboteurs” because they end up sabotaging our intentions & goals & keep us stuck most of the time.

From the evolutionary perspective, this pattern has a role to help us survive physical threats. Our mind is wired to use these negative thoughts as alarms to signal danger and to prepare us to take action to deal with the threat. In today’s context though, most of the threats we face are emotional threats – that threaten our sense of self-worth, sense of value & self-esteem. Our Survival brain, though, processes the threats in the same way.

The Sage Brain, in contrast to the Survival Brain, is the seat of our highest wisdom & provides us access to the most positive & productive emotions like empathy, clarity, creativity, curiosity, gratitude, big-picture thinking, clear-headed focus etc, that help us generate value.

What’s important to understand, is that these two parts of our brain cannot function in tandem. To fully access the Sage mind, we need to quieten the “Saboteur” emotions/thoughts & train the mind to deliberately shift from the Survival emotions to the Positive Sage Emotions. Being able to do this consistently requires building Mental Fitness & strengthening the Positive Brain with regular mental fitness practices and exercises.

The problem is that very rarely do organizations invest the necessary time & resources to help Leaders work on, uncover deep-seated emotional issues & help them with the tools required to build their mental fitness. The focus remains largely on external value creation rather than on the building of internal value. Paradoxically,  ignoring leaders’ inner state leads them to have much lesser energy in generating higher value for the organization since a large amount of their psychic energy gets invested in defending their saboteur-driven emotional issues.

Leaders need to be Coached in developing a New Mental Operating System which they can use to create more value. This should involve :

  • Helping Leaders understand their dominant & self-limiting Saboteur Thought & behavioral patterns
  • Training leaders to develop the capacity to observe the two selves in real-time
  • Providing them with tools that help them in observing and labeling  negative emotions such as stress, fear, impatience, frustration, and anger
  • Helping them learn to develop the mental capacity to distance themselves from negative emotions.
  • Internalizing the tools to access the highest wisdom and powers of the Sage – Training the mind to access powers like empathy, creativity, innovation, curiosity, focus & big-picture thinking, to make optimal decisions & reactions, thereby maximizing value & happiness

At Exponentium Coaching & Consulting, we specialize in helping leaders to Re-wire their brains & to support them in moving from stress, burnout & fear of failure to a life of meaning, inspiration, and balance of high performance with happiness, using a combination of Mental Fitness, Neuroscience & Positive Psychology tools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *