Do you recognise yourself in any of these scenarios?

‘Should I apply for this job, I don’t know if I’m good enough or if I have enough experience?’
‘All the other applicants will be much more highly qualified than me’
‘If I can just achieve this….I will be happier/more successful/my children will be happier’

Most of us have experienced these thoughts and self-doubts at some stage in our lives, which can affect what we do and achieve – in our home and working life.

We’ve probably all asked ourselves, ‘Are there ways to overcome these negative thoughts?’ The answer is YES there definitely are!

We were delighted to host a Mental Fitness webinar led by Karen Boyd, Career and Mental Fitness Coach. In this group session she shared a broad range of insights and tips to deal with the saboteurs in our brains (saboteurs create those negative, self-destructive and limiting thoughts which hold us back) and how to embrace the sage more (the part of your right brain which facilitates positive and confident emotions, big picture thinking, calm and creativity).

Utilising sage strategies is perfect if you are

  • considering a return to work after having a family or career break
  • looking for that new role to challenge you
  • heading in a new career direction
  • wanting to boost your self-confidence and quiet those inner fears

Mental Fitness can be defined as the ability to respond to life’s challenges with a positive mindset and make changes in a sustainable way.

A key to Mental Fitness is to weaken the internal Saboteurs who generate all your ‘negativity’ in the way they respond to challenges and cause all your stress, anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, regret, shame, guilt, and unhappiness.

The saboteurs are habits of the mind and act in ways to keep us safe and in our comfort zone (it’s an evolutionary thing!). They hugely impact our happiness, performance, and relationships at work and at home and they don’t tend to give us what they promise!

There are 10 saboteurs – do any of these sound familiar?

  • Judge (3 modes)
    • Self – judging oneself – thinking you’re not good enough/experienced enough/capable enough etc.
    • Others – judging others – thinking other people are more capable/fitter/healthier/more intelligent
    • Circumstance/Situations – I’ll be happy when I have a better job/more money/the children are older and more independent

The judge and its sabotaging thoughts tend to impact every single one of us daily (it’s not just you!).

The judge tends to have ‘accomplices’ – you will likely have a couple who show up strongest.

  • Controller
  • Hyper Achiever
  • Restlessness
  • Stickler
  • Pleaser
  • Hyper Vigilant
  • Avoider
  • Victim
  • Hyper Rational

You can find out your top saboteurs in this FREE survey.

All saboteurs can have you believe that acting in line with the story they tell you is in your best interest. You may for example have successes driven by your hyper-achiever, but the shine wears off quickly as you become stressed and burnt out. Unable to celebrate achievements when you reach them as you already have your eyes set on the next thing that you must achieve!

So what to do? Your Saboteurs will show up. Don’t fight them. Just observe and label them. This will take their power away simply by bringing them into the light of awareness.

An important and impactful tip Karen shared, was how to quickly quiet the saboteurs in the moment and tap into your sage brain to harness positive emotions, overcome hurdles and move forward.

You can use 10-second PQ Reps to build your self-command muscle.

Think of these as exercises for the brain, building your ‘mental muscles’ (= new neural pathways). You learn to be clear-headed and calm even amid great challenges, able to command your mind to shift from a negative (saboteur) to a positive response. Practising these exercises consistently builds your mental fitness and helps you stay in a positive, resourceful mindset no matter what life throws at you.

Build self-command through PQ Reps

A PQ Rep means shifting your focus to your body and any of your five senses for ten seconds. Some examples of what this could look like:

  • Touch – Bring your thumb and middle fingers together and feel the finger ridges as you rub them together
  • Sound – Listen to the external sounds around you (close and far) as you sit quietly
  • Breath – Concentrate on your breathing as you breathe in and out, feel the temperature of your in and out breath
  • Taste – Focus intently on what you are eating, the texture and flavours
  • Vision – Focus on one fixed point in your line of vision and examine it closely

The beauty of practising PQ Reps is that you can find ways to fit them into all the things you already do day to day.

You can use the PQ Reps as a deliberate and intentional way to face your daily challenges and setbacks from a better, stronger, and more resourceful place.

Karen also recommends taking a few minutes and carrying out PQ reps between meetings or back-to-back calls, this is the perfect way to give your brain a rest and a chance to reset. You will feel calmer, less stressed and perform better too!

To recap on our hour with Karen, which really flew by!

You can build your mental fitness to respond to work and life challenges positively by following these steps consistently:

  • Weaken the saboteurs
    • Stop when the saboteur kicks in (a negative emotion is a clear sign this might be the case)
    • Label the saboteur
  • Build your self-command
    • Do PQ Reps
  • Strengthen your sage mind + try to find the silver lining in challenging situations

Shifting from the saboteurs being ‘in charge’ to the encouraging perspective and calm offered by the sage creates lasting positive change.

We hope a taster of the invaluable coaching Karen Boyd offers, has encouraged you to want to find out more about Karen, her 8-week Mental Fitness Group Bootcamp starting in September or her one-to-one career and mental fitness coaching.

Karen Boyd LinkedIn | Mental Fitness Boot Camp Info | Take the FREE saboteur survey and find out your top saboteurs

If you are considering a return to work or a career change, we have new best flexible career roles coming into us weekly. We would love to find out more about you and how we can help you achieve the next step. Email Emma Cleary or Donna Reilly or call Emma on 07810541599.

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