2022 and a better you - app-based positive psychology bootcamp
I met Rob Roell of Equilibrium Coaching through LinkedIn and he gave me the opportunity to sample a 6-week app-based positive psychology training course. It is a core building block of his coaching practice and serves as the "basic training" in Mental Fitness. From that foundation, Rob then builds individualized programs of one-on-one sessions for executives and leaders who want to increase their professional and personal effectiveness, as well as experience greater levels of life satisfaction, daily ease and happiness.
Rob describes how discovering Mental Fitness impacted him and how he incorporates it into his practice:
"Throughout my years of self-development and education, I have learned a great many ideas that could help me to reach my desired outcomes and improve overall wellbeing. While I have acted on a number of these ideas, there is an even greater number that I have not. This is a pattern common to the world of coaching, as documented in the book Positive Intelligence. When I found the tenets of Mental Fitness, and created practices around them, things changed dramatically for both me and my clients. This is why I include Mental Fitness and the 6-week program as part of the work I do with all of my clients."
The app-based bootcamp is offered to coaches like Rob by Positive Intelligence which was founded by NYT best selling author Shirzad Chamine. The program is drawn from and aligns with his book, Positive Intelligence . The course even includes the first 8 chapters of the audiobook version. Total cost for the course is typically $995 and although program duration is 6 weeks, users have ongoing access to review the materials and tools for 12 months. Below is a quick summary scratching the surface of how the course works:
Positive Intelligence Method
1). Strengthen Positivity Quotient (PQ)
The program teaches various exercises similar to mindfulness meditation that are packaged as short sessions, as brief as 10 seconds, that after practice can be used throughout the day to strengthen the neural circuits that allow practitioners to remain in touch with their best selves, even as challenging situations arise.
There are reminders sent by the app during the day to practice 2 minutes at a time, learning to tap into different senses (e.g. your sense of touch by rubbing two fingers together) or anchors (e.g. using your breath or mentally labeling what arises in your attention) so that these become habits and so that you keep the practice in mind. The use of technology and gamification helps keep you on track (there’s a PQ meter that displays your progress).
2). Identify and Intercept Judge and Saboteurs
All of us have nasty voices in our head that tear into us whenever they get a chance. The ringleader for everyone is the inner Judge. Alongside this Judge, each of us has distinct traits that fall into 9 broad categories known as the Saboteurs. This cast of characters is comprised of the following:
You’ll start by taking an assessment that measures
how strong each saboteur is in your repertoire of automatic responses. This will allow you to be on the lookout for where your mind will likely go when faced with a challenge. Over the course of the program, you’ll get more attuned to spotting these saboteurs and stopping them before they derail your entire day.
If you're curious about your Saboteurs and want to find out how you rate, take the following free assessment: Saboteurs | Positive Intelligence
3). Use Sage Powers
After you learn to silence or at least turn-down the negative voices in your mind, the quiet allows you to tune in to the voice of your better self, referred as “The Sage”. This metaphorical being or aspect of your personality can engage in five distinct modalities:
The training takes you through various exercises that engage your body in support of your mind to practice calling on these powers so that you remain in the possibility of being your best self while dealing effectively with challenges.
I am now in the fifth week of the program (thus the missing Navigate and Explore exercises above), and I believe that there have been significant benefits for me in terms of not letting myself get caught in a negative thought loop when I experience a setback at work. There were times in the past where I reacted very negatively to small frustrations and would have a tendency to generalize, personalize and catastrophize - a glitch in an internal request page or some other bureaucratic process of red tape getting sloppily tangled in itself would trigger thoughts like "I'm wasting my time, professionally, and my career is stalled in a dead-end department!" With the course, I tend to take things more in stride and am able to pivot to personal projects if I've completed my work tasks rather than obsessing over the call or email I am waiting for. The gains in positive self-image, balance and personal effectiveness along with mood, have made me a more tolerable person to be around. I expect that as I have more positive interactions with others when the pace of work picks-up post holidays, I will be able to build positive momentum and will strengthen my personal brand in the company and department.