Best Boss Take 5 | Awaken Your Sage

We’re diving into the concept of Positive Intelligence, a comprehensive life and work operating system. It’s all about understanding yourself better—specifically, how you can be your own worst enemy and how to counteract that.

Today we’re focusing on the sage. It’s the deeper, wiser part of ourselves that is more focused, more creative, more intentional – all those things we want to be in our work and our lives. It’s the opposite of our saboteurs (we touched on those here), which come from our reactive brain or emotional brain.

The idea is to understand how to understand and work with our saboteurs, to quiet them down, and learn to awaken and listen to that deeper, wiser part of ourselves we call the sage.

Here are three things you can do to awaken and understand your sage:

1. Pause

When you encounter a situation that triggers your saboteur, take a moment to pause. This break allows you to disengage from your emotional brain and reassess the situation.

2. Ponder

After identifying the saboteur’s presence, it’s essential to separate oneself from these counterproductive tendencies. Practicing “PQ reps” during this pause—focusing on a physical sensation like touch or smell for 10-30 seconds—can be especially effective in bringing you back to a calmer state. Try rubbing your index finger and your thumb gently together, close your eyes, and pay attention to the subtle ridges of your fingertips. This mindfulness exercise helps you detach from the immediate emotional triggers and provides space for deeper reflection … to awaken the sage part of your brain and quiet the saboteur part.

3. Play

Finally, hit the “play” button by taking clear, laser-focused action based on your wiser sage self, not your sabotaging tendencies. We all have a sage within us, covered up by years of experiences and emotional layers. Learning to tap into that sage by quieting our saboteurs can significantly improve how we think, feel, and behave.

The quest for professional excellence is an ongoing journey that requires continuous self-examination and growth. Positive Intelligence serves as a practical guide to access the deeper, wiser self that remains consistent throughout life’s complexities. By implementing these strategies—Pause, Ponder, and Play—you equip yourself with the tools to overcome self-imposed barriers so you can lead with greater efficacy and authenticity. 

If this topic interests you, pick up the book Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine and stay tuned for further insights in our upcoming “Best Boss Take 5” series.

About Danny

With over 20 years experience in training and leadership development  — and holding an MBA and an MA in Organizational Development — Danny Ceballos has worked with organizations across the country to strengthen their effectiveness in leading and managing others through supervision+motivation best practices and strategies.