The Best Leaders Recover Faster

The Best Leaders Recover Faster

Only 20% of leaders and teams are achieving their true potential. That means only 1 in 5 people are operating at their best. One of the biggest differences between great leaders and mediocre ones, is the speed of recovery to a positive mindset from a negative mindset where you are feeling stressed and upset over mistakes, failures, bad news, and negative interactions.

Let’s be honest; it is humanly impossible to be in a positive mindset all the time. We all get hijacked by negative feelings – stress, anxiety, anger, blame, disappointment – when challenges happen. This is great alert signal only.

The issue is that, when in a negative mindset, you are using your ‘Survivor brain’ only, which is mostly located on the left side – leading to blinkered, tunnel-like vision focused on the challenges only. Far from being at your best.

You are at your best when you are operating from a positive mindset or the Sage part of your brain, mostly located on the right side. You feel positive emotions like empathy, curiosity, creativity, clarity and calm and you look at the whole picture: challenges and opportunities.

You see this in sports as well as business. The top athletes recover faster from setbacks – and are quicker to adopt a positive mindset to bring them back on form.

Challenges are part of work, sports and life, but it’s the way we deal with them that matters most. To be at your best, you need to be able to quickly recover back to the Sage part of your brain where you feel centered and grounded. But the impact isn’t just peak performance, it also leads to happiness and healthier relationships for you and those around you.

So how long should it take you to recover from negative emotions and thoughts caused by saboteur hijacking? We aim for ten seconds and the answer depends on two things: the strength of your mental muscles and the weight of the challenge.

The best leaders can deal with weighty challenges with a positive mindset because they are mentally fit. Mental fitness is defined as your ability to deal with challenges in a positive mindset and make changes in a sustainable way.

How do you do that? To work on your mental fitness, you need to practice your three mental muscles daily.

  1. Saboteur interceptor muscle: learn to expose and intercept your saboteurs. These are the voices in your head that generate negative emotions in the way they handle life challenges.
  2. Self-command muscle: boost your ability to command your mind to quieten the saboteur region and amplify the Sage region by doing Resets/PQ reps: you are focusing on one of your five senses and actively letting go of your thoughts.
  3. Sage muscle: learn to boost your positive mindset by actively using empathy, exploration, innovation, navigation and activation while handling life’s challenges and ask yourself how you can turn a challenge into a gifts or opportunities.. Your greatest happiness and performance is generated in the Sage part of your brain.

When you are in full command of your mind, in Sage, you can choose to not stress out over what you can’t control, push away self-doubts, recover from disappointments immediately and spend less time in anger, regret or blame.

So whenever you feel negative emotions, stop and reset. Focus on one thing and actively let go of your thoughts and emotions. Resets can take as little as ten seconds – and can even be done in a meeting with your eyes open.

If you fail to recover at your first try, don’t get upset or disappointed, just keep doing your resets/PQ reps until you recover to a calm focused and positive mindset. The more you practice the shorter your recovery time. You are rewiring your brain and changing neural pathways. Research shows that doing 15 minutes of resets spread out over a day, helps you to recover faster and faster.

Achieving your and your team’s potential is not about ending saboteurs’ hijacking. It is about your mental fitness; teaching yourself to recover faster and faster to a positive mindset. Where, you are in charge of your actions, emotions, and thoughts to achieve peak performance, improve your well-being and enjoy healthier relationships for you and those around you.


Shirzad Chamine Positive Intelligence. Why only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve their True Potential

Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work