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Growth Mindset

How to Access Your Inner Sage: A Comprehensive Guide to the 5 Sage Powers

The 5 Sage Powers

Published May 28, 2024
by Positive Intelligence

Do you ever feel like your mind is fighting an unceasing battle? On one side of the battlefield are the positive feelings that fill you with creativity, wisdom, and pure joy. On the other side are the negative emotions that wreck your attempts at happiness and success.

The internal war between your Sage (positive self) and Saboteurs (negative self) is a war for domination between two different parts of your brain. Accessing your 5 Sage Powers helps shift the balance of power in your mind from negative to positive.

Saboteur & Sage: Two Very Different Regions of the Brain

Saboteurs represent automatic and habitual mind patterns, each with its own voice, beliefs, and assumptions that work against your best interests. They exist in the brainstem, limbic system, and parts of the left brain. 

These negative emotions are only helpful for a second to alert you to dangers or issues. Staying in Saboteur mode hurts your ability to see clearly and choose the most impactful response.

Your Sage lives in a different region of your brain: the middle prefrontal cortex, empathy circuitry, and parts of the right brain. The Sage generates positive emotions while handling life’s challenges. These emotions include empathy, compassion, gratitude, curiosity, the joy of creativity, and calm, clear-headed, laser-focused action.

The Sage brain region is wired for creativity and big-picture awareness of what is essential and the best action. Activating this brain region releases endorphins that counter the negative impacts of stress-induced cortisol.

Shift the Balance of Power in Your Mind

Every person in the world is afflicted by Saboteurs that undermine effectiveness and happiness. The question is which Saboteurs you have and how strong they are. Once you identify your Saboteurs, the great news is that you can significantly reduce their power by building new neural pathways in your brain.

Your brain is made up of neurons. When a signal travels down a neuron, it activates other neurons based on synapses that connect neurons. However, there are multiple choices for which direction the signal will travel. Every time a neuron activates another, they become more closely wired together. It becomes more likely that the signal will go in that direction the next time, constituting a neural pathway.

When you intercept old Saboteur responses and choose a new Sage response, new Sage pathways form, countering the old Saboteur pathways.

Activating the Sage region of your brain gives you access to the 5 Sage Powers. These powers — Empathize, Explore, Innovate, Navigate, and Activate — help you form positive mental habits, overcome self-sabotaging behaviors, and achieve your true potential. Each of the 5 Sage Powers has practical applications that will generate the best results and lead to the highest level of personal satisfaction, peace of mind, and happiness along the way.

Sage Power: Empathize

When Empathize Is Needed

Empathize is about developing deep appreciation, compassion, and forgiveness for oneself and others. Cultivating empathy for yourself first enables deeper empathy for others.

By practicing self-compassion, you can better manage your inner dialogue and extend genuine empathy towards others, improving relationships and team dynamics. Using your Sage’s power to Empathize also helps you understand and manage conflicts within a team, fostering a more collaborative and supportive environment.

What Gets in the Way

The primary obstacle to Empathize is the inner critic, known as the Judge, which constantly undermines self-worth and inhibits the ability to connect with others compassionately.

Practical Applications

Self-Compassion Exercises: Engage in practices that promote self-acceptance and appreciation, such as journaling positive affirmations or reflecting on personal achievements.

Active Listening: In interpersonal interactions, focus on listening without judgment, acknowledging others’ feelings, and responding with empathy and support.

Sage Power Game: Visualize the Child

Visualize yourself as a child in a setting where your essence shines through. Pick a vivid and detailed image that instantly triggers feelings of caring and empathy. You might even want to find a picture of yourself as a child in which your original personality shines through. This image will remind you that your true essence is worthy of unconditional caring and empathy when your Judge, others, or life’s troubles beat you down.

To generate empathy for others, visualize the other person as a child in their true essence before being weighted down by Saboteurs. Trust that the same essence is still inside them, underneath their Saboteurs. You can do this in the back of your mind while interacting with the person in a meeting. It will instantly impact how much empathy you feel.

Sage Power: Explore

When Explore Is Needed

Explore taps into childlike curiosity and openness. It involves an enthusiastic and nonjudgmental approach to discovering new ideas, perspectives, and solutions. It promotes an open mindset, essential for navigating crises and complex challenges.

Embracing your Sage’s power to Explore can lead to greater self-awareness, inspire innovative thinking, and enable teams to work through complex challenges with confidence and curiosity. This mindset encourages continuous learning and growth, which is essential for personal and organizational development.

What Gets in the Way

Many adults lose touch with their innate curiosity for fear of failure or judgment. The Saboteurs, such as the Judge and the Stickler, can stifle exploratory thinking by imposing rigid expectations and criticisms.

Practical Applications

Mindfulness Practices: Engage in mindfulness exercises that encourage open awareness and curiosity. This can include meditation, nature walks, or observing daily activities with fresh eyes.

Asking Open-Ended Questions: Cultivate a habit of asking questions that encourages exploration and understanding rather than seeking immediate solutions or judgments.

Sage Power Game: Fascinated Anthropologist

Become a keen observer and discoverer of what simply is without trying to judge, change, or control the situation. Try being a Fascinated Anthropologist in a difficult situation. The only goal is to discover things precisely as they are. For example, if you conflict with someone, could you let go of your own grievances and demands for three minutes, becoming fascinated instead with discovering why the other person is feeling exactly how they feel?

Sage Power: Innovate

When Innovate Is Needed

Innovate is about breaking free from conventional thinking to create new and effective solutions. It requires challenging existing assumptions, pushing beyond conventional boundaries, and asking, “What’s a whole new way to do this?” 

Using your Sage’s power to Innovate requires an environment where creativity is valued and supported. You can help cultivate this environment by modeling adaptive thinking and optimism, which allows team members to embrace change and find novel solutions to problems.

What Gets in the Way

The tendency to cling to familiar patterns and fear of the unknown can hinder innovation. Saboteurs like the Controller and Avoider may resist change and discourage risk-taking.

Practical Applications

Brainstorming Sessions: Regularly engage in creative brainstorming sessions that encourage out-of-the-box thinking and challenge existing paradigms.

Prototyping and Experimentation: Implement a culture of experimentation where you test and refine new ideas, allowing for iterative learning and improvement.

Sage Power Game: “Yes … and …”

When someone shares a new idea, say, “Yes, what I love about that idea is … and …” With this approach, every idea is appreciated rather than judged before the next one is generated in reaction to it. Keep going as fast as you can, in rapid succession. Play this game inside your head or in a team setting.

Sage Power: Navigate

When Navigate Is Needed

Navigate involves making decisions aligned with deeply held values and long-term goals. It is about using an internal compass to steer through life’s complexities and remain true to one’s principles.

Use your Sage’s power to Navigate when multiple paths are available, some of which may be more aligned than others with your values, purpose, or meaning. This power is particularly useful when the path is unclear, like navigating through dense fog without a map. By relying on your internal compass, you can make consistent choices that lead to a fulfilling and meaningful life.

What Gets in the Way

Ambiguity and external pressures can lead to confusion and misalignment with core values. Saboteurs like the Pleaser and Hyper-Achiever may distract from genuine fulfillment by prioritizing external validation over personal integrity.

Practical Applications

Values Clarification: Spend time identifying and articulating the core values and principles that guide your decision-making. You can achieve this through personal reflection, coaching, or values-based assessments.

Future-Self Visualization: Regularly visualize your future self and the life you aspire to lead, ensuring that current actions and decisions align with this vision.

Sage Power Game: Flash Forward

When faced with a fork in the road, imagine yourself at the end of your life, looking back at the choices you are now facing. From that vantage point, what do you wish you had chosen at this juncture? This exercise works because many trivial Saboteur-related concerns fall away at the end of your life, and you realize they are false. The things that stand out are those that are real and bring value, meaning, and purpose to your life. 

The team version of Flash Forward is to imagine how you wish you had conducted yourselves as a group at a point in the future when the team or organization no longer exists.

Sage Power: Activate

When Activate Is Needed

Activate is about transitioning from contemplation to action with clarity and focus. It involves directing all mental and emotional energies towards meaningful goals, free from the distractions of negative emotions and Saboteurs.

You need the Sage’s power to Activate when it is clear what course of action you want to take. This power allows you to move into pure action without the procrastination, distraction, or interference that Saboteurs cause. For example, suppose you decide to forgive someone who has wronged you. In that case, the Activate power helps you proceed with that action cleanly and effectively, free from negative emotions like anger or resentment.

What Gets in the Way

Procrastination, fear, and doubt can impede action. Saboteurs like the Victim and Restless may generate anxiety and distract from goal-oriented efforts.

Practical Applications

Goal Setting and Planning: Establish clear, actionable goals and develop structured plans to achieve them. Break down large tasks into manageable steps to maintain momentum.

Overcoming Saboteurs: Identify and counteract Saboteur interference by preemptively addressing fears and doubts. Use positive self-talk and mental fitness exercises to stay focused and motivated.

Sage Power Game: Preempt the Saboteurs

Put yourself in the shoes of your top Saboteurs and try to anticipate how they might try to sabotage your actions. Anticipate the thoughts they would put into your mind during the action and what lies they would use to justify those thoughts. Once you anticipate their sabotage, you will be better equipped to intercept and let go of those thoughts when they arise during your action.

Embrace Your Sage Powers 

The 5 Sage Powers bring a balanced approach to handling personal and professional challenges, empowering you to overcome your self-sabotaging behaviors, increase your resilience, and nurture a growth mindset.

By cultivating and implementing Sage Powers in your daily life, you can foster deeper connections, embrace curiosity, drive innovation, find purposeful direction, and act with clarity and focus. This holistic approach unlocks a higher level of personal and professional development so you can achieve your true potential.

Explore how the PQ Program for mental fitness can help you and your team use your Sage Powers to improve performance, team dynamics, and wellbeing.

Discover Your Saboteurs

The first step to conquering your Saboteurs is to identify them and expose their lies and limiting beliefs.

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Saboteur Assessment animation

Overcome Your Saboteurs

Intercepting your Saboteurs is crucial for success, and it starts with understanding how they affect you.

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