We have been sharing Shirzad Chamine’s wonderful work on positive intelligence during the past two weeks. Today will shine light on four more pesky Saboteurs identified by Shirzad that  are roadblocks to our success and effectiveness.


The Hyper-Rational saboteur involves an intense and exclusive focus on the rational processing of everything and can be impatient with people’s emotions. Although Kevin is not impatient with people’s emotions, his Hyper-Rational saboteur certainly focuses on intense rational processing. Having to think about every possibility, this saboteur causes Kevin to experience self-doubt and difficulty in making decisions. It can take him ten minutes to decide what he wants for lunch. “I think I’ll have a hamburger. No, I’d rather have a bowl of soup. But a salad would be better for me. How about a cheeseburger with pickles? Maybe no pickles.” Although being rational makes sense, Kevin’s Hyper-Rational saboteur drives the rest of our team crazy.



The Restless saboteur is constantly in search of greater excitement. This saboteur tells you that by being busy you are living life fully. Welcome to my saboteur. As I drove by a coffee shop in our neighborhood, I noticed a man sitting outside having a cup of coffee. Just having a cup of coffee. “What’s wrong with him,” I thought. Then I realized there was nothing wrong with him. It’s with me that the problem lies. My Restless saboteur tries to convince me that I can’t just sit outside and enjoy a cup of coffee. I need to get something done. I need to be working on next week’s Wellness Wednesday, check in with Willow to plan an upcoming presentation, or call a principal who wants information on becoming a Top 20 school. My saboteur’s script is, “Don’t just sit there. Get something done.”


The Controller saboteur runs on a need to take charge, control situations and bend people’s actions to your own will. This saboteur tells you that controlling generates the best results. There are times when someone should take control. I don’t want an airplane pilot to ask me if I’d rather be flying at 35,000 feet or 28,000 feet. That’s the pilot’s decision. But the controlling saboteur takes charge when we should be considering the opinions or needs of others. Instead, the Controller decides that ‘my way is the best way’.


The Avoider saboteur focuses on the positive and pleasant and avoids difficult and unpleasant tasks, especially conflict. It develops the habit of procrastination and conflict avoidance. A school principal that we work with is gifted in countless ways. However, she avoids conflict whenever it arises. Consequently, the conflicts get worse. Her Avoider saboteur undermines her effectiveness as an educational leader.

Be aware of the Avoider saboteur as it sometimes partners with the Pleaser saboteur. When that happens, we avoid in order to please; we please in order to avoid.


  1. Do you recognize the Hyper-Rational, Restless, Controller or Avoider saboteurs residing in you? If so, what is their script? What do they say to you?
  2. When they show up in your life this week, identify them by name and be aware of their script and what they are saying to you. Let them know that you don’t need them in your life. Because they are habits, they will come back. However, each time you recognize and challenge them, they get quieter and lose their power to control your thinking.

Again, be sure to dig deeper into Shirzad Chamine’s work by clicking HERE!

From our Top 20 team…Kevin Brennan and his Hyper-Rational Saboteur, Willow Sweeney, and Tom Cody.

Paul Bernabei and my Restless Saboteur
Top 20 Training