The Mindful Coach



Get ready to hear inspiring stories, learn powerful coaching skills, stay updated on the latest technology, and gain insights from conscious marketing experts. Tune in to ‘The Mindful Coach’ podcast with host Brett Hill as he interviews an incredible lineup of coaches and helping professionals in the The Mindful Coach Association community.

Are you a coach or helping professionals who values mindfulness in life and work? Meet your colleagues in weekly meetings, list your services and who knows? You could be a guest on the show! Free membership.

Join the Mindful Coach Association

Leadership is not a spectator sport. Go out and try some of these tips that we’ve given you and see how they work. – Dr. Kevin Gazara

Both Dr Gazzara and I have technical backgrounds, (Intel and Microsoft respectively) so it’s great fun to talk shop with someone who is focused on making the science of our neurology, through mindfulness and his specialty, Positive Intelligence (PQ).

Dr. Gazzara brings a wealth of practical, actionable insight and guidance to his clients and the world. With a strong background in engineering and business, Dr. Gazzara’s expertise lies in applying positive intelligence to foster effective leadership communication and personal growth. As an ICF certified coach and co-author of The Leader of Oz, draws on over 25 years of experience in management and leadership development, both in the corporate sector and as a university professor.

There is a LOT of practical guidance in this episode, which is why he says, “Go out and try these” techniques and see if they work.

Effective Leadership Communication Techniques

Effective leadership communication techniques are pivotal to achieving team goals and fostering a productive work environment. Becoming a great communicator involves learning to express expectations clearly, patiently listening to team members, and building strong relationships based on trust and mutual respect. By mastering these techniques, leaders can facilitate more meaningful conversations, inspire teams to strive for common objectives, and greatly enhance their ability to influence and effectively lead others, consequently enriching the overall workplace dynamic.

Power of Positive Intelligence

The power of positive intelligence lies in its ability to strengthen our mental fitness, an essential skill for leaders. This revolutionary approach involves simultaneously suppressing self-sabotaging thoughts (saboteurs) and amplifying our positive qualities (sage powers). By committing to this practice, leaders can enhance their problem-solving capabilities, drive innovative ideas, and improve overall performance, making it a potent tool for building more thriving, resilient teams, and organizations.

Resources in this episode:

  • Take the Positive Intelligence Assessment: Visit to access a free assessment that will help you identify your saboteur strengths and the strength of your positive intelligence brain. This assessment takes about five minutes and provides valuable insights into your mental fitness.
  • Check out his book: The Leader of OZ
  • Join The Mindful Coach Association: If you’re interested in joining a community of courageous coaches and accessing free membership, visit The Mindful Coach Association to join weekly meetings and connect with like-minded individuals.

00:00:01 - Brett Hill

Oh, yeah, turn off my phone. So welcome to this episode of the The Mindful Coach Association podcast and I'm really excited to have with me a special guest, Dr. Kevin Gazara. Let me introduce Kevin a little bit before we get into some of the amazing stuff that he's been working with and how he's helping people, you know, really move powerfully into their lives in a more full way. Dr. Kevin are, as an ICF certified coach, certified in positive intelligence, positive intelligence, mental fitness. He taught management and leadership development in the corporate world during his 18 years at The Mindful Coach Association and also as a university professor for over 25 years. Today, he's a senior partner at Magna Leadership Solutions and the co author of the book the Leader of Oz, with a background in engineering and business, which is kind of my background, so we intersect there as well. His passion is in helping individuals find the leader that is within us all. And as a recovering hyperachiever and hyper rational technologist, the mindfulness portion of personal development never really clicked for him. He has a section in his bio, he says, sitting out and just looking at the mountains and like, trying to do the standard meditational, mindful meditation practices that just didn't work. And what he did find that did work was using the positive intelligence approach with two minute repetitions that happen prompted by the PQ app smartphone. PQ is the abbreviations for positive intelligence. And this was really an immense breakthrough and helped him a lot in terms of developing his positive intelligence mental muscle to help clear and calm his mind just when he needed. And now he's on a mission to help others achieve the same sort of amazing results. Does that summarize it well, you think.

00:01:57 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Kevin, I'm going to hire you as my marketing and introductory coach for when I do my speaking.

00:02:05 - Brett Hill

There we go. That's great. Well, thank you so much for joining us. I can't wait to hear about your journey. As someone who I sometimes call myself a technologist and I am, I understand a lot of technology. I used to teach it from Microsoft on stages all over the world. And I just really love an approach to mindfulness and from the science point of view of helping us basically learn how to manage our nervous systems, I tell people sometimes it's like, well, I love technology because I like to know how things work. So why wouldn't I turn that same kind of curiosity to my own inner architecture, so to speak? So tell us a little bit about your journey and, and how you, you wound up becoming an expert on positive intelligence.

00:02:54 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Well, I'm not sure I'd say I am an expert, I would say. I'm certainly, I found it incredibly valuable for myself as well as for all the people I do do coaching for mostly executives. And I think the thing I would say, Brett, that really connected for me was, as Ewan mentioned, I've come out of the bits and bytes environment, right? So numbers, high rationality. I'm the kind of hyper rational, if you want to talk about hyper rational, everything can be turned into numbers. And the thing that you learn as you go through your personal journeys, whether it's in technology or outside of technology, is that people like to do business with people first and you have to make that emotional connection before you can make that rational connection. And I think as what my friends call me, a recovering engineer. I moved from doing the technical stuff when I was at intel to ultimately moving into managing intel university. And then for the last six years before I retired in 2007, I managed Intel's management and leadership development residential programs for first and midline managers for the world. And we used to do 2500 managers and leaders.

00:04:23 - Brett Hill


00:04:23 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

In ten different countries. And when I retired from intel in June of seven, we had just finished training our 40,000th manager. So I got pretty good at that.

00:04:36 - Brett Hill

Yeah, I guess so.

00:04:38 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

I learned quite a bit. I took two of my colleagues with me in 2007 and I had a personal vision and goal to retire at 50 and then go help other organizations that didn't have $10 million budgets, help them develop their managers. And that's what we've been doing for the last 16 years. Our best year ever. Last year. And this year is.

00:05:03 - Brett Hill

Congratulations. Congratulations.

00:05:04 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yeah, sure. So I think more important than, for me, best year ever means getting the ability to help other managers. Leaders really kind of discover what they have. And there's a real advantage to organizations because if you look at the statistics, once again, here we go into the numbers. Look at the statistics. People leave managers and leaders. They don't really leave organizations. Sometimes they do. If you have a great manager, I'm sure you've had some, and people listening also have had great managers. If you really think about organizations, if you've worked in a high performing team, someone that's really, everything is clicking and you just can't wait to get into work, that making a decision to leave that is really difficult. On the converse, if you have a manager, that's just dreadful. And the good news is, at Intel I tell people I had ten managers and leaders over the 18 years I was there. I had eight managers and leaders that were incredible. And then I had two other ones that I learned so much from. So nice way to kind of put that. And I think you learn as much from the bad managers as you do from the good managers. Fortunately, it was a really good 80% great ones to 20% that were less.

00:06:29 - Brett Hill

Yeah, that's a lot. That's great. I wish I'd had that kind of a ratio. I didn't encounter so many great managers. So I'd love to talk to you about this. Within technology companies, there's the sort of, at least I've worked for two big technology companies, and then I also taught a lot in them. I was hired, but I actually worked as an employee in two large ones. That doesn't mean, and I'm saying that to know that I only know those two. But from what I gather, things are similar kind of, in a lot of other organizations. And one of the things that happens in these organizations is that they get people. They hire technical people who turn out to be pretty good at what they do, and they're not terrible at group meetings and that kinds of things. And they wind up getting promoted to a project leader, and then they wind up getting promoted to a people leader, but that's not necessarily their strength. They actually are good with code or good with projects and timelines and evaluating and prioritizing, but they don't necessarily have the interpersonal skills, but they wind up getting in jobs where they need those skills. Are those the kind of people that you wound up working with, and if so, what were the things that really helped them the most?

00:07:48 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Well, those are exactly the people that we work with. When we say the people we work with, from a coaching perspective or consulting perspective, is we typically work with technical experts who happen to be managers and are having some challenges kind of delivering and delivering the hard messages to the team and holding people accountable. As you've pointed out, you get really good at something. You're great at writing code or designing boards or whatever, and you do that for a really long time. And of course, you're interacting with different people. And at some point in time, the manager comes in and says, hey, bill, you've done a really great job for the last 20 years. Here's a team. Just go and fix them. If you can write code and design boards, I mean, how hard can it be?

00:08:41 - Brett Hill

Yeah. Right. Well, as it turns out, it could be kind of hard.

00:08:48 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

And I think from an engineering perspective, Brett, the thing that's really awesome about science in particular is it's generally zeros and ones. Right. It's black and white. There's some gray areas. The human world, when you're managing and leading, is all gray, right? Everything's gray. So there's not a lot of black and white. You can get it closer to black or closer to white. You pretty much live in the gray space. And what I have found is a lot of my colleagues really like to live in the zeros and one space in the black and white.

00:09:24 - Brett Hill

Well, there's a lot of certainty in that world.

00:09:30 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

So moving from the black and white space to the gray space is often very difficult because humans are complex. There's lots of variables going on simultaneously, so it's hard to isolate one variable or another. And the tendency is that I saw some research just recently that basically says about our leaders born or made, and typically, they find that great leaders, 30% really comes from nature, kind of. They're born with some abilities that some prewiring that happens up here, and the rest, the other 70% is something that can be learned. And of course, the amazing leaders are ones that start off with the 30 and then really make it their passion to really do the work for the other 70.

00:10:24 - Brett Hill

Yeah, I totally align with what you're saying there. So what would you say is, like, you take somebody who finds themselves in a management role, and they haven't done this before, and they're kind of awkward with people. How would you help that person kind of get that 70% skill set? What's that look like? I mean, obviously that's your work, but it's like, what's the top of mind bullet points for? What's that look like in terms of an engagement?

00:10:55 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yeah. And I want to make sure I'm giving the people that are listening some really very practical know. So we have a program called our leading forward academy. We kind of bring all of this stuff together. I want to make sure I'm giving them practical tips that they can actually just go out and use, other than kind of Kevin talking about just his life experience. So I think the first thing that we've learned also from research, so we like things that are quantitative, is that if, and we did a research study years and years ago with regard to what are the biggest challenges for leaders, and the number one challenge that shows up over and over, and it's not just our research, but many other people's research, is communication. Getting better at communicating with individuals is really, if you can only pick one thing, it's like the city Slickers, the curly's gold. I can do one thing. If you really want to become a better leader, you become better at communicating. And here's our tips for you about how to do that. People will say that, oh, you have to get better at communicating. Give me something very tangible that I, whether I'm making progress. So I'll give you one of our, kind of our inside tools that we've developed and used that will make your communication significantly better overnight.

00:12:21 - Brett Hill


00:12:22 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

If you use this, I can guarantee you that your communication will be received better. And you're going to cause lots and lots of less of the back and forth that you typically have. And what we found was that many managers really, in their head, have their idea of what they have to do. So they'll come to you and say, hey, need this project design done by Friday? Ready, go. Right. And then they turn you loose. And the problem with that is that it's missing. In fact, we did, our research found, and we did this for about 1200 leaders. And what we found was that the best leaders have three elements in their communication. And as the elements start dropping off, they are rated lower and lower and lower on the leadership scale. And the three elements for communication are, the first element is that they provide a quantity in their communication.

00:13:20 - Brett Hill


00:13:21 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

A quantity. Right. That they have a quantity of how much finish the project. Like, what's the project? Well, I need the front end of the project that's working on the cpu fully functional by Friday. Right. So it's very specific on the quantity. The second thing is that they include the best leaders, is they include a quality element or elements. It might be more than one variable. And so talking about design and so forth, it might be is operating with zero level one bugs, so forth.

00:13:57 - Brett Hill

So we have an idea.

00:13:58 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

It may be operating, but if it's crashing every two minutes, that fails the quality element. And then the third thing that they do, and quite often the quality element may have more than one variable. It might be bug sure, and it doesn't overheat or something like that. So the manager needs to communicate that. And then here's the third element, and this is the one that we have found. Of the three is the one that's the most missing. And the third element is pace. So you have quantity, quality, and pace. And pace is not time. Our tendency is, I need to have the functional chip done on Friday. The first portion of it, zero level one bugs by Friday. What the best leaders do is they have a discussion with the designer. Engineer doesn't have to be an engineer. It could be an HR person purchasing.

00:14:54 - Brett Hill

Sure. It could be lots of things. This could be true for a lot of different kinds of discussions besides technical discussions.

00:15:02 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Right. Whatever it is. And they put a pace in there. And the idea of putting a pace in there is. So it's Monday. I'm telling you, I need this by Friday is to figure out what kind of milestones I can build in there so that you can do a check in with the individual where you're being there as a resource rather than micromanaging them. The tendency is do the project by Friday, and every three or 4 hours I'm checking in. Like, Bob, how are you doing with this? Right. So it feels like micromanagement. So getting kind of an understanding of what's going to happen. So we can run the first test on Wednesday to give us an idea whether we're going to be there. And then Thursday we can run the final test, and then we can cycle it for 24 hours to make sure that it's working. And the key is if you put the milestones in there. So first test on Wednesday, second test for temperature on Thursday, and then final delivery on Friday, if you can move that in, then the person knows when you're going to check in with them, and the check in is to not beat them. Are you on track? Do you have everything necessary to meet the other milestones? And when you establish the milestones, what you want to make sure is that we always kind of back it out of like doing this design. If we had an emergency, how long would it take you in order to do this? If I just locked you in a room with your team to do that, they might say, oh, yeah, this is about an eight hour project to get this done. Of course, you got lots of other stuff that's going on during the week. So you want to make sure that the last milestone before the deliverable, like if everything crashes and burns, because I have that Thursday piece in there that if I can pull the team off, that I've given them enough time to make them successful. And typically we don't do that. What happens is you get there Friday and you think you're going to be close and it doesn't work, and then schedules Monday and next Tuesday, and you miss the deadlines and everything else. So quantity, quality, and pace. Those are our three tips from one of the first workshops we do on our leadership academy, which is called communicating and coaching with person.

00:17:24 - Brett Hill

And so what's the human connection overlay on that? So it's like, that's a beautiful run out in terms of how to communicate expectations and setting a framework where someone understands what they're being asked to do, and I'm a big fan of clarity in these kinds of communications, and I love it when people set expectations for me and hold me accountable to that. And at the same time, I try to do that with other people as well as I can. It's not my specialty. Like I mentioned before, the new project comes in and you're, you're communicating all that. But what about the actual relationship in the room?

00:18:09 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yeah. The tool that I just gave you is making the assumption that you've done the investments up front to develop the relationships with the individuals. One, so as you're doing the communication, one, it's accepted. And two, if there's the one thing I always like to close all my communications with is, is that a reasonable request? I need this by this quantity, quality pace by Friday. Is that a reasonable request? And you have to have that relationship there in order for people to say, yeah, that's a reasonable request. If I didn't have these other two projects that you're going to hold me accountable for on Friday, you want them to bring that up. So you have to have the relationship piece in there. And we use a model that we extracted out of some work that was done at Harvard for our leadership model, which is the best leaders. And this goes to your point about the relationship. Really, the first thing you have to do is you have to understand yourself, then you understand others, and then you initiate and sustain change. And the tendency is to focus on the third. Right. So what changes do I have to make? What do I have to keep it going? How do I have to have that hammer, carrot and stick type of approach? And usually what we find is that when leaders will get a lot of people that will say, hey, I need you to come in and work with my team because they're not performing or we're getting high turnover, whatever it is. And you need to fix the managers that we have, and then we'll say, okay, so are you going to be involved? Like, oh, no, we're not the problem. It's our managers are the problem. That's the first red flag.

00:19:47 - Brett Hill


00:19:49 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Self awareness is missing.

00:19:52 - Brett Hill

The managers that you hired, by the way.

00:19:55 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Right. And you're leading and you're managing and you're demonstrating your behaviors. All of them are doing problematic behaviors. We think that there's probably a good possibility that you might not be role modeling kind of behaviors that we want. So getting them to have that self awareness is really where you start. There's lots of different assessments that you use. We work a lot with target training international, we do disc and values and driving forces and emotional intelligence. And there's lots of other assessments that are out there, validated assessments that work really well. But it's really to get people to understand what's their style, communication, what do they need to do differently, where are their values, what's driving them, keeping them motivated. And if you can start there, which is the kind of the self awareness piece, then you can move to the second step, which is kind of communicating and understanding others with that. And one of the things of how this relates to positive intelligence, one of the things that we've adopted, I got certified to facilitate positive intelligence about a little over two and a half years ago or so. And one of the things that we started doing for all of the coaching that we do with the executives or even down to first line managers is that we start with the focus on understanding yourself. Right. Know thyself, which is using positive intelligence, which is really based, built on the foundation of emotional intelligence, the work that was done by Daniel Goldman. And it's getting a deeper understanding of what your five sage powers are and your ten saboteurs. And we can talk a little bit about those as well. And what we found, Brettt, was that if you spend enough time up front, we have a six week program that we go through remotely. We do it on Zoom. It's not in person with small, what they call pods, you're usually four to six managers. And we really do a deep dive into the positive intelligence. Once people kind of understand their saboteurs, the things that are holding them back and their sage powers of things can move them forward. One, we get two advantages out of it. One, you get a common language, which is awesome when you do a coaching engagement. And the second thing is it gives the individuals tools for self diagnosis. So rather than going to a coaching session and people just saying, hey, here's the challenge, and then as a coach, just working through that, typically now what they do is they come to the session, they say, here's the challenge. And by the way, here's the two saboteurs that are playing with me, and I'd like to have a kind of a discussion and talk through how do I keep those saboteurs at bay? And it makes for a better coaching engagement for me, for the individual, and generally we make significantly more progress.

00:23:08 - Brett Hill

Yeah, go ahead, please.

00:23:10 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

I was going to say, would you like me to kind of talk you through what the saboteurs are?

00:23:15 - Brett Hill

Sure. Well, how many are there?

00:23:17 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Well, there's ten of them. I'm not going to give you details on all of them because.

00:23:22 - Brett Hill

Yeah, sure.

00:23:24 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

So if we look at saboteur, so there's this major saboteur which Shurzad Shameen, who wrote the book, positive intelligence, highly recommend it. Easy read. Whether you read it or get it on audible, just do it. It's really life changing. It was for me and for many of the people I've worked with in coaching is you have this major, this superior kind of saboteur, the overarching saboteur, which is called the judge. It's taking all of the input from the individual saboteurs. And at the end of the session, I'll give you a link where everybody can go and get a quick start guide.

00:24:04 - Brett Hill

So what does the judge sound like? If you have a judge in your head, what does that sound like to somebody?

00:24:09 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

The judge sounds like is, man, you're never getting through this project. You're way in over your head. You shouldn't be managing people.

00:24:17 - Brett Hill

Yeah, like an imposter syndrome. Yes.

00:24:20 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Right. So it takes all that information and the nine, what they call accomplished saboteurs, are the controller. And I think most of the names are self explanatory. You have the controller, you have the hyperachiever. Like that, there's always more. Get it done.

00:24:38 - Brett Hill

You can't relax well.

00:24:41 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

And you have the restless people. Not only are they thinking about what they're not doing or what they can be doing, right? So you have the restless. Then you have the stickler, which I find shows up a lot in people.

00:24:53 - Brett Hill

That come out of the technical field.

00:24:55 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

It's like I have to get that last millionth of a percentage point out of efficiency. So you got the stickler, you have the pleaser saboteur, which is, these are people that basically don't want to make waves and kind of avoid.

00:25:10 - Brett Hill


00:25:11 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Just keep things off.

00:25:13 - Brett Hill

I call those people flatners. But it's another language for the same.

00:25:17 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Thing that one I haven't heard. And it's not really so much avoiding as it is just pleasing them. Like, okay, if you want to try it that way.

00:25:27 - Brett Hill

Oh, I see.

00:25:30 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Sure. That you're the expert where you could.

00:25:33 - Brett Hill

Yeah, right. Exactly.

00:25:34 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

And then you have the hyper vigilant. The hyper vigilant is. You have that hyper vigilance. I'm working with a guy right now that his hyper vigilant is like at a ten out of ten, he can't sleep at night and constantly thinking.

00:25:48 - Brett Hill

And this is never worst case scenario sort of people. Right. It's kind of like that. I know what you mean?

00:25:54 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yeah. Take about stuff that you can't control.

00:25:57 - Brett Hill

And worry about it and worry about.

00:26:00 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

It all the time. The last three saboteurs are the avoider, which is basically the ostrich. Just hope that it's going to go away. And hope is not a strategy. You have the victim. You have the ostrich. Right. You have the victim, which is, hey.

00:26:22 - Brett Hill


00:26:22 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

They're doing this to me. I am not contributing to this. And then the last one, which is one of my strong saboteurs, which is the hyper rational. And it kind of goes back to where we started as the tendency, prior to me learning and embracing positive intelligence. As an engineer, I always wanted to start with bits and bytes and numbers. And what you find is I can't get to the rational brain until I get the emotional brain walls to come down. And as you started out so well in today's session is you have to make that connection, you have to develop that relationship, you have to do that, and that allows the emotional brain to come down. The walls to come down. Now I can get the hyper rational. And what we have a tendency, particularly us scientific types, is to try to figure out how do we scale that wall. Like, we're not going to bother, just our energy to get over. And the people don't want you inside once the wall comes down, now they want you inside. Okay, now I'm ready.

00:27:31 - Brett Hill

Yeah. Now there's a flow. You have the opportunity to kind of flow. I like that analogy, that metaphor, because in the methods that I trained in Hakomi, is based on the notion that people's defenses. So all these saboteurs, if I'm going to just frame it a little bit in a different, slightly different way, they're all serving you in some way, right? They're all doing some protection. They're all helping you make sense of your world in some way. And so in the Hakomi framework of somatic psychotherapy, you support the resistance. And so it's sort of like using a crutch in a way so that the person doesn't have to lean on their bad leg with all their strength. You help give them a crutch, and that gives them the opportunity to explore what's it like to be a little more mobile and they don't have to use all the energy themselves. And so in a certain way, what this means is when this is done well in a session, it's exactly like that. The wall comes down and there's so much power in that because that's something that you can do yourself. Once you learn how to do, you can just learn to self regulate, co regulate your system. Notice when you walk in, you're giving an assignment to somebody, you're giving a project to somebody. You're doing all the communication, and you notice they're freaking out internally. They're not saying, oh, I can't do this, but you notice it. And so you have the opportunity then to say, well, is this clear? Do you understand? Yeah, I got it. I think this is okay. Everything's going to be fine. And you can tell not everything's going to be fine. And you have enough presence to go. So how are you feeling about this? Right. And to open up the relational context, that's something I want to be sure is underscored in all of my conversations with these kinds of things. And it's not like you're wandering around trying to make everybody your best friend, but you want to be available to support people, to support people as human beings in these contexts, because that's what we are.

00:29:38 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yeah. You have to be, you know, shirzad in his book the Positive Intelligence and through the certification program, he uses a metaphor that I really love about the saboteurs. And he talks about saboteurs as putting your hand on the hot stove. You want to be able to recognize as you're getting your hand close to the stove that it's hot and you need to pull back. Right. You don't want to get rid of your saboteurs because they're kind of the early warning system for you. Our tendency is that we want to fight with the saboteurs. We want to be convinced that, no, it's really not as hot and I can keep it on there longer. And the key is, what he says is you need to bring in your sage powers and the five sage powers to kind of help you combat. That is empathize, explore, innovate, navigate, and activate. And each one of them has a different function, like the empathize.

00:30:35 - Brett Hill

Right. And that's like executive brain function right there. Those are the executive brain functions, right?

00:30:40 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yeah. And if you can really turn on your sage brain so that it allows you to look at it as an opportunity rather than as a threat, generally, you can get out. You can get a whole lot better results from that.

00:30:55 - Brett Hill

Yeah. And I think the challenge for a lot of people is that they haven't learned to the beauty of having the names for these kinds of, in another world be calling individual selves, like interfamily systems and recreation of the self. This we call these saboteurs as individual identities, in a way, and like these parts of us. And so when they show up, the difficulty is without this kind of a training, without this kind of a sit down and peering inside and going, oh, this is the way I'm organized and structured around these kinds of experiences. And if you look at it as from an operating system point of view and say, this is just a sequence of neurons that fires when I'm giving these kinds of stimuluses, somebody comes in and starts to challenge me. The neural network that gets activated is run away and feel victimized. That's just a neural network that gets activated. It's not who I am. And that's the distinction, is that most people, a lot of people, I should say, they get confused about these saboteurs and that becomes their identity. They think they are. That and what you're advocating for, if I'm hearing you right, is actually another level of, no, that's not who I am. That's just something in me that's going on.

00:32:17 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

And I think you mentioned something very important for the listeners here, is that we have these neural networks that are built into our brains. And the more that we do that, the more we become any that we listen to the saboteur as the victim or the pleaser or the stickler, whatever it is, is the more we reinforce that network. And what Shizad has done, he uses the same terms that you do as an operating system by doing these, what he calls two minute PQ reps, positive intelligence reps that you build in. You get an app that runs on your phone. You can't activate the app unless you're in the program, so anybody could go and download it, but you won't be able to access it. And what it does is it gives you a focus for the day. It sends you reminders. You set the kind of the timing, usually every about 3 hours or so. It just says, take a break. And it gives you opportunities to do some mindfulness or meditation type of things in two minute bursts. And what they found is, if you are consistent with this, what happens is it starts weakening the saboteur neural network that you have established, and it starts building new neural networks in your brain. And by doing it consistently, that's the key, is you have to have the consistency consistently that you can see the differential.

00:33:45 - Brett Hill

And in your bio, you said this app really made a difference for you.

00:33:49 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yeah, I was very much skeptical. Right. I tried a lot of the formal meditation thing. My roommate in college was heavy in the meditation, and each morning, he'd wake up and sit in the lotus position and hum his mantras. And I'm always interested. He was an engineer guy as well. And it just never clicked for me. And then what happened was, once I started kind of getting that understanding, it's like, okay, now I can see how that works. And by doing, having enough of the reps that it doesn't happen overnight. And it's like anything, like building a habit, right, exactly. Usually, I don't know, whatever it is, 600 repetitions or three weeks, or just doing it over and over, what I noticed that there was a difference, and here's how I knew that it was working. Right. Because it doesn't happen. Just like one day you start seeing a difference and you have to kind of stay with the process. The way I knew it was working is I typically do it first thing in the morning when I go out for a walk. I do some positive intelligence reps. There's a gym built in there, so you can pick the kind of reps that you want to do, whether it's visualization or breathing or whatever, do the thing that works for you. And what I noticed was beforehand, I would come back from my walk, feel great about the walk, but I didn't have any great ideas, and I started doing this. And what I noticed is almost every single work walk that I came back from not thinking about, oh, I need a great idea that something would connect. I'd see a tree or a dog or people interacting, and it would trigger something. What I noticed was when I didn't do that in the morning, or I didn't do the reps, and I just went out just for the walk. And I'm trying in my brain, trying to figure out all these solutions, the problems of stuff that I have to deal with through the day, it just felt very arduous. Right. And then when I said, okay, let's stop thinking about that, what I would notice is I'd come up with really great ideas and I'd either write them down or as soon as I got back to the house, I'd make a note. I've got a whole big, gigantic list here.

00:36:14 - Brett Hill

So this practice helps you open up your creativity, then?

00:36:19 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Absolutely. Well, and it's not forced creativity, it's stuff.

00:36:23 - Brett Hill

Yeah, exactly. It sounded like it was emergent, just kind of coming to you. These things were just coming to you.

00:36:29 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yes. Right. And if I think back, particularly, I go back to my, I talked about, did a lot of this research when I was working on my doctoral dissertation 20 years ago is I was really having a hard time coming up with an idea. And what I noticed was that when I was in the shower or taking a bath, or very, in an environment very relaxed, where everything is cut off, those are my best ideas came from when I came up with my whole dissertation topic. It happened in the shower and I wasn't thinking about anything. Everything was relaxed, everything was kind of put on hold, and VoiLa, it showed up. So I thought, man, if you could get a system that would help generate that over and over and over again, that would be awesome. So that's really what the PQ system does. And it's much more. As an Engineer, we love things that are correlational. Like, if I do 2 hours of this, I get 2 hours of AdvANtage, right? That's what we love. We love the CAUse AnD EFfEct relationships. And what you have to do is you have to embrace the idea of the correlational relationship. If I invest this amount of time, at some point in time, you have to have faith and trust in the process that these type of things LiKe I'm describing with the great ideas are going to start coming to you. But you can only do that very much like developing relationships as a manager. You can only do that if you put the time in up front, put the work in. If you're a correlational mind, or if you're a causational mind, like 2 hours gets me 2 hours of this. This is not going to work. If you're correlationally realizing that if I put this in, at some point in time that's going to happen, I'm going to see the fruits of my labor. It's like going to the gym, right? You're not going to be able to lift 200 or 300 pounds, whatever instantaneously. But you can see some reps. Eventually you're going to be able to go and compete with whatever you want to compete in.

00:38:34 - Brett Hill

Yeah, that's such a powerful idea. And the thing to keep in mind is we are holistic systems in the sense that you develop this capacity, you work on this in some ways, and you will get a benefit. Like creativity will emerge or something will happen to you, you'll be more calm, you'll be more present, you'll be more clear, you'll be more capable of expressing your needs, drawing boundaries and asserting yourself and letting other people assert themselves and not taking it personally. So many things happen as a result of these things that are very difficult to describe to people. Sometimes in the mindfulness world, we talk about the problem of trying to get people involved with mindfulness when what they want is some kind of an outcome they want. Like, I want a technique that's going to help me be calmer. And yeah, there's stuff in there that will do that and that will help. But what you get out the other side is so much more than that. And so it's like the guy who goes to the gym, like you said, and starts to lift weights and you start to become a great weightlifter and maybe you can compete. Compete. But you get another benefit. You get to walk around the world experiencing yourself in a strong physical body, and that changes your relationship to the world. And so it's not just do I get to be a better communicator, but I get to every conversation, this is one of my things in my own training, that every conversation in your life improves. What does that do for your life? It's a big deal.

00:40:07 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

Yeah, lots and lots of residuals. So if people want to get started with this, let me give you a quick URL. You can probably put absolutely that if they want. We created a quick start guide. You can take the positive intelligence assessment. That'll tell you what saboteurs you have and what Shzad Shamin actually did this. Our quick start guide will help you kind of navigate the steps to be able to go and find it and do it. So if you go to, you'll get a little bit of pop up. If you put your name in there, you'll get the free assessment, you'll get the links for the assessment, and you get two of them. The first assessment will give you your saboteur strengths. So you'll be able to find out, like me, whether I have a saboteur, hyper rational saboteur at an eight, or whether it's a two. And the second thing is there's a second assessment, and each of them are probably five minutes or so, so they're really quick to take. The second assessment will identify the strength of your positive intelligence brain. And one of the things that we do know is you need a three to one ratio of sage brain to saboteur brain in order to kind of stay in the moment and be able to function at a very high level. Most people kind of come in in the 40 to 50 range to start. And then what I typically do is when people go through our six week program, you do a pre assessment, and then after the six weeks, you take the same assessment. And I'd say 90% to 100% of the people make an advancement towards becoming more like a 75 25 instead of a 50 50.

00:41:58 - Brett Hill

That's great. So we'll be sure link to that in the show notes so people can find it right away. And I really appreciate having you on the show today to talk about your journey and all this great stuff around how to help people become better communicators and more whole and integrated individuals and have better lives and open up not only their communication, but their creative worlds as well. So it's been a ton of fun. Thank you for joining us today.

00:42:27 - Dr. Kevin Gazzara

My pleasure. And the last closing note I would say to everyone is leadership is not a spectator sport. Go out and try some of these tips that we've given you and see how they work. And I think you're going to find instantaneously, you're going to find an advantage where your staff will appreciate it. And sometimes you can even use the quantity, quality and pace with your boss.

00:42:58 - Brett Hill

Beautiful. And if you're aligned with what we're doing here on the The Mindful Coach Association podcast, you can check out the The Mindful Coach Association . You can have a free membership there. We meet every week. And you can meet fabulous coaches who are doing courageous work, like the amazing Dr. Kevin Gazara. And so you'll be in great company there, and we hope to see you there. So thank you all for joining us. And that's a wrap for this edition. Thank you.

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