Mental Fitness – Introducing the Universal Saboteur, The Judge

By Emily Harman, GMARKU Ambassador. Based on the work of Positive Intelligence®

In my blog published in November 2021, entitled Mental Fitness – The X-Factor for Crushing Government Marketing, I shared that you can improve your government marketing results by strengthening your Mental Fitness.

Per Shirzad Chamine, author of the New York Times bestselling book Positive Intelligence, Mental Fitness or (PQ) is a measure of the strength of your positive mental muscles (Sage) versus the negative (Saboteur). In other words, it’s an indication of the control you have over your own mind. This measure of your Mental Fitness is called PQ (Positive Intelligence Quotient). High PQ means your mind serves you more than sabotages you.

In my previous blog, I highlighted the 3 core muscles of Mental Fitness: The Saboteur Interceptor Muscle, Sage Muscle, and Self-Command Muscle. I also provided tips on how to strengthen your Self-Command Muscle by doing short exercises called PQ reps.

The Judge

The focus of this blog is to introduce the Universal Saboteur – the Judge. Your Saboteurs generate all your negative emotions, including stress, anxiety, self-doubt, anger, avoidance, procrastination, insensitivity, or discontent. Mental Fitness (PQ) requires the ability to intercept and discredit the Saboteurs.

The Judge Saboteur finds faults with self, others, and circumstances. In addition, the Judge causes much of your disappointment, anger, regret, guilt, shame, and anxiety. The Judge typically activates one or more of your accomplice Saboteurs. Perhaps you’ll recognize some of them. Avoider, Stickler, Hyper-Rational, Hyper-Vigilant, Victim, Controller, Pleaser, Restless, and Hyper-Achiever.

Characteristics of the Judge

The Judge sabotages us by fault finding. You may be familiar with your “inner critic” reminding you of past mistakes or current shortcomings. Many of us aren’t fully aware of the impact our Judge has on our success, well-being, and happiness.

Our Judge also focuses on what is wrong with others rather than appreciation. Our Judge gets into inferior/superior comparisons and plays a central role in team and personal conflicts.

Finally, our Judge may insist a circumstance or outcome is “bad” rather than see it as a gift and opportunity. Your Judge may tell you that you’ll be happier when circumstances change; for example, once you land the big client or a promotion. Then, tells you that’s not enough once you accomplish these goals.

Thoughts Instigated by the Judge

Many of us have thoughts of not being enough…. not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not worthy of love or respect. We may wonder what is wrong with me. Or what is wrong with you? And we may have thoughts about what’s wrong with circumstance or a particular outcome.

Have you ever woken up at night with anxious thoughts about an upcoming briefing or a mistake you made the day before? I have, many times! And it still happens, only now I’ve strengthened my 3 core muscles of Mental Fitness. I can catch my Judge using my Saboteur Interceptor Muscle, and use my Self-Command Muscle to switch to my strengthened Sage Muscle and get back to sleep after doing some PQ reps.

Feelings Resulting from the Judge

All guilt, regret, shame, and disappointment are from the Judge. Much of your anger and anxiety is instigated by the Judge. My Judge and accomplice Restless Saboteur used to keep me so busy that I neglected to be aware of my feelings. Now, I catch them sabotaging me much more quickly than I used to and sometimes I even preempt them – stopping them in their tracks. Some people numb out by scrolling through social media, drinking alcohol, overeating, or working out excessively to avoid these feelings.

The Judge’s Justifications

Do any of the below justifications sound familiar?

Without me pushing you, you will get lazy and complacent and never close any sales.

Without me punishing you for mistakes, you will not learn from them and repeat them.

Without me scaring you about bad future outcomes, you will not work hard to prevent them.

Without me judging others, you will lose your objectivity and not protect your self-interest.

Without me making you feel bad about the bad outcome (for example a missed sales opportunity), you won’t do anything to change it.

How do these justifications impact your performance as a government marketing professional, your well-being, and your relationships?

A bias towards noticing, exaggerating, and reacting to the negative is a central survivor strategy. It reduces our chances of being surprised and harmed by unanticipated dangers to our physical and emotional survival. Because of this key function, the Judge is the universal Saboteur shared by all, regardless of the circumstances of our upbringing.

There is a difference between judging and discerning and Shirzad covers this in his book. I encourage you to read the book or enroll in the PQ coaching program offered through GMARKU to go deeper into this material (link at the end of this blog).

Tip: Increase your awareness of your Judge. Throughout the day, notice when and how your Judge shows up. What are the thoughts and feelings caused by your Judge as well as the justifications? Then refer to the tip I shared in this blog and do some PQ reps!

Tip: Weaken the Judge by labeling. For example, when you have the thought “I blew that sales call today”, change it to “My Judge says I blew that sales call today.” Or change “My potential government client won’t take my call. They don’t want the product” to “My Judge says my potential government client won’t take the call because they don’t want my product.” See the difference? Labeling reduces the power of the Judge.

Is your mind serving and acting in your best interest most of the time? I’ve experienced the transformational power of strengthened Mental Fitness and became a PQ Coach. Join me to support you on your Mental Fitness journey by visiting

NOTE: Much of the material in this blog comes from Shirzad Chamine’s author New York Times bestselling book Positive Intelligence and the extensive PQ coach training I’ve received from Shirzad Chamine.