“You made me feel bad!” – The sweat­pants of emotional self-determination

Jogginghose vor Wordwolke mit Gefühlsausdrücken

It’s still there – the myth of other-directed feelings.…

The Lager­feld sweat­pants of feeling?

I always cringe when I hear questions like “what did that do to you?” or state­ments à la “you made me very sad …” or “… that makes you feel good!”. And every time I remember the legen­dary saying of fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld …

“Who wears sweat­pants has lost control of his/her life”

Karl Lager­feld

Because I wonder: what’s the diffe­rence between Lagerfeld’s sweat­pants and assuming that something or someone can deter­mine my feelings?

If something or someone can “do” something with my feelings, haven’t I lost self-deter­mi­na­tion over my emotions, my feelings?

Your feelings belong to you – do not leave them to anyone else!

I can BE happy or sad, but nobody can MAKE me happy or sad. Someone can try to cheer me up or to sadden me – whether it works and I am then happy or sad is up to me!

Taibi Kahler has described this as the 4 myths:

    • “You can make me feel good”
    • “You can make me feel bad”
    • “I can make you feel good”
    • “I can make you feel bad”

It all starts with my attitude towards myself

Attitudes toward ourselves and others greatly influence how we will react and feel about state­ments and behavior.

When I say to myself, that I am only OK if I please others, then I will allow others to “make me feel good”. If I don’t think I’m OK myself, then I invite others to “make me feel bad”. When in doubt, I always give in just to keep peace.

If I have the strong belief that I can make others perfect and strong, then I will try to “save” you with unsoli­cited advice, belie­ving that I can “make them feel good”.

If I think others are irrespon­sible and uncom­mitted, I will try to make them “feel bad” to get what I want.

What’s your experience?

What situa­tions invite (you?) to believe even the myth that others can make you feel bad?

What can you change today to regain control over your feelings and behavior?

Clear, calm, laser-focused in a job interview

As career coach I am often confronted with the question of how you can be and stay your authentic and clear self in a job inter­view, be impactful in the middle of a poten­ti­ally stressful situa­tion, facing both chance and risk of denial.

You hold two keys to success in your hands!

Follow a clear-cut process to step up fully with your perso­na­lity and exper­tise and activate your mental strength to be be resilient under stress.

Key 1The process part is a path of explo­ra­tion, analysis and focus ahead of the inter­view. It’s about you, your passion and your USP for the market and the specific job in front of you. There are 3 leading questions:
What is your „I want …“, your values and goals?
What is your „I can …“ – your exper­tise and your success stories?
What is your „hitpoint and sweet spot …“ – your why this job and why this company?

This clarity gives you confi­dence and impact in how you step up and it makes you belie­vable having matching stories and successes to tell.

Key 2Your mental strength is to step up with clarity and calmness in the challen­ging context of a job inter­view and recover quickly when you are hijacked by stress

Does any of the follo­wing scenario and self-sabota­ging mindchatter sound familiar?
Before the inter­view: “I want this job so much. I am afraid I am blocked tomorrow and will forget what I want to say.” “If I lose, I will be in trouble. I need this job so much.“ „Am I good enough?” “What if they ask why I have left my old job. I am afraid my emotions come up again.”
During the inter­view: “This HR-execu­tive looks so puzzled. I seem to have given the wrong answer.” “I am so nervous, my voice trembles.” “Shit, I forgot an important info.” “I hear myself speaking and I don’t seem to come to the point.” “I am tense and not my usual self.”

If you are in that mindset of negative emotions you are in the stress part of your brain and have no access to your full poten­tial, your creati­vity, clarity and to calm laser-focused action.

What now!

I recom­mend highly effec­tive exercises to both activate your mental fitness muscle before the event and to recover quickly in case of stress hijacking during the event. These tools are from Positive Intel­li­gence by Shirzad Chamine.

  • Preempt your saboteurs:
    Antici­pate the inter­view and your possible self-sabota­ging reaction; Pause and breathe. Then imagine yourself reacting calm and clear and stepping up your best self.
    What is fasci­na­ting: our brain does not diffe­ren­tiate between real and imagined. When you imagine the positive process, the same neuro-circuitry pathway is activated as during a real success experience.
  • Activate your mental fitness muscle:
    This can be used before the situa­tion to gain energy and focus and in the stress situa­tion to quickly calm down and recover.
    What is fasci­na­ting: the little exercises, called PQ reps, only take 10 seconds each and they don’t need a quiet solitary place to practice. Do it in the middle of the hustle-bustle of life and if needed during a stress hijacking:
    The secret is to actively focus on your sensa­tions. By that you stop your mind jumping around and instead focus on one physical sense. You can feel the effect immedia­tely. If in that moment you were under a MRI you would also get the scien­tific proof that your stress center is quieted down and your sage creative part of the brain is activated.

Here are two of many varia­tions you can do

  • PQ rep using your sense of touch
    finger-printTouch one device (pen, paper, coffee cup, glass of water) in front of you and really feel the tempe­ra­ture, texture and sensa­tions on your finger tips. Maybe move your finger tips slowly so you can feel more sensations.
    Great Job!
  • PQ rep using breath
    breathingTake a couple of deep breaths. Now let your breath settle into its normal mode. Feel the rising and falling of your chest and stomach with each breath. Notice the tempe­ra­ture of air as it enters your nostrils and the tempe­ra­ture of air as it exits your nostrils.
    Great job!

If you do PQ reps regularly during the day, you can conti­nously build up your mental muscle.


Explore further possi­bi­li­ties with Mental Fitness – how to sustain­ably train and build up your mental strength, to be resilient facing any challenges and setbacks and recover quicker – for more click here

You have questions around impactful job inter­views and you want to learn more about a successful job shift:

Why does negative drag us down more than positive uplifts us?

colorful Vortex

And why is it so critical for us to have a minimum ratio of 3 to 1 positive versus negative?

If you are above this ratio you are uplifted by a vortex of positi­vity and if you are below it you are feeling conti­nu­ally dragged down by a vortex of negati­vity. Thank you Shirzad Chamine for compi­ling relevant research on this 3 to 1 ratio in your book “Positive Intel­li­gence” and adding your own studies of the PQ vortex for describing this energetic phenomenon.

What has evolu­tion to do with it?

Basically, our brain spirals on the negative as well as on the positive. The reason why our brain boosts the negative and why you need 3 positives to counteract 1 negative is that due to evolu­tion our brain holds on to and ampli­fies the negative far more than the positive. Being aware and remem­be­ring details of dange­rous animals was much more important for our ances­tors than remem­be­ring a beautiful flower.

What can we do to be overall more uplifted than dragged down?

We cannot change our circum­s­tances. What we can do is be aware and consciously shift our perspec­tive and outlook on life. This has a signi­fi­cant impact on our perfor­mance and well-being. As a conse­quence we are more calm, focused and curious and less anxious, hectic and stressed.

Make this a habit:

The minimum of 3/1 ratio should be maintained both inside and outside your mind – in the form of thoughts in your head and also extern­ally keeping a 3/1 ratio of positive to negative inter­ac­tions in relati­onships that matter to you. So pay atten­tion to when you have negative thoughts or emotions inside your head. These are moments when your mind feels stress, anxiety, anger, disap­point­ment, stress, blame, guilt, shame, self-doubt, regret and so on. These moments might happen in reaction to yourself, to others or to circum­s­tances. Maybe you are beating yourself up for a recent failure, or you are blaming your partner or colle­ague for not acting the way you want. Or maybe you feel helpless and angry because of events you cannot influence. When you notice that, counter that by comman­ding your mind to come up with at least 3 positives. They don’t have to be big or compli­cated things.

Are you open for a little exercise to train it?

Aim to 3/1 ratio in your mind:

Close your eyes.

Let’s think positive using perspec­tive. Bring to mind something that has been bothe­ring you.

Let’s think at least of a couple of possible gifts. First: to have the situa­tion not bother you as much, what strength do you need to grow. Maybe it’s about being more empathetic towards yourself or the other? So bringing compas­sion to yourself could be one gift.

Be curious about what you have learnt. How could that help you handle an even bigger chall­enge. What chall­enge might that be? Create a learning could be a second gift.

Can you think about a third possible gift? What else is crossing your mind, that you are grateful for? There are often so many gifts here and now, if you really think about it.

… Open your eyes when you are ready.

And you can do the same in your surrounding

Aim for 3/1 ratio in relationships:

It takes 3 positive inter­ac­tions to neutra­lize 1 negative interactions.

Think about it when you meet people. Sometime a smile, a positive word, a personal question or even small acknow­ledgments change a lot!

I hope this article was interes­ting for you. If you are interested to learn more about mental fitness and how to train it, feel free to contact me:

And if you want to know your own PQ score: do the free assess­ment:  https://key4c.com/en/mental-fitness/#PQSCORE

The Author:

Dr. Uta Barbara Nachbaur an execu­tive and career coach and trainer, is specia­lized in leader­ship, mental fitness, commu­ni­ca­tion, conflict and inter­cul­tural navigation.


I would love to read your comments

Dr. Uta B. Nachbaur

Upcoming PQ Events with Uta Nachbaur

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Mental Fitness

Gehirn als Gewichtheber Cartoon symbolisch

Mental Fitness (PQ)  

Peak perfor­mance and inner peace in crises and challenges!

Mental fitness means facing all the diffe­rent challenges of life with a positive mindset and not with agita­tion and stress!

With Mental Fitness you will gain clarity, creati­vity, courage and strength of imple­men­ta­tion at every point in your life and approach diffi­cult situa­tions with focus, firmness and ease.

Mental fitness can be trained!

Like physical fitness, we can also train our mental fitness.

bunte HantelnJust as our physical fitness deter­mines whether we can only conquer short hills or mountains, the strength of our mental fitness deter­mines which challenges we can master calmly, clearly and creatively, in which crises we allow ourselves to be pressured by fear, anger and insecu­rity, and which stress inten­sity throws us comple­tely off course. We also know how important mental fitness is from the world of top athletes, who always train both physical and mental strength.

Mental Fitness Coaching and Training:

Insight and Mental MuscleYou will get a coach and compa­nion and the tools to come to creati­vity, self-confi­dence and self-deter­mined action with your perso­na­lity, with your goals, in your context, indepen­dent of the stress inten­sity of negative emotions, head cinema and reactive behavior.

The result

  • Peak perfor­mance
  • inner peace and well-being
  • healthy relati­onships

“Principle of hope” or science?

The Buch Cover - Positive Intelligencescien­tific basis for Mental Fitness is research from Positive Psycho­logy, Neuro­sci­ence, Cogni­tive Psycho­logy and Perfor­mance Science. Psycho­lo­gist Shirzad Chamine, lecturer in Positive Psycho­logy at Stanford Univer­sity has developed a model and validated it through over 500,000 parti­ci­pants in 50 count­ries, over 100 CEOs and top athletes. Result is an app-based 6‑week training program using PQ Reps to train 3 muscles for mental fitness that is physio­lo­gi­cally proven to impact relevant brain areas.

Insights on this can also be found in Shirzad Chamine’s book:

Your way to Mental Fitness:


Gain mental strength in 6 weeks!

How to face challenges, crises, diffi­cult relati­onships with a positive outlook, creati­vity and focus and gain peak perfor­mance and satis­fac­tion – in business, sports or private life.

Saboteurs3 steps, a 3‑fold mental muscle workout:

  • “Saboteur Inter­ceptor”: inter­rupt negative emotions and self-sabotage
  • “Sage Perspec­tive”: possi­bi­lity vision, empathy, curio­sity, creati­vity and clear focused action
  • “Self-Command”: consciously shifting from negative thought patterns to positive thinking

The Mental Fitness Basecamp – to help you control negative head rushes, recognize the oppor­tu­ni­ties in challenges, and respond to challenges effec­tively, clearly, and with focus.

The program is based on results of brain research that can be physio­lo­gi­cally proven. 6 weeks of inten­sive training lead to neural pathways being changed, uncon­scious reactive stress responses being reduced and creative present action being streng­thened in a way that can be proven physio­lo­gi­cally in the brain.

Brain Saboteurs Sage

How does it work?

The program combines inten­sive training, input and background from brain research with indivi­dual coaching to achieve personal goals

  • 90 minutes of 1:1 coaching on your personal goals and expec­ta­tions, as an indivi­dual “travel compa­nion” during Basecamp and on how to achieve your personal goals
  • Your PQ (Positive Intel­li­gence) assess­ment and your Saboteur assess­ment as an indivi­dual reflec­tion tool
  • 6‑week program for the targeted develo­p­ment of your mental strength
  • Weekly 1‑hour video: Input from Shirzad Chamine, who developed and evaluated PQ
  • App-based practical training: 5 minutes daily short exercises by Shirzad Chamine
  • Input: excerpt from Shirzad Chamine’s book, Positive Intel­li­gence (pdf provided)
  • Reflec­tion and Q&A: weekly pod meeting with other parti­ci­pants to deepen, led by me.

So where do we go from here?  Check here on this page for the dates of my next 6 weeks Basecamp
or get in contact with me!

 Upcoming Mental Fitness Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Saboteur Assess­ment

9 Ways of self-sabotage

PQ Score

Your Positive Intel­li­gence® Quotient

Dr. Uta B. Nachbaur

Dr. Uta B. Nachbaur
Execu­tive Coach – CPCC, CPQC, PCC

Mental Fitness Coach and Facili­tator
optional in german or english language


Interested? – send me a message!

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Can your perspec­tive influence your energy and your performance?

How can our perspec­tive on us and on our work environ­ment influence our results and relationships?

After one year of Covid and lockdown how are you looking on what has been happe­ning and how do you feel mentally?

I myself started off last year planning short-term and solving momen­tary problems like how to shift on-site coaching and training into the virtual world and how to balance business, homeschoo­ling, familiy and partnership.

Sometimes I felt strong and able and sometimes simply being pushed and driven. Sometimes I saw myself at the steering wheel and sometimes I saw myself being tossed around not knowing where to turn next. This situa­tion also influenced my thoughts, emotions and how I reacted on others and on situations.

Not feeling in control of my emotional state and my thoughts wasn’t me. At that time I came across a mental fitness training program. I have studied it and practice it since with great impact. Mental strength accor­ding to Positive Intel­li­gence founder Shirzad Chamine is „the ability of your mind to manage your thoughts, emotions and actions in a positive and construc­tive way when being faced with diffi­cult situations.“

Here are some ahas and quick wins for you to use right away:

Our brain is sometimes our enemy and sometimes our friend:

In 2005, the National Science Founda­tion published an article summa­ri­zing research on human thoughts per day. It found out that the average person has about 12.000 to 60.000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were exactly the same repeti­tive thoughts as the day before. So one of the tenden­cies of our mind is to focus on the negative and even repeat the negative stuff. There was another study of 2005 from Cornell Univer­stiy. Scien­tists had found out that 85% of what we worry about never happens. And from the 15% of the worries that did happen 79% could either be handled a lot better than expected, or the diffi­culty granted them a highly valuable learning. All in all, the conclu­sion is that 97% of our worries are baseless and result from an unfounded pessi­mi­stic perception.

As our fears often sneak in uncon­sciously, is there a way to control those unpro­duc­tive thoughts and emotions?

Become aware of your mental traps and inter­cept your saboteurs:

The first step is become aware when those saboteurs turn up causing negative thoughts and emotions. If you can label them, you can control them and get rid of them. That’s why it is highly relevant to become aware of the assump­tions and lies they tell you and of the negative impacts these saboteur attitudes, thoughts and emotions have on yourself and others. This helps unmask and dismiss them.

To only name a few: Do you know and recognize the hyper-achiever in you or others telling that you must be best to be worthy. Or maybe there is the stickler preaching perfec­tionism or a hyper-vigilant with chronic doubts who sees risks every­where and cannot rest. Or what do your saboteurs want you to believe?

Stay in self-command mode

What is a good way out once you named and inter­cepted your saboteurs?
By consciously focusing on sensa­tions you can actively shift from your saboteur brain where stress reactions reside to your sage brain where creati­vity and clear laser-focused actions prevail. By this, you run your brain rather than let your saboteurs run you.

Here is a little exercise to try out. It may seem silly and it is highly impactful, as personal experi­ence shows and research proves. You can use your sense of touch to activate your self-command:


If you can, it’s more effec­tive to close your eyes whilst doing the exercise.Take a few deep breaths. Now gently rub to finger tips against each other with such a tension that you can feel the finger tip ridges on both fingers. Do this for ca. 20 seconds. If thoughts come up gently let them go and focus on the sensa­tion again. Now touch the device on which you read this blog and feel all the sensa­tions on your finger tips – feel its texture, feel its tempe­ra­ture. Maybe gently move your finger tips so that you can sense more. Do this for ca 30 seconds. Now open your eyes.

What do you realize? Do you feel calmness or less mind-chatter? How was this little exercise for you?

If you want, repeat little sensa­tion-of-touch-exercises throug­hout the day. Whatever you do, just shortly notice the touch. Notice the texture and tempe­ra­ture of the coffee mug you are holding or the door handle you turn or the elevator button you push or the keyboard you type on.

This gives your brain a little valuable break and puts you back in the driver seat of your brain. So you are more in charge of your thoughts, actions and emotions than your saboteurs are. And you may experi­ence a diffe­rence in how you handle the challenges of your day.

Shift your perspective

Being more in self-command shifts yourself to more happi­ness using the sage perspec­tive of seeing chances, gifts and oppor­tu­ni­ties in all your challenges instead of judging them as bad and dreading the worst.

What does happy mean? Ask yourself: Have I felt mainly positive emotions in the past hours like peace, grati­tude, empathy, love, curio­sity, excite­ment of creati­vity, joy of clear-headed action and the like? If yes, you could say you were happy. If on the contrary you have felt manly negative emotions like stress, anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, blame, self-doubt and the like, then you could say you were unhappy.

Try out what you can achieve taking on the sage perspec­tive of positive emotions, being sure that every outcome and circum­s­tance can be turned into a gift and oppor­tu­nity. Look at the events of your day that causes you negative emotions and just unmask and label the negative mindchat as lie and let it go.

There is one psycho­lo­gical rule

Looking at a situa­tion, your saboteur perspec­tive is „this is bad“ and your sage perspec­tive is „this is a gift and opportunity“.


The answer to the question, „which perspec­tive is true?“ is: Whichever you believe becomes true! It’s worth trying.

I hope this article was helpful for you to try out new ways to deal with your challenges. For me mental fitness plays a big role as I experi­ences sustainable effects of practi­cing mental training on my results and on my well-being.

The Author:

Dr. Uta Barbara Nachbaur an execu­tive and career coach and trainer, is specia­lized in leader­ship, mental fitness, commu­ni­ca­tion, conflict and inter­cul­tural navigation.


I would love to read your comments

Dr. Uta B. Nachbaur

Upcoming PQ Events with Uta Nachbaur

There are no upcoming events at this time.