• Connect Magazine PWN Vienna

Dealing with the saboteurs

by Eva Gruber


As I joined a networking-event, I joyfully introduced myself to a group of managers, saying “Hi, I’m Eva Gruber. I’m a Habit Coach.”. The immediate, curious response of a tech manager was, “I didn’t even know this exists!? At least, I wouldn’t have googled it. Please, tell us more!”, he voiced eagerly and with a smile. That’s why, dear PWN Vienna Community, I will share with you a recent press-interview of mine. Its outcome is a to-the-point article, written by the journalist Michael Köttritsch from Die Presse (Management & Career). This article is about everyone’s Mental Self-Sabotage and Negative Mind-Chatter, a behavior that hinders us to achieve lasting wellbeing, healthy relationships, and peak-performance especially when stressed, angry or insecure. I share his article, as I truly felt listened to and understood in my message! On top, this piece is for you to face challenges in 2022 rather as opportunities!





By Michael Köttritsch, Die Presse / Management & Career


Mental Fitness. They are apparently helpful, the Mental Saboteurs we all have within us. Eva Gruber advises dealing with them and developing actually helpful strategies. It is always a negative emotion that gets things rolling and the Mental Saboteurs into play: Fear or one of its siblings such as anger, insecurity, shame or guilt. If you feel negative emotions, special regions in the brain become active and behavior patterns automatically unwound, which should only answer one question, says Eva Gruber: “How can I survive this?”. She deals with Mental Fitness as a coach and wrote with 16 other authors the bestseller “Creating Impact: Changemakers Who Overcame Adversity To Create A Positive Impact In The World”. “Each of us has developed our own strategies for this,” says Gruber. Many of them are helpful in the short term, but not at all in the long term. Shirzad Chamine, who teaches “Positive Intelligence” at Stanford University, has worked out ten such strategies as “Mental Saboteurs”:

  • the Victim (with a martyr attitude),

  • the Stickler (with exaggerated need for order and organization),

  • the Restless (rarely satisfied with current activity),

  • the Pleaser (lose sight of their own needs),

  • the Judge (criticize everything),

  • the Hyper-Vigilant (see everything in danger),

  • the Hyper-Rational (see relationships as rational),

  • the Hyper-Achiever (gain self-affirmation through performance),

  • the Controller (want to steer situations and people) and

  • the Avoider (avoid conflicts).

“I am good for you” The unpleasant thing about the Mental Saboteurs is that they keep saying: “I am good for you.” And indeed: They are loyal and reliable and want to “protect” you from having to think about alternative actions. Gruber gives an example: People who want to advance something in fast-moving times (such as managers) often feel the critical Judge, the Restless, the Pleaser who wants to please everyone and the performance-driven Hyper-Achiever, who raises the bar even higher when approached by something from outside. The Hyper-Achiever has learned: “To receive love, I perform.” But the sense of achievement does not make him/her (more) satisfied, says Gruber. It is difficult to recognize one’s own Mental Saboteurs, says Gruber, “because we have learned them since our childhood, because we mirror and compensate them”. And because we often “have too little connection to ourselves”, because we are very consumed in our daily activities. We all have many roles, many, too many hats on and are often emotionally overloaded”, says Gruber, who prefers to speak of “Mental Fitness” than “Mental Health”. The latter is associated with illness, and it is still stigmatized. “Fitness has charm,” she says. Keeping physically fit is self-evident for many. Mental Fitness needs constant training in order to leave the highways in the head and to break new ground. Just recognizing that there are Mental Saboteurs causes change. What else can help is:

  • Self-empathy. Only those who perceive their own feelings are able to change a team or lead it (through a crisis).

  • Curiosity. Investigate motivations so as not to make assumptions too quickly and possibly gallop off in the wrong direction.

  • Innovate. Seeing things in a new way: “You don’t have to take over ideas entirely, it’s often enough to pick out good aspects,” says Gruber.

  • Navigate. It helps to listen to the wisdom of the “older self”. Based on the target image, what would it recommend?

  • Activate. Get into action and develop new, good habits and supportive routines.

Which could be your top Mental Saboteurs? Let’s assess them & chat! Reach out to me via hi@evagruber.org

Eva Gruber is a Habit Coach, Mental Fitness Expert, and International Best-Seller Author. She supports entrepreneurs, managers, and teams who “have too much on their plate” to improve their wellbeing, relationships, and peak-performance. How? Through unmasking their mental self-sabotage and establishing good habits.

As only 1 in 5 people use their (mental) potential, and 6+ hours of your day are based on mostly unconscious habits, this is a game-changer! By training 3 brain muscles and good habits, you establish your mental fitness (positive intelligence) and supportive behavior. Doing so, you feel happier, live healthier relationships with your team, clients, and family, and improve peak-performance especially when e.g. stressed, angry, or insecure.


Eva Gruber founded 2 ventures, and supported hundreds of challenged people. She is trained by and collaborates with leading researchers and experts, like Professor BJ Fogg PhD (Stanford University) or neuroscientist Shirzad Chamine (Positive Intelligence). She has been featured as a speaker at events like TEDx and podcasts, as a best-seller author, and an executive contributor for BRAINZ. She lives in Vienna/Austria with her French fiance, her yoga mat, and an adventurer’s mind.


Learn more on evagruber.org.