We're creating A Fun & Affordable Mental Fitness Gym for IT Leaders & their Teams

We help you recharge, refocus, and get stronger so that you can Lead your Team with Ease & Flow

We’ve been there – We get IT – We’ve got your back, even when others don’t.

We stand by you when things get tough when your goals seem out of reach when you need someone to talk to so that you can stand tall, calm, balanced, clear-headed, and confident in your power – in any leadership role & situation.

Founded by Ali Farahani, a former CIO/CTO & Leadership Coach, and Lucie Tesarova, a PQ Mental Fitness Trainer, our mission is to create a fun, affordable, science-based & technology-backed Mental Fitness Gym for IT leaders & their teams so that they can improve their performance, wellbeing, and relationship with ease & flow.

Victorious warriors win first in their minds, and then go to war. Defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. 

Sun Tzu, Author of the Art of War (544 BCE - 496 BCE)
  • Does going to work feel like waging a daily war at times?
  • Feeling like the attacks are coming from all possible angles?
  • Do you wish that work instead of war would feel like a play?

If you are

  • Tired of being attacked – by your outer or inner enemies of judgments, doubts, and disempowering thoughts,
  • Feeling isolated, lacking support
  • Wishing for a more positive circle of peers & mentors
  • Ready and motivated to turn the war into a game with our support

… then join us! 

Allow yourself to be supported so that you can support and lead powerfully your teams and organization.

With us, you can become victorious. And turn the war into a play.

Start with your inner game first. 

  • We train you.
  • We guide you.
  • We support you.

So then you can go, and lead powerfully from within – no matter in what environment you happen to be.

With us, you are not in the fight alone. 

We have your back.

And we make you win and transform not just your inner game, but also the cultural game in your company.

Ready for your inner game training to begin? 


How Not To Be The CIO That Is Afraid Of The Cat


How Not To Be The CIO That Is Afraid Of The Cat

Have you ever wondered why sometimes your peers, CFO, or CEO make you feel uncomfortable? If your answer was yes, then here is a story for you:

Once upon a time, in a small hole in the wall, lived a cute little sad mouse. One day, a wise wizard saw it sighing and shaking its little head. Curious, asked the wizard: “Hey, you little mouse, why such a long face?” It looked at the wizard and said: “See the Cat on the top of that tree? I can’t go out without being constantly afraid of it. What a cruel world it is. Why should I be born as a mouse? This is not fair!”

“What is it that you truly desire?” asked the wizard.

“I wish I was a dog.” And so, the wizard turned it into a dog. The dog ran towards the tree, barking, and bragging, “I’m a dog now! I’m no longer afraid of you, you crazy Cat!” The Cat slowly opened its yellow eyes and said: “Meow.” The dog-mouse jumped out of its skin, put its tail between its legs, and fled back to the wizard. 

“What just happened?” asked the wizard. 

“It’s no ordinary cat! I wish I were a panther. If I were a panther, it would not dare to challenge me.”

So the wizard turned him into a panther. The panther-mouse roared, ran to the tree, and said: “I’m no longer afraid of you. Your reign of tyranny is over, you wild Cat!” The Cat looked down and said, “Meow.” Again, the panther-mouse ran back and said: “It’s a demon dressed as a cat. If I was a dragon, I could roast it with my fire and send it back to the hell where he came from.” 

The wizard waved his magic wand and turned the mouse into a giant red dragon. With smoke coming out of its nostrils, the dragon-mouse flapped its broad wings, flew high into the sky, and plunged downwards towards the tree. The Cat opened its eyes and just looked at the dragon. 

Do you know what happened next? 

Yes! The dragon-mouse fled back to the wizard.

At this point, the wizard gave up. He turned it into a mouse and said: “There is nothing I can do to help you because you have a mouse’s heart.”

The moral of the story is: It doesn’t matter how much power you think you have, if you’re not confident, you have no power.


There is something curious about how we function as human beings. We seek comfort and security in the familiar, and any change frightens us. And yet there is this burning desire to change and grow. What a paradox! To overcome this, as we grow, we seek security in material things like money, social and political status, and physical dominance. Even when we get what we desire, we are still afraid of the Cat deep down. Even though we might not admit it, but we are. And so we seek more power to fight off the Cat. 

To seek power outside so we can feel secure within is a human tragedy. 

IT leaders are no exception to this; we are all just human, after all. If there is anything that we desire more than acknowledgment is power. The power to shape IT organization in our vision. The power to protect our teams and boldly move away from being an order taker toward a business leader. And a CIO or CTO position gives us such power and authority. But there is a catch. 

The Catch with a Big C

Like the mouse in our story, just because you are now carrying a big C next to your title, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you believe that you can act like a C-Leader. There is always a Cat that you are afraid of. And as long as you don’t truly believe that you can beat the Cat, you are a powerful powerless leader. In other words, true confidence comes from within. 

It Sounds Judgmental

I know! You might be thinking, “Hey Ali, aren’t you a bit judgmental?” Well, I’ve been talking with enough CxOs to know that most new IT leaders have lots of anxiety around their new role; that is, if they are truly honest with themselves. I love IT people’s honesty and desire to try things out before drawing conclusions. So, let’s try some self-diagnosis. 

Consider the following questions: 

  • Do you wake up at night thinking: “Am I gonna make it? What if they find out that I don’t know everything about everything? What if I’m not strong enough to withstand the pressure of business units? What if my team screws up, and I lose my credibility? What if…”
  • Do you feel butterflies in your stomach while talking to your CFO?
  • Is it hard to disagree with your CEO?
  • Do you feel obligated to respond to the demands of your peers?
  • Are stakeholders difficult to convince?
  • Is the budgeting time causing you increased anxiety?

If your answer to any or all of the above questions is yes, there is a good chance your self-confidence is being sabotaged.

The Saboteur Within 

If you have read my previous articles, you already know that there are ten distinct ways our brain sabotages our performance, according to the Positive Intelligence research. Among which the master saboteur so rightly carries the name: The Judge. Judge is that inner critic constantly nagging at the back of your head, taking up a good portion of your mental space by creating non-stop nonsense. Your Judge lives on the left side of your brain (survival brain).

Take this 5 minutes assessment to learn more about your Saboteurs.

The Judge Operating Mode

The Judge has good intentions but fails miserably in its mission to keep you safe. When faced with new scenarios, like moving from a technical role to a CIO or CTO, it wants to create safety through familiarity. It looks into the past, hoping it provides some guidance for what lies ahead. But what happens when it finds a past scenario in which you’ve failed? It creates fear. Fear creates confusion. Confusion leads to self-doubt, which will chip away your confidence. 

That’s why you feel anxious and somewhat powerless when facing your peers, including CFO. It happens because your Judge keeps bringing up unpleasant memories of the past; the time you had less authority. The time you had to say Yes to insane requests to keep others happy and keep your job.

In short, the Judge makes you forget that you are no longer inferior, that you are indeed a business leader and not an order taker, and that you are as powerful as your peers, if not more. 

What can you do?

The only way to gain your confidence is by weakening your Judge Saboteur, which according to research, requires 6-8 weeks of continuous mental muscle building

For now, I leave you with the below steps:

Step 1: Intercept the Judge

Next time you feel negative emotions like self-doubt, anxiety, or butterflies in your stomach while interacting with your peers, CFO or CEO, just STOP! You’ve been hijacked. Notice the thoughts in your head. Label it as Judge saboteur.

Step 2: Fire the Judge

Gently rub the fingertips of two fingers with such attention that you can feel all the ridges of both fingertips – keep rubbing them for at least two minutes – This will quiet your survival brain where Judge lives and activate your thriving brain where your Confidence lives (aka Sage brain).

Step 3: Hire Your Confidence

Tell yourself this:

“There is no past, no future. The past is just my memory, and the future is just my imagination. What the Judge is telling me is not true.

I own my power and have natural authority.

My opinions matter and I communicate my opinion fearlessly to the CEO.

When facing the CFO, I stand my ground and am clear-headed, focused, and confident.

Saying NO when I need to is easy and increases my confidence, and trust of others.

I am powerful.

I can…

I have… .”

Repeat these affirmations and you’ll see remarkable changes in your subconscious programming and confidence levels in a short time.


Your inner Judge sabotages your confidence. The Judge seeks security in the familiar, and any change frightens it. While growing into a CIO/CTO position, you find yourself in uncharted territories. This activates your Judge. It brings out the past memories of failures and powerlessness. That inner judge makes you forget that you are no longer inferior, that you are indeed a capable business leader and not an order taker. It makes you lose your confidence. You can weaken your Judge by practicing mental fitness techniques over a 6-8 week period. 

What next?

If you are willing and committed to reclaiming your confidence, then:

Are you not confident that Mental Fitness Training is the right approach for you?

I invite you to a complimentary 45 minutes of powerful experiential session to gain your confidence; let’s connect and talk.

About the Author: 

Ali Farahani, CIO’s Strategic Coach 

I am a former CIO and CTO with over 25 years of experience in the IT Industry and the co-founder of #mindfittery; a fun and affordable mental fitness gym for It leaders and their teams. While I was good at managing the machines, I realized that I’m even more passionate about leading people and teams. I am a Certified Mental Fitness Trainer and ICF Certified Leadership Coach, and I know how hard it is to be a good CIO and how it is even harder when you’re new in your role. I’m passionate about helping CIOs, CTOs, and IT leaders new to their roles. I will help you Thrive in your position by improving Performance and Productivity through Mental Fitness Strategies and techniques! I will work with you 1:1 or as a team.

Ali Farahani

Ali Farahani (AlFa) is a Mental Fitness Trainer, IT Veteran, and a Certified Professional Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Academy & with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and a former CIO/CTO. When he's not supporting his clients in their leadership role, and with their teams, he delivers experiential & powerful weekly group trainings & coaching programs for IT leaders & their teams. He has held keynotes on the subjects, such as IT Leadership and The Changing Role of CIOs in the digital era at MDM Media, and IDC events.

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