Is Now a Good Time for Mental Toughness?
Have you ever wished you had an invisible Armour or a super hero cape that could protect you from disappointments, pressures, cost-cutting measures, conflict and discontent?
A recent note from a client actually summed it up for me: “I am waiting for a miracle – the Tooth Fairy or someone to come and rescue me”. Another local business owner mentioned to me that “it is as if someone turned the lights out”. Sound familiar?
When we faced the last economic slowdown in 2009 (was it really that long ago), Brett Wilson, shared a bit of a different perspective about it all. He reminded consumers and business owners alike that we were perhaps in the greatest opportunity position as “the entire world is on Sale right now”. Sadly, I suppose, the problem is that many of us consider ourselves too broke to invest in it!
Sometimes it is difficult to see opportunities when there is so much doom and gloom discussed in the media, on the bus to work and heck, sometimes even at our most enlightened networking groups.
Well, perhaps it is time now for a little mental toughness then. Why?
Because developing mental toughness will help you be more emotionally resilient, push you to go further and harder and build that “cape of perseverance” you are looking for.
It’s not just about being tougher though. Mental Toughness is about finding the courage to delay instant gratification. It is a desire to stay strong in the face of adversity existing outside your control. Mental toughness gifts us the tenacity to persevere in spite of the devastating blows that cost cutting and societal demands can sometimes introduce into our daily life.
Mental toughness is about the resilience and fortitude that gives us strength to keep emotionally calm when things around us feel completely out of control. Successful people are great at overcoming fear in order to do what they need to do. (Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t scared–that does mean they’re brave. Big difference.)
So, if you are feeling stuck right now, finding it difficult to stay upbeat and optimistic, then here are a few tips to help you get on the mental toughness training plan:
Re-Focus your thoughts. Our thoughts have energy and they will propel us towards that which we spend our time thinking about. When you are feeling powerless to affect change, put on your metaphorical cape, stand tall with your shoulders back and your head held high and shout out “I am unstoppable” (Yes, the more attitude and enthusiasm you put into this activity, the better).
By focusing on what you want rather than what you don’t want, you are able to propel yourself in the direction you choose rather than following the rest of the crowd.
Express Gratitude. Look in the mirror and identify at least three things that you are actually grateful for in your business and your life. Then project that gratitude outwards. Sit down and write a note, send an email or make a phone call to tell your family, friends, customers or suppliers – acknowledge them. Be specific about what you are most thankful for. No – this is not a chain email but a personalized note of thanks which speaks specifically to how that person has contributed to your positive outlook. Remember a compliment is a gift given in both directions – it makes them feel good and it makes you feel good!
Generate a Positive Night Time Ritual. When you first close your eyes at night, list off three things that you are looking forward to the following day. Small or large, these will stimulate good dreams and assist you in waking up with optimism. Most of us (70% in fact) spend our time running from something rather than towards something. This exercise will help you activate a forward progressing mind set and keep you from worrying all night about factors outside your control.
Activate the Power of 5. The greatest influences in your life relate to the 5 individuals you spend the most time with. Who are they? Are they driven, optimistic and success oriented or are they worried, anxious and pessimistic? Choose your influencers wisely.
Focus on Actions not results. Focus on what you can control. And that is the quality of your effort and a persistence mindset. These are the things that can help you appreciate when things don’t end up exactly as you planned. Those with mental toughness as a prime skill have learned that “the Master has failed more often than the beginner has even tried.”
There will always be hard times – that is the natural cycle of humanity. Take the time to develop the tenacity to see past the insecurities that are often borne out of a perceived difficult existence. Take the time to re-energize and focus on developing mental toughness to help you get through. In time, all of it will pass and we will be onto worrying about something else anyway.