Mental toughness is an important quality for all of us to develop and is one of the keys to success in business and in life. It is our ability to cope in the challenging situations which we all face from time to time.
I see mental toughness as a habit or “muscle” that needs to be developed. We work out to build physical muscle strength. It may take some time and discipline, but after a while, we begin to see visible progress. We feel stronger and more in shape and we begin to notice definition in our muscles that may not have been there before.
Discipline and Consistency are Key in Developing Mental Toughness
The trick in working out is to maintain the habit consistently; otherwise, the muscle will atrophy over time. The same discipline is needed for developing our mental toughness.
We Need to Acknowledge and Enhance Our Strengths
Most of us are well aware of areas where we feel we are lacking. We have the ability to easily rattle off all of our weaknesses. In order to develop mental toughness, we must spend more time acknowledging and enhancing our strengths. Acknowledging our strengths allows us to leverage them to create success in our businesses.
Our strengths can also support us through challenging times and help us to cope when things go wrong. Awareness of our strengths helps us to have the confidence to know we can get things back on track. Acknowledging our past successes, as well as focusing on the present moment and what needs to be done, brings us assurance that we can succeed in the here and now.
Past Accomplishments Bring Confidence during Current Challenges
I spend time with clients learning their backgrounds, values, significant life moments, and current challenges. As they tell their stories, I am often amazed at how they have demonstrated mental toughness in extremely challenging circumstances. Often, they are not aware of what they have accomplished in the past because they are so focused on the current challenge. Reminding clients of past successes helps them to be confident that they have what it takes to succeed in the future.
The Danger of “Activity Traps”
When faced with a challenge, clients often get caught in activity traps. They become very busy, but are not very productive in how they use their time. Planning and strategizing tend to fall by the wayside when we are under pressure. Yet these activities are a critical part of the business building process toward assuring that you will reach your goals.
When things aren’t working out for you, you need to stop, step back, and take the time to set priorities. Use your mental toughness to prevent trivial tasks from circumventing what is most important to you.
Cultivating Mental Toughness
So how do you keep the muscle of mental toughness fully engaged?
- Make planning time a priority on a regular basis.
- Take the time to consider your current situation while looking objectively at your past successes.
- Ask yourself, “What skills can I leverage and what support do I need in order to assure my future success?”
Acting with Confidence to Reach Your Vision
Practicing mental toughness allows you to reasonably assess a situation and act with confidence to reach your vision. This process also allows you to identify the skills you’ll need to draw upon from others in order to complement your strengths and maximize your success.