Is mental toughness a trait you’re born with or a skill that can be learned? I believe it’s the latter. Here are 4 ways to bolster your mental toughness.
To hone many of the skills or traits necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur, an event planner, or even a leader, the path is somewhat predictable. You felt that deep unexplainable urge, then you enrol on a course perhaps, read books or seek a mentor. You educate yourself and learn the skills to land a job at the right agency. Over time you start developing an ease and comfort with leading a team and speaking publicly.
If you are determined enough as most are, after time, you will show marked improvement. There are, however, some skills or traits required for success that aren’t as easily obtained including patience, perseverance – and mental toughness.
Recently, my good friend David dropped in for a catch up, naturally the conversation turned to how I was doing after my accident. Although it’s not been easy having five of my front teeth smashed, David admired how quickly I seemed to “bounce back” with so much determination to not let it get in the way of my life or the progression of my business.
In the moment, I really struggled to verbalise my thoughts on the subject; but after David left, I did manage to have a good think about it which lead me to ask the question – is mental toughness a trait you’re born with or a skill that can be learned? It turns out, I believe it’s the latter. Here are four ways to bolster your mental toughness.
1. Focus on What Motivates You
To be mentally tough means to be absolutely focused. We are most susceptible to a lack of resolve when we aren’t clearly focused or are focusing on the wrong things. It’s relatively easy to be mentally tough when things are going right, but when they aren’t, the mentally tough focus on what matters most to them.
Defining what you want and revisiting your vision frequently will help you keep the inner fire lit. This will get you past even the toughest times. In other words, focus on what you want – not what you don’t want
2. Ignore The Haters
There are numerous factors that contribute to mental toughness. Most of them are related to your thinking style and how you process your surroundings. Sometimes, outside influences can have a negative impact. While the cheerleaders in our lives can help propel us in a positive direction, it’s the naysayers that drain our mental reserves.
The mentally strong realise that when someone says you cannot do something or doubts your abilities, it’s more about their insecurities than about you. Mentally strong individuals don’t dwell on or let a negative critique slow them down. They immediately fix on finding solutions and moving towards their goals.
3. Redefine Success
Make a pact with yourself to make ‘maximum effort’ your inner target. The interesting thing about effort is that you, AND ONLY YOU, know when you’ve given it your all. Accordingly, only you can hold yourself truly accountable. One way to boost your mental toughness level is to up your personal standard for success to 100 percent maximum effort on personally critical tasks. By challenging yourself to have higher standards and to internally monitor your progress, a rise in mental toughness is sure to follow.
4. Take Care of Your Mind And Body
A famous quote attributed to Vince Lombardi is, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” This makes sense. We are most susceptible to giving into our fears when, physically, we are at less-than our best.
As an entrepreneur, event planner or leader, there’s always extra work waiting to be done, but the best realise burning the candle on both ends will only result in a crash a day or two later. Be smart, and rest properly. This will ensure you have plenty of mental strength in reserve for when you’ll need it.
Another way to take care of your body is to get a healthy amount of exercise. Sadly I am not 100% back on my bike and I really have noticed the difference in how I feel. When you are taking care of your physical health, it’s amazing how it can impact your emotional health as well.
Much of pushing yourself physically requires mental strength. Deciding whether to cycle a few more miles or to lift one more rep in the gym has as much to do with your mental resolve as it does with physical exertion.
Increasing your mental toughness isn’t the easiest goal to achieve. It will be both a challenge and a test in every way. However, the results will prepare you for any obstacles you may face down the road. And that is worth its weight in gold.