Not every day starts off well, and some even seem to get worse the longer the day goes on. But this doesn't mean you have to resign yourself to an unproductive, stressful day. Whether you've lost a valuable client, made a mistake, or just don't seem to be able to get what you need finished, you can power through the bad days with the right mindset.
Mental toughness is a term that has been increasingly used to talk about this type of resilience, especially in a working environment. However, this doesn't mean that you have to be concrete, burying any emotional reaction you may experience; in fact you'd become a pretty lousy manager if you did. Instead, mental toughness is about being adaptable to situations that may be outside your control. It is this quality that will help professionals tackle even the toughest day head on.
Practicing mental toughness
The more you grow in any aspect of your life, the more responsibility - and often pressure - comes your way. This can create an environment where it's incredibly difficult to focus on what actually needs to be done, with the compulsion to do your absolute best soon becoming overwhelming.
Focus is a core part of mental toughness. You need to be able to concentrate on what you can control and the smaller do-able tasks that can actually be achieved, regardless of things not going to plan.
This perseverance can also be called grit and plays an important role in realizing your goals. More importantly, it is something that can be practiced and perfected by anyone, allowing you to consistently make progress, ignoring any distractions or obstacles that may knock you off course.
How to build your mental toughness right now
Grit isn't something you can switch on and off, it's something that needs to be practiced on a regular basis for it to become second nature. For leaders that want to develop mental toughness, the easiest way is to practice positive attitudes.
1. Keep things in perspective
Whether a killer client has pulled out of a lucrative deal or your team is no longer getting along, being able to put things into perspective is a great way to build your mental toughness. This also involves ensuring your emotions are kept in check. That’s not to say you can’t show your emotions, but you need to exhibit some form of emotional stability for those around you.
2. Accept change and be ready for it
Understanding and accepting change is another key way to build your mental toughness. The world is constantly changing, and that includes the business environment. Next time change disrupts your day, consider your reaction. Think about how you can accept this change, embrace it and see the benefits. And when change does come, you need to be ready to adapt and be flexible with your routine to accommodate it.
3. Know which skills you need
There are many elements to mental toughness and many ways in which you can build and develop yours. Whilst you’re likely to have the right skills to do your job, you also need to know which skills are important for doing that job well. Here are some key skills you’ll need:
- Patience - not everything is going to happen the way you want it to immediately
- Control - remain in control of what you do and how you react to different situations
- Detachment - when things go wrong, don’t take it personally, but learn to detach yourself
- Positivity - even when things go wrong, mental toughness is about staying positive and finding a new path
When the going gets tough, stay motivated
When it comes to building mental toughness, it’s vital you stay motivated and focus on your end goal. David Goggins, retired US Navy Seal, gives some of the best advice on how to be mentally tough: