Mental toughness is critical to success. It plays a role in all areas of our lives. But, what does it mean to be "mentally tough?" And how do you know that you are building mental toughness in your life?
Over the years, I have found that there are 6 signs that someone is mentally tough. Here they are and more importantly, here's you can foster them in your life.
They Ask "How?"
Mentally tough people don't let setbacks, obstacles, or being told "no" get in their way. Instead, they ask "How?" How can something be done? How can the desired result be achieved? By asking "How?" this activates the part of the brain that starts you thinking and looking for other ways to solve a problem...it spurs innovation and creation. The next time you find yourself thinking something cannot be done, ask "How can it be done?" and then start to put your ideas down. You'll find the solution may be right in front of you.
They Understand Logic vs Emotion
99% of people make decisions or react to the things that happen in their lives with emotion. They have emotional responses to just about everything. There is a time and place for emotion, but it can also get your into trouble. Everyone has had a time (or many times) in their life where they reacted out emotion and regretted it later. The mentally tough understand when to seperate emotion and logic and use logic to to help overcome challenges and achieve their goals. For example, maybe there is a time where you gave up on something in your life. I bet if you looked back on it, it was emotion that drove the decision. You may have gotten to a point where "you just could not take it anymore" and you gave in. That is emotion. And every one has those moments, including the mentally tough. The difference is, the mentally tough recognize the emotion in the moment and separate it out. They then look at the situation logically and see how best to manage it based on what they can control, not focusing on what they cannot. They take action and work through - but don't give in unless the logic bears out that it is a fruitless effort. How can you better separate emotion and logic at key moments in your life?
They are Humble, But Believe in Themselves
The mentally tough may sometimes seem to be arrogant or have a higher opinion of themselves. The truth is that they are humble, but they have taken the time to "know thyself" and who they are and believe in themselves, their capabilities, and their potential. And they have built their mental strength up so that what others say or think does not bother them. Most of the time, they have a quiet confidence as they work toward what they want. There is nothing wrong with believing in yourself and charting your own path where others do not think is possible - just make sure to stay humble and be true.
They Keep Going in Spite of Fear
It may be surprising to note that the mentally tough get scared just like anyone else. They question things and have fear come into their lives. But, it should not be surprising that they have the mental fortitude to keep going in spite of the fear, the worry, and the doubts. This is where they separate emotion and logic the most. They recognize the emotional response of fear, but use their logic to work methodically through it and push forward through the fear. The next time you find yourself feeling fear, doubt, or worry - stop and ask yourself "What action can I take now that will help me in getting past this?" Then do it.
They Stand Strong in the Face of Real Adversity
True adversity is different than fear. Fear can come and go on a whim, but real adversity stares in you in the face and can seem insumountable. It takes a lot to overcome real adversity. Storming the beaches of Normandy and defeating the German army on D-Day was real adversity. It took the will to keep going and find a way or make one. The mentally tough do the same. They find the will to keep going in the toughest times in their lives. They will not let themslves give in or give up in the pursuit of their goals and what they want. What is the biggest adversity you face in your life right now? Are you shying away from it and taking it head on and working to overcome it? I can promise that if you choose to take it on and keep going until you get through it, you will be a better stronger person for it.
They are Extremely Disciplined
Mentally stong people are extremely disciplined in their lives and they use the discipline and structure they have created to help them stay mentally strong. In fact, being disciplined gives them the consistency in their day to be more effective and action oriented. It also helps to keep them on the path to success. Additionally, because for many, part of the structure is devoted to their health, it helps to keep them in their best shape physically and mentally to stay at their best. Do you have discipline and structure in your life? Do you hit the ground running each day knowing exactly what you need to do an accomplish for the day or do you find yourself going through days more aimlessly and distracted? In order to be your best, you must be productive. In order to do that, you must have discipline.
If you are looking to improve your mental toughness, take the time start incorporating these 6 traits into your life and before long, you will see the difference they can make.
I came across this excellent compilation of top entrepreneurs giving them best advice to succeed as an entrepreneur. There is more wisdom in this short 20 min video than you'll get in more MBA classes! Enjoy!
I have no ties to England. I am a US citizen and have very little English heritage that I am aware of. But, as many others, I felt the gravity and significance of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II lst week. Teh queen reigned for over 70 years and during that time saw 15 UK Prime Ministers, 13 of the last 14 US Presidents, took over 260 official visits on behalf of her country, and was the longest serving monarch in British History.
While I cannot relate to her as the citizens of the UK have and did - I found her to be a truly amazing person and over the years took note of some of the things that set her apart and helped her to be such an amazing icon.
Here are 5 Business and Life Lessons that I found from observing from Queen Elizabeth.
1. The importance of Stoicism
The queen was one of the greatest example of stoicism. She was able to go through tremendous challenges, pain, hardships, world wars, death, world catastophe as well as bring light into the world through her presence and message - all with a calm grace and dignification seldom seen in others. She embodied "Keep Calm and Carry On." We would do well to remember this lesson in our lives and not let emotions get the best of us in situations.
2.) How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything
In over 70 years, there was never scandal that involved the queen. Not even a mistake in a speech or comment that was said the wrong way. Think about how routinely leaders have scandals or issues come up and that are dragged out in the media. The queen never had this happen. Yes, there were controversial things surrounding members of her family, but she was someone that everyone always could count on and if she had a bad day, it never showed. This carried throughout all of areas of her life. How she was in public was how she was in private. She set her values and lived by them. How many of us can say we do the same? We should strive do things consistently by our values and not waver.
3.) Treat Others with Respect Even if You Disagree With or Dislike Them
The queen visited with everyone from US Presidents to Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad. But, you never knew her politics. She treated everyone with dignity, grace, and respect. She would work diplomatically with leaders, but force her political opinions on them nor argue politics. With stoicism, she calmly and plainly worked for the best outcome. We must do the same in our lives. Treat all with respect regardless of your opinions and do your best to keep your opinions out of things.
4.) Seek and Share Wisdom
I think most people would agree that the queen was or seemed wise when she spoke or acted. 70 years of leading will no doubt give you the experience. But, it should be noted that the queen sought wisdom and counsel. She didn't just act or react on a whim, but sought wisdom and counsel and the best course. She was methodical, reasoned, and true. We must seek wisdom and counsel in our lived and share what we have learned to help others.
5.) Don't Forget to Enjoy Life
While to queen had tremendous duties and eyes all around the world watching her every move, she seemed to find ways to enjoy life. Yes, she pretty much had everything she could have wanted, but there are plenty of people who have everything and are miserable. The queen found joy in life and had fun as well. If you've ever seen her "Paddington Bear Commercial" you have an idea of her sense of humor. We must not forget, not matter our what happens in our lives, to find the joy that exist around us and experience life.
I love great business stories. They teach us so much. From how entrepreneurs come up with their ideas to the ingenuity to make the business go - a great business story can teach us a lot and help us on our entrepreneurial journey. Recently, I came across a Twitter post that went through the story of YETI, the cooler brand, that took a commodity and turned it into a luxury, status symbol.
The post by @chrishlad and goes through the story of how the founders got sick of rigging flimsy coolers to stand on while fishing and decided to change the game. And they did so by not competing in the red ocean of the cheap cooler sellers in the big box stores, but by creating a whole new vertical at the top end of the industry. And they changed the game with the target audience they went after and how they marketed it.
You can read the full story and post here
These are my 3 most important takaways...
What lessons do you take from the YETI story and how can you apply them in your business?
You hear a lot about being "woke" in today's world and society. This post is not about politics or political views, but it is about a societal trend that impacts entrepreneurs. And it offers a great lesson to succeed at higher levels. Let me explain...
I recently heard a group of young people discussing some of the more divisive topics of the day and talking about how older generations "aren't woke enough" to understand. As I heard them speak and go through some of the mental gymnastics it took to avoid the reality of the topics and transform them into their views, I could not help but think one very important question, "Where do your thoughts come from?"
I wondered if these people have ever stopped to think about that question. Do they know where these things they were saying came from? Are they original thoughts that they came up with on their own and decided that they truly believe? Or were they put there by someone or something else and they just blindly followed and regurgitated what they had heard or been told, because it was the socially correct thing to do among their peers?
I suspect it was the latter because much of what they were stating to be true is not in the real world. They just have not had the experience or time to learn it yet. And it will probably be a painful, rude awakening to them when they do.
And there in lies the lesson - for everyone, especially entrepreneurs. Well, actually it is two lessons. The first lesson is simple - reality always wins. It may take some time, but reality will set in at some point.
The second lesson, and more important one, is that we must live from true choice and original thought. In today's age, it is so easy "not to think" and to just state what one hears from the abundance of sources of information now available. Most people do not take the time to ask themselves, "Where do my thoughts come from?" "Did I come up with these things on my own? Do I believe them?" or maybe, most importantly, "What do I truly believe?"
Entrepreneurs - when was the last time you sat down and put pen to paper and asked yourself, what YOU truly believe? What do you believe about yourself? Your business? Your life? What is your worldview?
These are important questions you must answer to gain the clarity of who you are and what is possible for you. It will also give you the ultimate gift, the ability to live from true choice in your life and not be run by the thoughts or programming from others. Do not live your life just going along with the herd or following the lemmings off the cliff. Choose what you think and believe, who you are, and what you want. If you do so, you may decide not to be "woke," but you will certainly be awake.
As entrepreneurs, we have a lot on our plate. We have to balance work, family, relationships, health, personal life, etc. It is not easy to find harmony and there are a lot of "landmines" that can get in the way that can stop us from ever finding it.
One of the biggest landmines is the hardest for us to avoid and that is being consumed by our work and our pursuit of success. Make no mistake, entrepreneurship takes a lot of work and can require long hours, but if entrepreneurs don't keep perspective and keep what is truly important forefront in their lives - then we become consumed by our work.
When people get consumed by their work, in some ways they lose their soul and pay the price. They lose sight of their core values and their lives suffer. Their work may be going great, but they are unhappy, unfulfilled, and ultimately unsuccessful as a whole.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to write down what is important to you and keep it in a place where you can refer to it often and keep it forefront in your life. Each week, you should start the week by reviewing these things and then as you plan your week and go through it, make sure to priortize these areas of importance and give them their due time.
If you do this simple exercise above faithfully each week, you will find that your entire quality of life will be better and you will actually be more successful in your business.
21 days. It's not a long time. In fact, 21 days go by in the blink of an eye. But what can be accomplished in 21 days is incredible. In fact, 21 days of dedication is all that is needed to change your life. Studies have shown that is takes 21 days to create a habit. Think about that. If you want to make a change, whether it is your health, something in business, or in just in life, you can be on your way in just about 3 weeks. That's exciting!
There are some keys to ensuring success if you decide to either change or create a new habit in your life.
First, you must commit to it. For example, if you want to start the habit of excercising for 45 minutes every day, you must commit to it and be deliberate in your approach.
Second, write down what you are going to do. So, if the goal is 45 minutes per day of exercise, write it down and make a 21 day checklist to check off that you did it each day. What gets measured, gets managed.
Third, be consistent. It is a lot easier to practice the new habit over 21 days if you are consistent in your approach. Staying with the example of exercising 45 minutes per day, strive to do the 45 minutes at the same time every day, so it is built into your schedule and the time is set aside. It will make it easier to plan for it as well.
Fourth, be accountable. It is easier to accomplish your goal if you are accountable to it. The best way to be accountable is to have an accountability partner - someone that will help you keep on track for your goal. This may be someone who is building the same habit with you or someone close to you that is not afraid to call you out.
Fifth, reward yourself. Building a habit means change and a lot of dedicated, consistent work for a short time, 21 days. But that doesn't mean it isn't hard. And to help keep you motivated, you should decide on a reward that is important to you, that you will give yourself for accomplishing to goal. Keep your reward top of mind, especially in those moments where you don't want to keep going or consider skipping the work toward the habit for a day. It will help you in the moment.
Good habits are the cornerstone of success and the best part is we get to choose them and put them in our lives. Just think where you will be a year from now if you took 21 days each month to build a new habit to help you in your life. That's 12 new habits. Would your life change? You bet it would. So get started and here's to your success!
Why do people succeed more than others? It's an interesting question. We all know someone who just seems to have "it" or maybe we describe them as "lucky." These people seem to find a way to success over and over again.
What is it that they have that others don't? Besides working hard and smart, and doing the things that everyone knows that are needed to succeed, the majority of the time, these people have a specific trait that cannot be coached. They have a burning desire and drive to see things through. No matter what is thrown at them, they keep going. They are like a hungry lion stalking it's prey. The lion doesn't stop until it reaches the goal and gets its meal. It's driven to succeed.
Consistently successful people have this same trait. They are driven by the thrill of the hunt, to pursue to end goal relentlessly until it becomes reality. They keep going in spite of the obstacles, the challenges, the self-doubt, the worry, and all the other things that derail most people. They dig down deep in the hardest and bleakest of times and keep going, because they know if they keep going, the percentages of success will finally turn in their favor. Just like the lion who hasn't eaten in days, but keeps stalking and attempting kills. At some point, they will win and eat.
This trait cannot be coached as it must be developed by each individual in the way that works for them, but it can be developed. The best way to develop it is to find the strenght and conviction to keep going when you want to quit. You have to break through over and over again. And when you do, you will develop this trait for yourself and you will succeed at higher and higher levels.
Unleash your inner lion.
Every once and a while, I come across a message that really has an impact and spurs inspiraton, ideas, and helps further myself as an entrepreneur. Here are 3 videos that I've found that have made a difference for me and can do the same for you.
The Real Story of Sylvester Stallone and Rocky
Where Good Ideas Come From
He Became a Millionaire Selling Potato Peelers
I get up every morning and it's going to be a great day. You never know when it's going to be over so I refuse to have a bad day. – Paul Henderson
Here's an interesting question: How do you have a great day? Is there a secret? A special formula? For that matter, what is a great day?
A great day is going to be defined differently by each person. But, I think I can say one consistency of a great day for everyone is that it is satisfying. You end the day and know that it was good.
So, what can you do to have a great day?
First, a great day begins in your mind. Your attitude determines how you approach the day. It is your inner game and if your inner game is good, so is your outer game. You get to choose your attitude and thus you get to choose to have a great day. Every morning when you wake up, you have this choice. Do this little exercise for one week. Each morning, after you get up, write the following on a piece of paper, "What attitude will I choose to have today: Great, Fair, or Poor." Once you write it down, choose "great, fair, or poor" and circle the one you will have for the day. I have done this for years and I can say I have never circled anything by "great." As my day goes on, if there are problems, or challenges, and/or things don't go my way - and I start to think negatively, I just look at the attitude I chose for the day (great) and it snaps me out it.
Second, plan your day. If you take the time to plan your day to know ahead of time what you are going to do, you will be much more efficient and effective. Of course, the more you can accomplish will make the day more satisfying for you. Planning your day will ensure you know what to do ahead of time, so you don't waste time or focus on things that are not important.
Third, be grateful. Take 5-10 minutes at some point during the day to practice gratitude. Whether it is to someone or just with yourself, gratitude is a powerful thing. Take 5-10 minutes and write down 3 things you are grateful for and you'll be amazed at how it gives your perspective and makes you feel. Or take 5-10 minutes to give a compliment to someone or share why you are grateful for them in your life. If you take the time to do this, it will go a long way in making your day (and theirs) a great one.
Having a great day, is not that hard. It just requires a few key things to ensure it happens. If you take these 3 actions each day, you will find that every day can and will be a great day!
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