Tips to Build Mental Toughness

A good book on mental toughness is  Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths by LaRae Quy.    These suggestions also apply equally to men.  Here are a few of the tips to help you continue on your path of self-awareness and mental toughness.

  1. Identify your emotional hot buttons. Knowing who or what pushes our buttons and when it happens is critical to developing the ability to control a situation. This awareness allows you to carefully choose your actions and words, thus avoiding unproductive behaviors that sabotage success.
  • Notice your emotions as they arise, both positive and negative, without judging. Simply observe them with curiosity.
  • Slow yourself down with deep breathing so the fast, emotional brain doesn’t overtake the slower, rational brain.
  • Pinpoint the circumstances that produce emotional reactions. This awareness will enable you to calibrate your reactions in future situations.
  1. Observe others as well as yourself. Notice emotions in other people. Becoming a keen observer of behavior is critical to understanding others. Ask questions to find out more about how others think, react, and choose priorities.  But remember:
  • Everyone’s different.  Simply observe and inquire.
  • There are no right or wrong reactions; allow people their uniqueness.
  • Observe, inquire, and learn without an agenda. Do not judge.
  • Cultivate and express a curiosity about life and other people.
  1. Don’t settle into complacency. Success seduces us into becoming set in our ways. We love routine and we readily accept assumptions. Don’t let your comfort zone turn into a limiting barrier. Stretch and challenge your habits. Always ask questions, such as “What if…?” Try new things.
  2. Express gratitude as a power emotion. Nothing resolves conflicts and energizes people more than appreciation, yet most of us don’t express it enough. We have a negativity bias and are too quick to point out flaws in both others and ourselves.

Mental toughness must be built on a solid foundation of emotional intelligence, self-awareness, discipline, and positive social relationships. It’s hard work, especially on your own. That’s why many people seek the services of a coach.

What are you doing to build your fortitude? I’d love to hear from you; contact me here or on LinkedIn.