How Mentally Tough Are You?
Mar 16, 2016
One of my favorite things to watch is the Olympic games. I admire the heck out of the athletes who have worked so hard to get there. While watching, I sometimes wonder if I have their mental toughness - is my mind capable of pushing my body to its limits and dealing with what I imagine is unbelievable pressure? So when I came upon this great article in a Shape magazine recently called "Think Like a Winner," it resonated. I loved how they explained that there are four aspects to mental toughness: Resilience, Confidence, Grit, and Focus.
Here are a few highlights from the article:
- Resilience - The quicker you can bounce back from mishaps, the quicker you'll find success.
- Welcome failure: We learn more when we lose than when we win. Mistakes teach you what to do differently next time.
- Fact-check your thoughts: We almost always distort things after a loss and can easily get stuck in a "I'm no good" mode. Watch your inner dialogue. Just because you were edged out by someone else doesn't mean you're talentless or not capable. When you restate what actually happened, you'll feel better quickly.
- Move on: Don't replay your lowlights reel! Cap rumination at 10 minutes. Feeding your subsconscious mistakes only helps you make more of them.
- Confidence - Believing you can win makes it more likely to actually happen.
- Embrace your ego: There is no such thing as too much confidence. That's like saying your eyes are too good. Trusting in your own abilities helps you perform, whereas second-guessing can lead to overthinking.
- Act like a champ: When you're not feeling good, use your body to fake out your brain. Standing tall increases confidence, perhaps by boosting levels of testosterone.
- Grit - Talent alone isn't enough. You need perseverance too.
- Find your why: Have a reason bigger than yourself that makes all the work worth it. If you have a deep sense of purpose, you'll never allow yourself to surrender. You'll feel you have a destiny to fulfill.
- Fall in love: When things get tough, write down everything you once loved about pursuing your dream. Reminding yourself of what excites you can reignite your passion and help you stick with it.
- Win every day: Write down daily action steps to help you get closer to your long-term goals. Break it down as small as you can. Don't focus on the big picture but on the little things you need to do to get there.
- Focus - Varying between high and low intensity is key.
- Welcome your butterflies: Don't think there is something wrong with you if you get really anxious before giving a presentation or competing. Nerves are just your body getting ready to perform. That is GOOD energy so let it flow!
- Take breaks: Save your focus for when you need it most. If you grind for 5 hours, you'll be so exhausted, you'll make mistakes. Break for 15 minutes every hour.
- Psych yourself down: If you call it a "big game" or a "big day," you've already screwed yourself. Instead flip the script and make practice feel like a tournament and vice versa.
After reading the article, I was so happy to realize that I HAVE what it takes to be a winner. Maybe if I was younger, the Olympics would be a possibility! But since I'm nearing 60, I'll have to settle for just knowing that I have the mental toughness to succeed in whatever I decide to do.
You don't have to win an Olympic medal to test your mental toughness - just start a brand new career at age 55!!!