If you look closely, you’ll find there is one thing that the top performers of any organisation have in common: mental toughness.
You’ll also see it in successful sports teams – when a group of mentally tough people come together, they are near impossible to stop. So what exactly is mental toughness, and why is it so critical to success?
The elements of mental toughness
When you’re mentally tough, you possess the characteristics to push through hard times and achieve success. You’re a high performer who can handle pressure. It’s in your mindset, but it’s not just about emotional intelligence – you can have strong EQ, but low mental toughness.
There are four elements that are essential to your mental toughness:
Personal control: Ever noticed how some people always seem to know exactly where they’re going in life and how they are getting there? It may seem they have found their calling purely by luck, but it’s more likely their strong sense of personal control over their lives and outcomes. This doesn’t happen by accident, it is a trait of the mentally tough.
Commitment: It’s one thing to know what you want in life, and another to figure out how you can get it – but without commitment, you’ll never achieve your goals. It takes commitment to set goals and deliver on them, and this is something mentally tough people have an abundance of. Mentally tough people achieve what they set out to regardless of how trying the circumstances. They ALWAYS deliver.
Challenge: Life is tough and ever-changing. Throw in a few kids, a tough day at work and a personal hardship, and what may seem like a simple life can quickly become very tough. The mentally tough amongst us are ready for this, and they have the ability to hold it together in a challenging environment and under challenging circumstances.
Confidence: If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? This is a key element of mental toughness. Those with high mental toughness have a strong sense of confidence in their overall ability, as well as their ability to interact with and influence others. Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, guilt and anger all are limiting emotions that diminish self-confidence. Nobody can simply write an article and dictate how to get rid of these negative emotions, however spiritual reflection and processes offered by behavioural psychology and NLP can be a good first step. Once you know what you want, you must back yourself in and have the confidence and self-belief to know that you can do it.
Why is mental toughness important?
Mental toughness is a common trait of successful people, and there are good reasons why. You won’t find mentally tough people sitting around waiting for things to happen – they’re out there finding and creating their own opportunities to succeed. On the flip side, those without it tend to fall to the bottom of the corporate ladder. They’re either too timid to grab their chances when they are there or they’re blind to them and miss them completely.
As a CEO, I’m looking for people who are mentally tough. It can only benefit my team and organisation overall to have these type of people on board. I recently reached out to Mental Toughness Adviser Paul Lyons, who has written and consulted widely on the topic of mental toughness. Paul recently addressed my CFO roundtable. His insight and development of mental toughness in organisations have been invaluable.
If you haven’t got it, can you get it?
Like anything, if you work at it you can achieve it. The first step is to know the elements – then do an honest self-assessment of where you’re at. You may have the personal control to define what you want but lack the commitment to follow through. Or you may be confident in your talents but lack the control to decide on a path and stick to it.
Once you identify your weak points, work on them. Read articles and books on the subject, or speak to a consultant for personalised advice. Investing some time and effort in becoming mentally tough will reap big benefits in the long term – in both your personal and professional life.
Is mental toughness the future of hiring?
Many recruiters are now on the lookout for mentally tough people and this is a trend that I think will continue to grow as more organisations recognise the importance of having mentally tough people on their teams.
So if you’re not mentally tough, get mentally tough. Not only will it help you to land that finance job you’re chasing, it will also help you reach the top of the organisation and continue to further your career. Because once you’re mentally tough, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
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