Mental Toughness

Mental toughness……

This is a term you usually hear in sports.   Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Serena Williams all share this characteristic.  It gives them an edge, sets them apart, and allows them to perform at an extremely high level under high pressure.


I actually started to think about how this applies to not just the great athletes of our time, but also the everyday/average person.  We may not be in the spotlight, but as we grow into our careers, there are demands that are placed on us.   There are personal goals that we set that require us to operate at a higher level. 


Rewind to the end of last year.  I was burnt out from my job, I was stressed, and it really made me assess what I want to do for the next 10 years.  In my line of work, we have key meetings that sometimes go smoothly, and at other times extremely rough.   There are hard conversations, and big businesses at stake.   Fast forward to these past few weeks, and I’m a little more refreshed.   Our mind and emotions cause us to make smart and dumb decisions, and I like to think on things for a while to ensure I make the best decision for myself.   I ended up focusing on two words MENTAL TOUGHNESS.   It doesn’t matter what line of work you are in, what life you choose to lead.   If you want to reach higher levels, than you have to be okay with the stress that comes with it.  You have to manage it, and understand there is a mental toughness you have to build.  No one ever built anything great without opposition. 


It also applies to music.  As an artist, there are also a lot of pressures.   Pressures to make the label money, build a career, deliver great performances, and manage the day to day grind.  This requires a mental toughness. 


This begs the question, how do you build your mental toughness?


1)    Commitment to one’s self.  


Regardless of how hard things may get, you have to stay committed to seeing it through.   If you are being asked or forced to step up, figure out how to do that.   Put in the extra time, study, or find a mentor.  Don’t back down!


2)    Expect opposition


It’s going to get tough at times, but figure out how to learn from those tough situations.  Learn how to be better prepared.   Play out the situations in your mind to find the weak areas.


3)    High Risk = High Reward


May sound cliché, but if you want that promotion or pay raise, then you will have to learn how to handle the pressure.   They don’t pay McDonald’s employees 40 bucks an hour for a reason.


4)    Find ways to decompress


Give yourself a break.   You may fail, and have to get back up.   You may need to walk away and let the day or week pass.  Figure out how to slow your mind down a bit and forget about those tough moments.


5)    Never stop learning and growing


Maturity comes in many different forms and we have to continue to monitor where we are at, how we respond to situations, and what can we learn from it.


I leave you with this word of encouragement…..


Continue to strive to reach your greatest potential.   Learn how to have more self-awareness so that you can pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses and work on them.   Focus on continuous improvement and the rewards of that will fall at your footsteps.