Thursday, March 1, 2018

Mental Toughness

I can recall as an athlete being told to have mental toughness and even coaching players saying the same thing.  What is mental toughness?

How can one have mental toughness without first being taught how to do so?

Here are a few quick tips on mental toughness that can apply to athletes, coaches, employees, managers, leaders or even children:

  1. Define your Identity: Know who you are.  Know who you are capable of.  Know what your strengths are.  Know what your weaknesses are.  Write these things down and be confident in them.
  2. Repetition is the pre-requisite to Confidence.  You will be confident in something you do repeatedly (even if it is the wrong thing).  I have seen players take bad shots and they are confident in those shots, because its what they have always done.  I have seen children not get their way and throw a tantrum because it has worked in the past to get there way, so they keep doing it.  So when you see these bad habits - redirect them to what is appropriate.  Then repeat this and have them repeat the correct habits.  This could take weeks, months or even a few years before you see a change.  You will know that their confidence has shifted when you no longer have to redirect, that they are self led.
  3. Confidence in your own identity and gifts will be huge keys in this next one which is Cooperate with others.  Collaboration or better known as Team Work in today's world, because we cannot expect to have success in life - alone.  How can a team be successful if the people within are jealous and manipulative and trying to tear one another down.  The ability to work with others, be confident in your own identity and appreciate other's strengths - is pivotal in our life.  We must be ok with others having success.  We must also be empathetic when others have pain and do what we can to help them keep moving forward.
These three steps will position anybody for mental toughness.  Like I tell each player I have ever coached - anybody can be mentally tough during good times or when you are up by 20 points in a game.  The true test of your mental toughness will be when adversity comes and everything looks like it will fall apart.  Will you know who you are in that moment?  Will you have confidence in what you have been doing and practicing?  Will you work with others to make sure you overcome this?

Mental toughness is not developed overnight.  Nor is is practiced enough in our world today and when we experience hard times, we begin to question who we are?  Why are we even doing this?  DO NOT BECOME A VICTIM TO THIS WAY OF THINKING. 

Take intentional steps today by being transformed in your mind and renewing the way you think!