In business every day we face an array of inevitable challenges that test our resolve and confidence. These ten smart people from the Forbes Coaches Council have provided some advice on how to develop your mental strength, which I have aligned to the Clough and Strycharczyk MTQ 4C mental toughness framework.
1. Establish A Solid Foundation Of Self
Take a prophylactic approach to resilience. Establishing a solid foundation of wellness habits—getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, meditating, nurturing your personal relationships, is important. Choose habits that keep you mentally, emotionally and physically healthy to ensure that setbacks don’t throw you off course as much as they might otherwise.
Jessica Glazer, Centre for Creative Leadership
2. Build Your Emotional Intelligence (or also called Intelligent Emotions in the 4C’s framework)
Self-awareness is the most vital skill leaders can develop to become more resilient. When you understand yourself—what triggers you and why—you can eventually master your “reactions.” Keeping calm and choosing to make rational, intelligent decisions is the mark of a true leader. But first, you have to be able to anticipate when you might normally “react” and craft a plan to do things differently.
Rebecca T Dickson
3. Do A ‘Premortem’ Assessment Of How You’d Recover If Your Plans Failed
Looking forward to the end of a project, a quarter or the end of the year allows us each to take stock of where we want to be. What if you assessed today that, by year’s end, your major objectives all failed. Why? Assign and discuss the causes of why you failed as a “premortem,” then bake that planning and wisdom into your plan today. It allows you as the leader to remain resilient.
John Hittler, Evoking Genius
4. Look At Your Challenge Through Four Different Lenses
Explain the challenge in four versions. First, blow it up; exaggerate to the nth degree. “This issue is the worst ever, because … .” Second, blow it down; minimize everything about it. “This is really nothing at all, because … .” Third, generalize it; compare it to anything. “It’s just like when … .” Finally, tackle it; break it down into actions. “What I need to do is … .”
Evan Weselake , Get Pure Focus
5. Focus On Your First Steps After A Failure
The first steps back after a failure are key to building resilience. Small first steps are key to building momentum and making progress. These steps should be considered carefully, and a starting point and time should be determined. First steps help to bring clarity to a new plan for success and breakthrough. The best step after a failure is a new first step.
Ken Gosnell, CEO Experience
6. Talk To A Confidant With A Different Perspective
When faced with something challenging or stressful, talk to a neutral confidant. Very often, simply talking about a situation helps to release the emotions and give a different perspective. Over time, you’ll find that you can do this on your own in similar situations and more quickly achieve calmness and clarity for your next steps. Still, keep that buddy close at hand for when you need their support.
Diane Chang, Diane Chang Coaching
7. Look For The Learning Opportunities In Your Failures
This one is for leaders who have a tough job because they are accountable for everything that happens in a company. What keeps the best leaders in check is seeing failure as an opportunity to learn, reassess and move forward with a new sense of revived direction. Building connections with your team and customers is core to every business—focus on them, and mistakes will become positives with the people you serve.
Kristy McCann , GoCoach
8. Embrace And Reframe Your Struggles
Most people have a long list of failed attempts along their path to success. Study successful people’s struggles and how they overcame them. Doing so helps to develop the context for a long-term strategic approach to business and life. If you are not failing or falling in some form of regular cadence, you’re probably not doing anything of significance. Reframe struggles as stepping stones.
La’Wana Harris , La’Wana Harris Inc
9. Activate Your Strengths
Know and utilize your strengths. Consider how you can use the strengths that you know you have to come at a setback you are having. When you use what you are good at, it helps to put things in perspective and give you the confidence to bounce back.
Jennifer Thompson, Deviant Thinking
10. Question Your Inner Critic
One way to move your thoughts from the amygdala to the executive brain (the more logical part of the brain) is to ask scaling questions. My “go-to” questions are: “How true is what my inner critic just said? How is this thought serving me?” Our brains are answer-seeking machines. The questions we ask them can get us further into stress or resilience. It’s our choice!
Sandi Mitchell, APEX Leadership Mastery