Every day holds the answer to this simple question. You need to be mentally strong to be in control of your life.
Being in control enables you to make the decisions that affect how you live and work, what goals and targets you can set and which outcomes you can realistically achieve. Being in control gives you the power to set your direction and your momentum. Being in control enables you to be accountable for the life that you want to lead.
However, being in control can be hard as it takes sustained mental effort and focus. It takes mental strength or, using the language in my world it takes mental toughness.
To be mentally strong you need to choose your mental state every morning. Choose to be positive, mentally tough and in control so that you don’t become distracted or diverted from achieving your outcomes by a whole range of mental obstacles and interference. Choose to be confident that you can successfully tackle anything new or unexpected that comes into your day-to-day world.
It’s a choice that needs to be made because if you are not in control of your life then someone or something else will be, which can leave you drifting, directionless, powerless, and often feeling overwhelmed.
Distractions and diversions
Even when you are in control you face a myriad of daily threats, challenges and distractions from every direction. You may have to work to some tight daily routines or processes that are imposed upon you that preclude any control.
Alternatively, whilst you may initially have full control over what happens in your day, you can easily lose that control through being interrupted by meetings or phone calls or situations that dislocate your rhythm and stop you getting things done. This can mean you don’t complete your goals and targets, which inevitably leads to a feeling of a day wasted and a loss of control.
You may have some internal mental obstacles and fears such as a fear of failure or lack of confidence that prevent you taking full advantage of the opportunities and challenges that you face. You may be distracted by smart phone technology or not planning your day in the best way to achieve maximum productivity.
You may be prone to feeling sensitive to a situation or person that threatens your mental or physical security and wellbeing which in turn causes you an overload of stress and anxiety and a diminution in the quality of your thinking.
The power of MTQ48
One of the reasons I am a mental toughness practitioner is because I passionately believe in the practical power of the MTQ48 4C’s mental toughness framework developed and promoted in the UK by the ‘rockstars’ of mental toughness, Professor Peter Clough and AQR’s Doug Strycharzyck.
The MTQ48 framework is simple to understand, communicate and to use, is scientifically at the top end of the validity and reliability scale and provides a contemporary measure of the way we think.
With this tool you can measure your mental toughness both overall and within the individual 4C’s of Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence and then, using some simple but effective practical techniques, you can build it overall or in the required C’s.
It’s a balance
Whilst you want to be mentally strong, you don’t want to be too strong as this has a dark side that can negatively affect performance and wellbeing. Being too mentally strong or tough can lead you to being brittle, inflexible and insensitive, meaning that you can easily damage your relationships with colleagues or customers as you focus on achieving your desired outcome at the expense of everything else. Alternatively you can be so focused that you miss out on easier or better opportunities or priorities.
Some practical tips
There are several tailored programs available to measure and develop your mental toughness overall and within the 4C’s. They include building sufficient self-esteem and self-efficacy to manage yourself and your emotions, developing a commitment to action including goal setting and focus and building your personal capacity, confidence and influence. Whilst there are some instant wins to be had through changes in your mindset and learning how to take control, in most cases old habits need to be rewired and replaced with new ones and this can take time and sustained effort.
For more on being mentally strong contact us.