Do you feel incredibly sensitive to and often hurt by other peoples’ thoughts, feelings and actions?
Do you think a lot about situations involving other people?
Do you usually go with the flow and be flexible to accommodate what other people want?
Do you listen rather than talk?
If so this suggests that you are quite likely to be mentally sensitive.
As an experienced mental toughness coach I work with mentally sensitive people and their organisations to help them become tougher, either overall or in one specific mindset attribute. Becoming mentally tougher generally means being more selfish, more structured and more focused on achieving outcomes, which in turn leads to better performance and wellbeing.
However, there is definitely a balance to be achieved as the 20% of the population who are mentally sensitive can be highly successful in their own right as well as within the team culture. They often have “powers” that the rest of the population don’t have.
Here are my views on the benefits of being mentally sensitive:
Mentally sensitive people can be emotionally intelligent
Mentally sensitive people have many more antennas than most and usually pick up on nuances, glances, moods and situations that mentally tougher people can often miss altogether because they are so focused and self-absorbed. Similarly, because mentally sensitive people are acutely self and socially aware they can naturally build rapport through their empathetic nature and acute listening skills.
Mentally sensitive people can be more caring
Mentally sensitive people are adept at understanding other peoples’ opinions and situations and therefore may care about them more as a result. They become involved in the depth of the detail and all the ‘ins and outs’ of a situation that mentally tough people might ignore or gloss over and not appreciate.
Mentally sensitive people can be more creative
It perhaps stands to reason that mentally tough people are less creative because they are more structured and disciplined. They necessarily remove emotion in their pursuit of an outcome. In contrast, mentally sensitive people possess a heightened sensory awareness and have often experienced deeper emotional experiences which invariably gives rise to beautiful music and inspired art and literature. However the same attributes make them less likely to be a top athlete or leader.
Mentally sensitive people can be the glue guy or girl
A glue guy or girl often make all the difference in building a positive team culture because their empathy and sensitivity enables them to have a much more natural understanding of who in the team is feeling up or down and why. They build trust more easily and as a result their teammates open up and share positive and negative feelings that the glue girl can bind together for the common good. Whilst the glue guy or girl can be either mentally tough or mentally sensitive the latter will identify issues and opportunities their mentally tough counterpart might not, especially in terms of the team’s responses to what the mentally tough person is seeking to do.
For all these benefits being a mentally sensitive person can be incredibly exhausting because you are built to think and care about everything and about everyone. Your resilience and confidence can easily suffer and often you don’t achieve your goals as you are diverted and distracted by others.
Balance is important in both an individual and a team – you want the best attributes of being mentally sensitive and mentally tough.
For more on mental toughness contact us.