Mental toughness is a mindset that provides you with the resilience and confidence to be more successful, more positive and less stressed than those who are not mentally tough. Mental Toughness can be measured and then developed through changing habits and adopting a more structured and less emotive approach to work and life.
The Clough and Strycharczyk mental toughness framework backed by a simple but scientifically valid psychometric measure MTQ-Plus, part of the MTQ assessment family, comprises four main scales or traits:
each with two sub scales or traits which play an important part within the overall framework.
In Part One of this series of four posts we examine each of the 4C’s, beginning with Control.
CONTROL – Being in control of yourself and your emotions
I see Control as the foundation C because it is about being in control of yourself and your emotions as you go about your daily life. There are two sub scales in the Control ‘C’ – Life Control and Emotional Control.
If you are High on Life Control you are likely to:
- feel a strong sense of meaning and purpose to your life and work which can help you develop the strength and perspective to overcome any setback or situation. A meaningful life is more likely to create happiness and wellbeing.
- know what matters to you, which defines the boundaries that help you keep your emotions and anxiety under control in stressful situations. As a result you it helps you focus and worry less about what you can’t control.
- possess a deep self-belief that you can shape and control what happens to you and influence what is going on around you.
If you are High on Emotional Control you are likely to:
- be present ‘in the moment’ which reduces stress and improves your relationships.
- you are more likely to be calm and poised and so less likely “to lose your cool” and react, even in stressful situations, or be inflamed or distracted by those emotional people around you.
These are all positive attributes and like a giant gum tree you will feel strong and resolute in most situations. However it is important to achieve a balance between being too heavy and too light otherwise like the giant gum tree without some flexibility you can become too brittle and can break.
Here are some disadvantages of being too strong on Control:
- because you always seek to take control of any situation you can often be oblivious to other peoples’ feelings and intentions and thereby bruise, intimidate and override others in the process – life control
- since you are emotionally strong you may be too self absorbed , too aloof and difficult for others to read or build rapport with – emotional control
However, being Low on Control causes some challenges too:
- you probably don’t have a clear idea of your purpose or what you want out of life
- not knowing what you want often means you don’t have a clear or consistent set of boundaries around what you believe in and will stick up for
- this can mean you will often compromise more than not and as a result feel like a victim and that people are taking advantage of you.
Being low on emotional control means that you often react rather than respond to situations and can often regret what you say or do. You can also become easily disorientated by the strong emotions of those around you.
So, how do you develop your sense of control ?
The clues are in the descriptives above.
It is important to develop a clear sense of your purpose in life and what you believe in and why. It’s important to know what you will stand up for or not, so you can define your ‘boundaries’.
It is also important to build your self-belief which comes from developing your expertise and achieving some accomplishments, in conjunction with a positive mindset.
You also need to learn to manage your emotions so that you respond rather than react to situations.
Mental Toughness Partners can help you implement and practice these strategies to build your sense of life control and emotional control.
In Part Two of this series next Friday we will describe the Commitment C.