Your suit looks great. You made it to the office 10 minutes early.
The receptionist checked you in and let you know someone would be with you shortly.
As you sit by yourself reviewing your talking points and notes, your mind starts racing.
“What if I forget something?”
“What if they ask a question I’m not ready for?”
“What if they don’t like me?”
This is your dream job. It took weeks to get this interview set up.
Here it is, the most important moment in your life and your mind is turning against you. What do you do?
You must use mental toughness to control your mind so it doesn’t control you if you want any chance of succeeding in situations like this.
Most people think mental toughness is just for athletes. It’s not. Everyone will need mental toughness at some point. It might be a job interview, on exams, or simply when you are having a bad day.
You will face thousands of crucial moments in your life. If you want to perform your best when your best is needed, you must develop mental toughness to help you handle the magnitude of the moment and persevere.
You can’t win a battle you’re fighting on two fronts.
Science has proven your mind can only focus on one thing at a time.
In life’s crucial moments, your mind will either focus on the task at hand or the negative voice in your head, but it definitely won’t be both.
Everyone has internal conversations with themselves. Most of the time they are no big deal.
However, in your most crucial moments they are intense and important.
The key to succeeding in these moments is your ability to shut down the negative thoughts trying to force their way into your mind and to get yourself back on track as soon as possible.
The conversations going on inside your head either build you up or tear you down. The longer you let the negative thoughts stick around, the harder it gets to overcome them.
If you want to be your best when your best is needed, you must be able to control your mind with mental toughness.
Mental toughness is the decision to focus, compensate, adjust, and keep moving forward even when things are going bad.
Force yourself to be great. Even when you don’t feel great.
Many people can perform great when they feel great. The best become the best because they know how to force themselves to be great, even when they don’t feel great.
The key is mental toughness.
Kobe Bryant was a great example of using mental toughness to be great. According to Kobe, “Being mentally tough does not mean you can push through it when it hurts. Being mentally tough means you can take your mind someplace else and concentrate to the point where whatever was bothering you is no longer a focus and you don’t feel it anymore.”
Important events are filled with many ups and downs. You are not always going to be in the groove. You won’t always feel great, or even good during important moments.
When you are mentally tough, you can use your mind and disciplined thinking to force yourself to perform well, even when you don’t feel like it.
People who are not mentally tough beat themselves up on the inside when they don’t feel just right or they don’t like how things are going. They become their own worst enemy
Don’t let this happen to you. You are all you have. No one else is in your head but you. Stay on the same team and use your mind to help you get past adversity. Be mentally tough!
A negative thought never leads to a positive result.
The ability to sustain a powerful fighting spirit and compete, even when it looks hopeless, starts in your mind.
You must program your mind for success.
Developing mental toughness requires you to give great mental effort. It also requires practice.
A lot of practice!
Practicing mental toughness is hard, but it is not complicated. You can get started today by working on these four areas:
- Use positive self-talk. There is nothing in your brain forcing you to be negative. If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend at the same moment, don’t say it to yourself. Stay positive!
- Anchor yourself. Anchor points are physical objects you focus on to distract your mind from negative thoughts. For example, focusing on the feel of the ball or your breathing when it gets crazy. Anchor statements are words you use to replace the negativity. One of my favorite examples of an anchor statement comes from cyclist Jens Voigt who says “Shut up legs! Do what I tell you!” whenever his legs start to hurt. There is no one best anchor point or statement. Just find something that works for you to pull your attention out of your head and back into the moment when you start to lose focus.
- Refocus as often as necessary. Don’t feel guilty when negative thoughts appear. Distractions are normal. Everyone’s mind drifts. Every time you feel your mind wonder, use one of your anchor points or statements to refocus on the moment.
- Think “Do this” instead of “Don’t do that”. When you have a thought, you can either tell yourself to do something or don’t do something. Your thoughts become things so it is important to think about what you want to happen, instead of what you don’t want to happen.
Just like any other skill you are working on, becoming mentally tough is a gradual process.
Natural ability is a myth. You might not have won Mother Nature’s lottery, but we all have the same ability to improve our skills.
Start improving your mental toughness today!
Get out of your head and back into the moment.
All high stakes situations are filled with intense emotions, difficult thoughts, and anxiety. Your inner voice during these situations is often a negative, self-defeating, fear monger that only gets louder when you don’t feel comfortable or confident.
Why do some people succeed in these moments, while others fail? Mental toughness of course.
Elite performers are better able to brush off disappointment and turn the page, control their anxiety, and stay in the moment during high stakes situations.
When anxiety and doubt creep in, your focus is pulled away from the task at hand. Left unchecked, your divided focus can quickly turn small mistakes into big ones.
Everyone makes mistakes in important moments. The key is not to let one mistake turn into two or a small mistake turn into a big one.
When you feel your mind wander and start to turn against you, use your mental toughness to get back in the moment and focused on the task at hand.
Worrying about the future let’s fear beat you. Dwelling on the past let’s anger and frustration beat you.
Stay in the moment and succeed with your mental toughness.
Have a Great Week!
Follow me on Twitter @YanceySanderson
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