Developing Mental Resilience at Work

“To be the best, whether in sports or business or any other aspect of life, it’s never enough to just get to the top; you have to stay there, and then you have to climb higher.” – Tim Grover

Success is a combination of talent and hard work (some will include luck into the mix, you be the judge). But whichever you have more of, it always comes down to your mental fortitude.

In life, whether in work, studies, family or even playing sports: the way you think plays a big part in your ability to perform.

Sure, you can prepare all the reports in time, make sure they’re spotless, lead the team and meet the datelines. Practice all these behaviors repeatedly to robotic perfection, it doesn’t eliminate doubt, over-thinking, stress and mental fatigue.

As the commonly revised adage goes, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent.”

As the effectiveness dulls and the same tricks to perk yourself up don’t work, most people will lean into to changing tactics. Maybe a new methodology of working, bring in new blood, or work in different locations. Change promises the hope of better results.

But as everyone higher up wait for the change to come slowly, doubt grows exponentially.

In the end: Performance is about the mind, at least as much as it is about the body. Here are some things you can do to build mental resilience:

1. Assess your insides

What is going on inside of you? Put names to it and call it out. Say, “I feel partially afraid and anxious, but mostly just annoyed at how things turned out”. Use your words.

This exercise eliminates the unknown and ignorance of whatever’s going on inside and (more importantly) gives you control over what to do about it.

2. Tattoo your heart

Name a person who inspires you. Perhaps someone you aspire to be like one day. It could be someone dear, someone fictional, or even a concept of someone. Find a meaningful quote that that person said and commit it to memory. Word for word. Having a statement, and the personal ties that come with it, anchors your resolve amidst temporary emotional storms. Example:

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement” – Golda Meir

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own” – Bruce Lee

“The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me” – Ayn Rand

3. Open your map

Where were you heading to again? Having your sights on where you want to be changes all the “what if’s” to “what must be done”. The destination shouldn’t be about finishing the assignment or getting through the month. It has to be a big picture. The life you want to have, the achievements in life you want to be remembered for, the person you want to be remembered as. Carefully think that through and, with that aim in sight, do what you must.

At the end of the day, treat yourself kindly by knowing yourself well. It isn’t worth all the stress if you’re going to lose yourself in the process. Work is going to be stressful, whether with success or the lack of it. Even with talent and good work ethic, mental resilience is a key ingredient to long term success.

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