Improve Your Mental Toughness in 2 Minutes

Barry Moltz brings you tips from a performance specialist on dealing with tough situations.
Getting Small Businesses Unstuck, Shafran Moltz Group
May 28, 2012

It is no surprise that it takes stamina and mental toughness to be successful in small business. The truly challenging part is achieving this level over an extended period of time. Dr. Jason Selk, a performance specialist and author of Executive Toughness, believes that "The way a person chooses to think will really control the way they behave." Having the right mental focus will lead to more successful business outcomes in the long term.

In my interview with Selk, he describes how to train for this mental toughness on your way to becoming a peak business performer.

1. Focus on solutions. Selk insists that within 60 seconds of when top-performing people are faced with adversity, they replace the negative thinking with solution-focused thoughts. He points to scientific research that shows people who have "Relentless Solution Focus" (RSF) are "proven to live longer, be happier, and to be significantly more successful." If you fail, cheer the darkness for a minute. Have a pity party if you want, but then focus on the solution. Fortunately, Selk believes that everybody can be retrained to focus on the solutions not the problems.

2. Seek to control only what you can. This is very difficult to do in practice. Selk reiterated, "The only thing we can control is how we deal with the past and what we do in the future." Learn what you can, but then take action to get another chance at a successful outcome.

3. Find one thing you can do differently to make the situation better. Selk says top performers force themselves "to control what they can control," which is how they deal with adversity. This is difficult, because Selk says humans are biologically built to have problem-centric thought (PCT). In other words, we have a tendency to focus first on the problems not the solutions.

4. Keep a success log. Selk thinks we need to ask ourselves what three things did we do well today? Take credit for success, since it can be a barrier against future discouragement. He also says we need to ask ourselves one thing we can improve and how we can achieve it.

5. Practice the 100-second mental workout. Selk outlines a 100-second workout that can make every businessperson a better performer. He suggests following these steps. First, take a 6-second breath to center yourself, hold it for 2 seconds, and then breathe out for 7 seconds. Selk says the purpose of this is to control the pressure and "put you in a position where the mind will work as an asset instead of a liability. “ Step two is to repeat a personal mantra, something that Selk says "really focuses you on who you are, your strengths and what you’re capable of achieving." Selk describes the third step in the mental workout as a "personal highlight reel." This is a visualization of where you want to be in five years and what you want to accomplish in the next 24 hours. Think about the actions you need to take today to get this done.

What steps have you taken to increase your mental toughness in order to become a peak business performer?

Photo credit: Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

Getting Small Businesses Unstuck, Shafran Moltz Group