There is nothing easy about working in the business world. It’s a stressful and challenging career path to choose. It does not matter if you are working at a massive publicly held manufacturing company, or working at a small technology startup – there will always be one thing that unites all those who work in business…it’s hard.
There are several elements of business that make it do tough. For one, it seems that no matter what you accomplish, people demand more. People get hired in to business to make money and increase the bottom line at their respected companies. If you hit your goals, you should be striving to exceed them. If you exceed them, you should be looking at ways to do even better next time. It’s not only encouraged; it’s expected.
Also, if you miss your quotas or don’t make a sale, you won’t get paid. That’s the reality of working in commerce. That fact alone scares a lot of people away from even applying. However, the possibility of making really good money lures in all of us risk-takers. The simple fact that you might not get paid this month for not performing at optimal levels can add a lot of pressure and stress to anyone.
And, of course, we live in a rapidly changing and complex world. It seems that every single day, there are changes in technology and society. It can be extremely difficult for a business executive to keep up in today’s globalized world. Most companies have adopted an “innovate or die” philosophy, which can be horribly stressful for those who don’t like change.
I painted a pretty grim description above. It’s not meant to scare people away, but that’s the reality of working in business. That’s why it’s important to have a sense of mental toughness. Having the ability to power through all the negative stress can be the difference between a happy and successful employee and one who is so disgruntled that they stop performing.
Here are the 5 components of mental toughness that every top performing professional must possess.
Ambitious people are hard to stop. If someone truly wants something, they will do whatever they can to achieve it, no matter how out of reach it may seem. Having that internal drive to exceed your goals is a major component of mental toughness. It’s such a huge factor because our plans for success almost never go as planned. Somewhere down the road, something goes wrong and we get knocked on the ground.
Only those who are ambitious will pick themselves back up and keep trying. They will never give up on their goals because they have to win. Those who have this internal drive will fight through the losses and the stress to achieve what they want.
John Rockefeller faced bankruptcy many times early in his career and spent his early life in extreme poverty. Walt Disney owned two studios that failed, leaving him homeless. Steve Jobs was fired from the company that he started.
They all came back and achieved an extremely high level of success because they were ambitious. John Rockefeller started Standard Oil and became the richest person to ever live, Walt Disney started the famous Disney empire, and Steve Jobs eventually changed the modern world when he returned to Apple.
Mentally tough people want to improve. They are always seeking ways that they can better themselves. It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete or a sales executive – committing to a process of self improvement will have amazing benefits.
For one, you will be much better equipped to handle the times when you fail, because you will have more tools to use to help you get back on top. You will also have more confidence to try again. But also, if you are constantly looking for ways you can improve, you’ll fail far less often.
Being flexible in business means that you should be open and receptive to change. This is far easier than it sounds. If you are doing extremely well at something, the first reaction would be to fight back when someone wants to change the process. That’s a normal reaction, and it’s OK to feel that way.
However, the mentally tough individuals accept the change and work to maximize their situation. Resisting change in business rarely does any good – it’s almost always a detriment to the individual. While those people are complaining and resisting the change, those who are mentally tough are strategist on how they can take advantage of it and do better. There is a huge difference between the two in terms of results.
You have to be competitive. This does not mean that you should tear down your teammates so you can be the best. This means that you should want to win, and will do everything (within the boundaries of professional ethics) to exceed your goals. You should have the internal need to beat the competition, whether it’s a different company or yourself from last year. Being competitive relates to mental toughness because when you have that need to win, you’ll focus on the end goal rather than the potholes and pitfalls that appear along the way.
Finally, those who are mentally tough have their heart in it. Nobody has ever fought through all the way to success without caring. If you are passionate about what you do and passionate about your goals, it will make all the difference in how you handle the bad times. Mentally tough people love what they do and will keep on fighting to continue to do it.
All of the above components and lessons can be essentially combined for one basic takeaway – being mentally tough means having the resilience to keep on going, no matter what challenges appear along the way to success. It’s a critical element to have if you want to succeed in both business and in life.
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