A good book on mental toughness is Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths by LaRae Quy. These suggestions apply equally to men.
- Identify your emotional hot buttons. We all have them. Knowing who or what pushes your buttons and when it happens is critical to developing the ability to control a situation. This awareness allows you to carefully choose your actions and words, thus avoiding unproductive behaviors that sabotage success.
- Notice your emotions as they arise, both positive and negative, without judging. Simply observe them with curiosity.
- Slow yourself down with deep breathing so the fast, emotional brain doesn’t overtake the slower, rational brain.
- Pinpoint the circumstances that produce emotional reactions. This awareness will enable you to calibrate your reactions in future situations.
- Observe others as well as yourself. Notice emotions in other people. Becoming a keen observer of behavior is critical to understanding others. Ask questions to find out more about how others think, react, and choose priorities. But remember:
- Everyone is different. Simply observe and inquire.
- There are no right or wrong reactions. Allow people their uniqueness.
- Observe, inquire, and learn without an agenda. Do not judge.
- Cultivate and express a curiosity about life and other people.
Don’t settle into complacency. Success seduces us into becoming set in our ways. We love routine and we readily accept assumptions. Don’t let your comfort zone turn into a limiting barrier. Stretch and challenge your habits. Always ask questions, such as “What if…?” Try new things.
Engage and Express your power emotion: Gratitude! Nothing resolves conflicts and energizes people more than appreciation, yet most of us don’t express it enough. As humans, we have a peculiar negativity bias and are too quick to point out flaws in both others and ourselves.
Mental toughness must be built on a solid foundation of emotional intelligence, self-awareness, discipline, and positive social relationships. It’s hard work, especially on your own. That’s why many people invest in coaching.