Recently while discussing Aldo Canada corporate culture with my brother-in-law Clayton, we got onto the topic of mental toughness. Clayton, a hockey and football player and young rising star within Aldo, mentioned that there seems to be a different mental toughness required for each aspect of his life.
For me, the mental game changes depending on the role I assume. If I’m rock climbing, mentally I’m playing a different game than when I’m snowboarding or when I’m preaching on a Sunday morning. While training for this trip, I’ve found that physically I can go much much further and faster than my mind can. I shut down mentally before I shut down physically. Clayton says it this way:
Generally when I think of mental toughness I only think of it as how it relates to athletes. We generally just think of the mental toughness as it relates to athletes in professional sports when in reality it applies to much, much more than that. When I really start to delve deeper into what mental toughness really is, I realize that this state of mind really encompasses everything we do in life. The first thing I do in the morning is slam the snooze button back down, but five minutes later I’m up and getting started. This requires a certain level of mental toughness to be able to fight back the natural desire to continue sleeping. I think mental toughness is about not succumbing to the easy choices, and taking the necessary steps to succeed in whatever it is we hope to accomplish. It involves going against the grain of doing what is natural for us.
How on point is your mental game? Here are a few suggestions how to toughen up:
- Have a clear picture of the future, the end goal, or prize.
- Surround yourself with disciplined people who won’t put up with laziness, lack of vision, or sloppy work.
- Think creatively about your strategy, how-to, or system. Whether it is sports, business, family, church, getting out of debt, or whatever – make a plan and work it.
- Leave space in your life to adapt to change, surprise, and the unexpected.
- Be cautious of the easy choices.
- Turn off Twitter, Facebook, your smart phone, and your TV.
- Remember, amateurs quit or only clock-in when they’re feeling inspired. Pro’s show up every day, good or bad, and just keep going.
What things do you do to toughen up or prepare mentally?