Paul shares six ways to build mental strength. Every day is an opportunity to become stronger.
“Gratitude reduces stress. It also increases your happiness.” There is always something to be grateful for.
“Tough times are going to sharpen your senses and spark creativity.” Give yourself the freedom to explore this creativity. The pain we experience is a catalyst for change.
“Discipline is critical during tough times. The best way to develop self-discipline is to…”
“You’re going to experience some negative events. Train your brain to find a positive outcome from negative events.” There is always a blessing in the burden.
Find a way to spread positive news and hope with at least three people every day.
Surround yourself with positivity and prune negativity.
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How do I gain mental strength in tough times?
(Transcribed from podcast)
The sales community has spoken. You guys want to hear more about mental toughness. That is clear.
On April 6, 2020, we interviewed Jimmy Vreeland. He’s an Army Ranger. Check out that episode. It’s actually one of the most downloaded episodes so far. On this episode we talked a little bit about mental strength, but we’ve had a flood of inquiries and questions regarding some specific things we can do to follow up on what Jimmy and I talked about on that interview. If you haven’t checked out that podcast, I’d recommend checking that out.
On this show today, we’re going to talk about how we can build our mental strength every single day. Before we get into that, I wanted to give another shout out to our sponsor, The Creative Impostor Studios. Check them out if you’re thinking of starting a podcast. Reach out to Andrea and her team. I can’t say enough great things about them.
I’m pumped because we actually have a downloadable PDF file that is going to help you build your daily mental strength. We call this a Daily Mental Flex. Like physical strength, mental strength is attained through steady conditioning. This daily exercise provides you with the conditioning you need to help you face adversity and tough times in business.
I’m going to walk you through this exercise, but make sure you go and visit TheQandAPodcast.com. We’re going to have a banner that links directly to this PDF file. Also, we’ll have a link to download it on this episode’s podcast page. So, make sure you check that out. We’re going to have those resources available for you.
This is a six-part exercise. It’s something you need to do every single morning and revisit throughout the day. Again, the idea is to build your mental strength and condition that mental strength.
The first thing you’re going to do on this exercise is develop an attitude of gratitude. It’s important to be thankful for the things in your life—for the blessings in your life—during these tough times. It’s always a good idea to be grateful, but especially when you’re facing tough times. There are a few reasons why. When you are grateful for something, it will reduce stress. Gratitude reduces stress, so it’s important we remind ourselves every single morning what we’re grateful for. Also, it increases your happiness. It makes you aware of all the good things in your life. Every day, remind yourself of three things you’re grateful for.
I’ll give you an example of one thing I recently put on my daily list of items that I’m grateful for. I do a lot of traveling. I travel a ton! In fact, in 2019 I calculated the other day I had over 120 speaking engagements. I was spending more time in hotels than in my actual home! I traveled a bunch. This year, with what’s going on with the epidemic and travel restrictions, for the next couple of months, I’m not going to be traveling. I remember sharing this information with my three daughters and my wife. We were having dinner, and I said, “With everything that’s going on, my travel is going to be canceled for the next couple of months.” As soon as I said that, my daughters erupted in cheer. Man, they were excited; they were so happy that I was going to be home more. I know many of you road warriors out there that are in sales, in leadership, you can relate to that when you travel so much. I’ve got to tell you, being able to spend time with the family so far has been a real blessing. Now, when we get into two months of this quarantine, we’ll see if my attitude has changed a little bit. As of right now, I’ve got to tell you, that’s something I’m extremely grateful for—the extra family time. Every morning, think of something that you are grateful for.
The second part of this exercise is to give yourself some creative freedom. What we know about tough times is that they are painful. That’s part of it. But, that pain is often a catalyst for change. That pain is going to help you discover new ways to create value for your customers. Give yourself ten to fifteen minutes every day of quiet time where you can reflect on your customers’ challenges, their problems, the way you serve your customers, and come up with few new ideas—maybe one or two—and list them on this worksheet.
The third part – discipline is going to be critical during tough times. One of the best ways to develop a stronger sense of discipline is to do the things you just don’t feel like doing. Every day, you’re going to create a list of things you need to do. And, if you’re like most people, the things you really don’t feel like doing tend to make it to the bottom of the list. During tough times, we need to maintain a sense of discipline, and that comes from doing the things that we don’t always feel like doing. By reminding yourself of that and taking that task and completing it, you’re developing a stronger sense of discipline. The takeaway on that exercise… think of that one thing you just don’t feel like doing today, write it on the list and check it off.
Another thing – during the day and during your week, you’re going to experience some negative events—some bad things are going to happen; some negative things are going to happen. It’s important that we train ourselves to view the positive. It’s important that we train ourselves to find the blessing in the burden. The more we do that, we’re mentally training ourselves to respond in a different way. We can’t just look at negative events and then think poor me and wallow in self-pity. No. We need to get used to taking those negative events and turning them into something positive.
I’ll give you an example of this. A couple of weekends ago, it was my birthday. It was a Saturday, and we were originally going to have a little party. Given the coronavirus, we canceled that. But, my wife still ended up calling my friends, my family members, and organized a drive-by birthday celebration. I don’t know how many cars showed up—at least fifteen to twenty cars of family and friends that stopped by just to honk the horn, say “Hi,” and wish me a happy birthday. Granted, they didn’t have anything better to do, but all those people showing up really meant a lot. That was a positive thing that happened from a potentially negative event.
We’ve talked a lot about this in previous episodes: be a merchant of hope. During these tough times, it’s important that you share positive news with people. Look for positive news; look for signs of hope and share that information with at least three people every single day. That could be three customers, some of your family, your friends, your colleagues. Find a way to share positive news. During these tough times, your customers, your colleagues, your family, your friends… they’re going to remember it. What are they going to remember about you and how you made them feel if you lifted them up? Make sure you include that and be a merchant of hope.
The final tip on this mental flex—throughout the day, surround yourself with positive people and positive messages. It’s important that we take positive information whenever we can. We absorb it. It’s also important to surround ourselves—your office, the backscreen on your laptop—surround yourself with positive messages whenever and wherever you can. Also, prune negativity whenever and wherever you can. Throughout the day, you’re going to run into negative people. You’re going to run into people that want to just wallow in self-pity; people that just want to give up; and also, people that want to bring you down with them. If you’ve ever heard the phrase crabs in a barrel… What’s interesting about crabs, if you put one crab in a barrel, that crab is going to try to claw its way out of that barrel. If you put a bunch of crabs in that barrel, as soon as one of the crabs tries to escape and climb out of that barrel, all the other crabs are going to pull that crab back in. That’s what it means when you hear the term crabs in a barrel. During the day, you’re going to face people that are going to try to pull you down to their level. It’s important that you prune that negativity whenever and wherever you can. If you can’t motivate that negative person to take a more positive view, then you need to prune them from your life. Make sure you’re pruning negativity as we go through these tough times.
That is the Daily Mental Flex. Again, download the worksheet that’s on the website: TheQandASalesPodcast.com. Check it out. Also, if you find this exercise useful, please share the website with your friends, your colleagues.
Hang tough out there, and make it a big day!