Wikipedia describes mental toughness as a a term commonly used by coaches, sport psychologists, sport commentators, and business leaders describing a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.
It's more than resilience; it's about being able to perform to the best of your ability, consistently, regardless of the challenges you face. It's a fantastic quality to cultivate in business and generally in life.
Clough and Earle, who developed a test to measure mental toughness called MTQ48, describe the concept through the 4Cs:
- Control - Life Control - I really believe I can do it. Emotional Control - I can manage my emotions and the emotions of others.
- Commitment - Goal Setting - I promise to do it - I like working to goals. Achieving - I'll do what it takes to keep my promises and achieve my goals.
- Challenge - Risk Taking - I will push myself - I am driven to succeed. Learning from Experience - even setbacks are opportunities for learning.
- Confidence - Abilities - I believe I have the ability to do it - or can acquire the ability. Interpersonal Confidence - I can influence others - I can stand my ground if needed.
In January, when thoughts naturally turn to goals for the coming year, whether a sporting challenge, losing weight or meeting a career objective, an exploration of your own mental toughness can be a good place to start. Here's some questions to start you thinking:
- Do you feel that you have mental toughness?
- How have you demonstrated that over the past weeks and months?
- How might mental toughness help you meet a challenge you're facing?
- Is it something you'd like to develop more of?