5 Ways You Can Get Back Your Mental Toughness Mojo

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Sometimes life does not go to plan.  You can just wake up one morning and everything just goes downhill fast. It’s not that you have necessarily done anything to bring it all crashing down (although sometimes that can happen too), but sometimes shit just happens.

It was just a few weeks before Christmas and I was meeting a colleague for a coffee first thing in the morning. I was early after dropping my daughter to school for sport and so I decided to go into the café and order breakfast, something I don’t often do on a busy weekday. It was a rainy morning, so I dashed out of the car and walked into the café and found myself a seat. The café was crowded, so the only seat left was right by the door, where my bare legs were getting a bit of a draft (get out the violins right). So after I ordered, a couple at the back of the café got up to leave, and I decided to move to their vacant table (why oh why did I do that). As I get up to walk to the back, I slipped on the wet floor and with much grace (not), I started to fall. My hands reach toward the ground, desperately trying to brace my imminent crash landing. My right hand hits the ground first, slips forward on the floor and crack goes my arm. Given my spectacle, people rush to my aide, only to try and pull me upright by my arm. Yeah I wasn’t real impressed by that as my shriek kinda communicated.

Just as I manage to get myself upright holding my arm close, my colleague comes in, takes one look at me and says – I’m taking you to emergency. Onya Troy, what would I have done without you?

So 30 minutes later, xrays taken, the doctor informs me I have cracked the head of my humorous bone in the shoulder joint in several places and will need surgery to stabilise it the following morning. I just stared at him with my mouth open.

So before I know it, I have 13 pins and a plate in my right dominant shoulder/arm. This was not how I saw my day going!!

What resulted was obviously a big adjustment. Six weeks in a sling with no driving possible and my dominant arm out of action. Well hell, I admit, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself for a couple of days there.

Do you ever wonder what would happen if your life suddenly got turned upside down? Sometimes in the blink of an eye, things can take a turn for the worst. We could lose our jobs, lose a loved one, be diagnosed with an illness or be involved in a traumatic incident. When adversity like this strikes, we often feel like we have had all the wind knocked out of us, and we are unsure how to pick ourselves up off the ground. But believe it or not, we often have hidden reserves that we didn’t even know we had and if we stop and give ourselves the opportunity, we can access this reserve and let it kick in when we really need it.

1)Kick Start Yourself Into Action – When adversity strikes, we can sit and wallow, and sometimes that is ok and reasonable for a short while, but at some point we need to adopt an action mindset. We need to start to consider the steps we need to take to kick start our thinking around options, resources, ideas and strategies and access our reserves of potential and see the adversity as an opportunity to learn, grow and flex your mental toughness muscles.

2) Kick Your Critic To The Kerb – It’s always easier to remember all the times that you didn’t cope or the things that did not go to plan. This negativity bias we possess means that your inner critic can often get the better of you. But consider your opportunity to think about a time when you actually exceeded your own expectations. Remind yourself of the situation and the circumstances and that you could access these reserves when you really needed them.

3) Just Reach Out – You really don’t have to be Wonder Woman or Super Man and do everything yourself. Often there are people around you who really care and all you have to do is ask. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Tapping into the resources offered by the people around you only gives you an opportunity to be stronger.

4) Focus On What You Can Control – Too often we lament on the things we can’t control, focusing on all the “What ifs” of a situation and spending a lot of our time, wishing “it had never happened”. This is really a waste of energy and quite honestly just gives you brain drain. So focus on the things you can control… the next action step.

5)Reframe – Every time you say to yourself “this is too hard”, reframe a question to self…. “So how could you make it easier?” Don’t accept the “below the line” statement to yourself. Ask yourself the “above the line” question and consider the options and possibilities you actually have.

So if you have lost your mental toughness mojo, do yourself a favour….. pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get to it. Yeah baby!!

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.


A Growth Mindset Organisation Requires a Growth Mindset Leader

Develop a Growth Mindset

Develop a Growth Mindset

If an organisation is going to adopt a growth mindset, its leaders need to also cultivate this same growth mindset and believe that strengths can be developed. I recently wrote an article for the Australian Business Executive on Developing A Growth Mindset In Your Organisation. However no organisation can adopt this mindset if those at the top are not leading the way.

Research shows that managers see far more leadership potential in their employees when their companies adopt a growth mindset — the belief that talent should be developed in everyone, not viewed as a fixed, innate gift that some have and others don’t.

Developing a growth mindset from both a leadership and organisational perspective takes hard work and dedication. Some perceive that developing a growth mindset is all about constantly rewarding and praising effort. However effort alone is not always desirable if the outcome is unproductive.

So what does a leader with a growth mindset look like?

They see setbacks as a learning opportunity

Leaders who embrace a growth mindset know that both learning and progress are just as important as effort. So leaders with a growth mindset don’t get bogged down by their shortcomings or those of their staff, instead they encourage themselves and others to learn from their experiences. They have the opportunity to apply their collective knowledge and use it to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. It’s often easy to experience insecurity when a challenge seems daunting. However an individual with a growth mindset has an opportunity to acknowledge these internal self-doubts and then reframe and counteract with self-statements to allow them to get back on track.

They look for new opportunities

Leaders who embrace a growth mindset demonstrate flexibility. When you take time to develop your growth mindset, you start to see opportunities around you and as a result you can start to seize these opportunities. When you see a staff member demonstrate a strength in the workplace, you can immediately recognise this potential and work to adopt a strategy to maximise their potential. When you attend a conference and gain new insights, you are motivated to maximise your learning and implement the new strategies back into your workplace. Your goal is also not only to maximise the strengths of your staff and your organisation, but also to maximise your own potential. You have the opportunity to develop the character strength of love of learning, and soak up opportunities that reading, internet search and webinars provide.

They minimise procrastination and avoid distractions

Leaders who adopt a growth mindset recognise the substantial gains they can make through hard work and dedication. They are committed to goal setting and they typically have stickability to those goals. As a leader it is often easy to become distracted. Putting out fires is often a full-time occupation and a leader can feel that they are bogged down by urgent, but not important tasks. But leaders with a growth mindset recognise their specific purpose and dedicate themselves to productive effort to ensure both they and their team work towards the collective vision.

If a team is experiencing disruption and perhaps is weighed down by conflict or gossip then a leader with a growth mindset will develop a plan for tackling the issue and stick to these chosen methods to allow an outcome to occur. Their goal will be to nip issues in the bud and keep their staff “above the line” allowing all to focus on goals and output and avoid the drama drama drama.

They celebrate success

Individuals with a fixed mindset are often threatened by other people’s success. However a leader with a growth mindset is eager to celebrate the successes of his/her staff and recognises that cutting down tall poppies is completely unproductive. They wish to encourage, support and celebrate the productive effort that has resulted in a successful outcome and to build confidence that hard work and dedication can produce such outcomes. A growth mindset leader does not feel threatened by successful staff members and can reflect on the fact that a staff member’s success is also their success and the organisation’s success.

They gain inspiration and are inspirational

A growth mindset leader, can look at the success of others and gain inspiration to better understand how to fire up their own personal motivation and initiatives. They value the efforts and ideas of others and can incorporate these into their own personal goals and organisational goals. This brings with it an appreciation for collaboration which in turn inspires others. Staff can also recognise that their leader is dedicated to their individual needs, recognises their value and genuinely wants to assist them to succeed. As a result they also inspire others to do the same.

They build stronger relationships

A growth mindset leader recognises that failure is not a reason to punish a staff member. FAIL - merely stands for -First Attempt In Learning. When a leader has the opportunity to refrain struggles as learning experiences, they become more patient and understanding and as a result tighter bonds tend to be formed with staff and a greater level of trust and respect is formed.

They value progress over perfection

Leaders often stress, attempting to ensure that everything is perfect. As a result they often waste a lot of time and effort perfecting things that don’t need to be perfected. However leaders with a growth mindset recognise that it is better for both them and their staff to achieve progress towards their shared goals rather than stopping every five seconds to ensure that every step of the way is perfect in its outcome. They recognise that progress is better to celebrate than perfection.

If you are interested in developing your growth mindset as a leader, Bakjac Consulting is running a five week online webinar series to develop a growth mindset and mental toughness.

This 5 week online Webinar Series will commence in late January 2018 and will begin with you completing the MTQ48 to gain an understanding of your current Mental Toughness. Then you will participate in a 5 week mental toughness development programme to develop your growth mindset and flex your mental toughness muscles. Want to know more? Contact Michelle on 0412047590 or via email, michelle@bakjacconsulting, or check out here on Bakjac Consulting’s website for more information.

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.


Are You An Introvert?

Bakjac Consulting

Bakjac Consulting

I was recently working with a female leader in a large organisation providing leadership coaching. She was particularly self-critical about her introversion and her perceived inability to feel comfortable in large group settings. However she found it very difficult to reflect on the benefits that her introversion bought to her workplace.

I think introversion is often considered the poor cousin to extraversion. We see extroverts as outgoing and self-confident, able to speak in front of large groups, be the centre of attention with ease and enjoy working as a member of a team. But introverts are often considered these solitary beings. They are perceived as being withdrawn, isolating themselves, not working well with others and even aloof.

However introverts tend to have qualities that very effectively facilitate leadership. They have the ability to focus for long periods of time, have a greater resistance to the kind of decision-making bias that can doom entire organisations, have less need for external validation of their self-concepts and usually have stronger listening, observing and synthesising skills.

It is a widespread misunderstanding that presence and self-confidence is reserved for extroverts. Presence in fact has nothing to do with extraversion. Introverts are every bit as likely to be able to develop presence as extroverts.

Author Susan Cain writes, “by their very nature, introverts tend to get passionate about one, two or three things in their life and in the service of their passion for an idea they will go out and build alliances and networks and acquire expertise and do whatever it takes to make it happen.” In other words one need not be loud or gregarious to be passionate and effective. A bit of quiet seems to go a long way towards being present.

So what are the benefits of being an introvert?

1)   Introverts are thoughtful

We mustn’t confuse introversion with shyness. Being shy is the fear of social judgement, but being introverted means you think quietly before you speak. Introverts are internal processors that prefer to think through all the options before sharing their well reasoned opinions. This thoughtfulness can be especially welcome during times of confusion when too much talking can simply contribute to the clutter.

2)   Their words carry weight

An introvert may not be the first, second or even third person to speak up. But this is in fact why their words can be very impactful. An introvert takes time to measure what they want to say and find the right time to weigh in. There are few things that can cut through the noise of a meeting as well as a thoughtful remark from the quiet person in the corner of the room.

3)   Introverts have observation skills

When you’re not always focused on talking, you get to observe what others potentially overlook. Many famous artistic individuals like Stephen Spielberg and JK Rowling are identified as introverts because they allow themselves to turn their focus and attention inward toward their work. This ability is very helpful in a workplace. We need people who can sit down, focus and get work done.

4)   Introverts are interested in self-knowledge

It comes naturally to introverts to inspect themselves, see where they can improve and work on professional and personal development. They usually have a particularly high level of self-awareness and utilise this knowledge to address the next step in emotional intelligence and address their self-management.

In reality, a thriving workplace needs the traits of both introverts and extroverts. But sometimes it feels like extroverts get all the attention. So remember if you have introverts in your team or are looking to hire an introvert into your team, consider the value that they can provide. Introverts are really happy to share if you give them the time and space. And if you are an introvert, celebrate your strengths.

Want to know more about building your presence? Contact me to discuss coaching to build your self-confidence, presence and mental toughness.

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing. 



Make 2018 Your Year!

Bakjac Consulting 2018

Bakjac Consulting 2018

The New Year is a brand-spanking new set of 365 days which brings endless opportunities to grow, develop and fill with achievements, happiness and milestones!  The list of goals and possibilities you can achieve are endless.  Developing mental toughness and a positive mindset is a necessary first step in making 2018 your best year yet.

Bakjac Consulting is running an Online Mental Toughness Development Programme which will set you up for the challenges and opportunities in the year ahead.

This 5 week online Webinar series will commence in late January 2018 and will begin with you completing the MTQ48 to gain an understanding of your current Mental Toughness.

Then you will participate in a 5 week mental toughness development programme which includes:

– a 1 hour webinar once per week

– a comprehensive workbook full of Mental Toughness exercises to complete week to week

– a 30 minute personal phone coaching session to review your MTQ48 and your Mental Toughness Development goal setting.

The 5 week sessions include:

Week 1:  Mental Toughness and how you can develop your skills.

Week 2:  Control – learn to manage your emotions and those of others.

Week 3:  Commitment – develop the habits to effectively set goals and have stickability to those goals.

Week 4:  Challenge – learn to see opportunity rather than threat in new challenges and manage and cope with change.

Week 5:  Confidence – develop confidence in your own ability and the confidence to interact with others. Develop your presence.

Want to Know More About This Mental Toughness Development Programme :

Please contact Michelle Bakjac direct at Bakjac Consulting or via email or by phone 0412 047 590.