Embrace the Challenge C in Mental Toughness.
I am a bit of a closet Star Wars addict and it occurred to me recently just how mentally tough Yoda had to be over the 9 centuries he was alive. He taught many Jedi how to build their confidence in the force within them and the force that surrounds them to build their mental toughness and how to embrace the challenges they faced.
Challenge is one of the 4Cs within the Mental Toughness framework alongside Confidence, Commitment and Control. Challenge describes your drive and your growth focus.
Challenge defines the extent to which you push back on boundaries, embrace and accept risk and view challenges as opportunities. Consider these opportunities to embrace Challenge in your work and everyday life and channel you inner Yoda:
1) Relish new challenges – Mentally Tough people enjoy taking a risk to get what they want at work and in life – they are not necessarily thrill seekers who take uncalculated risks, but they will try something new just to see how it works and what outcomes are possible. They tend to push themselves to succeed.
2) View challenges as opportunities, not threats. Mentally Tough individuals do not let fear control and limit their potential. Embracing Challenge is about embracing and creating opportunity. Fear is a powerful negative emotion that keeps most of us living within our comfort zones. Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build Theory suggests negative emotions can limit our potential and blocks our solution focused ideas. Consider a simple exercise called – Black Dot/White Page. First take a piece of paper with a big black dot coloured in the middle of the page, then around it, write down all the problems, concerns etc you have about the issue at hand. Go on have verbal diarrhoea onto the black dot page until you have exhausted the fear. Now take the clean white page and consider all the solutions to each issue systematically. You might just find the potential hidden in that solution focused opportunity.
3) Learn from experience – even setbacks are seen as just opportunities for learning. Mentally Tough individuals do not worry about failure as they see this as just another opportunity to move forward.
4) Embrace and accept risk – think about some of the very powerful people we have in the world around us who inspire us…. Nelson Mandela, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson. Consider how many risks they have taken on their journeys. Failure often leads to success. So when you have a go and take that risk, you are embracing opportunity to succeed. I am reminded of 3 of my most favourite quotes from Nelson Mandela:
“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears”
5) Get to be comfortable with being uncomfortable – I know it’s not always easy to live with the physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms associated with stress and uncertainty. But a lot of the time, this is actually where we best demonstrate our resilience and come up with new problem solving opportunities – when we need them most – not when we are comfortable.
6) Focus on your best self – embrace your self-awareness. Do you recognise the personal attributes which will assist you on your journey to succeed? Do you know your strengths? Could you take out a piece of paper right now and write down your top 3 strengths and how you could use them today to complete the challenges on your “to do list”?
So go ahead… embrace the Challenges in front of you. And remember what Yoda says “You must unlearn what you have learned”.
Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a member of 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, behaviour and wellbeing. You can find her at www.bakjacconsulting.com or firstname.lastname@example.org