"mental toughness"

The Power of One Word

Christmas is over and everyone is looking to the New Year. Have you considered your New Year’s Resolutions yet?

Every year, we engage in this ritual. We pick a single point in time each year to try and make a huge life decision, (usually with little thought or planning). We aim to change our attitudes and our behavior through a brief moment of reflection at 11:55pm on New Year’s Eve and expect that will suffice to allow us to reach our lofty goal. And yet, these poorly conceived plans and goals rarely end in positive outcomes and by mid to late January are all but forgotten.

It would seem that our three most popular goals are 1) getting fit, 2) lose weight and 3) quit smoking. Yet within a month of setting these goals, we have tossed them by the wayside, some of us with a little twang of guilt.

According to research, most people — 75 percent — who make a resolution fail on their first attempt and most people — 67 percent — make more than one resolution.

So my question to you is….Why not try something different this year?

Why not consider a single word which can represent all your goals and aspirations for 2017. Just consider one big, contextual word for the year. That’s right, no resolutions, no SMART goals, just one word that is meaningful for you and represents all that you want to achieve for the year ahead.

Last year I read “The Game Changer” by Dr Jason Fox. If you get the chance it’s a great read and fantastic for change management and motivation. Dr Fox talks about contextual momentum. This is getting the balance right between specific goals and open possibilities while still moving forward and making progress. He recognises that it is great to have small crisp action steps that give you daily and weekly traction. You can also plan for monthly and even quarterly goals, however when you start to plan longer term than that, things are not as easy and we can’t necessarily see that far out. There are too many factors we can’t yet use our crystal ball for. What we can do is set “one word”. One word against which we can measure all of the plans and goals we set for ourselves for that year.

If we are going to use the 1st January each year as a time for reflection, it certainly is a great time to hit the reset button. What do you want the coming year to represent for you. What “one word” will exemplify your contextual goal for the year? Then every time you set yourself a new goal, or a new project – you can measure it against your one word.

Now don’t go for the obvious here ok!! I know it sounds logical to pick the first word that comes into your head. But don’t do that! This takes time and reflection. Your word will be with you for a whole 12 months. Make it count. Consider: What do you want to achieve this year? Do you have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)? Or is this year about consolidation and sustaining what you have? Your word has to instantly represent to you what you want and how you will achieve it.

Last year, my word was “Spirit”. It was a year of tremendous personal upheaval and I wanted a word to represent Resilience and my ability to keep going and get up even when I’d been knocked down time and time again. It was a word for me that represented survival. But this year, I wanted my word to not just be about surviving, but thriving.

It took me a few days to come up with my word.  The word I finally settled on was “Monkey”. On reviewing my Chinese Zodiac, I am born in the year of the Monkey. Interestingly though, it seems that your Zodiac year is in fact not a year of good luck for you and 2016 was the Year of the Monkey. So the next year, (the year of the Rooster), has greater opportunities.

The Monkey has many great attributes including natural curiosity, cleverness, playfulness, and they are fast learners. They are also very social animals with a high need for stimulation and are inquisitive. They also love a challenge. Monkeys also eat lots of fruit and veggies and are constantly on the move – a good goal for one of my goals of getting fitter.  So….. since I want 2017 to represent growth, increasing social interaction and networking, getting healthier, learning and adventure, the word Monkey seems to fit all my needs.

So whenever I am faced with a fork in the road or a daunting challenge, I can ask myself, “What would a Monkey do?” How can I live that Monkey curiosity, playfulness, and social life that a monkey leads? Every goal you set yourself, every challenge, every risk, you can measure against your one word.  

This is a great exercise to do with family members and work colleagues, and people you work with can be great to keep you honest. Let’s say that you set your word as “Pirate”, for the purpose of experiencing new adventures and new opportunities as your goal for the year. Colleagues can ask you at critical moments, “Is that what a pirate would do?” Or what about the word “Nike” – everything you are challenged by consider…. “Just do it”. The options are endless. The only rule is you need to measure what you want your next year to represent against your one word. It will be individual for everyone.

So…… Now it’s your turn. What will your “one word” be? What will your one word be that you measure all goals against for 2017? Have a go. Think about it carefully. Once you have it, toss it around in your head for a day or so and make sure it fits you like a good pair of jeans. Then use a whole A4 page and print out your word and put it on the fridge. Now you’re ready. Go for it. Achieve everything your word represents.

 

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 michelle@bakjacconsulting.com

Do or do not… There is no try!

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”

                                                        Nelson Mandela

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 michelle@bakjacconsulting.com

Take Positivity to Your Pillow

As you are getting ready for bed and settle down under the sheets with a deep breath, take a moment to reflect on your day for a few minutes. Focus on the positives of the day by using WWW “what’s working well” and celebrate 3 wins you’ve had. You need to take this positivity to your pillow.

It is up to you to make your day great. So here are a few quick Mental Toughness Tips to allow your reflections to bring a smile to your face.

1. Start the day with a big stretch

Stretching while you are still in bed before you get up can be a great opportunity to get blood flowing to all your extremities and can do wonders for your mood before you set a foot on the floor. Give it a try.

2. Visualise your success from the start

In your early morning routine find 10-20 minutes to review the day ahead and visualise turning the opportunities into successes and negotiating the challenges and issues to achieve a positive outcome. When you work through issues and gain clarity on how you are going to successfully manage the day, it substantially enhances your confidence and likelihood of achieving that success.

3. Focus goals

Within your morning routine identify 3 goals that you can tick off. These goals are the “must dos’ that give you an immediate taste of success. Remember a goal is just a dream until you write it down so put the 3 goals on a clean crisp piece of paper where you can see them easily and rule them off as you go.

4. Make things happen

You know what you need to do and you can visualise doing it. Now methodically go about your day and focus on making things happen.

5. Laugh

Science tells us that a good laugh can actually improve our productivity, raising our endorphin levels. So smile. Laugh. Give yourself an instant lift.

6. Roll with the punches

We need to be able to expect the unexpected. It could be a small thing, or a large thing. We can choose to let it get us down, or we can choose to manage it when it comes up. Recognise the best laid plans need to be flexible as do we.

7. Think positively

There will be times during the day when you need a gidi up and an encouraging word to keep you on track. Take responsibility for this yourself and ensure that the gearbox of your mind is engaged in positive not neutral or negative. Keep encouraging yourself throughout the day with positive self-talk and celebrating your successes –especially achieving your three non-negotiable goals. This positivity will keep you encouraged nourished and rewarded.

8. Manage your emotions

Ask yourself the question, do you manage your emotions, or do they manage you?  We can easily be derailed when a challenge comes our way. Take a deep breath and remember to respond, not react. Be objective and don’t get sucked into the emotion of the situation.

9. Can’t control it? Then don’t worry about it!

There are a myriad of things you can’t control every day. When you worry about these things over and over, you can just feel like a mouse in its wheel going round and round. Package those thoughts up and put them on the shelf. Only deal with them when they become certain and they impact you.

10. Be grateful

As you are considering your WWW reflections, consider what you are grateful for. Loved ones, security, good friends or just that delicious chocolate donut at lunch.

 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 michelle@bakjacconsulting.com

 

 

My Top 10 Disney Quotes to Inspire Mental Toughness

As a kid I was indoctrinated into the world of Disney. As an adult, I have kept my Disney adventures close to my heart and created a new generation of Disney followers in my young family. It is a marvellous world with inspiration around every corner and invokes a sense that anything is possible.

So… as a Mental Toughness Practitioner and Coach, I set out to review the Top 10 Disney quotes to inspire.

10. “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”  – Peter Pan

9. "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."  – Winnie the Pooh

8. "Open different doors, you may find a you there that you never knew was yours. Anything can happen."  – Mary Poppins

7. “I am on my way, I can go the distance.”  – Hercules

6. "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all."  – Mulan

5. “To laugh at yourself is to love yourself.”   – Mickey Mouse

4. "Ah yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it."  – The Lion King

3. "Life's not a spectator sport. If watchin' is all you're gonna do, then you're gonna watch your life go by without ya."  – The Hunchback of Notre Dame

2. “It's up to you how far you go. If you don't try, you'll never know.”  – Sword in the Stone

1. “If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney

 

Which Disney character is your inspiration? Do you have a favourite Disney quote that inspires you?

 

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 michelle@bakjacconsulting.com