Can Mental Toughness be developed?
Mental Toughness is a personality trait which determines, in some part, how individuals perform when exposed to stressors, pressure and challenge irrespective of the prevailing situation. (Clough & Strycharczyk 2011) Mental Toughness is more than Resilience alone. If Resilience is our ability to “survive”, then Mental Toughness is our ability to “thrive”.
Research by Clough & Strycharczyk (2011) has produced the 4C model demonstrating Mental Toughness is a product of 4 pillars:
1. Challenge: seeing challenge as an opportunity.
2. Confidence: having high levels of self-belief.
3. Commitment: being able to stick to tasks.
4. Control: believing that you control your own destiny.
The question is, can we not only determine an individual’s Mental Toughness, can we develop, enhance and promote Mental Toughness for individuals, teams and organisations? The answer – yes we can.
You can measure Mental Toughness using the MTQ48, a reliable and easy to use psychometric tool. Your Mental Toughness can then be developed through a range of proven coaching techniques.
There are a number of ways you can enhance your Mental Toughness, and add techniques to your tool box to build your Mental Toughness every day.
1. Think more positively – Consider your self-talk. What are you saying to yourself every day to either move yourself closer or in fact further away from achieving your goals. Whatever we think will happen, will happen. Consider your thinking traps. Do you catastrophise? Do you engage in Black and White thinking? How could you turn your automatic negative thoughts into performance enhancing thoughts?
2. Keep your attitude in check. Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching? Think about what you could do to manage your emotions and create a more positive aura around yourself. Do you smile often, or do you have a frown on your face all the time. Just smiling and contracting the muscles in your face releases endorphins and impacts on your mood. Try it – just smile and beam at yourself in the mirror – you will feel an instant change.
3. Visualise success. If you can’t see yourself achieving it, you probably won’t. So consider visualising what it will look like when you have succeeded. If you have an important presentation coming up, see yourself in front of the team giving the presentation. See yourself as confident, relaxed, in control and the team engaged and interested. The more detail in the visualisation the better.
4. Embrace change – Do you champion change? Or do you feel anxious at the very mention of the word? Try pushing yourself to try one new thing or one new way to approach a task every day. Make it part of your routine to challenge your routine. Then when change comes from an external source, it may not seem so scary.