While most people know diving into a new business venture will hopefully pay off in the long run, few people don’t know how to get there or stay mentally strong in the process. In fact, seldom do people even know what mental strength means.
Mental strength consists of a few parts including emotions, behavior, and thoughts. Staying mentally strong means keeping track of your emotions, productivity, and most importantly, your feelings. And while it’s important to give up bad habits that don’t help you mentally, it’s just as relevant, if not more important to focus on goals that will improve your mental strength. Here are 11 things the mentally strong do habitually:
They Define Their Own Success
Entrepreneur John Rampton gives excellent advice on why it’s so important for companies to create their own definition of success. Somebody else’s success may not be the same as another person’s!
“When I started my first business, things were tough — especially when it failed. To rub salt in the wound, I saw my neighbors purchasing new cars or high school friends posting pictures of their travels.
For them, that meant they were successful. Even though my business failed, I was still successful. I had an amazing wife and was able to pick myself back up. Today, I’m a successful entrepreneur.
That’s not to boast. My point is that the successful have their own definition of success. For example, I work with freelancers who don’t make what some would consider a lot of money. But they see themselves as successful because they’re doing what they love with a flexible schedule.”
They Push Aside Negative Thoughts
Whenever negative thoughts attempt to overwhelm, it’s best not to give into them. Instead, allow negative thoughts to challenge you to do better without giving up. Author Amy Morin offers some excellent tips on how to go about doing just that:
“Everyone has negative thoughts sometimes, but mentally strong people don't let those thoughts hold them back or drag them down. Instead, they respond to their pessimistic predictions and harsh criticisms with a more productive inner dialogue. They stay motivated to do their best by talking to themselves like a trusted friend or a helpful coach.”
They Create Meaningful Goals
While running a business or pursuing a hobby, Amy Morin on Inc. reminds readers that it’s always smart to create and then follow through on specific goals. Try writing out smaller goals you can check off your list that lead to the ultimate goal. If you hit a roadblock along the way, never give up.
“Mentally strong people establish clear personal and professional goals that give them meaning and purpose. They forgo immediate gratification by keeping their long-term goals in mind. They view obstacles as challenges, rather than roadblocks to their success.”
They Don’t Compare Other’s Success to Their Own
Independent also says it’s never a good idea to compare your success to someone else’s. There are going to be other companies who may become profitable right away, and for others, it may take a lot longer. Comparing yourself to others can be discouraging, and if you’re going to keep pushing onward, it’s best not to focus on other people’s success.
“Resentment is like anger that remains hidden and bottled up, Morin writes. Focusing on another person's success will not pave the way to your own since it distracts you from your path.
Even if you become successful, you may never be content if you're always focusing on others. You may also overlook your talents and abandon your values and relationships.”
They Don’t Focus on Things They Can’t Control
As a business owner, there are going to be things that come up that you can’t control. Instead of letting them ruin your day or even your month, pick yourself back up and only worry about the things you can control. You can control how your business is doing at the moment and can focus on doing what works best for the company. Independent goes more into this philosophy:
“It feels so safe to have everything under control, but thinking we have the power to always pull the strings can become problematic,” Morin writes. Trying to be in control of everything is likely a response to anxiety.
“Rather than focusing on managing your anxiety, you try controlling your environment,” she says. Shifting your focus off the things you can't control can create increased happiness, less stress, better relationships, new opportunities, and more success.”
They Don’t Give Into Fear
Elite Daily reminds us that everyone has fears, but it’s how we handle the fears is what matters. Give into doubts, and you won’t follow through on those business goals, taking a chance, and continuing to succeed even if you’re afraid. Don’t give into fear.
“The world can be a scary place. Some things frighten us with good cause, but most of our fears are illogical. If you know that you want to try something, try it. If you’re scared, then understand that being scared of failing must mean that succeeding means a whole lot to you.”
They Stay Focused Even if There are Distractions
There are always going to be things that come up throughout your day that can deviate you from being productive while at work. Stay focused on the task at hand and try not to let the distractions get to you. Psychology Today says it’s up to you to use your mental energy wisely:
“It’s easy to get distracted throughout the day by a variety of unimportant and unproductive tasks. Mentally strong people choose to use their time and energy carefully. They devote their efforts to the things that matter most so they can accomplish their goals.”
They Say “No”
Instead of being a yes person, sometimes it’s okay to say “no.” In fact, perhaps it’s better to say “no” more often than not, especially if you’re busy. If you say yes to everything, you’ll be less likely to get everything you need to accomplish on any given day. Entrepreneur goes on to say why else it’s important to learn how to say “no.”
“Research from the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression,” writes Travis Bradberry, Ph. D.
Saying “no” may be a problem for some, but not for the mentally strong. Instead of accepting every social invite or helping co-workers with every project, they just say “no.” This way, they can complete their own work and not overcommit themselves.”
They Make the Tough Calls
It’s easy for anyone to self-guess themselves, but sometimes it’s important to follow your gut, make a tough call, and stick with it. Huffington Post provides excellent examples below, but a few examples include letting go of an employee or stopping a business project because you know it’s not what’s best for the company. Stick to your guns and make the difficult decisions. It’ll be worth it in the end.
“Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because we know they’re for the best in the long-run: fire someone, cold-call a stranger, pull an all-nighter to get the company server back up, or scrap a project and start over. It’s easy to let the looming challenge paralyze you, but the most successful people know that in these moments, the best thing they can do is to get started right away. Every moment spent dreading the task subtracts time and energy from actually getting it done. People that learn to habitually make the tough calls stand out like flamingos in a flock of seagulls.”
They Are Accountable for Their Actions
In the same way, if you make a mistake, it’s essential that you own it. It’s okay not to be perfect, but it’s also vital not to pretend as nothing happened. How else do people learn from their mistakes? The Huffington Post has more thoughts on this:
“You have to be accountable for your actions, no matter what. People are far more likely to remember how you dealt with a problem than they are to recall how you created it in the first place. By holding yourself accountable, even when making excuses is an option, you show that you care about results more than your image or ego.”
They Don’t Focus on Their Weaknesses
Last but not least, they don’t focus on their weaknesses, which is what Elite Daily says is important not to do. The truth is everyone has flaws, but it’s how you use that weakness is what matters. Focus on improving yourself or better yet, focus on your strengths. Focusing on a weakness only leads to frustration and in some cases, quitting.
“Although working on our weaknesses does have its benefits, it’s more important to focus on banking on our strengths. The most well-rounded person is not the person that gets the furthest in life. Being average in all regards makes you average. However, mastering a certain skill set or trait will allow you to beat the competition with less effort.”