Y’all have probably noticed, but when I get excited or inspired by something, I go all in. I’m an extremist – just like my dad. And lately, I’ve been in full black-hole Brighton mode over here y’all.
My latest black-hole scavenger hunt has been my fascination with sports psychology. It’s incredibly inspiring to hear about the strategy and ways in which coaches motivate and lead their players to success, and how certain athletes essentially make it to the top (even when talent across the board might be similar). How – with so many distractions – do certain people make it to the top and completely dominate in their field (whether on the field or from the side lines)? And what the heck does this have to with Brighton the Day?
Well, y’all, I’m uncovering that SO much of the success behind industry elites comes from the psychology they use – and more specifically, their mental toughness. I’m realizing just how much I can personally take from what I’ve learned. And what y’all can too. Because not only is learning the psychology of success interesting, but it’s also relateable and applicable to life and business in general. I’ll show you!
What is mental toughness?
First up, let’s talk about what exactly mental toughness IS.
Mental toughness is a lot of things, but one of them is being able to identify and control our emotions so they don’t distract us from peak performance. It’s our emotional intelligence. It’s a flexible SKILL that you actually have control of (unlike something like your IQ which is fixed). So just like a muscle, mental toughness is something that can be trained and made strong – or when left without focus, can be weak. It’s up to us how we train our own mental toughness and emotional intelligence.
Who is mentally tough?
Even if you aren’t a sports fan, you’ve likely heard of people like LeBron James (NBA player), Nick Saban (college football coach), Tom Brady (OK we all know him right? lol #majorbabe). These guys are legends in their industries because they win a lot, and they’re insanely mentally tough. Sure, they have talent, but unlike people with similar talent in their field, they’ve learned to become just as mentally tough as they are physically. If not MORE. They know how to control their emotions and block out distractions during a game. You’ll rarely see them completely blow something, even when it’s a stressful play, and that’s because they’re so freaking intelligent with their emotions. It’s pretty insane when you look at their stats in critical situations.
Where does mental toughness come into BTD?
So much of success is about mental toughness; and I’m finding that to be particularly true in the world of self-promotion, social media, and being a digital influencer. My content (what I create and publish online) is my game. And the platforms I use to publish it (social media and blog) are my own digital playing field. Just like a quarterback, I’ve got to navigate plays and think on my feet – all the while being effortlessly confident and eloquent-looking. Because nobody wants to “follow” or listen to someone who doesn’t believe in themselves, right?
It’s easy to get distracted or discouraged by what people will think. But not just my followers or my real life friends; it’s also easy to get stuck or influenced when considering what brands (the decision-makers) might think or how this or that content will help me move forward in my career. Or how some “plays” (or content etc.) won’t necessarily move the ball down the field. HA, okay I’m having fun with this analogy.
I’ve got to ignore the competition and focus on my craft. And for someone like me – who wants to be the best and often measures her success in comparison to how she ranks among others – this is a VERY difficult thing to do.
Plus, I’ve also got to be my own coach and call the plays in addition to run them out. This can get a bit tricky, especially since I don’t have the 360 degree cameras to show me all bias-free angles on the field. (ha! – am i taking this too far??).
I’m sure football players feel similar pressures, as do a lot of you in your own lives – whether you’re an influencer or not. The KEY comparison here is the MENTAL toughness part.
I shared this quote above on stories because I love it so much. I love studying successful people and as I’m sure y’all are all aware, Saban is pretty good at what he does. So the way I see it, there’s something to learn from that. I’ve really enjoyed reading about how he coaches his athletes, especially the psychology that he uses to motivate everyone to work hard and perform at their peak levels no matter the pressures or circumstances. I wanted to share this quote (above) with y’all because I think ANYONE can relate to it.
How can YOU become more mentally tough?
Now, for the important part. How can we all become more mentally tough, no matter your job or lifestyle?
Well, for one, you have to realign and refocus and simplify it for yourself so you can do what you do (the task at hand). No matter the variety of forces and factors, it’s about learning how you can better coach yourself to perform your best, and focus on getting the job done (rather than what will happen or what people will think). Circumstances might change and there might be pressure, but you’re doing the same task, the same job. So it’s basically a way to help realign your mind when you’re under all types of pressure – whether that’s a distraction, other people, road blocks, whatever.
And these six specific things will help you get there – to a mentally strong space.
- Concentrate on the critical: Instead of going through your long to-do list and trying to cross things off in no order, realign and refocus. The mentally tough would go through that list and rank things in order of importance. Then, they’d look at that list one time each morning and pick the 3 most crucial things to get done that day – before anything else. No going up and down the list a million times picking and choosing and finding fun distractions, simply finding the 3 critical choices and them doing them.
- Do something uncomfortable every day: Mundane, routine tasks will not make you your strongest. It takes pushing yourself to your limits, trying new things, experimenting and learning. Think about athletes exercise programs – even sports where you don’t have to be psychically insane, they train insanely. And a lot of this is to train their minds and to push themselves. Try to go a littler further on your run, or talk to a stranger if you’re shy, or heck, post the freaking Instagram that you like of yourself even if it doesn’t match your feed! Go crazy!
- Don’t waste your mind on things you don’t have control over: Back to #sports. Do you think Tom Brady stresses himself out about what might happen in every single play in the games that he’s not playing in? No. Because he’s focused on exactly what HE needs to do to make for a successful play. In his own game. That’s it. The mentally tough don’t waste their time with the what if’s in life. The mentally tough focus on themselves and what they have control over – which I know I could 100% be better at!
- Focus on the now: We’re all very distracted in the world we live in, but the mentally tough do something to outweigh all those distractions – they practice mindfulness. Basically, they learn to focus on the present moment. So similar to the example above, try your hand at meditation or mindfulness on a daily basis. Sports stars like Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant have even credited medication to their success…and they’re pretty freaking successful.
- Be ready for anything: Going back to Tom Brady, the guy always has a backup plan. If one receiver is covered, he’s gotta think about Plan B, C, and D. Same for us regular ppl! Think of problems or road blocks that might arise in your day or in a specific project, and have a plan B before even starting. You’ll instantly feel more mentally strong because you’re confident that you’re prepared.
- Visualize: I don’t ever do this, but I’m excited to start. While spending most of your days focused on the present, practice visualizing the moment to come. If you’re about to give a speech, focus on how you’ll feel, how it’ll go, what you’ll say. If you’re running a race, focus on the strides you’ll take, you crossing the finish line. Think of how you might feel if you don’t follow through with something you promised someone. That way, your mind will basically have already been through said tasks. Now it’s just time for your body to follow through.
Do y’all get know how cool this is? Honestly, I haven’t really ever thought about training my mind in this way before, and now I can’t get enough. I’ve already started and can tell you that I feel things changing. And that feels really freaking gooood!