When you’re in a business development profession, mental toughness is essential. We like to think we have it…but when something bad happens (for example, we lose an account), it’s easy to be negative.
Here’s the thing – mental strength is a choice and a discipline that’s acquired over time. It’s not an innate quality bestowed upon the lucky. It’s a learned behavior that must be practiced until it becomes habitual. The next time you’re faced with a challenge or tough situation, practice mental toughness by doing these three things:
- Change your perspective. Cognitive behavioral therapy is predicated on the concept that if you can reframe the way you think about a situation, you’ll reframe your feelings about it – which in turn enables more productive behavior and outcomes. It sounds easy, but it takes significant practice to re-train your brain. However, each time you practice (just like in sports), you’re increasing your skill, which in this case is your mental fortitude. So the next time you have a bad day, week, or month, or you just lost a deal you counted on winning, your task is to reframe the situation from “this is a disaster I won’t recover from” to “what can I learn from this and how will I behave differently going forward for better outcomes?”
- Don’t give in to fear. They say that bravery is being scared to death to do something and doing it anyway. Many times that’s true, especially when it comes to your career. The fear doesn’t have to come from something as extreme; it can be a fear of cold calling or presenting. If you use fear as an excuse not to do something, you’ve already lost. It’s not that mentally tough people aren’t afraid —they simply will themselves to push through the fear.
- Don’t give up. Mentally tough people persevere. They don’t throw in the towel in the face of failure or just because they’re tired. They’re focused on their goals, not on momentary feelings. This mindset keeps them going even when more is going wrong than right. They don’t take failing to mean that they’re a failure. And they don’t let the opinions of others get in the way of their success. When someone says, “that won’t work,” they regard it as just an opinion, not fact.
Top performing sales people attribute their success to persistence. To persist even in the face of defeat requires mental fortitude. By working on this skill, mental fortitude eventually comes naturally.