People who aggressively break down their barriers to success are also known for being mentally tough. Now I don’t have to go into detail about how golf is a game of mental toughness—most games are, and work is no different. The point is that many people enter the workforce with similar skill sets and know the technical aspects of the job, but those with mental toughness last and climb the ladder to success.
One of the best ways to be mentally tough is to think tough—not in an evil way, but in the best, most positive way possible.
Here is an example of what I mean.
Remove the word “hopefully” from your vocabulary.
I once worked for a rather brilliant man who used this strategy. We would sit around the boardroom table at 7:00 a.m. (so as not interfere with the official workday that started promptly at 8:00 a.m.) and discuss what wins as well as what improvements had taken place in each facet of the business.
His overall plan for the company was comprised of the combination of business plans, generated by each of his trusted managers. This meant we all had to have solid working plans to generate more business; we had to find ways to make production more efficient, so that there would be more savings and a stronger bottom line.
My boss also had another ironclad rule. The word “hopefully” was stricken from our vocabulary. It was a smart rule. “Hopefully” was like making excuses up front and setting the stage for failure.
It worked. The company thrived.
Make your plan and make it work by whatever means it takes, but never, never, ever say that “hopefully” something might happen.
Remove “I could haves” from your vocabulary.
I like to be creative, come up with different ideas, and run with them.
I involve others if I need help or if a team effort is required. Mostly, though, if my independent effort is all that is required—I go for it!
When I hear people say, “I could have” while expressing regret for missed opportunities, my immediate response is, “Yeah, you could have, but you didn’t.” I am sorry, but this is black and white to me. If there is something that you want to do, do it. Don’t talk about it! Don’t hesitate. If you need upper-level permission, then write a proposal and get on it. Your “can do” attitude is going to go a lot further than a “could have” mentality.
There are simple great words to live by: “I am,” “I can,” “I will”…
Removing the words “hopefully” and “I could have” from your vocabulary, however, is not enough to be mentally tough. You need to replace them with “look at what I am doing” or “look at what I can do” and then set the world on fire! These powerful yet simple words are often referred to as “affirmations.” They are short, positive statements and thoughts in the present tense, statements like, “I do great work,” “I thrive at my job,” and then after the fact, you might say something like, “I did a great job!” In other words, I am asking you to build a winning vocabulary that will encourage direction and success. The “toughest” part of this type of thinking, however, is that you have to continue to think those positive thoughts even when things aren’t going so well. By keeping your mental toughness going, you will break down barriers all over the place—not just within the work environment.