Mental toughness: this is a quality we need a generous dose of as writers. Every day we have to motivate ourselves, overcome the urge to procrastinate, face down rejection, and keep moving forward. How can we boost our ability to stay focused and resilient?
Dr. Jason Selk, a sports performance specialist and author of Executive Toughness, offered some advice in Barry Moltz’s small-business blog that applies to us as writers every bit as much as it applies to entrepreneurs. Here are some tips from Dr. Selk we can use to increase our mental stamina:
1 Focus on solutions: According to Dr. Selk, when peak performers are faced with adversity, within 60 seconds they replace negative self-talk with solution-oriented ideas. Research shows that people with RSF (Relentless Solution Focus) are “proven to live longer, be happier, and to be significantly more successful.” So make your pity party short and sweet, then move on to coming up with solutions for whatever problem you’ve hit.
2 Control what you can: When you’re faced with adversity, you can control 2 things: how you respond to what’s happened and what you’ll do in the future. Find one thing you can do to make the situation better, learn what you can from what’s happened, then take action to create a successful outcome.
3 Keep a success log: Selk suggests that we ask ourselves, “What 3 things did I do well today?” and keep a log of them. Taking credit for our successes can help insulate us against future discouragement. At the same time, Selk also suggests that we highlight 1 thing we need to improve and how we can do it.
4 Practice the 100-second mental workout: First, take a 6-second breath to center yourself, hold it for 2 seconds, and then breathe out for 7 seconds. Step two: repeat a personal mantra, something that Selk says “really focuses you on who you are, your strengths and what you’re capable of achieving.” Selk describes the third step in the mental workout as a “personal highlight reel.” Visualize where you want to be in five years and what you want to accomplish over the next 24 hours. Think about the actions you need to take today to get this done.