I struck a bit of a low point this weekend and I’ll freely admit I let my mind get the better of me. As parent to 21 month old Charli, I’m still finding my way in the ‘Toddler World’ and the demands can be tough. But before you switch off – this isn’t an article about parenting, far from it. What it is about is learning to manage excessive demands, dealing with someone who has no respect for your time, navigating huge tantrums and enduring long working hours – all of which I know many of us have had to manage in our careers at one time or another. So how do you cope when these potentially toxic ingredients are mixed together?
Amidst all the chaos that my daughter reveled in over the weekend, I found myself watching several programs showing the tough selection process endured by many that choose to go into the Army and SAS. Significantly, I was hooked on SBS’s ‘Search For Warriors‘ that gives a previously unseen look into what it takes to pass the toughest military selection course in the world.
Obviously an extremely high level of physical fitness is required to even make it onto the selection trial, but a significant message that came out in all 3 programs that I watched was that mental strength really is the key to passing these brutal, demanding and unforgiving tests.
Many of the soldiers recounted how even the slightest dip in mental toughness can cause cracks that deepen very quickly, causing them immense mental and physical pain as they begin to battle with themselves internally, rather than struggling with the task at hand.
Now I’m not comparing my weekend of Toddler Tantrums to an SAS endurance test, however my mini-meltdown on Sunday was because I let my mental state drip. I felt tired and stressed, and I gave in to my self-doubts, and that internal dialogue that often gets the better of many of us. We all have ‘those days’ where we’re not in top form and that’s OK, but if you’re battling that scenario everyday at work for example, it’s important to look at your mental toughness and not just analyse the job or the company you work for.
Addressing, and plastering over the mental cracks quickly will ensure you get up and back on track as fast as possible. One SAS-wannabe-candidate with a pretty nasty injury was told to ask himself “Would this injury stop you on the battlefield?” – if the answer’s no then it’s not enough to pull you out of the selection process. My battlefield was my lounge room, and my injury was my daughter cracking a ‘wobbly’ every 5 minutes and putting me through a thoroughly exhausting and frustrating 72 hours. Was it enough to need a mini-meltdown? No, not really!
Having spent nearly 3 years in the British Territorial Army, I’ve gone through some military training myself and I know that it’s possible to carry on despite the pain and inner turmoil you might be experiencing. Having the resilience to push ahead when the going gets tough is an attribute that will serve you well in all areas of your life, and one that I’ve managed to to display on most occasions. But hey, we all have our bad days!
So if you’re going through a tough time right now, take a moment to check in and see what your head is saying. Is self-doubt getting the better of you? Are you telling yourself you can’t do it? Or perhaps you’re letting negative chit-chat in and choosing to believe it? If that sounds like you, it’s time to prepare for battle and start demonstrating mind over matter. Of course, do as much as you can to address the issues at hand but also remember that you are capable of a LOT more than you realise – so put your mental strength to the test and see how much further you can get as a result.
Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.
You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email email@example.com
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