They say that an entrepreneur is more willing to work 80-hour workweeks as a manager than putting in 40 hours as an employee. However, there’s a lot more to starting and running a business than sacrificing time. Apart from the capital tied to your venture, you’re also looking at potential conflicts with other people, the struggles of building the right team of go-getters, and quite possibly failing to achieve revenue targets.
This is where mental toughness comes in. Mental toughness from the entrepreneurial view is about having the ability to cope with stressful situations and make it out alive and ready to tackle whatever problems lie ahead. Take Steve Jobs—the man who was unceremoniously booted from that he both built and subsequently brought back from the verge of death. For most people, being kicked out of a company is a devastating blow that they can’t get back from, but did Steve quit? No, he didn’t.
If you want to succeed in business, a degree isn’t a prerequisite. In fact, mental fortitude can take you a long way. With it, you’ll be one step closer to being the business owner, leader, and manager you dreamed of becoming.
5 Ways to Develop Mental Toughness
So, where can we get this mental toughness? That’s a fair question, but only you can provide the answer. Here, we’ll offer a few suggestions of how you can start to develop mental toughness.
Place yourselves in new, challenging scenarios
The more challenges you face, the thicker your skin becomes, and the more accepting you’ll be of failure. While you can’t realistically master everything you try, you’ll never know what kind of hidden skills and desires you possess without trying new things. For instance, enrolling in an MBA program can help you learn from others, identify which areas you need to develop, and network with aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs. Just make sure you’re enrolling for the right reasons.
Learn from a mentor
Let’s be honest. If you want to start your own business, you’re going to need a ton of help. Don’t be afraid to ask to seek a mentor. You’d be surprised by how willing people are to share their experiences and help wherever they can. However, sitting on the sidelines isn’t the right way to do it. You’ll have to come out of your shell and actively seek business leaders who have the time and patience to deal with you.
Don’t wallow in self-pity
A huge part of developing a thick skin for your mind is to take failures in stride. Failures and setbacks are natural parts of business, and you shouldn’t let them hold you back. Rise from your ashes, brush the dust off your shoulders, and soldier on. Think of every failure as a stepping stone toward success—at least you know what doesn’t work for you, so you can avoid it in the future.
Don’t let your emotions control your response
New business owners tend to let their emotions get the best of them. As Epictetus once said: it is not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters. The lessons we can learn from this infamous quote are A) there will be things that are beyond your control and aren’t worth stressing over, and B) get a new perspective from outside your situation before making decisions. Being in the hot seat tends to make us react in a heated manner, but from a spectator’s POV, the problem can be a lot smaller than you realize.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind
Some people think of mental toughness as sticking to their guns regardless of what the world throws at a person. This, folks, is not mental toughness; it’s downright stubbornness. Don’t be afraid to let new facts and information alter your strategy. For instance, during the Rumble in the Jungle, Muhammad Ali learned in the first round that his typical light-on-his-feet fighting style wasn’t what would put George Foreman on the canvas. He let George punch himself out before landing the final flurry. Absorb information like a sponge and make decisions based on what you’ve learned.
While many of us dream of becoming successful entrepreneurs one day, mental toughness can be the difference between dreaming of success and achieving success. Today, we’ve offered a few tips on how to develop mental toughness, but the rest is on you.