Sampson Hall and Sir Clive Woodward have produced a test to measure mental toughness, an essential ingredient for becoming a champion at whatever you want to do. It is appropriate for use in Business, Sport and Education. So why is understanding mental toughness so important?
Goal setting and achievement
Someone who is mentally tough sets themselves strict and challenging goals and has the discipline to achieve them. They are likely to stick with their goals and work extremely hard to get to them. The disciplined regime they force upon themselves will be unforgiving. They also have a quest for self-improvement as they see learning and self-development as an important part of life. In Sir Clive’s words they are a sponge, People who lack mental toughness will forgive themselves, they will be well intended yet their actions will not support their intent hence New Year’s resolutions and weight loss ambitions will rarely be fulfilled. But do remember in life, self-forgiveness can be important in certain contexts. Mentally tough people set long term objectives understand their progress and deliver results.
Resilience and Recovery
Mentally tough people can take the knocks and keep on going. They hate giving up and hence take what less mentally tough people consider as failure and use it as feedback as they carry on in their quest. They are resilient to setbacks, however they may be caused as they realise that both success and failure are temporary as Rudyard Kipling put it in that amazing poem, If.
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”
Hence mentally tough individuals will recover quickly and get on with the task in hand. They do not rest on hopes and evaluations drawn from the past they go forward to meet the challenges of the future as they pursue their goals.
Self and Team Understanding and Development
The new tool not only states a current position but it gives tips on how an individual can develop their own mental toughness and how coaches can help. People with mental toughness will need to achieve in life and therefore they are driven to constantly learn and constantly improve. This self- development can be measured and can become infectious in a team. A team of mentally tough individuals will challenge itself better but leaders of such teams must ensure that the team is both focused and that the more sensitive members don’t have undue pressure applied to achieve. Knowing your teams’ individual mental toughness can help leaders form more cohesive and efficient high performing teams. How good are yours?