In the second weekend of August 2018, I got the opportunity to go to a martial arts business conference in San Antonio that was sponsored and coordinated by Paul Reavlin and the fantastic people of Revgear. The primary audience for the conference was Krav Maga schools which was not the usual martial arts crowd that I was used to hanging around. It was great getting a different perspective from school owners and instructors like Derrek Hofrichter and groups like the Krav Maga Alliance. It was also fortunate since I had just finished coordinating the hiring of an instructor who has been focusing on Krav Maga for the last few years over traditional martial arts.
A big shout-out to the blogging queen of martial arts and Chicago, Katalin Rodriguez Ogren, for running an amazing blogging intro seminar and a boxing footwork class in San Antonio!
In the midst of all the physical training and all the business-related sessions, I found a big slice of good old-fashioned inspiration in the form of Mike Gillette, author/speaker/performance coach/etc. He was talking about mental toughness in one of his sessions and that night as I sat in the hotel room, I started thinking about the components of this thing called “mental toughness”.
What is “Mental Toughness”?
It’s not just one simple thing. It is a complex organism which relies on several interconnected organs for life. So here is a preliminary list:
- Focus on the right thing to do. Do you really know what the right thing is?
- Discipline to ensure you are doing the thing right – both action and timing.
- Resiliency when the thing goes wrong. How will you respond?
- Humility to admit what went wrong – the wrong thing, the wrong action, the wrong time.
- Flexibility to find a new thing or a new way to accomplish the thing. Are you mentally agile enough to adapt?
- Persistence to repeat the above as long as necessary. Do you have grit?
What “Mental Toughness” Is Not!
It is not an easy sell. By this, I mean that our current environment doesn’t promote focus (too many distractions), discipline (whatever you do will be okay), resiliency (you’re just not going to make it), humility (it’s someone else’s fault), flexibility (if that didn’t work, it can’t be done) and persistence (just quit and go do something else). These things require effort to learn and even more effort to put into effect.
I’m going to be looking at each of the above components in the future so that we can build up mentally tough people including ourselves, our children, our employees and our community.
Here is the first one on focus!
Want to toughen up mentally? Let us know!