Once you build mental toughness, it can help you combat burnout, sales fatigue, and marketing overwhelm. But it doesn't come overnight.
Have you ever seen the similarities between sales and music? Or sales and writing?
They all require commitment, discipline, and practice before you can really master any of them.
And guess what commitment, discipline, and practice require to be effective?
That's right, mental toughness.
More than just a thick skin. More than mere confidence. But the actual routine working of your mental discipline to help you conquer the direct sales world, build your business, and persevere even when you don't want to.
Here are four tips to help you build mental toughness and take on the world:
1. Get Control Over Your Breathing.
Researcher Linda Stone has found that many people who spend a lot of time in front of their screens have a tendency to involuntarily hold their breath from time to time, or breathe shallowly. Stone calls this phenomenon “email apnea” – a term she borrowed from sleep apnea.
The problem with breathing too shallowly is, of course, that your breath is what fires up your entire nervous system. Long, relaxed breaths keep us calmer and more relaxed. Short, forced breaths (or not breathing at all) sends the message that we are in fight-or-flight mode.
Is it any wonder why people use terms like “struggling with my business,” “fighting for my business,” and “trying to keep my head above water” when it comes to how they feel about their business?
Sure, they love it — but many of them also feel overwhelmed and suffocated by it. And this may be a big part of the reason why.
To take control of your breathing, start by raising your self-awareness when you're in front of your screen. Intentionally take longer, slower breaths; watch your posture, and take note if you feel your muscles starting to tense up. You can also shake off the email apnea (quite literally) by getting up at least once an hour to walk away from your screen and stretch,
2. Balance your Mindset
The problem with a negative outlook isn't that it's negative — it's that it tends to drown out the positive.
It's much easier for us to remember all the things that are going wrong, aren't working the way we want them to, or that we're struggling with. And while strategic focus on some of these negative circumstances can help us to adjust, improve, and overcome their struggles, focusing in too hard on the struggles you're having will actually stop you from remembering your victories.
And pride in those victories will help fuel future success.
So, while it's important to acknowledge and review all the negativities happening in your business, it's also important to remember to spend time focusing on the positives.
To get your mindset back into balance, set aside time every day to concentrate on the good things that happened, things you're grateful for, and any new accomplishments you made – no matter how small.
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3. Set the Right Goals
What are you actually working for right now? Are you working to pay off that credit card debt early? Or are you working to earn an incentive trip?
Are you working to bring in a bit of side money? Or are you working for a promotion?
Do you need to pay for dance classes, or earn a pin?
Let's get one thing straight…there is nothing wrong with wanting to earn that incentive trip. There is nothing wrong with aiming to receive that special pin for sponsoring new team members or breaking sales records. Those are great incentives. But don't lose sight of your actual goals. Your Why. The reason you are in business.
It probably goes without saying, but setting the right goals is the first step to achieving those goals. So take some time to review your real goals, then examine your strategy and make sure you're working in the best interests of achieving your goals rather than company incentives.
4. Practice Mental Imagery
It's a lot easier to achieve your goals if you can visualize your life after you've achieved them.
You see, failure is easy, right? When you fail at something, you just go right back to what you were doing before. You may not like it, but you know it. It's familiar, and you know exactly how to get back up to where you are now. You know how to escape failure already.
Success is different – that's uncharted territory. What will success mean for your schedule? Your family? We all want more clients and more business, but what kind of demands will that make on our time? What changes will we need to make to keep up with those demands? Being able to visualize the level of success we're after makes it a lot easier to attain it.
Visualizing your success also has the added benefit of working like a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the words of Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.”
To practice mental imagery, try exactly as I've explained here. Ask yourself questions about what success will look like to you, and then spend some time daydreaming about that and what the changes – good or bad – will be. Start working through some of those questions and painting a real picture to take the unknown out of the realm of success.
Don't let the fear of success be the reason you fail.