Thursday, March 30, 2023
Bringing the Latest in News Straight to Your Screen

How To Practice Mental Discipline When Navigating Business Challenges

By News Creatives Authors , in Small Business , at July 29, 2021

Founder and CEO of Relationship Alchemy, helping individuals and couples be as successful in their relationships as they are at their work.

One morning, during a six-day trip to swim with Mobula rays in Mexico, there were high winds. After being out on the water for hours, I felt cold and wet, my tailbone was sore from being bounced around in the boat, and we couldn’t see the Mobula rays anywhere. As the wind picked up even more, the whitecaps got bigger, so we headed back to shore early and canceled the afternoon boat. Moments like this are when the mental discipline I’ve cultivated through years of practice kicks in.

Sometimes, “magical thinking” occurs. This is the idea that your personal actions can influence an external, unrelated course of events, such as, “If I do X, the rays may show up and we’ll have an amazing encounter.” In these moments, I see this line of thinking for what it is: a vestige of the ways I learned as a child to be good and contort myself to get love.

Other times, “victim thinking” comes up. This is the idea that you’re a victim in a situation, despite not having experienced “severe trauma or victimization,” according to Scientific American. In the situation above, an example of victim thinking would be, “We’ve come all this way, spent all this money and now the weather’s getting in the way? It’s so unfair.” I also see this mindset for what it is: entitlement around deserving to have what I want because of how hard I’ve worked for it.

I welcome these types of thoughts but turn my mind away from them. I consider this to be mental discipline in action.

The Value Of Mental Discipline

Entrepreneurship and your relationships are two of the most potent and powerful places to practice mental discipline in your life, as this can help support you in being with and responding to whatever is happening. How do you disengage from your narratives and the ways you covertly (or overtly) control and manipulate so you can have joy and fulfillment in life?

On our long, windy, bumpy ride back to shore that day in Mexico, a few Mobula rays did end up leaping out of the water near the boat, and I got my best topside shots of the whole week on a day when it seemed like nothing would happen. The good shots weren’t a reward for keeping my mind open. They happened because I stayed present and chose to take my camera out of the bag when the rays first showed up in the distance.

Choosing to stay present in situations that aren’t ideal allows leaders to perceive and experience more day-to-day magic and synchronicity, but it’s not transactional. Would I have preferred a week full of interactions with Mobula rays in calm water with great visibility? Of course. But arguing with reality doesn’t generate great results in any area of life.

So, how do you start practicing mental discipline in a way that doesn’t force you to pretend to ignore what’s happening in your business or personal life?

Developing And Practicing Mental Discipline

When a situation isn’t the way you wish it would be, ask yourself, “What quality (or qualities) am I being asked to develop in this situation?” I believe this reflection can help skyrocket your level of agency and fulfillment in relationships, business and life. Instead of bemoaning the situation or diving right in to fix it (if it’s fixable), focus first on who you want to be in the situation, and allow that quality to guide your actions.

For example, after traveling thousands of miles and spending thousands of dollars to photograph a specific animal and the weather wasn’t cooperating, the qualities I wanted more of in that disappointing moment were patience, trust and the ability to stay present. These are not unlike the qualities I want more of when I have a month with slower revenue in my business.

By asking yourself this question and focusing on taking actions that develop more of the qualities you want to have, you stop making up stories about what’s happening and stop trying to control the uncontrollable, both of which are recipes for frustration and failure. In my experience, this question also helps you become deeply receptive and increases your agency and power with respect to the situation.

From my perspective, adding extra meaning to the situations you’re in can cause you to think you’re doing something wrong or slow you down. If you’re experiencing a slow month in your business, for example, it’s important that you can look at it as an opportunity to get creative and find a new way of bringing in additional revenue. Otherwise, you can get in the way of your own success.

Focusing on cultivating a quality you want more of during hard times supports you in choosing aligned actions and responding nimbly to what shows up because your mind won’t get as snared by its habitual reactions. In this way, you can keep adjusting your aim and stay on track with your goals, no matter the challenges that happen along the way. Aside from making you a stronger and more well-rounded person, this also has the direct benefit of getting you through challenges more quickly and with better outcomes.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *