Back To CourseCoping with Workplace Change
7 chapters | 34 lessons
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Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.
The Beast Barracks program at West Point is a seven-week initiation of sorts for new cadets at the United States Military Academy. This first summer combines a series of trainings, physical trials, briefings and formations designed to turn civilians into soldiers. To say it is a grueling process would be an understatement.
But, a researcher studying cadets in the Beast Barracks program discovered something interesting. She looked at high school grades, standardized test scores, physical test records and more to make her assessment. It wasn't the strongest or smartest cadets who navigated the program most successfully; rather, it was those with mental toughness, or determination in the face of adversity, that propelled them to success.
The concept of mental toughness can have varying definitions. For example, renowned football coach Vince Lombardi called it, ''a perfectly disciplined state of mind that refuses to give in.'' Mental toughness is especially important when you're going through change since change can be difficult and challenging. In the workplace, it may be unanticipated or sudden, which can further complicate matters, both personally and professionally.
Mental toughness isn't inborn, which is good news for most of us. Rather, it can be developed and honed with the right mindset and strategies. Let's take a closer look.
Mental toughness doesn't have anything to do with how much weight you can lift or how strong you are physically. Instead, it's all about what happens inside your mind when you're confronted with challenging situations, stress or workplace problems.
Developing mental toughness during workplace change involves approaching the situation with a positive outlook, planning and goal-setting rather than dwelling on the negative or things beyond your control.
Whether it's layoffs at work, new management or increasing (or decreasing) work load, mental toughness is something that can help you better navigate any challenging situation. These mental toughness strategies will help you improve your grit and determination.
The first strategy is to maintain a positive outlook. When golfers step to the green, they visualize connecting with the ball and driving it toward the hole. They don't think about things going off course. People with mental toughness envision things going right, rather than things going wrong. They maintain a positive outlook that guides them through challenging situations. Training your brain to think about good outcomes instead of negative outcomes is all about visualizing successes rather than failures, which helps you move toward making them a reality. It's telling yourself, ''This change is going to help me do my job more efficiently,'' instead of, ''This change is going to create more work for me.''
A second strategy is to choose goal setting over worrying. Someone once said, ''Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere.'' Let's be honest, worrying about what's happening with change in the workplace is normal, but it's not productive. Why? Because you probably can't do anything about it. Instead, concentrate the energy you'd spend on worrying into taking action and setting goals.
Choose goals for yourself and write them down, and then invest your energy into seeing them through to fruition. This will help keep your mind trained on successes and help you maintain some control over your own environment. Olympic athletes don't worry about the next heat or the next challenge; rather, they channel their energy into practicing and achieving their personal goals.
A third strategy for develping mental toughness is to change negative thoughts. The conversations we have with ourselves are powerful. Engaging in negative self-talk can impact everything from your stress levels to your belief in yourself. How do you feel after each of these statements?
The first is an automatic downer. You're telling yourself that no matter what's coming, it's going to be bad. The second, choosing to think and talk positively to yourself, helps you envision the benefits the changes could bring. Changing negative thoughts is sort of like rewiring your brain to engage in positivity rather than negativity. When you shift the conversation you're having with yourself, you can look at a situation more objectively and address it with mental toughness rather than emotion. You take control of your thought processes by changing how you think.
A final strategy you can use is to be present. This might fall into line with the notion of ridding yourself of worry, but staying in the moment and devoting all of your energy to being happy and successful now can be a great tool toward being more mentally tough. You teach yourself not to dwell on things beyond your control. You take life (or work) as it comes and deal with it as it comes - logically and rationally. You're always prepared for what is to come because you're grounded in today and focused on taking things a step at a time. Being present requires a commitment to focusing completely on what you're working on and not wasting energy outside of that.
Mental toughness is all about having grit and determination in the face of adversity (in the case of this lesson, workplace change). It is not something we're born with; rather, it's something we can develop with a few mental toughness strategies focused on looking toward the future, controlling what we can and ridding ourselves of negative thought habits.
One way to develop mental toughness is by working to maintain a positive outlook, visualizing successes rather than failures. Using your energy to set goals and not worry about things beyond your control can also be helpful. A third strategy for developing mental toughness is to change negative thoughts into positive ones which will allow you to take control of your mind. This includes the conversations you have with yourself. Finally, it is important be present and invest energy into today's challenges rather than unforeseen ones.
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Back To CourseCoping with Workplace Change
7 chapters | 34 lessons