Many women avoid tough business situations (aka leadership positions) because they do not feel mentally tough enough. How mentally tough are you?
Are there situations that you avoid?
- Do you worry about having to fire someone?
- Or maybe you avoid having to be responsible for profit and loss.
- Do you have trouble negotiating with a supplier for a better deal?
- Or perhaps telling your boss or partner he or she is out of integrity on a decision and you cannot support it.
There are multiple situations that can put us in a position where we have to be mentally tough, communicate and hold our clear boundaries, and be willing to not be liked — especially as we take on greater responsibility either in a corporate role or by starting our own company.
In LaRae Quy’s book, Mental Toughness for Women Leaders, she helps frame this dilemma from a feminine perspective. As a FBI agent for 24 years, I am certain she had to learn to be mentally tough. I am sure it is hard for men, too, to fire people, negotiate supply terms, or call their boss out. Yet I think there may be something very gender based that makes this mental toughness harder for women. There must be training young boys get on the playground and from other men that makes it more natural by the time they are adults to exercise this skill.
I found that the tug on my emotions and desire to create relationship often led me to give people another shot when I should have let them go, or minimize my reaction in order to create room for continuing relations. Every person I ever fired probably should have been fired long before it happened, or they stayed, caused more problems, and then quit at a really inconvenient time.
It took me awhile to learn I was not doing either of us any favors prolonging the problem and it was costing me money too. It took me years to cultivate my ability to be tough and kind because I subconsciously believed being tough meant being mean.
LaRae’s book just might be the ticket to help you shorten the learning curve to becoming mentally tough. Here are a few gems out of her 52 tips:
- Use gratitude as a power emotion (I have to sit up and take note when gratitude even comes up in a book on mental toughness. It really is the key to so many things!)
- Redefine the meaning of struggle as unsolved mysteries. (Just the words put a smile back on my face…unsolved mysteries!)
My favorite quote is:
There is nothing more powerful than the human brain once we have the tools that give us the mental toughness we need to succeed in life and business
In the end whether you succeed in life or in business will be a direct result of whether you:
- Find the tools to best use your brain
- To create something you love and are passionate about
- And then USE those tools and your brain to do it!