While mental workouts for players and business leaders might differ in scope, the principles and concepts are largely the same, Selk said. He lays out his framework to develop mental toughness in five steps that play off phrases typically used by baseball coaches.“Pay attention to your swing, and forget the home run.”
Focusing too much on the target — or end goal — might diminish leaders’ chances for success. Instead, Selk said, focus on the process of what needs to get done to get there. “You cannot accomplish a goal without first having a sound process in place,” he said. “Identify those daily goals that have the greatest influence on your performance and, therefore, your success.” “Don’t take your eye off the ball.”
Control the tendency to be distracted and stay on the task at hand. “Many high-performing businesspeople believe they can multitask and still maintain focus,” Selk said. Too much multitasking, however, can hamper leaders in the end. “Be your own ref.”
Business leaders need to establish limits to be productive. Walling off time for family and work is essentially for leaders to maintain and develop mental toughness, Selk said.“Get R&R between workouts.”
Getting proper rest and relaxation is important for mentally tough leaders. Fatigue will only lead to lost productivity and engagement, and serve as a distraction, Selk said.“Listen to your body.”
“In sports, when athletes try to push through the pain, they end up on the [disabled list] with injuries,” Selk said. Business leaders who participate in “extreme working” — or working too many hours — run the risk of reduced productivity and possibly even diminished health.
“Most of these workers can’t sustain this level of performance; [they] end up burning out,” Selk said, “just like promising athletes who have to sit on the bench all season or retire early because of injuries.”Frank Kalman is an associate editor of Chief Learning Officer magazine. He can be reached at fkalman@CLOmedia.com.