Managing your business in an ever changing world: How to Develop Mental Toughness and Build a Resilient Mindset

The last couple of years have been challenging to say the least! As business owners we have had to manage in an everchanging world and constantly adapt and learn how to move forward in unpredictable times. Having worked as a disruption specialist over a number of years, I wanted to put together some valuable insights gleaned from my work in this area, and so I created this series of 4 blogs.

The series covers off 4 areas:

• How to accept what’s not in your control and embrace ambiguity
• Develop your resilience and mental toughness for success
• Develop your creative thinking to open your mind to new ideas
• Use scenario planning to imagine what the future could look like

So this is the second blog in the series where I explore the concept of mental toughness and steps to build a resilient mindset for better business performance.


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“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

  • Winston Churchill

How many times have you woken up in the middle of the night and started thinking about all of the issues from the previous day?

Your heart begins to race. Your eyes are wide open. You’re wondering if the stress is worth it and start formulating a plan to shut down your business and move on.

Eventually, you fall back asleep. When you wake up the following day, the sun is out, and all those thoughts seem like a silly dream. You now have the strength and resilience to face the challenges of the day.

From your business to your health, you need a certain amount of grit, perseverance, and mental toughness in every aspect of your life. Mental toughness plays a significant role in your success and the good news is you can develop a resilient mindset.

What is Mental Toughness?

The concept of mental toughness is more than demonstrating control and resilience in a difficult situation.

Over the past two years, business owners have been through a lot. They have had to adapt to changing rules and definitions as well as pivot in multiple directions in order to keep the doors open. This has resulted in high levels of burnout and fatigue amongst business owners.

It’s also highlighted the need to further develop mental toughness so you can be more energized, creative, and productive.

Mental toughness rarely incorporates one characteristic. It is usually a combination of many factors. Some examples include:

  • The amount of control a person believes they have over their life and emotions
  • How much commitment is placed upon achieving goals in the face of hardship
  • The ability to see potential threats as opportunities for self-development
  • Striving in changing environments
  • The level of confidence a person has in succeeding despite setbacks


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What is a Resilient Mindset?

There is a difference between mental toughness and a resilient mindset.

The disparity is in how positive the individual is when they face adversity.

Those with a resilient mindset can handle issues as they arise. However, they might not be optimistic or confident about the potential outcomes. They may struggle mentally to tackle the problem head-on if they face it on a continuous basis.

It is a passive quality compared to mental toughness, which often leads to better performance, positive behaviors, and the agility to respond to change.

How You Can Start Developing Mental Toughness and a Resilient Mindset

For business owners, the most effective way to develop mental toughness and a resilient mindset is by taking a closer look at your habits.

You can build these attributes through small wins. It’s about being dedicated to daily practice as well as sticking to a schedule. Think of it like developing a muscle. The more action you take, the stronger your mental fortitude will get.


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The best place to get started is by following these three simple steps.

Define What Winning Looks Like

You must be clear about what you want to achieve as a business owner. While mental toughness is an abstract quality, it’s tied to concrete actions. Consider what your long-term vision is. Where do you see your business in one year, three years, and five years? Now break this down into smaller tasks that you can cross off a list as you accomplish them.

Develop an Optimistic Solution Focus

Shifting your mindset from negative thinking is one of the most critical steps in developing mental toughness. Don’t try to do everything at once. Approach all of your solutions one step at a time and ensure that they will improve upon your current situation. Focusing only on problems generally leads to more issues. So don’t waste your energy here.

Keep Going No Matter What

When you put your mind to completing a task, you end up finding a way to get it done regardless of what stands in your way. An optimistic solution focus is the right start. But it will be your discipline that solves the issue you’re facing. Remember, discipline delivers success.

Develop Your Courage to Continue

Many think that mental toughness only gets used in extreme situations. But you don’t have to wait for a dire situation to flex this muscle. It’s built through small wins and sustained commitment. It’s the choices you make on a daily basis that helps you continue to develop a resilient mindset. The results of continually working at it will benefit not only your mental health but also your business performance.

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