To be a truly successful business owner, there is *one thing* you need more of than anything else.

The problem is, it doesn’t come easy. It comes through perseverance, hard work, and discipline. And it only comes through failing and getting back up again… over and over.

If you have this thing, you will agree wholeheartedly. If not as much, you’ll most likely just sigh and roll your eyes.

What I’m talking about is mental toughness.

The reason you need this is because there are few things harder than running a successful business. There are ups and downs like nothing else. There are moments when you feel like you have absolutely no clue what to do next. There are moments you think you are the only one who is going through something this hard.

Mental toughness though, is an oddity.

You need mental toughness to make it through the hard times, but you don’t get it until you actually go through the hard times.

When you lose a handful of clients all at once, you’ve got to be mentally tough. When your family or team (or both) has higher expectations on you than you feel like you can meet, you’ve got to be mentally tough. When your bank account doesn’t reflect all the time you’ve been putting in, you’ve got to be mentally tough. When your market is saturated, and yet another competitor opens up down the street, you’ve got to be mentally tough. When you’re in a low income small town and trying to run a profitable gym, you’ve got to be mentally tough.

But the challenge is, for the majority of us mental toughness doesn’t “just happen”. It is a skill that is hard won.

It’s hard to keep pressing through. It’s hard to hit your goals.

Increasing your mental strength is similar to building your physical strength – it takes consistency and discipline… day after day after day. But, once you work this muscle out and it gets stronger, things oddly start to shift in your favor.

Think about a new person who walks in your gym… it’s never the right thing to just tell them to “get in shape”. They won’t even be able to grasp what that means, much less begin to do anything about it. They need to have a plan, and push themselves to work that plan consistently.

And to make matters even more challenging, that out-of-shape, overweight person can work out and not even begin to see any changes except really sore muscles, until at least a few weeks into the workout regimen. Talk about a demotivator.

The same is true in business.

Oh, we all want to be mentally tough. To be able to persevere and fight through the hard times, but we also all know, if we’re not there yet, it’s never as easy as to “just be tougher”.

Mental toughness, in my opinion, is defined as the ability to work hard consistently with resilience and confidence toward success, even and especially in the face of adversity, failure, and challenges.

Mental toughness is the thing that enables successful leaders to reach their long-term vision and goals.

In the life of any business owner, there will be days where you’re just not motivated, you feel overwhelmed, and going back to just getting a paycheck feels like an appealing option. It’s ok, those days are to be expected. But, if you have more days like that than days where you are mentally tough, you need to begin working out that muscle immediately.

How to begin developing mental toughness so that you own this year, instead of it owning you:

  • Get clear on your goals so that you have focused direction. You cannot reach a destination that you have not yet decided on. Without clear, focused goals, business owners simply react to whatever the day brings, and find themselves year after year in a very similar (frustrating) place.
  • Create more and consume less. Learning is critical for business owners, but if you find yourself just consuming and not creating, put the books or podcasts down for a while and actually get to work. Begin executing on what you’re learning.
  • Don’t compare (or compete) with others. Stop looking at others and getting discouraged that you’re “not enough”. You have all the same resources as someone else. Put your head down and compete with yourself.
  • Take small steps forward every day. The important thing to ask yourself at the end of every day is “Was I better today than yesterday?”. Small steps of progress gradually grow your confidence to be able to attack larger things.
  • Surround yourself with mentally tough people. Who you surround yourself with is a direct indication of who you will become. Choose people who consistently pull you up, rather than encourage you to compromise and stay down.
  • Be proactive vs. reactive. Developing the skill of being ready for whatever comes your way is critical in getting your mental toughness muscle stronger. You cannot control everything that comes your way, but you are in absolute control of how you react to it. Emotions are good, but if they control you, you need to start to reign them in.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone a little every day. You cannot and will not get stronger if you hunker down and stay in your comfort zone. Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations that stretch you instead of escaping them is what will make you stronger. When you avoid difficult circumstances or uncomfortable situations, you’re not even allowing yourself the chance to prove that you can succeed in the hard things.
  • Accept the fact that there will be “off” or bad days. There will be days where you’ve just lost your mojo. It’s ok – accept those days, let yourself off the hook, and then make sure you climb right back up on the horse. But even during those days, just make a little progress in something.
  • Keep showing up. Like your athletes, the ones who make the progress are the ones who just keep showing up. Even when they are tired, even when they are discouraged, even when they don’t feel like it.

The truth is half-ass behaviors will always get you half-ass results.

But if everyday, you work your mental toughness muscle out, the cumulative impact of this will pay off. I promise.

The most successful business owners I know have (and continue to) hit the same walls, hurdles, mental struggles, and obstacles as everyone else. It’s important to note that your situation is not different – whether you’re in a small town, or you can’t find good staff, or you’re in a saturated area, or whatever. Every business owner has her or his own set of struggles. The truly successful ones just don’t make excuses, but instead consistently execute and relentlessly pursue growth.

What you plant is always the harvest you will get.

Get mired in discouragement, and you will live constantly wishing that things were different. But, push yourself and fight for discipline now, and you will soon find yourself reaping the rewards you once only hoped for.

Looking for an amazing community of helpful gym owners to help you hit your 2018 goals?  Check out Hub.