A hidden driver of high performing individuals is their mental dexterity or emotional fitness.
Developing high levels of mental dexterity gives you greater confidence, meaning you are more likely to influence others and hold a higher degree of respect with your peers. It also helps you to become more adaptable and resilient in times of change and uncertainty, harnessing higher levels of self efficacy and ensuring your capacity to work towards goals and being successful in your endeavors.
3 things that emotionally strong people do:
1. They manage emotion under pressure and in times of uncertainty
Imagine you’re dealing with a situation in which you are not certain of the outcome - Meetings, job interviews, negotiations, performance reviews!
The ability to stay afloat in a flood of uncertainty and stay collected under pressure is a fundamental skill for today’s workplace. As a general rule, the more uncertainty an individual can handle the more successful they will be. To understand the science behind this, neuroscience expert, David Rock, states “when our limbic system becomes aroused, the resources available for your prefrontal cortex decrease”. This put simply means, when our ‘emotional’ brains go into overdrive our ‘thinking’ (more rational) minds go quiet. When this happens and our worlds become de-railed by drama, whether the result of our very own thoughts or by other people and events, we often execute one, or all, of the following behavioural patterns (commonly known as the ‘flight, fight or freeze response’):
- We respond negatively - we are less likely to have a balanced view of the situation
- We lose presence - we become anxious, lack confidence and make premature decisions under pressure, avoiding taking risks
- We attack or become aggressive towards others or the situation
Learning how to manage uncertainty is an extremely valuable skill for leaders and individuals who want to be successful and confident in environments of high demand and pressure.
2. They are not crushed under mediocrity
Caroline Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has identified two different mindsets people can adopt that can either limit (‘fixed’ mindset) or project a person’s progress (‘growth’ mindset).
Emotionally fit individuals develop ‘growth’ mindsets; they see themselves as constantly evolving. When it comes to trials and challenges they recognize that mindsets are not fixed, that they can actually better themselves, outlearn other people and improve their ability and skills. They learn to achieve much higher levels of success than individuals who think they have reached their potential and live with ‘fixed’ mindsets.
3. They don’t live in ground hog day
Do you wake up and dread the day ahead? The truth is, as human beings we have the ability to create our emotions; they don’t just fall upon us. I believe ‘focus’ is one of the most crucial skills in attaining personal mastery.
Instead of just waiting for something to motivate them, emotionally fit people fuse their actions with the grander overarching theme of their lives, injecting inspiration into their work rather than continually waking up to another groundhog day. They see that the purpose of life is to have a life filled with purpose and are intentional with their attitude towards people, problems, and the use of their time.
I would love to hear your thoughts, how do you stay emotionally fit? What practices do you instill into your workday each week?