How to Boost Your Mental Toughness: Tips From a Spy BY JILL KRASNY @JILLKRASNY
Think your job is tough? Try convincing a Soviet agent to spy for the U.S. For that, you need a large dose of grit. Here’s how to get it.When the odds are long and the stakes are high, there’s only one person to call: an FBI Special Agent. These highly trained agents
are mentally tough–they’re prepared to face pretty much any challenge. Sounds a bit like what’s required of any entrepreneur.
But what if you weren’t born with that kind of grit? Not to worry–mental toughness is something you can cultivate. Just ask LaRae Quy, who became an FBI Special Agent during the Cold War, according to Psychology Today. Quy had to complete an especially difficult task–convince a Soviet agent to spy for the United States. She succeeded by employing a number of techniques to bolster her mental strenth. Here are two of them, which are just as relevant for a business context as they are for covert spying operations:
Know Your Fears
The mentally tough don’t run from their fears, they find ways to work around them. It’s about controlling your fear, not letting the fear control you. “When you have a fear of something, you should label it, or give it a name. If you try to suppress it, it’s not going to work,” Quy explained to the magazine. “So naming your fear is how you control it.” In other words, by acknowledging what you fear, you can begin to break down why it makes you so scared and what you can do about it.
Focus on Small Victories
Leaders often forget that for real innovators, the path to success is made up of a series of small successes. Though a Special Agent may not have all the clues to solve a case right away, the build up of evidence ultimately leads to a resolution. So the next time you find yourself discouraged at work, try focusing on a small victory to get back in the game. It might not seem like it means much in the long term, but for the time being it will reassure you that you’re in control. When you feel you have a grasp on the little things, you’ll learn to trust yourself to take on the big ones. What’s more, you’ll build confidence in your ability to make things happen.