004 Series 3 of 3 How To Handle Extremely Tough Times – Mental Toughness and Grit

By Tom Birchall | Podcast

Jul 01


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We're talking about mental toughness today. The stuff, between your ears. And in today's circumstances, is some tough times. Economically, the coronavirus is rampant, and life as we've known it has changed. Paused. In this huge detour that, in my opinion, quite easily meets the definition of “tough times”.

I want to talk about mental toughness today. I'm in this series of Tough Times what leadership has looked like, what do you do in tough times and specifically today, ending this 3 part series on mental toughness. Grit, as some people know it. That's what we're talking about today. 

You've got a dream, as an entrepreneur to grow your business. You had that when you birthed it. And what I find when I talk to entrepreneurs is the dream they had, and the reality of what life is day to day for them, don't match. And so this show is all about providing you the tools, systems, and processes that you need to become and fulfill that dream. What is that for you? Think back to what that is, and was when you started your business.

Now, huge roadblock. Huge speed bump right now with current circumstances. It's impacting so many people, so many of us, not people in general. I'm impacted by it. Everybody's impacted by this in some way shape or form. Either by loved ones whom you are living with or not living with right now because of the virus.

Perhaps economically, you're impacted by this, so many businesses just so many. I've seen this hashtag: #SendChinaTheBill. In entrepreneurship, we are a group of people that think in terms of accountability. We think in terms of problem solving of solving the problem. Not creating them but solving them. We are diligent, proactive with solving problems.

That's where my head went to first when this broke out when the outbreak happened and it started to become like a, an international thing I'm like, immediately. Where did this happen? How do we stop it? Why did it happen?

I don't want to go down that road. Ahhhhh. Maybe I will. Hmmm. It's about accountability. And mental toughness is individuals rising up and being accountable, responsible for their words actions and deeds. Are you a person that says what they mean and means what they say?

Is your word your bond? Is when you commit to something you follow through on it whether anybody is watching or not? That's mental toughness. That's having grit. When sometimes it's hard, especially when no one's watching. Right.

I mean that that's the standard to me that's the standard. Let alone. My gosh, being a leader that works at bamboozling people. Or trying to cover up what's so obvious, or creating, here's the buzz term of the past number of years, fake news to alter people's perception so they don't think that you have to be accountable.

What is that that? That's just not good. It's really not good. As a matter of fact it's terrible! Don't be that person that tries to bamboozle and deflect, right. We've got leaders that do that. It's, I'm gonna use a strong word here, deplorable.

Back to mental toughness. Mental toughness is you individually as an entrepreneur, me individually as an entrepreneur, taking responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions and showing up in tough times, and being consistent and continuing to do that. Mental toughness is acknowledging the speed bump in the road in getting through it. Not making excuses for it, not trying to bamboozle not trying to deflect. But stand in it, and face it head on. Of looking at what's happening and saying, the key phrase from part one of this series. Of asking the different question not. Why is this happening? Like a victim. But changing the question. 

Step back, I mean don't even spend a moment on that perhaps pause, and then get to the deeper and better question which is: What am I going to do now? What am I going to do now? 

Get into, problem solving, get into being productive get into solution, right. Mental toughness is moving quickly past the victim stuff in the detours and getting on to: What are we going to do now. So I paused on that I explained a little bit of my logic of what a responsible leader would do. And some of the challenges of what I've found in doing a little bit of research and googling online. I've actually found and seen the documents of the legislation passed in China in the 70s and 80s. And it's the trajectory that change the direction of where things went to how and why wet markets even exist right now. Where the outbreak occurred. And so great. I pause to figure out why. 

I didn't say why is this happened to me, it was the bigger question of why did this happen? And as an entrepreneur, that's a good question to ask just to make a distinction there. It is a why question but it's a good one, because that's how you figure out solutions, right. And as entrepreneurs and here's what I want to get to to help you with, this understanding that when you're solving problems, you're in business.

When you're solving problems you're in business. So, become a resilient problem solver. Maybe you need to, and here's a buzzword I don't like but it applies here. Pivot.

Over the past few years pivoting has become the excuse for so many entrepreneurs to not have tenacity, stick to itness perseverance to keep on going. And they'll pivot. 

There's a book that's called and written Three Feet From Gold. And it's about this man who owned a gold mine. And he spent his life force and energy, life force. His life. His life force his energy his, his resources his money his time his attention. All on this goldmine because he believed that he was in a vein, that would strike gold and he would be rich and his troubles with monetary and financial things would be over. And he gave up. 

He sold it. Long story short. The person who he sold it to for a song, because he decided there was no gold. Picked up Pitchfork renewed energy renewed focus renewed belief started going away. Three more feet, struck the gold mine, struck the vein, rather the vein of gold in the gold mine and became rich.

There are times to pivot in times not to. And right now, with current circumstances, I say pivot. Yes. At other times, likely not because it's more often than not, when I sit down and talk to entrepreneurs it's their impatience. It's their instant gratification kick in and taking over. It's their obsession with needing to have results right now, immediately. Wow, just stay the course that applies, sometimes and most of the time is in the past, right now in tough times. Pivot. Yes, because the world as you know it, life as you've known it has changed. Go through those times, and here's the key: see a need in the marketplace and meet it. See a need in the marketplace, and begin to meet it. See a need in the marketplace and begin to meet it. 

When you're solving problems you're in business.

I was seven years old when I did that. I started my entrepreneurial journey when I saw a need in the marketplace and I met it. Grade 2 recess. You may have heard me tell the story before I want to share it now. I saw a need in the marketplace and I meet it. With marbles! 
What we had is these small little wooden pinball machines, if you will. Another term for it is a "pachinko machine". A piece of wood, nails down the side and elastic bands. Really simple. So you make a border around the sides and down at the bottom. And you leave a couple of spaces open and you make little pockets at the bottom and you write how many marbles you want to give away if player wins. And they've used one marble to play, and if they win you give them two or three or five or 10 marbles. Then you have other pockets at the bottom where you keep it. So they put a marble down and it goes into your pocket, then you, you keep it. And if it's their pocket, they win whatever you wrote on the board. And then you have a bunch of little obstacles around where the marble when they put it in the top it'll bounce around right, you get the idea. 

And kids would stand there looking wanting right they would look at machines and kids that had the machines would line them up along the wall at recess. And kids that wanted to play would kind of walk down this wall. So many kids just stood there longing and wanting to play and have fun and do this thing. And I thought, I got this big bag of marbles at home. I'm gonna split them up into smaller bags, and will sell them for 10 cents 25 cents at recess. And so that's what I started doing. I saw a need in the marketplace. And I met it. That's when the entrepreneurial journey began for me.

Here we are in tough times, your business may have changed and your mental toughness is needing to kick in. Adjust how you're meeting needs in the marketplace. What problem can you solve? What solution can you bring to the table, and have exchange, and money for? That becomes your ability to continue to move forward in economic uncertainty. You having predictable results, predictable cash flow, systematic automatic, systematic cash flow. Why? Because you're meeting a need in the marketplace. 

So mental toughness starts to apply from all these different dimensions. Stick to it I want to encourage you with that. Stick with it, don't give up. Be the person and the leader that you are looking for in the marketplace. 

These are leaders that others are looking for, and have that grit. This type of grit. Grit is that stick to itness. It's having the mental toughness and then taking action on it. It's being that individual that leads themselves first, and then others. It's having that roll up your sleeves'ness right. If you've been watching my show for a while. I almost say every time and it didn't at the beginning of this episode but I say let's roll up our sleeves and get down to business. That becomes a key piece: is roll up your sleeves and digging in.

There's another word that shows up. It is the word "hustle". And some people I don't understand it completely, but they just have this aversion to the word hustle. And I think it possibly might be because it's close to a term called hustler. A hustler hustl'er, a hustler is someone who I described a bit earlier that is trying to bamboozle people and pull the wool over their eyes and isn't a person of their word. They say one thing and then they do another. Or they see one thing one day and they do something else the next. They say something the next day. They talk kind of both sides of their mouth right that's just terrible. Don't be that person!

Don't be a hustler. Not to bash them, but quite often we'll use this occupation out there, of being a used car salesmen. They end up being hustlers. That's, you know, over there and not at all what we're talking about. What I'm talking about with hustling, that is rolling up your sleeves and get into work. That is some elbow grease into things. That is not being afraid of hard or smart work. Sometimes smart work takes a lot of brainpower and it's a struggle in some people to give up. Don't give up. Keep going. Put in the effort. Run the miles. I'm gonna put a link down below I gotta make a note of this so don't forget. Run the miles.

I saw yesterday. I was doing some research online, and I wanted to break, and so I wanted to look for just a happy reprieve. And I enjoy music for that. And there was one of the talent shows America's Got Talent in this really talented guitar player. I didn't watch the full video, I got his name and I was like, Wow, so I did a Google search on the guy on his name. 

This kid is amazing. He's 18 years old. And the skill with which he plays the guitar. He's using the fret board, and the six strings on the guitar. He sounds like three people. It sounds like there's three instruments going at once. I mean his hands are flying all over the place, all over the. I've never seen someone play the guitar like this before. He's 18 years old. My pointed is, for him to achieve the skill level that he is, he's put in hours upon hours, upon hours of practice. 

On the fretboard, he's using both sides of the string. He's using what are called harmonics. As the actual note. Now, most people that play the guitar and use harmonics, it's when you like the let your fingertip just barely touch the string and you strum it. And it creates what's called a harmonic, and you have to touch it very ever so gently and lightly for it to make a sound, and not just be a muffled, dud, withheld sound but to ring. Dong! To have the sound occur. Now, that's tough to do at the best of times, let alone be going at warp speed on a fretboard, to have it loud, to be heard and it's the actual note of choice he's picked to use in a song. He plays Beethoven to Symphony on a six string guitar. It's amazing. 

My point is put in the work. Because if you want to get to a level of mastery. As an entrepreneur to show your solution into the marketplace as a head and shoulders above all others? You need to be operating at a really high level. 

So I'm thowing that out as a challenge to you to put in that, to have the grit to go there to have the discipline to go there to have the stick to itness. To create that solution that is fantastic and amazing and that people go, wow! Yes. Where can I sign? Here's my credit card. How can I pay you? I need your service. 

Grit and hustling is what it took for that kid, that's 18 years old right now to play his instrument at a level that is above and beyond any other. He is world class. There are few in the world that play the guitar like he does. I've picked that as an example because he's so young. How's that possible? He ran the miles. 

He ran the miles. He put in the time to go and do that. That nobody else has chosen to do. And he's meeting with the success that he's desired. 

So I want that for you. I want what you've started your business for the first place to become a reality. I want what you have in your heart to birthed in there to be an entrepreneur to come out to manifest. 

I want to give you the tools, systems, and processes that you need to be successful to become. I don't know where are you at right now. Are you a five figure business owner? Then become a six. Are you six? Well let's become a seven. Are you a seven? Let's become an eight. 

I’ve built an eight figure business, $25 million we got up to. I put the systems in place and I've documented those processes. I could teach you how to do that. Join me. Let me help you. Reach out. Let's have a zoom call, let's chat in messenger, let's connect. Let's start a dialogue in some way shape or form. I want to give you the knowledge, skills, and abilities. And the tools, systems, and processes that you need to become a successful entrepreneur.

Keep your head down and running. It's going to get better. It will. We'll weather the storm and things will become good again. Maybe altered from what we've known in the past. But this too shall pass. Keep going. Have grit and mental toughness.

Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed the show please rate and recommend. Highly of course! On iTunes, on Overcast or wherever it is you subscribe to your podcasts. You can get more great information on this episode, it's shownotes, and our other episodes and shows, at TheProfitableMaverick.com. That's The Profitable Maverick.com. Until next time, get out there, live more, love more, and be a more profitable Maverick.



About the Author

Tom Birchall is the founder of Mavericks Business Academy (MBA). When he is not conversing with an entrepreneur about life and more profitable business awesomeness he will be talking about his kids, playing ice hockey, the drums, or geeking out about digital marketing. Oh, and then there's root beer floats! ;) Clients tell him he is "smart with a heart!" He believes a smoothie a day keeps the doctor away and telling someone you love them is amazing!