Are You Tough Enough?

Not a question I would normally be asking, however being Mentally Tough is needed now more than ever.
At first, I found it a challenge to describe myself as tough!  I consider myself a caring, sensitive, loving, positive and upbeat person. I value others and always look for a win/win outcome.  I am also mentally and physically strong, persistent and driven to achieve.  And as I researched more about being tough, I realized that I am! Although I welcomed the insights to strengthen my resolve and recommit to being Mentally Tough, as I am sure you will too.

Merriam Webster states tough as:
very difficult to do or deal with
: physically and emotionally strong enough to put up with strain and hardship
: able to do hard work, to deal with harsh conditions
: strong or firm but flexible and not brittle
: difficult to accomplish, resolve, endure, or deal with
: capable of enduring strain, hardship, or severe labor
: very hard to influence
: marked by absence of softness or sentimentality

The term “Mental Toughness” has been around for awhile. It can assist us greatly in dealing with all the challenges we are facing in today’s world.

Mental Toughness is a personality trait that determines your ability to perform consistently under stress and pressure, and is closely related to qualities such as character, resilience, grit and perseverance. It helps determine how people respond to challenge, stress and pressure, irrespective of their circumstances. 

Professor Peter Clough, Professor of Applied Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and a pioneer on research into Mental Toughness further describes a mentally tough person as “someone who is comfortable in their own skin, can take whatever comes along in their stride and mostly enjoy the challenge”. Mental Toughness isn’t being macho or uncaring or self-centred – it is about being tough in the sense of not giving up and being confident that you can prevail, even if the odds are stacked against you.

In his book Developing Mental Training,” professor Clough describes four important traits of mental toughness, which he calls the four C’s: confidence, challenge, control and commitment. You may already possess a few of these traits, but having the four qualities in combination is the key to success.

According to financial guru Robert Kiyosaki, “Confidence comes from discipline and training.” Having confidence means believing in yourself. It’s knowing deep down that you will reach your goals. True confidence also means not giving up when things become challenging or don’t go as smoothly as you had hoped. Being confident means having solid social skills, being able to speak in public with poise and communicating well with others.

Challenge is something that many people are afraid of or try to avoid at all costs. Yet a mentally tough person welcomes a challenge. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The idea here is that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Whether the outcome is good or bad, challenges often teach us a lesson. Mentally Tough people thrive on challenges and see them as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Don’t waste your time complaining about what you can’t control. This is largely a mindset issue, which is intertwined with confidence. Mentally Tough people believe they have control over their life, their attitude and their life’s outcomes. Despite curveballs and missteps, they persevere until they reach their goals.

Tough people are committed to achieving the outcomes they desire. Commitment, or “stickability,” means setting up specific goals and doing whatever it takes to achieve them, despite setbacks, critics and occasional failures. Failure doesn’t define who you are. Failing only means that you need to improve certain skills. If you are committed to overcoming this temporary situation, success is around the corner.

Dr. Michael Gervais, a high performance psychologist who trains mindset skills and practices that are essential to revealing one’s potential, states “If you want to develop mental toughness, we have to learn to cultivate optimism.” We need to feel and know that everything will work out and we will get through it.

Dr. Gervais has worked with some of the world’s top performers including sports teams such as the Seattle Seahawks, olympians, musicians, CEO’s and more! His work has been featured on various media platforms like ESPN, CNN, The New York Times. I have listened to him on his podcasts and YouTube videos.  His message resonates with me and he motivates me to keep going, stay positive and to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Here’s to strengthening and developing your Mental Toughness!

With Light and Love,



5 Comments on “Are You Tough Enough?

  1. Great post Karen. I took my first “toughness” course back in 1998 when I went to the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla, when they were first introducing Sports Psychology methods for high performing athletes to “Corporate Athletes” as they called them back then. I was introduced to them by Phebe Farrow-Port and Estee Lauder as she had been using them to train ESL’s high potentials. The “Mental Toughness” that Peter Clough discusses here is a deeper dive into one of the four “toughness” areas that centers around the quality and quantity of Energy Management that Dr. Jim Loehr teaches through “The Power of Full Engagement”. It is a nice add on to my firm belief in these methods. Thank you Karen for a deeper look into building our character.

    • Hi Preston, Thank you for your feedback. Glad it resonated with you. We definitely need to be Mentally Tough these day. How are you?

    • Preston, when you mentioned Jim Loehr in your comment earlier, I thought to myself how familiar his name sounded. When I attended Vassar with the ELC in 2001, he taught one day on Accelerated Performance focusing on improving your mental, physical and emotional states. Attitude played a key part. It was an incredible day. Thank you for resurfacing him to me. I will look at his additional works.

  2. ☀️ You are in perfect balance ~ tough when you need to be yet gentle, kind, caring, and compassionate. My Love for you grows and grows Sweetheart. ❣️

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