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    How is Your Mental Stamina?

    So, how are you? Really, how are you? The year started out great; for many the best year ever. Then a global pandemic and racial unrest in our nation impacted all of us.

    In our recent podcast, I shared that it is in the worst of times that we need to be at our best as leaders. It sounds nice and we’d all like to think we could do that, but it takes mental stamina.

    Initially, it’s pretty easy to stay focused and optimistic, but after months go by, mental fatigue sets in and new doubts emerge. Even the best leaders can get wore down.

    Here’s how I have seen it play out:

    • The Start — People rally and hear “We’ve got this.” This lasts about 30 days.
    • The Settle — People begin to settle into a new routine. Some like the new routine; optimism remains. This is typically within 60 days.
    • The Slump — Fatigue sets in by the third month. The “rah-rah” quiets as uncertainty lingers and more anxiousness surfaces.

    For me, by the end of May, it was evident the disruption to our organizations, communities and personal lives would last a while. It would require a new level of mental stamina and, as leaders, we need to rally ourselves and others.

    So, how do we stay mentally fit?

    • Be decisive, but don’t feel like you need to make all decisions on your own.
      During difficult times, decisions can be more complicated and require decisiveness despite uncertainty. As my colleague and Marco President Doug Albregts says, we don’t have a playbook for this. This is when you lean on your team to collaborate and execute. When done correctly, this relieves pressure that could otherwise pull you down mentally.

    • Turn off the noise.
      We need to be mindful about what we watch, listen to or read. At one point, I turned off the news. It just wasn’t helping. If something (or someone) is making you more anxious, walk away and plug into something that will refill you rather than drain you. For me, that was sitting in the porch with my wife each night, reflecting and having productive conversations about our work days and our world. We continued to pray for good health, happiness, peace of mind, wisdom, discipline and strength.

    • Get out and be active.
      One of the best ways that I have found to stay mentally fit or regain mental strength when it is waning is through physical exercise. How I did that changed through the pandemic as fitness facilities closed. Obviously, I’m not the only one doing this. Exercise has been proven to be a great stress reliever. Take a walk, go for a run, do yoga, ride your bike. You pick, but be active physically and you will see the rewards mentally.

    • Don’t delay decisions.
      When we drag our feet, it causes more issues. The decisions become even harder to make and the mental weariness mounts. The faster you can re-align plans for stability and then sustainability, the better. As leaders, we know what needs to be done, but because these decisions impact people, we often delay. Delaying the inevitable is rarely good for anyone involved.

    The global pandemic shook up our routines on a lot of fronts and that naturally impacts our mental health. We all are learning more about ourselves and others. This is challenging our psychological hardiness. Ditch the excuses. Be a catalyst for optimism, opportunity and forward-thinking. We have about half of the year left. What are you going to do with it?

    We’ll talk more about maintaining mental stamina – from a sales perspective – in the next episode of our Let’s Tech podcast. On July 22, two seasoned sales professionals will share how they’ve navigated and leveraged new tools and strategies to get results. Subscribe today or learn more at marconet.com/lets-tech.

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    Topics: Leadership Team, Professional Development