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Mental Toughness Characteristics

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker and writer

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3. Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of?

Create Identity Reminders

One should place high value on creating a work environment that speaks to your identity. Five stones are sitting on my desk as a reminder of what David used to fight Goliath. You will never have all the weapons you want, but God will use the ones you have.
“Building kings submitted to the King of Kings.”

Your mind responds to cues in the physical world with thoughts that become feelings that create physical sensations that motivate behavior. Committing to a location that expresses your desired internal feeling puts your interior experience in alignment with your exterior surroundings.

4 Ways to Make Sure Your Environment Reflects Your Identity

4 Ways to Make Sure Your Environment Reflects Your Identity


Environment Reflects Your IdentityEvery six months Franny rearranges the furniture in her home. “Just moving the couch from one wall to another can change the whole feel of a room!” she exclaims. “The change in energy makes me more creative, invigorated, and ready to face any challenge.” Franny’s is just one example of how your environment reflects your identity.

A business major in college, Jeremy has trouble settling down to study. To help find focus he dresses in a suit and tie, places a copy of Investor’s Business Daily on his desk, and lights a cigar before opening a textbook. He says, “The smell of the smoke reminds me of my father working in his home office.”

]Look around your environment today. What does it say about how you see, feel, and think about yourself? Does it match who you are and announce that self with a sense of pride? Every week Justine adds some new, beautiful object to her home: an exotic flowering plant, a set of multicolored handblown iced tea glasses, a Swarovski crystal picture frame. She explains, “The world outside can be so harsh and ugly. By having things of beauty around my home, I create a world in which the presence of beauty, love, and joy dominates. Inside that space I know who I am, no matter what happens outside.”

What Franny, Jeremy, and Justine have intuitively activated is the tremendous impact of environment on sense of self. How you express who you are affects and can be affected by your experience of the world around you. On a cold and rainy day, for example, you feel different than you do on a warm and sunny one. In a tiny, cramped office with no windows, you feel different than in a large and spacious room with breathtaking views. Simply altering temperature, space, and light can change the way you feel, think, and behave. Long-lasting changes in these areas alter your identity, as they change not only your self-perception but also how you present and are defined by actions in the world at large.

While you live in the context of a global environment over which you don’t have complete control, your personal world offers abundant opportunities to assess—and choose to change—how your environment reflects and affects your personality. Consciously collaborating between yourself and your world further manifests the person you most wish to be. Four major factors have an impact on your identity-environment relationship:

Location. Your mind responds to cues in the physical world with thoughts that become feelings that create physical sensations that motivate behavior. Committing to a location that expresses your desired internal feeling puts your interior experience in alignment with your exterior surroundings.

Decoration. Personal spaces both define and can be defined by you. Identifying colors, designs, and spatial organizations that feel good allows you to express and respond in the physical world with things that resonate with and exemplify the nonvisible parts of yourself.

Energy. How you feel dramatically affects who you are. The better you feel—the more you inhabit your real, authentic self—the more you make choices and take actions in alignment with your inner vision. A creatively invigorating and rejuvenating environment increases your ability to achieve that self and its desires.

Expression. The more you behave in ways wholly aligned with the type of person you want to be, the more you become your ideal self. Choosing an environment that allows and inspires you to act and engage in ways congruent with who you are can be critical in accessing and unleashing the real you.

Look around your environment today. What does it say about how you see, feel, and think about yourself? Does it match who you are and announce that self with a sense of pride? Fully inhabiting your identity means purposely living according to individual values, plus expressing beliefs with confidence. Your environment can support this process by aligning internal and external experiences.

A simple place to begin practicing this is in your home. What actions need to be taken so that your home more precisely expresses who you wish to be?

If my child marries yours

If my child marries yours

If my child marries yours…

I just want you to know that I’m praying for you.

When I’m awake at night – feeding babies, burping babies, giving tylenol to a feverish toddler, covering up chilly toes, tucking green monkeys under little arms – I think of you. Because chances are, you’re awake too, doing the same sorts of things. Taking care of tiny children that I already love because they will someday hold the hearts that are beating against my chest tonight.

I’m praying that you’ll stand firm against the pressures to over commit and hyper-schedule, that you’ll shut out the voices that tell you you’re not doing enough, that your kids aren’t doing enough.

I’m praying you’ll have the wisdom to know when to pick that crying baby up out of her crib and when to just sit outside her door, your fingertips pressed to the wood, willing her to feel your love and comfort and just finally fall asleep.

I’m praying that you will take those children to church…that the mothers and fathers of our future grandchildren will grow up knowing what it means to worship, even when that means missing out-of-town basketball tournaments and marathon sleepovers.

I’m praying that your love for and commitment to your spouse will swell with each year you’re together, that you will grow to love the legacy you are creating just as much as you adore the person you’re creating it with.

I’m praying that you take lots of pictures so that I can see where our grandchildren got their sticky-out ears and their mischievous grins.

I’m praying that Jesus will give you just enough strength each day to keep you from losing it but not so much that you forget Who that strength comes from.

I’m praying that we will be friends.

Will you pray those things for me too?

I don’t really pray for your child. Maybe I should. My husband does that, and I think it’s wonderful. But chances are, your child is just fine. And chances are, a lot of the time, you aren’t. Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you’re very tired. And some days, you get so discouraged. Sometimes, your temper erupts, your selfishness wins, and your smile is fake. Sometimes you forget to change the baby’s diaper, to spend time being silly with your toddler, to really see your spouse. So it’s you I am praying for right now, in the still darkness, with this baby fist pressed up under my chin and this sweet, sleepy breath on my ear. May you feel these prayers when you need them the most.

We are in this together, you and I. We are building something beautiful with each onesie folded, each invisible owie kissed, each story read.

You don’t know how much it means to me that you give your children everything you have every single day…even on days when it’s not much at all. Because your child will fall asleep next to mine for fifty-some years. Your child will be the one holding my child’s hand when our first grandchild is born. And when they face the darkest days of their lives, it will be your child and mine, facing into the struggle together.

I’m pretty sure that our longest days – the ones that are brim-full with hair-pulling moments, impossible messes, and toddler meltdowns – those are the days that we are fashioning hearts. And someday, one of the hearts I’m helping create will crash into one of your love-crafted hearts, and what spills out as a result of that jolt…it’s kind of up to us. I promise to tend to these hearts with utmost care, to plant in them humility and peace and selflessness…especially selflessness. I promise to plant Jesus seeds in these hearts every chance I get. And I promise to keep praying for you.

I’m praying that you will hug your boy tight when he’s sad or lonely or scared. Because someday, my girl – all grown beautiful with babies of her own – will be sad or lonely or scared. And he’ll need to know how to hold her. Teach him.

And let your daughters hear you speak righteous words that bring life and hope. Because someday, my sons will be worn and weary, and the words you’re placing in your daughters’ minds today just might become the balm to my sons’ souls.

I’m doing my best to do the same. And sometimes…much of the time…I fail. Pray for me too.

Someday we will sit on opposite sides of the aisle…all fancy and with gobs of tissues tucked into our fists. We’ll watch our silly, sticky, sweet babies somehow transform into brides and grooms and make the same promises to one another that we ourselves have kept…against all odds and only by His grace. And we will watch these children create families of their own with the ingredients we have given them. The ingredients we are slipping into their souls today.

But until then, I’m sitting here in the dark with babies in my arms.

And I’m praying for you.

This blog was from

Speak out for that which is good.

It has become very apparent in our society that those who are loudest seem to bully the majority. The loud cursing, vulgar and obscene display of behavior is becoming acceptable in our society as the norm.  It is my belief that we should learn from Acts 18:9-10, where the Lord speaks to Paul, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you: for I have many people in this city.”

Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. … needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

I challenge you to speak up for good, love, righteousness as an example to the world.  Scream from the mountain top what your faith in God means to a lost and hurting world.  Remember, no one will attack you to hurt you.

Joel Wiggins


Tips and Tools for Healthy Conflict Resolution

Tips and Tools for Healthy Conflict Resolution

by Mary J. Yerkes

Do you find yourself at odds with a close friend? Is a co-worker trying to undermine your credibility with your boss? If so, you are not alone. Opportunities for conflict are everywhere—in your home, workplace, church, and community. Your response could make or break the relationship.

Pamela Conrad understands the difference a biblical response could make. Several years ago, she received a letter from her mother-in-law that contained “20 years of pent up anger.” She had just buried her 35-year-old brother who had committed suicide and was recovering from pneumonia. Unable to reach her mother-in-law by phone, Pamela sat down to write her a letter. “I prayed it would be constructive and that I could rise above the hurt and anger to address her concerns and fears,” explains Pam. The result? “Today we are friends,” says Pam. “This was a hard turn-the-other-cheek lesson for me, but it had a wonderful outcome.”

Author and Christian counselor Leslie Vernick works with people like Pamela to resolve conflict in their relationships. She instructs clients to pray, prepare, and practice. “Pray about it,” says Vernick. “Pray for wisdom, humility and the right words. Then prepare.” She suggests they write out what they want to say and practice saying it over and over again. “One of the things I tell people when they’re practicing is to rehearse in their heads ways things could go wrong,” she says. This way, when you hit a bump in the conversation, you’re prepared to steer the conversation back on course.

Tips for Biblical Conflict Resolution

Skill and practical tools for resolving conflict are important. But, according to Ken Sande, author of The Peacemaker—A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict and president of Peacemaker® Ministries: “As important as practical skills are, the focus always has to be on motive. If our desire is to honor Christ, everything else will follow.”

Keeping that in mind, here some practical tips, gleaned from professional conciliators, that can help you resolve personal conflict:

  • Define the problem and stick to the issue. Clearly define the issue and stay on topic during the discussion. Conflict deteriorates when the issue that started the conflict gets lost in angry words, past issues, or hurts tossed into the mix.
  • Pursue purity of heart. “Take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5 NASB). Before approaching others regarding their faults and shortcomings, prayerfully face up to your own. Confess any way you might have contributed to the problem.
  • Plan a time for the discussion. Plan a time to meet with the other person when you are both rested and likely to respond in love to the other person’s concerns. When you are tired, stressed, and distracted with other responsibilities, things rarely will go well.
  • Affirm the Relationship. Affirm the relationship before clearly defining the problem. For example, “Our relationship is important to me. But when you don’t return my calls, I feel rejected and unimportant.” Avoid blaming the other person and saying, “You make me feel…” Instead, say, “When you do ‘A’, I feel ‘B’.”1By applying these practical tips and tools for resolving conflict to your relationships, you can turn obstacles into opportunities to demonstrate the love and power of the gospel. What’s more, you will know the deep, abiding joy that comes through obedience to God’s Word.“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
  • Listen carefully. Once you share your feelings, listen to the other person’s perspective. Lean in; be present. “One of the most powerful communication techniques I know is to listen well,” points out Sande. Make sure your body language conveys that you are open to the other’s perspective. Reflect back to the individual what you believe you have heard. For example, “I heard you say that you feel expectations from me. Is that correct?”
  • Forgive. Forgive others as Christ has forgiven you. “Forgiveness is both an event and a process,” Sande says. He suggests you make forgiveness concrete with four promises:
    • I promise I won’t bring this up and use it against you in the future.
    • I promise I’m not going to dwell on it in my own heart and mind.
    • I’m not going to talk to other people about it.
    • I’m not going to let it stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.
  • Propose a solution. Remember the relationship is more important than the issue. When working toward a solution, consider Philippians 2:4-5: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Seek solutions that keep everyone’s best interests in mind.



Word for today: Counterculture
A counterculture (also written counter-culture) is a subculture whose values and norms of behavior differ substantially from those of mainstream society, often in opposition to mainstream cultural mores.[1][2]

A countercultural movement expresses the ethos and aspirations of a specific population during a well-defined era. When oppositional forces reach critical mass, countercultures can trigger dramatic cultural changes.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, we must be countercultural.

Editor’s Note


Editor’s Note: I asked entrepreneur, business owner and dad Joel Wiggins to share his thoughts on the importance of fatherhood this Father’s Day. Wiggins group Men Standing in the Gap is behind the popular Triangle Father Daughter Dance and this year’s Mother Son Valentine’s Ball in February. He works to help men strengthen their bonds with their families and their communities.

When I think of the importance of dads, my first inclination is to speak on the role I play with my children. In a culture that devalues the importance of fathers, I will challenge you to consider that dads are more important than ever.

As a dad, I realize how important my leadership is to my home and the example set for my kids. We have all seen the videos of military dads surprising their children, big or small, toddler or teen. The emotion shown reflects the value. A new commercial by GM shows military dads returning and one little girls says, ¿oh, daddy.”

Dads are not just protectors in the military, but of their families. Any real dad would be willing to die at any minute if it would save just one of his children. Dads are to be the protectors of hearts and minds for their children. A dad who works two jobs, drives trucks on the lonely highways or struggles to keep the family business going so he can provide for his family is priceless.

The presence of a dad makes a noticeable difference in the lives of adult children. You show me an adult who had a loving dad who set a great example, and I will show someone of great wealth.

It is very easy to identify a person with a close relationship to their dad because they seem to shine. It is my belief, verified by many research findings, that a dad¿s presence can prevent many issues that affect our society. Poverty, dropout rates, teen pregnancy, low self-esteem, gang activity and prison rates are all decreased dramatically when a dad is present in the lives of his children.

I have pictures from a daddy-daughter dance that I have sponsored for years and almost all of the photos show a little girl who looks very much like her dad. It amazes me that when you sit a daughter on her fathers¿ knee, you see a beautiful female version of her dad.

Dads are the producers of children. We all came from a man. Mom carried us. Dad planted that seed. How important is it for the seed to know the one they came from? How important is it for a child to be spoken to with words of affirmation from their dad?

Just ask the millions of children in America who do not know what it is like to have this person in their lives. The hole left in a heart from not having this man involved will last a lifetime for many.

As I write this article, I realize I have never called a man “Daddy.” I called my stepfather by his name and did not know my biological father until I was a teen. He never earned the right to be called dad by a stubborn 16-year-old boy who was very independent.

His early death came when I was 28. Now I hear “Daddy” from my children every day.

And you know what? Being called Dad is always the highlight of my day.