In business, your mental strength determines if you rise to a challenge or crumble. And it turns out, the mental strength of an FBI agent is similar to what’s needed to run a business.
FBI special agent LaRae Quy was assigned the task of locating a known Russian spy in Silicon Valley and convince him to spy for the US. To accomplish her task she tried to understand the spy’s greater purpose in life and discovered that he was unhappy with his career.
She befriended the spy to convince him to come to the other side. In doing so the spy admitted to Quy that he was struggling to understand his greater calling in life. And Quy realized that it was a common struggle. “If you’re not doing something that truly has meaning and value to you when you hit tough times, you’re going to quit”.
Quy was able to exploit the spy’s discontentment with his career to turn him to spy for the US. The experience taught her how important it is to strengthen mental toughness in business. She discovered that when someone isn’t living in line with their greater purpose that their mental toughness suffers.
She discovered that when someone isn’t living in line with their greater purpose that their mental toughness suffers.
Running a business is full of potential pitfalls that can be challenged if you’re not feeling as though you’re doing something you really care about. Your resilience and toughness is tested repeatedly. And becoming more mentally tough will help you bounce back if and when you encounter setbacks in your business. Whether losing a contract or dealing with a difficult customer, difficulties are inevitable. And so cultivating skills to deal with them is essential.
In her book, Secrets of a Strong Mind, Quy describes 5 elements that will benefit your business:
Maintaining confidence in yourself, even when you encounter difficulties. Taking small concrete steps will help you achieve anything you set out to accomplish and will help you build up your confidence along the way.
Research shows that identifying and naming your fears essentially disarms them. It’s like trying to ignore the pink elephant in the room. The more you try to ignore it, the bigger and bigger it gets.
Making a commitment to your companies deepest values. Why are you starting a business? What values does your business hold in its mission statement? Someone who is fully committed will find a creative solution to almost anything that comes their way. And businesses that are committed to their values will always find a way to move past any challenges which may crop up.
When you believe that he direction and outcome of your life (and of your business) are in your hands you’ll shut down any fear or lack of confidence that may arise when reaching for a goal.
As the example with the Russian spy demonstrates, knowing your purpose will empower you to overcome any changes, transitions, or challenges which may arise in your business. Dedication comes with being aligned with your purpose.
Next time you find yourself confronted by challenges in your business consider how your work aligns with your purpose and use these 5 aspects of the Secrets of a Strong Mind.