Character & Mental Toughness- Why are they important for leaders?

“All the pressure is on the leader. When you become one, maintain the mental hustle that got you there.”– Gary Simmons

Could you be hustling more in regard to developing yourself and the people that you lead?

“Anything worth having is worth sharing.”– Chris Brady

I have found a means to develop and transform myself so I share it with the people I lead. I also share it with other leaders, at least those interested in hustling more to develop themselves and the people they lead.

“Do not bring me your successes; they weaken me. Bring me your problems; they strengthen me.” – Charles Kettering

I listen to people’s gripes and complaints. I listen to fellow teacher’s complaints about their students. I listen to administrators. I listen to fellow coaches. I listen to parents. I listen to my friends who represent a broad array of professions and life styles. I listen to the news and the problems of government and community. Listening forces me to apply and share what I have discovered. Doing so forces me to find better ways to articulate and convey my message, and recognize new situations, large and small, in which it may be applied.

Do you actually listen to your complaints, your gripes, your problems?

Do you tie these to character and mental toughness?

Would the development of your own character and mental toughness not benefit you?

Would the development of character and mental toughness in others not benefit both you and others?

If you don’t know this to be true then why not invest a bit of time to discover it?

If you know this to be true then why ignore it?

Lack of character and mental toughness will catch up with you. It will catch up with the people you lead. The situation will present itself where you or your organization will lose. And at the heart of that loss will be a flaw in character and/or mental toughness.

Might that flaw have been addressed earlier, before the crucial moment when it affected performance?

There are a lot of ways to win, but there really is only one way to win consistently and then maintain that success.

How many more times must we be so busy that we are blinded by these truths?

You are willing to hustle, you want desperately to succeed, so why do you continue to ignore the fundamental components of success?

I saw once where the cement in the Hoover dam is still curing 80 years after construction started. As it cures the cement grows stronger. Your foundation is every bit the cement commonly used in building foundations. It will cure with time and grow stronger. But you can do much to enliven, invigorate, and expedite that process in yourself and others.

Don’t stop complaining. Don’t stop discussing your problems and listening to the problems of others. The more you do, the more you will see how the development of character and mental toughness will solve them, or better yet prevent them.

“A tiger doesn’t change it’s stripes.”– Proverb

Likewise, don’t give up on change. Sure there are tigers, but there are far more caterpillars waiting for you to help them become butterflies. Change is everywhere around us, don’t take an excuse that things don’t change. People change all the time. Some call it growth. There are plenty of people eager to grow, to rise from their dormancy. Ignite that change in yourself and those you lead. The best part is they will sooner or later be grateful for what you shared with them.

I know full well the story of the scorpion and the frog, but might both the frog and the scorpion have benefited from growing their character and mental toughness long before they set off to cross the stream?

Character and mental toughness development can be incubated and accelerated in yourself and your organization.

Don’t sit around losing and fixing yourself and your people after the loss. Don’t be reactionary. Learn how to win and teach those around you how to win. Not just on this project or in this subject or in this situation. Teach them how to win in life. Teach them character and mental toughness as the basis, as the foundation, of everything you and your organization do. You need to be a winner, your organization needs winners and the world needs winners too. Make it a habit of teaching yourself and others the character and mental toughness needed to consistently win. By constantly addressing these areas you will correct those crucial flaws before it’s too late.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo

There is much written about servant leadership. Well what better service could you provide as a leader than serving as a catalyst for the personal growth of those you serve. Light their way.

Have a discussion, share a link, give them a handout. Start small and then build from there. Put some fuel in their tank by putting some thoughts in there head. Watch as those who are stalled or never started begin rolling forward.

The character and mental toughness method holds up despite the diversity of our various struggles because of the commonality of human nature. No matter what you do, you have to deal with people, or at least yourself and you are a people too. One, a dozen, hundreds or more. We are people and we will ultimately succeed or fail largely based on our strength of character and mental toughness.

You win with winners. So teach yourself the character and mental toughness you need to succeed. And if you have done that, then set off to teach others the character and mental toughness they need to find and sustain success.

Don’t get upset because they didn’t show “it” when it mattered. Think about what you could have done better to help them see “it” long before it matters.

“We were born to succeed, not to fail.” – Henry David Thoreau

People can change. People do change. People can help other people see the benefits of change. To say that people can’t change is to quit. It’s an excuse to be lazy and not to help them. The changes I made in myself and see in the young people I coach and teach are profound.

Not everyone can be helped. And there are times when one cannot wait around for a change to present itself. Sometimes a kid must get cut, a friendship must end, an employee must be let go. But as a secondary level teacher and coach, I do not have the luxury of picking my students or players. If I want to win, I have to make the best of what I have to work with.

I have to help those people I lead recognize that what I have to teach them in this regard will help them the rest of their lives. I have to do all I can to help them see how much they will benefit from growing their character and mental toughness. Sure I teach them specifics related to the subjects and sports I am involved in. I also teach them general skills. But more importantly, I teach them how to be winners. Once they learn how to win, they can win at just about anything. When a player or student realizes this, they are all in. I do little more than add some fuel to their tank and thus remind them and further inspire them. But they apply their own ever growing character and mental toughness and succeed at whatever they choose to do.

The 11 core character traits are the pieces of the puzzle that lead to success. Mental toughness is the glue that binds them and keeps them together when things get difficult.

Martin Luther King Jr. so memorably discussed judging people on the content of their character. I am simply urging you to grow that very content in yourself and those you lead. Take something from this site or somewhere else. Read it and share it with the people you lead. You will be doing them, and you, a service that could make a profound difference.

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” -Aristotle

“Dig the well before you are thirsty.” – Chinese Proverb

Read Coach Moore’s new book “On Character and Mental Toughness” available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Kindle.


About coachbillmoore

Educator/Author/Speaker/HS & NCAA Coach Character Coach Read Coach Moore’s book “On Character and Mental Toughness” Paperback available at Barnes & Noble or Amazon. "The measure of your character and mental toughness is the space between what you are doing and what you could be doing." -Coach Bill Moore
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