This is part of my Thought Piece Series where I explore topics related to leadership and provide both answers and questions. My intention is to start meaningful conversations that help us move forward.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, this title is a surprise.

Growing up in a local shop and newsagent, I saw a lot of magazine covers. And a perk of the job was that, when it was quiet, I could browse through the magazines and papers and read the ones that were interesting.

I don’t buy women’s magazines.

I mean, I did when I was a teenager working in the shop. But there was rarely anything interesting to me. How to do smokey eyes. How to get that beach hair look. How to get beach body ready in 3 weeks.
(in hindsight some of those how to’s would have been useful, I really don’t know what I’m doing with my hair).
And the body shaming, ugh. All the “how to improve your body” articles never seemed to be about actually becoming stronger, healthier, fitter.

So these days when I see the parody’s about “get that perfect bikini body” that say

  1. Have a body
  2. Put a bikini on it
  3. There you go: Bikini Body

I appreciate the progress we are making.

But why am I talking about all of this? Is this more than a walk down memory lane? (yes) Have I spent too long in isolation that I’ve started to ramble? (possibly)

I’m talking about this because today’s topic is about getting fit for the summer: mentally fit.

What is mental fitness?

“Your capacity to respond to life’s challenges with a positive rather than a negative mindset.”

Shirzad Chamine

No this does not mean that you see everything as rosy and good. That’s denial and delusion.

A positive mindset means that, when something bad happens, you can say things like:

“Well,that sucks. what good can I create out of this?”
“I don’t like this, but what can I learn from this that will make my life better?”
“Oh my god this is really bad, I need a minute…….. ok, I need some help with this, can you help me?

I hope you’re noticing the very real acknowledgment of the bad thing. It’s a fundamental believe of mine that you’ve got to acknowledge it so that you can integrate, learn from, and use it for your benefit.

Why bother?

Mental fitness allows you to achieve

  • Peak performance
  • Peace of mind/wellness
  • Healthy Relationships

That’s a big claim. But it’s based on a simple concept: how you see the world is how it is (for you)

Here’s an example that any parent, who has been doing homeschooling during the shutdowns, will have experienced. And anyone who has trained a colleague in a new system or process… but the colleague thinks the old way was fine and doesn’t see why we are doing all this… You know what I mean.

Here’s the short story of me teaching my daughter maths

D: This is hard, I can’t do it.
Me: Ok, this is what you do (insert amazing explanation of long division here). now have a go
2 seconds later..
D: The answer is 15.
Me: Wow, you did that really fast, you do get it!
D: No, this is really hard, I don’t get it, I can’t do this.

You see, the thing about the brain is, it believes whatever you tell it.
If you tell yourself/your brain “I can’t do this”, your brain will reply “righto, I can’t do this” and it will make that true or deny any evidence to the contrary (my daughter could do it but because she believed she couldn’t, she denied the evidence that she could).

What a mind f***!

But there is good news!

There is a way to change the way we think. It comes down to mindset.

Are we in:

  • A negative mindset “I can’t do this”
  • Or a positive mindset “I can’t do this yet, let me see how I can figure this out”

Making the switch takes mental fitness.
And fortunately, for me and all of you, the good people at Positive Intelligence have done all the research and factor analysis that shows that there are 3 core muscles at the root of mental fitness:

  1. Saboteur interceptor (saboteurs are our negative mindset champions)
  2. Sage. (embodies the positive mindset)
  3. Self Command (how to switch from one to the other)

I’ll be talking about this in a webinar with my good colleague Manuela Damant this Friday, 9:00 CET
Join us and learn more about mental fitness, and the gift we have for you for getting your summer mental fitness ready.