7 Ways to be Mentally Strong at Work

Being mentally strong at work is critical to your success.  How you build that mental muscle though, is often something that people don't think about a lot while at work. 

Here are 7 ways you can be mentally strong at work:

1.  Embrace Change

Hanna Phan's story is a great example embracing change.  She was applying for jobs but wasn't finding success with her resume.  Why?  Well, times have changed. The resume just isn't as effective as it used to be.  If you want to stand out from the crowd of job seekers, a resume doesn't exactly yell out, "Hey, I'm awesome!"   Unless you're the CEO of Google.  Or Facebook.   

So what did Hanna do?  Instead of complaining about the job market or how hard it was to get interviews with her resume, she embraced the fact that she had do something radically awesome to get her potential employer's attention.

She created a presentation resume video and tweeted it at the CEO of one of the hottest technology companies in the valley.  

Check it out here:  (or just Youtube Search "Hanna Phan Presume")


And yes, she got the job.

2.  Be willing to take risks

There's a risk to not taking a risk.  It's complacency.  It's stagnancy.  

When I was 26, I had this idea that people would love to have flash cards to help themselves prepare for interviewing.  After all, who likes to go to the store to buy pens, note cards and then have to write each of the questions and answers on their own?  #inefficient

So I decided I was going to build an app.  The only problem was that I had no design skills, no marketing budget and no connections to developers.  Oh, and I also couldn't code.  Uhhhh, slight problem.

Building an app was really risky.  Almost everyone I talked to told me that.
So what did I do?  I buried myself into articles, trainings and networked with people in the space to learn as much as I could.  Once I had an idea of how to approach it, I hired a developer on Elance and designed the app myself with Photoshop. Within a year I had built 3 top 50 apps in their respective categories.  One app hit 75,000 downloads in a day.   

Want to be mentally strong?  

You can't be afraid.  You have to be willing to take calculated risks.

3.  Learn from the past and look towards the future

"You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one" - Unknown

You're going to make mistakes along the way.  I call those "speed bumps."  (My good friend Nate Leung gave me that phrase).  Yes, sometimes it makes the ride a little uncomfortable, but hey, have you ever been stopped by a speed bump before?  I don't think so.

When I was at A Fortune 100 company, I emailed my boss' boss once letting him know that I couldn't make it to the regional sales team meeting.  Guess what?  My boss got angry that I emailed his boss instead of him.  What seemed like an innocent email was actually a political fiasco apparently.  

I was really young and new to my career at the time, so I dwelled on it and felt terrible for a few days.  

Eventually, I realized I just needed to learn from it.  Everyone has different styles at work and it's important to be aware of how they want to work with you.  

Guess what?  I barely even think about that day now.  In fact, I've actually never thought about it until now.  That's what I call a speed bump.  
If that happened to me today, I wouldn't even blink.  You learn to realize what's a big deal and what's not.   

So when you run into a speed bump, learn from mistakes and move on.  Keep your eyes on the future.  You've got a lot of epic awesomeness ahead of you. 

4.  Stay positive

One of my best friends, Erik, had an awesome secret to staying positive.
Anytime a conversation would get tense or someone would get upset, Erik would acknowledge the feeling, talk it out with that person and then bring up a positive comment about a completely different topic.  He wouldn't let people dwell on negative emotions.  If anything, he would try to cheer you up by making you laugh about something. 

And you know what?  It worked every single time for me.  

If you want to be mentally strong, stop stewing on negative thoughts and feelings. Think positive.

Need some inspiration to feel more positive and happy in life and in work? Just read about my friend's story here:  The Secret to Being Happy at Work (And in Life)

5. Celebrate other people's success and you've accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.  

#fuelformotivation #keepgrowing

"Celebrate what you've accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed." - Mia Hamm

I freaking love this quote.  Thanks Mia Hamm.

In February, I threw my first big marketing event and one executive roundtable. We had 100 customers and prospects show up.  There were laughs, an amazing customer story and an undeniable buzz in the building.  
After the event, people mentioned that it was a great event. 

Do you know what I did after the event?  

I thought about how I could make it better.  

In April, I threw my second big marketing event.  We had 140 people attend.  We also hosted 4 roundtables simultaneously.  There were laughs, an amazing executive panel and an undeniable buzz in the building.
After the event, people mentioned that it was even better than the first event.

Do you know what I did after the event?  

I thought about how I could make it better.  

Keep raising the bar.  It's how you stay mentally strong.

6.  Focus on what you can control

Draw two circles that slightly overlap.  In one, write "Stuff that is important."  In the other circle, right "Stuff that you can actually control." See that small area where the two circles overlap?  That's what you should focus your energy on. 

7.  Keep your eyes on the big picture

What's your big picture?
Is it building the playbook on how to grow a start up?
Is it leading and inspiring a team to be at their best? 
Is it raising a great family and having great work life balance?
Whatever your big picture is, stay focused on it.  Don't get dragged down by the small stuff. 

Now go out there and make it happen!