EM | 188 Getting Ahead Mentally

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In this week’s Executive Minds, Shane, Jeff, and David discuss the importance of getting ahead mentally. It’s something we should be thinking about on a consistent basis. Our job as a leader is to move people from where they currently are to where they need to be eventually. But before we can lead anyone else, we have to make sure that we are leading ourselves successfully. For this reason, getting ahead mentally is key. Pulling from proven experience, the mentors discuss how to take your leadership to the next level in this candid conversation. Thanks for tuning in!

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Three Takeaways:

What does it mean to move ahead mentally?

The battle starts in the mind. So moving or staying ahead mentally means that you are knowing that a challenge is coming and you are actively getting prepared. You are working on having the confidence so that you can show up well. The fact is that how you think is how you’re going to act. This season has been mentally exhausting and it’s easy to be tired from staying positive and pushing back doubts, fears, and worries amidst all of this uncertainty. It’s also hard to think yourself into a new frame of mind when you’re exhausted. Moving ahead mentally means that you are getting adequate mental rest in order to have the strength to handle what may come.

How are you allowing your mind to rest as a leader?

If we want to grow, then we have to be willing to hit pause. There’s a lot of ways one can do this. Perhaps it’s journaling. Journaling allows you to see what you think so that you can increase your mental awareness. Maybe you need to reduce your intake (less TV, news, etc.). Also, you can build a lot by practicing breathing techniques. This allows you to center yourself and gives you time to remind yourself about what is true. Take 20 deep breaths when you are most stressed and notice the difference. Also, prioritize physical work to push back against mental stress. Go outside and take a walk. At the end of the day, it’s about margins. Do a mental audit and make sure you’re building in enough margins in your life to take a mental rest. Those margins will help you combat stress and close the gaps and make up the deficit you’re experiencing.

What are you doing to teach this to those you lead?

Perhaps the best thing to do is to let your team know that this is a fight for mental health. Unfortunately, there’s a a stigma attached to mental health issues. One of the ways that prioritizing mental health can be destigmatized is by normalizing counseling and in particular, proactive counseling. Something doesn’t need to be wrong in order to be tuned-up. Teach others by being vocal and vulnerable about the steps that you’re taking to win the mind game. Also, look ahead at what might be coming down the pipeline. Think about the skills or resources that you’ll need down the road and chip away at acquiring those skills today. This is difference between studying methodically over a set period of time for an exam and cramming for a test. It can make all the difference in the world between success and failure.