Mental Toughness is a concept more commonly associated with sporting heroes than small business owners.  However, research conducted with elite sports people and athletes has now been applied to the workplace.

This research into mental toughness helps us to understand how an individual can consistently perform to the upper range of their abilities, regardless of how challenging their circumstances are.

These lessons from the sports world will help you in your business if you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of the following questions:

  • Do you operate in a competitive environment?
  • Is being in business tough at times?
  • Do you struggle to maintain your focus when things get on top of you?

For many small business owners the pressure of striving for profitable growth can lead to stress.  However, pressure doesn’t have to lead to stress – most athletes use the pressure of competition to drive them to their peak performance.  They use the principles of Mental Toughness to help them.

There are four key elements that make up a person’s Mental Toughness.  These four elements are known as the 4 C’s and can be measured using a Mental Toughness questionnaire:


Individuals who score high on this scale feel that they are in control of their work and of the environment in which they work.  They are capable of exerting more influence on their working environment and are more confident about working in complex situations.


Individuals who score high on this scale carry out tasks successfully despite any problems or obstacles that arise whilst achieving the goal.  Consequently they are able to handle and achieve tasks with tough unyielding deadlines.


Individuals who are high in confidence have the self-belief to successfully complete tasks, which may be considered too difficult by individuals with similar abilities, but with lower confidence.


Individuals who score high on this scale see challenges as opportunities.  As a result they tend to actively seek them out and will identify problems as ways for self-development.

Today’s workplace creates more changes and challenges than at any time in history.  It demands that we are able to deal with the unpredictable and fast-paced nature of work.  However, we are rarely taught the strategies that help build our capacity to deal with this challenge and thrive in this environment.  By developing your Mental Toughness you effectively give yourself the mindset to positively respond to these challenges.

If you would like to learn more about Mental Toughness and how it could help you and your business, please get in touch on: 01902 895310 or

Nicola Hughes of Luminate Development Ltd is an award winning Executive Coach who works with business leaders to accelerate their personal growth and business performance.

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