9 Key Signs of Mental Strength

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: August 02, 2022
9 Key Signs Mental Strength

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Young employees and job seekers are often told that they have to be “tough” in order to make it in the “real world”. But what does this actually mean? Obviously, office life doesn’t require Rocky Balboa-style workouts and the ability to get up off the floor after being literally knocked down. (If you’re being knocked down at work then you need another job, pronto).

Mental toughness can be difficult to define, and inexperienced employees don’t always know if they have what it takes to make it up the ladder. So with that in mind, allow us to shed some light on what it means to be “mentally strong”. Master these traits, and even if you get battered around a little on the way, you’ll eventually reach your goals.

1. Mentally strong people know what they want

During any given interaction or project, mentally strong people recognize the desired outcome over both the long and short term. They ask themselves: “What do I hope to get out of this conversation?” and “Why am working so hard to please this particular client or contact?” They know where they plan to be in one, three, or five years, and they know where they’d like to be in five minutes. And of course, they recognize that these plans and goals may change at any moment.

2. They tolerate temporary discomfort

Early mornings are rough. So are long days, all-nighters, awkward conversations, harsh criticism, and difficult decisions. But mentally strong people don’t avoid these rough patches; they face them down and ride them out.

3. They are flexible

Opportunities can arrive and disappear without warning, and plans sometimes change on a moment’s notice—or with no notice at all. Mentally strong people keep up with these changes and don’t miss a beat.

4. They’re kind

Even when they’re stressed, distracted, or angry, mentally strong people have the perspective to put their own feelings aside and treat others with kindness and respect.

5. They hold on until it’s time to let go

Staying power is critical to any long term endeavor, and the phrase “Never give up!” wouldn’t appear on so many motivational posters if it didn’t hold a grain of wisdom. But mentally strong people balance bull-headed determination with intelligence and practically. They know when to hold steady and when to change course.

6. They respect and protect their happiness

Happiness matters. It’s serious and important. Mentally strong people know this, and they don’t let people or circumstances take their happiness away without a fight.

7. They show emotional control

No matter what happens to them, mentally strong people know that outward expressions of emotion are within their control. They decide which feelings they’ll share and which feelings they’ll keep to themselves.

8. They have a powerful sense of empathy

Mentally strong people know how to place themselves in the positon of another person and imagine what others might be thinking and feeling at any given moment.

9. They take risks

Strong people know that in order to make money, they sometimes need to spend money. And in order to move forward, they sometimes need to move back. Calculated risks are part of a successful career and a well lived life…and this includes the risk of revealing our ignorance in order to learn new things.

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