Someone had this to say about physical exercise. “If you think lifting weights is dangerous, try being weak.” This powerful statement highlights the importance of being in a fit physical state.
It is for this reason that many people today can’t stop exercising. The value of this activity is a well-known and appreciated fact.
We must realize, though, that talking about exercise won’t be complete without something. What is this?
We can’t forget to talk about mental exercise. It’s the other side of the coin with exercise. If we are to get our full value for money, so to speak. We shouldn’t neglect to appreciate the value of mental fitness.
As it would be dangerous for our physical state to be weak. It is likewise dangerous if our mental state is weak.
What is mental fitness, though? Let’s find out.
Mental Fitness - What Is It?
When you think of mental fitness, does the image of your brain doing squats come to mind?
Let’s revise that image a bit with this definition. Mental fitness refers to caring for the state of your mind. This involves taking care of your intellectual, emotional, and social well-being.
It’s being able to maintain clarity in your thinking. Being aware of how you feel and behave. And keeping your brain working fast enough to make effective decisions. Like physical exercise, mental exercise is key to developing mental fitness.
Of course, what might work for me might not work the same way for you. There’s no one size fits all approach to developing a mental exercise routine. You could read a book, solve a puzzle or meditate to build your mental fitness.
What’s important is that you practice this with consistency. Do this for a few minutes or longer days to develop your mental fitness.
What traits do we see in those who have a fit mental state?
Research shows they are more self-aware. They are empathetic, curious, mindful, and resilient. They are also excellent communicators.
As you might have figured out, these traits bring success to our relationships. They result in our being effective leaders. And they help us achieve our life goals.
For now, we want to focus in particular on how mental fitness can make us more effective leaders:
1. You gain a better understanding of yourself. There’s a saying, it goes, “When you master others, you gain strength, when you master yourself, you gain power.”
● Mental fitness gives you both. It makes you self-aware so you can identify your strengths and weaknesses.
● As you know your strengths, you can play them to your advantage. In the same way, knowing your weaknesses helps you mitigate them. Once you know your limitations, your ability to delegate improves.
● You will know which tasks to hand over to your subordinates. And you will know which of your skills can support your subordinates.
● Being self-aware will help you know how much to rely on yourself. And how much to rely on others. When you gain mental fitness, you master this skill. And in the end, it makes you a better leader.
2. You take responsibility and encourage action. A key element of effective leadership is taking responsibility. If you can take responsibility, you encourage your subordinates to take action. If they take action, you get results.
● Mental fitness makes you mindful. For this reason, you are ready and willing to take responsibility for those under you. This can inspire your subordinates and give them the confidence to act for your benefit.
3. You understand your team and how to motivate them. Being in a fit mental state means you’ll be more empathetic. You will put yourself in your subordinates’ shoes.
● This will make you aware of the challenges they face and inclined to help them. You’ll also know how to encourage them to succeed and help you reach the goal you set.
4. You communicate effectively to get results. Communication in leadership goes beyond relaying information. When good leaders talk with their subordinates, they leave them energized and inspired.
● Building mental fitness results in an improvement in communication skills. You will not only speak to your subordinates with respect. You will listen to them as well.
● This builds trust. Trust will improve your team’s performance and get you the results you seek.
As you can see from what we have discussed, our leadership skills improve as we gain mental fitness.
As we work on our bodies, let’s not neglect to work on our mental muscles to keep them in top shape as well. We will then enjoy the rewards of having the strength and skills necessary to build a successful life.