One trait I have noticed that is different between the people I know who are super successful, compared to others who can’t seem to get ahead in business, is that the successful possess an incredible mental toughness. They make it a point to do hard things and push themselves. There is no shortage of professional coaches in our industry these days. They all want to teach you how to be successful by following their program or using their incredible systems to help you reach new levels in your business. And while there are many benefits to following these paths to success, there is often a central key piece of information left out. And that is the fact that it will require an incredible amount of mental toughness to continually allow yourself to wake up every day and fight against the daily opposition you will face.
The successful possess an incredible mental toughness
Looking back now, I can say that what I am about to describe was one of the best things that ever happened to me besides marrying my wife Sheena and our daughter Lucy. In April of 2009, I was in a pretty bad car accident. It left me with a severely injured ankle. It seems that the body does not respond well to coming to a sudden stop while traveling 80 mph due to impacting the point of a metal guard rail. Things get a little hazy after that, but I remember bits and pieces of a helicopter ride and pleading with the emergency flight crew to not let them take my leg. I knew I was severely hurt. But I was lucky to be alive. And somehow, my only injury was to my ankle. The impact from the guard rail caused it to cut through the floorboard of my vehicle. It came right through the driver-side floorboard where I was sitting. Had I known at the time what the next five months would have in store for me, I would have been begging them to go ahead and amputate my leg. I got lucky to have a leading specialist in these high-impact trauma injuries happen to be on call when I was flown in. He told me from the first moment that he saw me that amputation would be a significant possibility, but they would perform surgeries to try and put me back together.
This night was the start of a very dark time for me.
Over the next five months, I would deal with isolation and excruciating pain like I had never known. I didn’t even know it was possible to have this much pain for this extended amount of time. It was relentless. The worry and doubt were just as bad. How was I ever going to work my way back from this? I wasn’t exactly killing it at that point in my life anyway. I had no idea what I was going to do and was on the verge of giving up. Instead, I ended up fighting like hell to rehabilitate myself. But eventually, my Dr.’s prediction came true.
In September of the same year, on my 27th birthday, we decided that the best thing we could do was to amputate my leg below the knee. It was the best decision I have made. All the pain was gone as soon as I woke up from surgery. And within another year, through intense rehab and training my body to get as strong as possible, I was back to being a completely functional person with no physical limitations at all. I didn’t do this alone and can’t take credit for all of it. My family was a massive support system. They endured taking care of me even though I was terrible to be around. Angry, sad, in terrible pain, and scared is not a good combo. But it was me who decided not to give up. Through all the pain and anguish, I was given a gift that you can only receive through immense struggle.
I was given the gift of learning how to be mentally tough.
When all this happened, I had no idea how valuable this newfound resolve would turn out to be. After getting myself back on the move and eventually starting my business, I learned a lot about myself and how I was fortunate for the terrible experience I had endured. One of the only skills I had was my ability not to quit, not give up when things were hard. You see, one of the main ways I have found success has boiled down to the fact that every day, I get up and force myself to push ahead.
Every day for the last 11 years, I have gotten up and faced the waves of problems coming at me from my business. You are most likely experiencing this every day in your life. What will separate you will be your ability to overcome adversity consistently. If you do not possess the mental toughness to fight that fight every day, you will eventually buckle under that weight. You will convince yourself that quitting would be the best thing for you. The good news is you don’t have to crash your car and lose your leg to gain mental toughness. It is like a muscle.
Build your mental toughness
You can exercise it, build it up, and make yourself unbreakable. To do this, though, you have to decide you are willing to put in the work. You won’t gain this skill by always being comfortable or taking the easy way. It’s also not a skill that you can neglect. It’s the old use it or loses it saying. To build and keep this skill honed, I have found that I must force myself to do hard things. I try to force myself to do physically and mentally challenging things every day, which is the main reason I work out daily.
Besides the health benefits, forcing myself to push my physical limits daily gives me the mental edge to continue the fight to grow my business. Making yourself every day learn new things when you would instead take a nap or get that workout when you are completely wiped out from work will build something inside you. It will make you unbreakable. Problems with your business will seem mild in comparison to what you willingly put yourself through daily. Make your training harder than your mission, and the task will seem easy.
If you are honest with yourself, have you started to prefer the comforts of life instead of struggle? It is easy to do, primarily if you have found a little success. I find myself slipping now and then back into the warm embrace of laziness. But we both know that taking it easy will not get you where you are trying to go. I have a sign in my gym at my house that says, “Comfort is a slow death, Prefer pain.”
I genuinely believe that if you can build your mental toughness, there is no challenge you can’t overcome.
Without going through all the dark times, forcing me to develop my will, I would have never built my business to what it has become. I was too soft before. I avoided pain and struggle. Now I embrace them. I force myself to experience them because it gives me the strength I need to get up the next day and face the world head-on. You can not let weakness control you. You have to rage against your apathy. If you cannot be broken, you will never lose.
-By Brian Sauls
Thank you Brian for this article. This is a good reminder about how it is the hard things that truly grow us, not the easy stuff we all want. I needed this today. Thank you
Nice article Brian! Love to hear more about your leg sometime because I have lots of carbon fiber poles left from old designs and was thinking about how to put them to good use! Call me some time Phillip Alexander 928-237-4189
My biggest growth was when we had another business fail ” Race Proven Electic” race car parts, we sold even Dale Earhart!
I was $166,000 IN DEBT!
So after 25 years of window cleaning, I said I have to have to do what I know! Did a business plan and went from ^ $66,000 to $188,000 to $280,000 in 3 years.
1. Call the janitor Place’s and offer to do there window-cleaning
2. Bid every big building in town.
3. Went to facilities manager’s and offer to do all their window cleaning and pressure washing
4. Big mistake was selling to My Manager for 10% every year but that is another story!
This information and story was gold. It was exactly what I needed to get. Thank you for writing this and sharing your story. Merry Christmas everyone.