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Building Mental Toughness In Business and Life

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Building Mental Toughness In Business and Life

By: Chris Sadler, President, Allegiancy

September 22, 2015

Earlier this month, a Marine Corps friend of mine penned a blog post that’s title stopped me in my tracks.

“Sand fleas have to eat, too…what Parris Island taught me about wellness.”

Ned Dukehart, President of Allegant LLC, was opining about taking responsibility for our own health and wellness.

He highlights how the Marine Corps teaches young grunts how to lead from the top and bottom. Everyone from a general to a rifleman needs to be physically fit. He describes that sometimes you have to tell people like it is, politically correct or not. He encourages people to leave excuses at the door. No one needs fancy gym equipment to be healthy, he wrote. They just need their own body weight.

Push ups, anyone?

Read his complete article here.

However, I think Ned’s post goes deeper. A lot deeper.

In our society today, it is rare to find a colleague, a customer, or even a friend, that will take one for the team. That is, someone who will sit there and let the sand fleas feast on their skin in order to further the objectives of the group. The analogy that Ned uses is of training exercises while at Parris Island, the Marine Corps’ training ground, while on maneuvers you just have to let the large number of sand fleas gnaw on you – slapping at them might give away your position to the ‘enemy’. You have to suck it up for the good of the team!

The Marines breed toughness both physical and mental – they have the results to prove it. I would argue that the mental toughness is more important and lasting than the physical toughness.

If we can put the selfishness of “I” or “me” aside for just a little while and think about the bigger picture, imagine what we can achieve together – as partners, as entire companies or as a society as a whole.

It comes down to leadership. Note the comment earlier about the Marines teaching how to lead from the bottom and the top. That leadership starts with yourself. Lead yourself and pretty soon you will be leading others.

Be tough enough to forego the immediate gratifications in life and the later rewards will be far greater.

Take responsibility and take charge.

Take this advice from Ned and apply it to your life – both personal and in business – and see how far it takes you. I suspect it will be a long way.

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