Machen MacDonald: Stay TOUGH to achieve success |

Machen MacDonald: Stay TOUGH to achieve success

Finding a solution to a problem begins when one can "empty the puzzle box" and evaluate all the components before putting them together to form a remedy.
Photo courtesy Pixabay

Top achievers find their way in summoning their mental and emotional toughness to effectively activate their perseverance and tenacity. By doing so they can push through the goal line when most others give up. There is no need to justify a retreat. This stick-to-it-ness has five key elements anyone can develop through practice.

Here is how you can be TOUGH:

Think adequately

Thinking creates solutions. Overthinking creates problems. Invoke the creative aspects of your thinking by wondering rather than worrying. We are continually evaluating throughout our day. When something comes into our awareness, we evaluate by asking three questions:

“I’m participating in May Day because I want to stand in solidarity with our community’s labor activists.”— Angelica NiblockSenior Project Manager at Cal-Solar

What is it?

What does it mean to me?

What do I need to do with it, or about it?

If we don’t have the answers to one of those three questions, we typically become stuck. Too many of those and we become overwhelmed. The typical behavior then is to distract ourselves from feeling out of control by moving toward something we imagine will provide us a sense of being control. It can look like getting lost in social media, doing busy work, forgetting things, starting an argument or watering the plant. The quest to get back in control takes on many forms.

The remedy is to keep it simple and break it down. List out the data or information of the situation. It’s like emptying the puzzle pieces of a puzzle box and getting a sense of what the picture is on the box. However, if we don’t know what the picture resembles or where the pieces are, it’s easy to feel defeated and retreat.

By the way, when we do this we no longer have problems, we only have puzzles. Think adequately and be a puzzle solver.

Observe the energy in motion

It is said that emotions are “energy in motion” i.e., (e-motion). Therefore, observe your emotions and they will reveal to you what you are thinking, for our thoughts precede our emotions. We must learn to be mindful of which direction our emotions take us as they precede our actions. Our emotions are either driving us to or away from what we need to do in order to achieve what we want.

Emotions are energy and all energy changes form. We can change how we feel by guiding our mind. Keep in mind, our emotions provide us valuable feedback. Learn to be okay with whatever you are feeling. Often, the most important thing to do is simply be. When it’s time to take action line up the emotional energy needed to take the corresponding actions that will achieve your desired results.

Use your resources, tools and talents accordingly

Remember the simple things like breathing, taking a break, being in nature and grounding. Hydrate your body and your brain so they can function optimally. Inventory your go-to skills, habits and processes that have carried you this far.

Often when we hit overwhelm we simply forget as mentioned earlier. This is why it is so important to have an updated ubiquitous reminder of what our strengths and talents currently are so we can easily reference and remind ourselves why and how we are uniquely qualified to succeed. This is not a cheat sheet but rather a memory cleat. This list serves as something to tether to and hang on when the seas get rough.

Gratitude engagement

When the going gets tough and overwhelm creeps in, shift the energy by simply taking into account what you are thankful for in your life. Our brain’s chemistry actually changes when we are in the feeling state of gratitude. Gratitude releases the emotional headlock we may find ourselves in and effectively resets our nervous system to be able to access our best internal resources. If you are challenged to come up with something, take a walk in a cemetery and give thanks for being above ground.

Honor your progress and learnings

This is a close cousin to engaging gratitude. It’s a form of gamifying your life and work by acknowledging the progress you are making and the lessons you are learning along the way. It keeps you in the game and on the track to seeing things through.

Stop and think why video games can be so addictive. They provide constant feedback of the progress being made in the form of points, access levels, and acknowledgement. This activates the feel good chemicals in the brain. We can do the same with daily check ins with accountability buddies, using habit trackers to keep score, and journaling our wins and thoughts.

Strive to make yesterday your easiest day yet. We live in an ever-expanding universe. Our nature is the desire for expansion. When we are expanding we feel more alive. When we feel more alive we accomplish greater things and contribute more to the greater good.

This week be TOUGH and watch what you can accomplish.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!

#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at and 530-273-8000.

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