Terrorism. Lousy economic conditions. War. Unethical behavior in big business. Welcome to America 2003. Here's my advice: Decide to get mentally tough today.

Chances are, you've grown a little soft over time. Most of us have. We live in the richest, most powerful country in the world, where we can do and be anything we want. Before Sept. 11, 2001, the thought of America under attack was the farthest thing from our country's collective consciousness. We live in a new world now; it's time we got mentally tough again, just as our parents and grandparents did during the great Depression and World War II.

What does this have to do with your networking business? Everything.


The Habit of Successful Thinking

Let's be honest: Network marketing is a business you can learn over lunch. The essence of recruiting and referring is pleasingly simple and straightforward. As with most businesses, the real game is won or lost between the ears.

Successful networkers have always and will always write their own tickets in this profession. The mentally tough networker is unstoppable, thriving in adverse conditions, understanding that failure is the toll you pay to cross over to the other side of town called "success."

The tough-minded know that if you remove the struggle, you remove the victory. The average person wishes that obstacles and fear of failure would disappear; the warrior conditions him- or herself to learn how to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. The uncomfortable state of mind is where mental growth takes place and the toughening process begins. Without doubt, fear, worry and stress, a person will never develop world-class mental toughness. The people who do, learn to look their fear in the face and say, "I'm bigger than you, you cannot defeat me."

I recently heard someone in a convention audience ask a presenter if, with the heightened threat of terrorism, he was going to stop flying to do speeches. Without missing a beat, the speaker asked, "What's the worst thing that can happen if I don't stop?" The gentleman said, "You could die." The speaker answered, "Well, we all have to die someday, don't we?"

This is how mentally tough performers think--and it's not something they were born with. It's a mental skill that they have developed and built into a habit.


Winning Over Circumstance

In nearly 20 years of working with world-class performers, the only difference I've seen between the haves and have-nots is the manner in which they process information. The mentally tough see opportunity; the weak see looming failure. The tough feel the thrill of uncertain conditions and meet them head on; the weak crumble under stress and pressure and immediately seek shelter.

The mentally weak never get tough because they keep running from adversity and pressure; as a result, they never become battle tested. Being "battle-tested" means hearing people say no to you and conditioning yourself to be unaffected emotionally. It means that when that little voice wakes you up at 3 a.m. and says, "You're going to lose everything ... You can't do it ... You're not good enough...," you listen to every word, fully experience the knot in your stomach that keeps you awake the rest of the night--and you say to yourself:

"No: I can do it. I am fully committed to making this vision a reality and I'll make it or die trying. I don't care what it takes. I'll fight this fight to the end. And if I lose everything and have to start all over again, then so be it. You can bet your lunch money that I'll be back!"

This is how champions condition themselves to think, and it's this mentality that makes them so tough to beat. The universe seems to give the mentally tough performer whatever he or she wants. It's almost as if it says, "He's never going to quit, might as well just let him through--let's challenge someone less committed." Nobody wants to go head-on with the warrior--and that includes circumstances!


The Elite

Once you decide to get mentally tough, the battle isn't over, but the outcome is pre-determined. Will you still have your demons to slay? Of course. There will be times of doubt, worry and fear; those times will serve as the primary catalyst of your emotional growth--and your emerging mentally-tough mindset.

You can visualize all you want, say all of the affirmations you can think of--but until you walk through the fire, feel the pain, and emerge victorious, you'll never be mentally tough enough to join the ranks of the world-class. Anyone who tells you different has spent more time studying performance than actually performing.

The world is chock full of theories and formulas. Meanwhile the champions are out on the battlefield getting tougher every day, winning some and losing some ... and getting leaner and meaner with each minute spent under attack. Five years from now the academics will still be theorizing ... and the champions will be decorating their beachfront mansions. To the mentally tough go the spoils.

If you'll hang tough and operate from a framework of mental strength, you're going to win your share of ribbons. You won't win them all, but you'll win your share relative to how mentally tough you become.

Mental toughness has the power to make or break you in this business. It is the true secret of champions. The gloves are off; the choice is yours. Get tough and win big ... or live out the rest of your life with the regret of knowing that you held the secret of how to make it--but lacked the courage to attack the dragon head-on. It's your business and your life. What will you do?



is co-founder of the Gove-Siebold Group (www.gove-siebold.com),
a training organization that helps
networkers develop world-class
communication skills.