Smashing The Mental Barriers

ASK ANY ATHLETE, NEAR-DEATH survivor, Everest summiteer, or even a successful real estate agent what is, the key to their success. Why were they able to withstand and push through the challenges and obstacles that defeated others? They will tell you that having the mental toughness to overcome obstacles was the key.

Having the skill set to be a great athlete does not ensure greatness, nor does knowing how to climb a mountain get you to the top of it. The same goes for being a great real estate agent. Just having a great skill set does not guarantee you phenomenal listings and sales success.

When the time comes – and it does come –that challenges everything about you, pushes you to your limit and causes you to want to stop and shrink at the challenge ahead, or walk away from the obstacle in front of you, or give up putting the effort in that is required – then it is your mental toughness that rises to the top and takes you beyond your physical capability or skills.

At moments like this it is your mental toughness that steps in and takes over. It says ‘this can and will be done and it is going to happen’.

Burns survivor Turia Pitt was in an endurance race when a fire swept through the bush and engulfed her, trapping her and burning 80 per cent of her body. She should have been burnt to death. However, as she says, “there was a piece inside me the fire couldn’t get to.” Turia is now one of the most inspiring people on earth. Why did she survive? Because of her mental toughness.

The best real estate agents in the world understand this. They epitomise the saying, ‘when the going gets tough the tough get going’. When there’s no way out they make a way out; when it appears to be all over they find a way to make it happen.

So what is mental toughness and how do you develop it for real estate sales success?

University of Pennsylvania researcher Angela Duckworth studied over 2,500 candidates at the United States Military Academy, West Point. These cadets were attempting to complete what they call the ‘Beast Barracks’. Beast Barracks is designed to test the limits of the cadets’ physical, emotional and mental capacities.

What Duckworth found was that it was not the bigger, stronger, smarter cadets or those who showed great leadership potential who finished. It was those who had what is called grit, ‘the perseverance and passion to achieve long-term goals’. This defined their mental toughness.

A pioneer on research into mental toughness from Manchester Metro University, Professor Peter Clough, defines mental toughness as “a mindset that describes the default response we make when faced with stressors, pressures or challenges, irrespective of the prevailing circumstances.”

He identified four key areas to improve mental toughness.

    You need to have control over your life and a belief that you can do anything with it. You also need to be able to control your emotions and the emotions of others.
    You need a commitment to keep the promises you make and do exactly what is you said you would do to achieve your goals.
    You need confidence in your abilities in order to do whatever you want to do, or confidence that you can acquire and learn the ability if you need to. You also need confidence that you can influence others and stand by your decisions without question.
    You need to challenge and push yourself and be driven to succeed. Be prepared to take risks and embrace setbacks as opportunities to learn.

Based on Clough’s research, if you already have all these key areas operating at a high level, or you are able to develop them, then you are likely to have a strong mental toughness.

So how do you measure up over the four key areas? What does your mental toughness look like? If mental toughness is the key to succeeding, what do you need to change to become mentally tougher and achieve greater success? Let me leave you with this thought from Washington Irving: “Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them.”

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Jet Xavier

Jet Xavier is one of Australia’s leading Mindset Coaches for real estate sales professionals. For more information visit