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February-March 2021

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The column "Leadership Whiteboard" provides a short visual leadership coaching moment. It introduces and explains a new sketch in each issue, provides leadership coaching for further development, and shares a leadership quote and recommended book.



Mental Toughness and Whack-a-Mole


Have you participated in the game Whack-A-Mole? Not as the player with the club, but as one of the moles getting whacked? Not the desired role we want! But, in reality, those little varmints possess a resilience to keep popping back up.

Everyday life can make you feel like the mole. The year 2020 pounded you, church whacked you, and life keeps taking swings. How do you get through when life gets much harder? What if the odds seem stacked against you? How do you prepare yourself when it seems undoable? How do you cope? Can we encourage ourselves with a newfound mental toughness discovered over the past few months?


If you have ever played organized sports and run laps, you know about endurance and mental toughness. Just hearing the coach’s whistle announcing suicide drills makes everyone cringe. Similarly, serving in the military makes one mentally tough for almost anything. It starts when you are commanded to stand at attention without being able to scratch your nose, which suddenly itches unmercifully. That same drill sergeant showed you how many push-ups, road marches, and sleepless hours you could actually handle.

It’s no wonder studies have been done surrounding sports and the military on mental toughness. What lessons can we learn from these two arenas that produce physically and mentally tough individuals you want on your team?

The coach or drill sergeant never starts with ten miles. It takes many runs or marches of one or two miles, and then builds up to three to five miles, and soon eight feels like nothing. The athlete or soldier remembers the previous accomplishment and says, “I did that one, and this one is just a little harder.”

Each arena repeatedly pushes you through incremental increases by demanding heavier, longer, harder, and under adverse conditions. The old saying, “If it were easy, everyone would do it” truly reminds us how we appreciate things that don’t come easy. You build on previous difficult
accomplishments and failures. Tough is like the running back who gets knocked down every four to five yards. Likewise, you learn to recognize the value of getting back up and pushing forward. The repeated stretching process makes you tougher mentally and physically.

Perspective and resilience are everything when accessing what is in front of you. Keep popping up; God needs you in the game!

About the Columnist: Ron Hunter Jr. has a Ph.D. in Leadership and is CEO of Randall House Publications. You may contact him at





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