Mentally strong leaders think big, act courageous, and feel confident. Whether they’re faced with criticism and crisis, or praise and good fortune, they lead with fierce determination.

So what separates mentally strong leaders from the rest? They have certain core beliefs about themselves, other people, and the world in general that guide their daily decisions.

Here’s what mentally strong leaders know:


1. It’s important to admit when you don’t have the answer.


When presented with questions they can’t answer, mentally strong leaders are comfortable saying, “I don’t know.” They don’t feel threatened by smart people and tough questions. Instead, they enjoy a challenge. They consider themselves lifelong learners and they’re invested in gaining more knowledge.


2. It’s wise to acknowledge weaknesses.


While other leaders may waste energy masking their vulnerabilities, mentally strong leaders address their weaknesses head-on. They acknowledge the areas that need improvement and they seek to become better.


3. There’s always room for improvement.


You’ll never hear a mentally strong leader say, “I’m already mentally strong enough.” They know that there’s always room for improvement in their personal and professional lives. They make self-development a top priority because being a leader isn’t just what they do, it’s also who they are.


4. Character is more valuable than reputation.


They are more concerned with doing the right thing rather than making others happy. They stay focused on what really matters–their character–without worrying about charming other people. But, since they are authentic people who live according to their values, they naturally attract followers.


5. It’s essential to pay attention to your emotions.


Mentally strong leaders don’t suppress or deny their feelings. Whether they’re worried about a personal problem, or they’re excited about a professional opportunity, they’re aware of how those emotions may affect the way they think and the way they behave.


6. Their job is to control themselves, not other people.


Mentally strong leaders know they can influence people, but they can’t control them. Instead of yelling, screaming, and threatening others into compliance, they lead by example. They establish healthy boundaries and instill consequences when necessary, but they recognize it’s not their role to force others to follow suit.


7. Struggles are opportunities to grow stronger.


Instead of complaining about tough times, mentally strong leaders know that struggles are opportunities to build strength. They see challenges as opportunities to grow stronger as individuals and they recognize obstacles can help an entire organization become better.


Build Mental Strength


While many leaders are simply acting tough–mentally strong leaders possess an obvious inner strength that inspires confidence in their abilities.

The good news is, mentally strong leaders are made, not born. Everyone has the opportunity to perform exercises that build mental muscle.

Establish healthy daily habits and give up the things that rob you of mental strength. With commitment and dedication, your inner strength will shine through.