Mental toughness unlocks the potential for breaking through your mental ceiling. You become highly resilient to experiences that might be disabling to someone else. This was the main conclusion from motivational speaker Dr Steve Harris’ PhD thesis.

He used the Springbok rugby community as a target group to research mental toughness (Harris S. Mental Toughness: A sociological and psychological study of Springbok Rugby Players 2007) and now applies the same when he coaches his clients.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In this world, nothing is certain, except death and taxes.” (Franklin, 1789). Dr Steve adds to this in that you can be certain that you will experience challenging situations ranging from relationship breakdowns, ill health, loss of income, and in a sports context, you will have injuries and a loss in performance. To cope with these challenges and grow stronger, you need rigorous mental and emotional coping skills.

Dr Steve discovered how vital these skills are for surviving in terms of overcoming setbacks, putting the effects of the drumbeats of doom into perspective, and then moving on from a position of simply surviving to fully thriving. Mental toughness is one of the most essential skills that you need for work, relationships, and sport. He points out that, as you become increasingly mentally tougher, this toughness can become a competitive advantage.

Dr Steve teaches mental toughness skills in his coaching sessions and finds that it is here where even his integrity is constantly challenged. He is no exception to the struggles of life. He draws extensively on the mental toughness lessons in his book, “Surviving to Thriving – Mental Toughness”, to manage his own issues in life.

As an example, he has been actively involved in sport throughout his life but has seen how an ageing body and unrealistic physical demands have become a lethal combination. Whilst mental toughness was a significant contributor to his sports endeavours, he finds himself relying on it more often to accept and manage his physical entropy. He has redirected his passion to new writing challenges and motivational coaching so as not to end up under the surgeon’s knife. He has adapted and retained his positivity while channelling his strengths into other avenues.

COVID-19 had a disastrous effect on many people’s incomes and mental wellbeing resulting in countless diverting most of their energy from thriving to simply surviving. Dr Steve found that before the pandemic, people close to him were experiencing challenges that were more complicated than just increasing sales or improving their sports performance. He felt an enormous concern for them but admitted that he was, at times, inappropriately judgemental and frustrated. He thought that they could do better at sorting out their problems.

After some introspection on his attitude and their problems, Dr Steve realised that his reality was not the same as everyone else’s. He didn’t have to face the same challenges under the same circumstances as others. This was when he realised that there was a great need to build bridges between different realities and walk people, who were struggling with complicated life issues, through his mental toughness talks, where he provides not only contextual support but also the necessary compassion.

Motivational Speaker Dr Steve Harris translates a powerful combination of real-world experience, business success and academic insight into a language we can all understand. His background as a World Champion Sportsperson and Award-Winning Entrepreneur set the perfect stage for his MBA (UCT) and his PhD on Mental Toughness.

Motivational Speaker Dr Steve Harris offers either in person or online, a 5 x modular motivational series to help you and your team manage challenges and get the most from present and future conditions. To schedule a booking or acquire more information, contact Steve.