Is an 11th Skill Course right for my business?



Take a moment to answer the following questions:

  • Do you want to extract value from your clients' wallets, or do you want to add value to their life? 
  • Do you have employees that make you money, or do you want a team that shares your vision? 
  • Are you interested in victory at all costs, or so you want to develop the talent of your athletes for long-term success?

Don't get us wrong. Every business needs to be profitable if it is to make a difference in the world. But if you feel closer to the former option in each of those questions, then we're not the right fit for you.

Helping people develop vital life skills shows them that you care. It shows your athletes, clients and employees that you have a higher purpose than money or comfort. It shows them that when they step through your door, they can expect more from their coaches and trainers, and that they should expect more from themselves.

Incidentally, the world's greatest coaches and athletes - those at the pinnacle of their sport - prize these skills above all others. 

If you're interested in developing people, not just athletes, then an 11th Skill Course can help you, and we should talk.


What is Mental Fitness?

Given that the whole purpose of The 11th Skill is to develop mental fitness, it makes sense to define what mental fitness is. But you need to know a few things:

  1. There is more than one definition of mental fitness on the Internet.
  2. If we're proposing to define a thing that's already been defined, it's because I'm thinking differently to those who came before.
  3. No definition is definitive, so as a reader you have to choose what suits your needs.

So as you read, think deeply about why you are reading about mental fitness: the challenges you're facing, the goals you're setting, or the relationships you're contemplating.

Consider these things, and if this article works for you, then you'll probably get a lot out of this website.

This diagram, once properly understood, really sums it all up:

Domains of Mental Fitness.png

Why, yes, we did make that all by ourselves! It's a really simple diagram, but we want to explain it all the same, and we're going to begin in the middle.

Defining Mental Fitness

This is how we define the skill of mental fitness.

Mental fitness is the capacity to process information, communicate effectively, act with integrity and solve problems in various, disparate and novel situations.

And yes, it is a skill. Mental fitness is just like physical fitness, in that it can be developed. 

Developing Mental Fitness

The middle circle is how we develop our mental fitness. To improve our mental fitness, we train the following four competencies:

  • Information processing: learning, recalling and combining the information we're given every day.
  • Problem solving: creating, innovating, collaborating and thinking critically about our solutions. 
  • Communication: managing relationships through emotional and social intelligence, articulating your thoughts and listening to others.
  • Integrity: following your values, following a growth mindset, displaying resilience, and practising mindfulness.

You can do all kinds of things to build these up. Take a look at the 11th Skill Workshops and get in touch if you want to arrange a workshop at your gym!

Demonstrating Mental Fitness

The outer edges are when we demonstrate mental fitness. 

  • Making decisions (do I get out of bed, or sleep for 15 more minutes?)
  • Setting goals (how do I know if I'm successful?)
  • Resolving dilemmas (I can't have everything I want; how do I make a choice?)
  • Handling crises (my partner isn't coping; how do I help him?)
  • Executing campaigns (getting things done!) 
  • Managing relationships (working in ways that help both you and your collaborators.)

As we continue to write (a new article every week!), there will be a lot of links to the core competencies and the situations, so keep coming back here to remind yourself and discover deeper dives into this model.

There's one more thing to consider...

Measuring Mental Fitness

There are a number of assessments and measuring tools for small segments of the mental fitness model. But we prefer the test that John Green outlines in the first minute of the first episode of the first video of the first series on his awesome YouTube channel, Crash Course.

Seriously, watch the first minute of this video and you will know how to measure mental fitness:

So, if you couldn't watch the video, here is the test:

"The test will measure whether you are an informed, engaged and productive citizen of the world, and it will take place in schools and bars and hospitals and dorm rooms and in places of worship.

You will be tested on first dates, in job interviews, while watching football and while scrolling through your Twitter feed.

The test will judge your ability to think about things other than celebrity marriages, whether you'll be easily persuaded by empty political rhetoric, and whether you'll be able to place your life and your community in a broader context.

The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised of the millions of decisions that, when taken together, make your life yours, and everything - EVERYTHING - will be on it."

It's an elegant way of articulating everything we want to measure, because it leads to so many useful questions:

  • Am I deliberately seeking out learning and information?
  • How am I making a meaningful contribution to others? To myself?
  • How well can I articulate my ideas and thoughts?
  • How well do I understand my place in the world and what I can offer it?
  • Who influences or inspires me, and why?
  • What have been the consequences of my recent decisions?
  • If I wanted to do more for others, where would I start?
  • How strong are my relationships? 
  • How useful are my relationships? 
  • Do I have a clear set of personal values, and do I hold myself to those values?
  • To what extent do I hold others to those values?
  • Am I pursuing a worthwhile life?
  • What does it mean to live a worthwhile life?

Asking those questions will help you assess your mental fitness at any given moment. Coming up with your own is an even better method, because it shows that you're owning your development and growth as a person; you're making your life yours. 

By the way, watch Crash Course. It's just great.