“Unleashing Your Resilience through Self-Reflection and Mental Toughness with Tony Fahkry”

This week’s post is based on our recent Hive Nation Podcast with Tony Fahkry

Tony is a keynote speaker and Coach from Melbourne, Australia, a leading self-empowerment expert, as well as three-time published author who has also written over 440 articles. Tony’s program The Power to Navigate Life teaches participants how to improve their mental, emotional, and physical well-being to grow into the finest version of themselves.

Tony has published three books, all of which are available via Amazon:

  • The Power to Navigate Life – is a manual to help individuals navigate through life. The book provides a questionnaire to determine if we are stuck in life or actively navigating life and offers guidance on how to move from being stuck to navigating life again. He developed the concept of the infinity symbol, which symbolizes the idea that we will not always be navigating life, but that there will be periods of being parked, during which they can learn key lessons and insights to help us move forward.
  • Reconstructing the Past to Create a Remarkable Future:  focuses on making peace with the past and healing relationships and negative experiences. Tony argues that healing the past will create a present moment that will lead to a remarkable future, free from negative past experiences.
  • Awaken Your Authentic Self is about getting rid of labels, beliefs, and ideas of who we think we are, so we can enable our true selves to emerge. Tony encourages disentangling our beliefs and ideas about the world and oneself and returning to the essence of being human. He believes that by doing so, one will become authentic in the way they respond to life and others.

His latest book “OVERCOMING: The Art of Turning Obstacles into Opportunities” is a collection of lessons he learned from overcoming obstacles and challenges in his own life. It is set to published in the near future. In it, Tony discusses the mindset, resiliency, and personal growth required to face challenges, and presents the book as a manual for achieving these qualities.


Mental toughness is crucial to overcoming obstacles and challenges in both our personal and professional lives so we can develop resilience. It involves having a positive mindset, seeing problems as opportunities, and developing a grit mentality. During the podcast Tony explored how resilience can be developed and applied in different scenarios using self-reflection and working on our mental toughness.

Expanding Our Comfort Zone

Applicable to sports, work, and our personal lives, expanding our comfort zone is the first crucial aspect of improving our mental toughness. The idea is to gradually increase our level of discomfort, stay there for as long as possible, and then continuously expand it over time. This process helps us learn to become more intimate with our emotions as we hone our capacity for improved emotional regulation. Tony also suggests stepping back into our comfort zone is also important, as it enables us to integrate any lessons we may have gleaned.

Some of the benefits of gradually expanding our comfort zones can include:

  • Personal growth and development: Stepping out of your comfort zone can open you up to a world of possibilities, allowing you to learn and grow. By taking on new challenges and experiences, you can develop new skills, build confidence, and become more aware of your potential.
  • Broadening our horizons and perspectives: By exposing yourself to new experiences and perspectives, you can expand your worldview and gain a better understanding of the world.
  • Improving our problem-solving and adaptability skills: Taking on new challenges and tasks can help you develop problem-solving and adaptability skills. You’ll learn to think on your feet and become better at dealing with unexpected situations.

Handling Negative Emotions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, unable to go to work or socialize, for many of us it led to a lot of fear and anxiety around the future.  While some saw it as an opportunity for self-improvement and self-development and sought Tony’s help, others found it difficult to acknowledge the importance of accepting emotions like fear and anxiety. He says instead of resisting our fear and anxiety, regardless of source, acceptance is the first step toward understanding and regulating their effects in our lives.

When we learn to handle our negative emotions in a constructive manner, we can also realize a number of benefits such as:

  • Enhancing our self-awareness and self-understanding, leading to improved decision-making, greater empathy toward others, and better relationships at work and in our personal lives
  • Increasing our overall resilience by enabling us to better manage and respond to challenging situations
  • Improving our mental health by reducing depression and anxiety, while increasing our self-esteem
  • Improving our communication skills by enabling us to express our emotions, first to ourselves, and then to others more effectively

Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and Fear in the Post-Pandemic World

The world has changed significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic which has only been exacerbated by technology such as AI causing an enhanced level of uncertainty and fear.

While uncertainty and ambiguity can tug at our reptilian-brain’s fight-or-flight tendencies, Tony believes if we embrace that uncertainty, we can use it to our advantage to better understand why we feel the way we do about those types of emotions.  

Using bungee jumping as an example, he said the fear that the bungee cord might break is very real in the moments before you jump. He suggests we can flip the switch and say right, what happens if the cord does work, and I land safely and have a wonderful experience? This enables us to turn the situation around.

For example, he suggests if we speak to ourselves in the third person it leads to emotional regulation which Tony referred to in the podcast. So, instead of saying the cord might break, you can instead say “Tony you’ve got this, don’t worry about it, you’re going to jump off the platform and everything’s going to be okay, you’re going to land safely. I know you can do this, Tony.” He noted research studies have found when we talk to ourselves in the third person and refer to ourselves by name, it creates this sense of accomplishment that we can do what we set out to achieve.

Uncertainty and ambiguity create opportunities if we are willing to embrace the opportunity for self-reflection (all citations are from Tony’s previous work):

  1. Uncertainty can help us make decisions with more clarity and focus, as it helps us to weigh the options and consider the risks, Psychology Today (2019)
  2. By embracing ambiguity, we open the door to creative thinking and innovation, which can help us find solutions to the problems we face, Fast Company (2018)
  3. Uncertainty and ambiguity can make us uncomfortable, but it can also push us to think more creatively and explore new possibilities, Harvard Business Review (2020)

The Power of Writing

Tony started out as a public speaker and then added writing to his skill-set. Writing about topics he didn’t know too much about when he’d start on each, drove him to do the necessary research to understand the subject matter better before writing about it, which in turn he says enabled him to create better coaching experiences for his clients.

Every week Tony’ tries to write about topics or he writes books that are certainly within his skill-set, but also about topics that he doesn’t necessarily know a lot about.  He’s noticed a lot of that knowledge and understanding he’s gained from writing rubs off in the coaching experience he brings to his coaching clients.

On a personal note, English classes were not exactly my favourite all the way through grade school. I didn’t take any English classes in university as I thought “what could that possibly have to do with Computer Science?” It was only when I did my master’s in public administration that I recognized the importance and power of writing.  Though it seemed a lot harder at the time, it gradually became something that added to my sense of meaning and which I grew to enjoy. I can honestly say it changed the entire trajectory of my career after that, as it enabled me to meet people I ever would have met, to do things I never would have done, and to be invited places I never would have gone to otherwise.

Writing has added immeasurable meaning and richness to my life. I’d strongly encourage everyone to try and improve their writing skills, especially in an era of ubiquitous technology and the looming AI juggernaut. As Tony suggests, it can help you find your own voice in a sea of ever-increasing uncertainty and ambiguity.

Team Dynamics

Fostering great team dynamics in a hybrid work world comes with a new set of challenges, not the least of which is that most team meetings are no longer in person. This puts an even greater emphasis on having a shared understanding of common goals, having good hiring practices premised on trust, respect, and accountability, as well as strong leadership in choosing to hire people who align with the company’s mission.

The Hive’s Strategic Diversity Analytics enhances having common goals and good hiring practices by enabling us to understand the dynamics within and across teams by understanding each person’s cognitive diversity which maps to how each can maximize their contributions to organizational growth, innovation and strategy. Cognitive diversity assessments measure:

  • Knowledge processing: the extent to which individuals prefer to consolidate and deploy existing knowledge, or prefer to generate new knowledge, when facing new situations (Reynolds and Lewis)
  • Perspective: the extent to which individuals prefer to deploy their own expertise, or prefer to orchestrate the ideas and expertise of others, when facing new situations (Reynolds and Lewis)

Such understanding enables teams to identify their strategic strengths as well as their strategic vulnerabilities.

Strategic diversity has been shown to play a key role in team dynamics and performance; Research indicates that teams with greater cognitive diversity are more likely to generate more creative and innovative solutions, leading to improved outcomes and performance. According to Allison Reynolds and David Lewis, they also solve problems faster.

Strategic diversity also helps to mitigate our ethnic and gender biases as well as our functional biases, evidenced when we “hire in our own image”. Research has shown that overcoming ethnicity, gender, and functional biases can significantly enhance individual, team and organizational creativity and performance. And that is not just a noble mission, it’s also good for the top and bottom lines.


Mental toughness is essential in overcoming obstacles and challenges in both our personal and professional lives and involves having a positive mindset and approaching problems as opportunities.  By expanding our comfort zone, leaning into our negative emotions, embracing uncertainty and ambiguity, and understanding team dynamics, individuals and teams can reach their peak potential to overcome any challenges they face.

What would you add to the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

About The Hive Professional Network

At The Hive, we are committed to providing people and organizations with the insights, coaching, and mentoring they need to become who they are meant to be so they can realize their true potential in work and in life. To do this we are building an ecosystem for coaches and those seeking coaches to find their perfect match through our proprietary matching algorithm, unique platform, and strategic partnerships.

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Podcast Summary by

Larry Cooper, the Chief Strategy Officer and A/CTO at The Hive Professional Network.

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