One thing we’ve all experienced is frustration. From the young child’s frustration trying to button a shirt or tie a shoe to the elderly individual frustrated trying to hear or read without glasses, there is no age that doesn’t experience frustration.
I’m very familiar with frustration. Anyone who knows me can confirm it.
I believe all good leaders sense frustration on a regular basis. Frustration that comes from seeing the vision for a better tomorrow earlier than others. Frustration that comes from seeing others better than they see themselves. Frustration from wanting to help others get from where they are to where they want to go more than the individuals themselves.
Frustration can result from many things. It can come from not being able to do something you want to do or think you should be able to do (think about the child trying to tie a shoe). As we grow older, it often comes from having expectations that aren’t met (think about the slow driver in the fast lane that you wish would move over).
As a leader, you don’t want to lower expectations. Expectations are rarely met on a consistent basis. Lowering them will only have followers achieve less. While it is easy for leaders to share their frustrations come from believing people are more capable than they are demonstrating, it doesn’t make it easier for the followers to understand.
As leaders, we must all continue to work on handling our frustrations. Expecting frustrations to go away is unrealistic. The following are 7 ways to handle frustrations. You will find some ways may be easier than others. I recommend trying them all and seeing which one works best for you.
- Step back. If you are aware of your emotions, as you begin to feel your frustrations mount, step back and look at the big picture. Take a moment to be grateful for the teaching opportunity in the moment. If the situation isn’t going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes worrying about it.
- Detach from the situation. As leaders, we’re all driven and dedicated. This can lead to becoming attached to outcomes. You are not the results. When things go well, you’re not as great as the accolades you’ll receive. When things go poorly, you aren’t as bad as some will suggest. You are more than your current situation. Remember not to let the situation define you.
- Turn life into learning opportunities. At home, work, and in your community, step away from the daily grind of looking at everything as pass/fail or win/lose. Instead of thinking you must achieve, compete, and get through your to-do list, look at everything as a learning opportunity. When you take time to reflect, you will ignite your curiosity and begin to see everything as a chance to learn something new.
- Realign with your values. Sometimes frustration can build because you lose touch with who you are and what attracted you to what you are doing in the first place. Sometimes a company will shift its mission and values. When you are caught up in trying to succeed, outperforming what is expected, you fail to realize you are no longer doing what you love to do or doing it for reasons that no longer align with who you are. Over time, you change and so does your workplace and those you surround yourself with. Take time to reflect and see if your priorities and values still align with those you associate with. If not, it may be time to make a change.
- Communicate with your inner circle. If you find your frustration level rising, take time to connect with those you respect and admire the most. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we are trying to achieve, we need different perspective. Be sure you are getting perspective from those you can trust to tell you what you need to hear and not just what you want to hear.
- Practice self-care. You wouldn’t expect a race car to perform at it’s best with sugar in the tank. You cannot expect to handle tough situations if you’re not in tip top shape. This includes mentally and physically. You must take care of your mind and body. They must last you a lifetime. Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and practicing relaxation techniques, all reset your nervous system, replenish your energy, and help you to focus. Having fun with family and friends are also essential to good health.
- Become fascinated. This is my personal favorite. I admit, I need to remember it more often and practice it regularly. Instead of being frustrated, become fascinated. When the driver is going slow in the fast lane and cars are whipping around him like he’s parked, instead of being frustrated, become fascinated that someone could be so oblivious to the world around him. Being in a state of fascination opens the mind to curiosity and learning.
Which of these 7 ways work best for you? It’s best to keep all these options readily available because you never know which one may work best in each situation.
Remember, there is greatness within you. You must choose greatness. It won’t develop on its own. I believe in you!
“Instead of being frustrated, become fascinated.”
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If you would like assistance with handling frustration, I can help you. We can meet by phone, on Zoom, or in a place you deem safe with social distancing. Whether you choose me or someone else, a coach will expedite your results.
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Published by Bryan M. Balch, Results Coach
Helping Individuals and Businesses Achieve Desired Results
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