Embrace frustration, but not stress!

Professional leaders know when to smooth the way (Lead like LAX) and when to make waves (Making Waves).  And sometimes making waves means to just leave people to work through their challenges alone, or even better to support them to see the value in the challenges they face – to see their situation or challenge through a new and useful lens.

Our modern world encourages and places unnecessary value on perfection, and comfort, and smooth sailing, yet these are the very things that prevent our unique human intelligence and resourcefulness from thriving.  One could even suggest that such values were the downfall of the Roman Empire (big call, but not far from the mark!).

We go to great lengths to avoid or remove frustration for those in our teams, yet frustration is a great human motivator.  If you are frustrated, it’s because there is an uncomfortable gap between a current situation or reality, and a desired one.  Your brain wants to close that gap, but of course, the existence of the associated emotion can get in the way of your brain’s capacity to resolve it.

Remember also that what you focus on…grows.  If you focus on the frustration as a negative, a barrier or an undesired state of mind, it will become more-so.  It can fuel a stress response!

If you acknowledge the frustration, embrace it as a good reason to stop and find a resolution, and focus attention on the value of such motivation, it will serve you well. It will fuel energy and a sense of control.

The next time you experience or observe frustration here are four steps to help you shift the focus to take advantage of the message your brain is sending you!!

  1.  Acknowledge and appreciate it

Start by recognising it for what it is, a gap between what you want and what you have.  Nothing more, nothing less.  And be grateful for the nudge!

  1.  Understand it

Take a mindful moment to get really clear…What exactly is the frustration about? (there is often a different outcome to this question when you are calm to when you are allowing yourself to feel ‘frustrated’).  What do you know? What don’t you know? Who else is involved/impacted? How important is it…really?  Where does it need to sit in your priorities?  What other perspectives might there be here?

  1.  Refocus your goals

Check in to see what it is you really want from the situation?  What do I really want?  What if I let it go? What if I did nothing?  What is the minimum or maximum outcome I need?  What assumptions am I making that might change my goal, and hence the level of frustration?

  1.  Redirect energy and attention

Redirect your energy and attention to the next step, to taking some form of action (even if that action is to let it go).

Have a great day!

Michelle  🙂

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