David is a middle manager in a large company. On our last coaching call he talked about his frustration with how things at work are done and what he can and cannot do to change them. As a middle manager he has some power to control his department, but not to change company policies he disagrees with.
After he vented, we looked at the reality of what was going on for him. David realized that feeling frustrated is a “red flag emotion” that lets him know he is feeling powerless and not in control. “Red-flag emotions” are feelings we experience to let us know how we are reacting to our environment. As with all “red-flag emotions”, once he acknowledges its message, David can decide what to do about it’s cause, and then let the emotion go.
Have You Felt Frustrated?
Have you ever felt frustrated with a business or personal situation? Maybe you have to wait for others to make decisions or take action, you might be trying to control uncooperative people or things, or you may be dealing with something like the weather or natural disasters, over which nobody has control.
In all of these instances frustration is a signal that you are feeling a loss of personal power. It’s an indication that you feel blocked in some way and are not in control of what’s happening to you. Feeling this way for very long can decrease your self-confidence, cause stress resulting in unhealthy consequences, and diminish your sense of being a capable, competent person. Since you probably don’t want to experience these things, the thing to do when you feel frustrated is to find a way to regain control and feel powerful.
David realized that in frustrating situations he has two choices:
1) If it’s a situation over which he has control, he can take action and impact it in some way.
2) If it’s a situation over which he has no power, he can choose to let go of his need for control, break it down into smaller parts, and find ways to deal with each of them.
3) Or he can simply decide it’s not worth putting energy into and let it go.
David acknowledged that he was powerless to impact the corporate culture and decided to focus on the things he does have control over. He talked with his boss to share his thoughts and suggestions, and then put his energy into his department and empowering his staff. He let go of his need to fight a system he cannot change, and moved ahead in ways he could.
David realized that he always has the power to choose how he reacts to a situation, and to decide what he wants to do about it. Then he can make decisions about how to proceed. Once he took charge of his feelings, the frustration disappeared and he again feels powerful in his world.
What About You?
What about you? Is there a situation in your life that is causing you frustration because it’s not within your power to change? Or one that is not worth your time or energy? You may want to ask yourself if there is any aspect of it you can control, and then do that. Then let go of the frustration.
Since being frustrated drains your physical and emotional energy, confuses your thoughts and blocks you from being productive, you might want to eliminate this emotion from your life.
It helps to remember that:
- 1) When you feel frustrated it’s because you’re feeling powerless or not in control.
- 2) Frustration tells you something is not working as you want or you planned.
- 3) To relieve frustration, take action if you have the power/ability/authority, or do what you can, and then let the situation go.
- 4) Confronting and overcoming frustration will add to your self-confidence and sense of personal power.
So, how do you deal with frustration?
It’s something to think about.