We all experience frustration at one time or another, and if we don’t learn to deal with it we suffer unpleasant and often critical symptoms of stress over our inability to move forward. On the other hand, an exploration of how frustration operates for us, can provide some valuable lessons about our development as adults.

James Flaherty sees frustration as both internal and external: “frustration is the judgment that I must make something happen and I cannot make it happen. The commitment is one that I cannot walk away from and the circumstances make it impossible as far as I can tell, to fulfill the commitment.” (Coaching: Evoking Excellence in Others) However, stress and frustration are essentially within us even though we may perceive them as coming from outside. Other thinkers suggest that frustration is an over reliance on ego, thinking we can control everything around us.

Some Typical Sources of Frustration

  • Trying to force an outcome
  • Standards not being met, incompetence
  • Delays and cancellations
  • Being trapped in conflicting expectations
  • Poor attitudes around us
  • No power to affect the system
  • Determination not to let circumstances beat us
  • Others not seeing it our way
  • Gaps between our needs and aspirations
  • Feeling inferior
  • Clash between Type A personality and Type B personality
  • Excessive bureaucracy

How Frustration Feels:

  • Out of control
  • Powerless
  • Helpless
  • Discouraged
  • Tense
  • Angry
  • Boiling over

Tips For Reducing Our Frustration Levels

Some of these will work for you, and some for others:

  1. Live in the present moment.
  2. Seek inner peace.
  3. Put it on the back burner for a while – let your subconscious work it out.
  4. Take the focus off yourself.
  5. Try to see things from “their” point of view – (remember Covey’s “Seek first to understand…”  (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
  6. Develop your compassion for others.
  7. Become more patient.
  8. Keep your perspective – What’s really important on the larger picture?- “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”.
  9. Remind yourself that life isn’t fair.
  10. Act, rather than react.  Own it, do something about it.
  11. Let go of what you cannot control or influence.
  12. Let go of self-pity.
  13. Lighten up; inject some humour into the situation.
  14. Focus on the things you are grateful for.
  15. Consider how you might be contributing to the situation yourself.
  16. Do some journaling to help you work it out.  
  17. Seek a Sounding Board – find a coach.  You sometimes need to vent. Needing a sounding board is not a sign of weakness or incompetence!
  18. Find some ways to relax and blow off steam together with like minded people.  Here’s my way: Cure For Fear & Frustration

Mindset Monday Challenge

  1. List the top 10 things that frustrate you
    1. In your work
    2. in your personal life
    3. in your community
    4. in the world
  2. List at least a couple of positive changes you can make to reduce or eliminate each one.

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This Mindset Monday post is presented by LowellAnn Fuglsang, Business and Career Coach, especially for solopreneurs.

In my workstyle-lifestyle coaching work I love helping solopreneurs find direction, stay motivated and build systems that both support and promote their business. One support that I like to emphasize for them is the Google experience.  Two great places to begin are my Weekly Being Your Own CEO Success Circle and The Portable Business Coach (a tool that will tell you where you need to put more time and energy)

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