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Letting Frustration Have its Place

I consider myself a pretty positive person.  I mean, I did win the Most Optimistic Senior Superlative in high school.  And my sister often says, “Elise and her rose-colored glasses” (while rolling her eyes). I try to see the best in situations, people and events.  I believe that staying positive is healthy and fills my cup.  As Dan Sullivan wrote in “The Gap and The Gain”, one of my favorite books, “being in the gain (or looking at all we have accomplished and using that to propel us forward with positivity) is restorative, healing and empowering.”

But sometimes, I can’t keep the positivity up.  Frustration, doubt and irritation sets it.  I used to try to fight it, suppress it or ignore it. 

For example.  I am working very hard in my business.  Harder than I’ve ever worked before, and I consider myself to have always been a hard worker. I am trying all sorts of new things, and keeping my head up as I fail fast and learn what works and what doesn’t. I celebrate my wins and take losses as learnings.

So last week, my colleague and I were recording some new courses we will be offering.  This work requires concentration and singular focus.  As we started to record, many of the settings I had previously set up for how it would record and how it would view did not work.  The zoom link I had set up did not work.  My microphone did not even work.  My efforts to be prepared and respect my colleague’s valuable time were for not, and I was confused and defeated.  We ended up muddling through, but it was not my best moment, and it showed in our recording.

After we were done, I could not shake the deflated feeling.  I was annoyed at my inability to manage my technology, irritated that I let it affect my performance on the recording, and guilty that I had wasted my colleague’s time.

Instead of trying to suppress or ignore my feelings, I took a new tactic.  I allowed the feelings to be there.  I journaled why I was having these thoughts.  It was amazing what came up: this was the culmination of hidden doubts about all the new things I was trying (new podcast, new intern, new retreats, new collaborations, and so-on).  So much was below the surface that I had not been allowing myself to see.

As the day progressed, I leaned into some of my tools to help.  I know I’ve shared these before, but let me refresh your memory:

  • Practice grace- being kind to myself and giving myself time to reflect without shame or blame

  • Self-coaching- what is coming up for me?  Are they fact or stories?  How do I want to show up?  What would my future self say to me? What if everything is perfect just as it is?

  • Thought download- I took 10 minutes and recorded every thought I had.  I then evaluated them for what does and doesn’t serve me.  I then turned those unhelpful thoughts into more useful ones.

  • Rest- Once I journaled on all I was doing, I noticed how much I had taken on all at the same time. I had been working weekends and evenings and packing in as much as I could. I realized I was TIRED: mentally and physically.  I slowed down the rest of the day, took a walk with my dog and got extra sleep.

  • Set a new intention- I brainstormed a new personal protocol to allow myself to grow my business and keep my peace. 

That last one will be a work in progress, for sure.  Learning how to catch the spiral is the most important first step.  Then using tools like these to work through it will help you understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ and move forward. 

How will you let your frustration have its place?  I can’t wait to hear!

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