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1 min readFrustration Isn’t Always Bad

by Guy Gage | August 18, 2019 | Business, Leadership, Personal Management

As I train and coach high performers, I notice that they often exhibit an element of frustration. They have expectations and aspirations that go beyond where they are now. Whether it’s with clients, their firm or their own progress, they are not satisfied with the way things are. They want more, better, faster.

Earlier in my career, I sought to help them resolve their frustrations. “Things aren’t so bad. It could be worse. You don’t know how good you have it. Others should be so lucky. You’ve got a good thing going. Keep a proper perspective.”

Frustration Motivates You…

All of my attempts to get them to relax and enjoy the ride were for naught. They may calm down for a brief moment, but soon their frustration resurfaces. Then when I understood that their frustration was an expression of their motivated state and not a negative force, I changed how I coached them. (see Seth Godin’s message). They learned to use their frustration to create, innovate, discover and drive change, which are all good things that wouldn’t have come about if they were satisfied, fat and happy. These are the positive outcomes of frustration.

…Or Depresses You

But there are negative results to frustration as well. For instance, frustration really works against you when you experience it but don’t do anything with it. You just go along, complaining, whining and wishing things were different. That’s when your motivational frustration turns rancid and stinks.

Another time your frustration turns negative is when you simply accept a situation as “just the way it is.”  By doing so, you neutralize the motivational power and do nothing to modify or change the situation. Nothing ever changes when the current reality is accepted as “the way it is.”

You Decide

The point is that you will always have frustrations. Use them as motivational energy in disguise. Whenever a situation frustrates you, instead of feeling agitated or hopeless, commit to do something and persevere through it until something good happens. That’s what high performers do. That’s what you can do.

What frustrates you? How can you use it as motivational energy?

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