|Michael Angier is the founder and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of
SuccessNet based in
South Burlington, Vermont USA. He’s a father, husband, writer, speaker,
entrepreneur, coach and student. He's also the creator of The World Class
sooo frustrated!" These words--or something perhaps even more
colorful---are things we've all said at one time or another. Several
times over the past few days, I said them myself--at least in my
We recently incorporated a new
computer into our network and it raised all kinds of havoc. An
installation that should have taken only a few hours turned into a
three-day exercise in aggravation and frustration.
If you're an achiever--someone who
gets things done--you'll surely feel frustrated when things don't go
according to plan. This is natural. The issue is how you handle it.
In our recent experience, my wife and
I dealt with it better than we thought we would have. We never lost
our patience with one another, and we were never rude to each other
or the people we worked with in resolving the problems.
As I look at what happened, I can see
things that allowed us to get through the installation with no
upset. Here are what I see as the key strategies we used--although
not perfectly-to avoid being victims of the experience.
Emotional Bank Accounts
One of the things that made our recent ordeal more bearable was that
my wife and I had high balances in our respective "emotional
bank accounts." When these bank balances are low, the little
things can easily become big things. Little "forgotten"
resentments can turn into major issues. By making daily deposits
into our emotional bank accounts with people we're close to, we can
avoid having unnecessary upsets make a difficult situation
Ask Good Questions
When we get frustrated, it's easy to ask fruitless, impotent
questions--questions that exacerbate the situation rather than
improve upon it.
Questions like, "Why did this
happen to me?" "Why is life so unfair?" "Why are
people so unreasonable?" are the kind of questions that keep us
stuck and feeling unresourceful. We need to ask questions that move
us forward. Keep asking, "What's really important?"
Stay Focused--Identify the
In the midst of a crisis (whether perceived or real) it's easy to
lose our focus. We have to keep coming back to what the problems are
and what we can do to solve them.
Charles Kettering, the great American
industrialist and inventor said, "A problem clearly stated is a
problem half solved." I believe that. As the experience and
drama unfolds, stay with the intended result and keep redefining the
Take a Break
It's important to take breaks. Don't become obsessed with the
problem(s) and keep at it without any let-up. We can't be at our
best when we operate non-stop without a chance to step back and gain
some perspective--and rest.
Stop. Get some exercise. Take a walk.
Work out. Take a nap. Watch a movie. You'll be surprised how much
more resourceful you can be. In the whole scheme of things, how much
difference will a few minutes (or hours) make?
Remember to breathe. As someone once
said, "Inspiration is the art of breathing in."
Keep in mind that frustration is an emotional reaction. It doesn't
happen "out there", it happens inside us. And we have
choice about whether we indulge it.
Be aware. Notice when you're feeling
frustrated. Don't judge it. Blaming ourselves or others will not
work. Ninety percent of overcoming the problem is your conscious
awareness that you're stressed. Ask yourself, "In three years'
time, will this situation be worth being upset?" Chances are,
We stress ourselves out by taking things too seriously. Being
serious doesn't mean we have to be grim. Learn to laugh at yourself
as well as the situation. The things that seem upsetting now will
usually be things that we'll find humorous later. If we're going to
laugh about it then, we might as well laugh about it now.
Going through any challenging situation is more bearable and often
more fun when we experience it with a friend or team member. Ask for
help. Where is it written that you need to go it alone?
What was the end result of that
week's computer fiasco? Well, one of our publications was delayed
two days and it's doubtful anyone noticed. We learned a lot. And, we
ended up with a better system than we'd originally planned because
we exchanged the first computer for a better one.