Frustration is an intense emotion. When other emotions are on the rise at the same time, frustration can easily get out of hand. As the amount of stress you are under compounds, carefully watch what is happening with your frustration level. Frustration can take you to destructive places that do not serve you.
Managing your frustration, especially in times of elevated stress is a key element of emotional intelligence. Protect yourself, learn to quiet your frustration when you need to and you’ll avoid some bumpy rides.
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You have a right to a sense of meaning in your work. That sense of meaning can be hindered by things such as: a wrong fit with the work you are doing, values not being honored, a dysfunctional workplace or a lack of resources or skills to do your job.
When you find yourself asking, “What’s the use?” take a look at the source of your frustration. Once you discover it, do what you can to remedy the situation. In that way, you assure that your work fulfills you. It’s better for you and for the world.
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In coaching there is a tool named “Yes/No”. Its purpose is to help you set boundaries when you need to. Say you are in a situation where you are being asked to work very long hours on a project and upper management is putting a lot of burden on staff, without providing the resources needed to get the job done. The situation is draining your energy and frustrating you.
To employ the yes/no tool you would make a list of what you say yes to and what you say no to in the situation. Here are some examples:
• I say yes to maintaining a standard of quality on the project, so that it does not fail.
• I say yes to asking management for what I need to get the job done.
• I say no to draining my energy and getting out of balance because of the long hours and frustration of the project.
• I say no to taking responsibility beyond what I can reasonably do or for what is upper management’s responsibility.
Yes/No is a powerful tool that helps you to maintain the boundaries that you need to thrive and excel in your work!
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You can get to a place in your career where you are asking yourself, “What’s the use?” Many things can get you to this question: an inability to affect what happens in your workplace, failure, frustration or obstacles you are not able to overcome. When this occurs – beware. At the point of feeling powerless, you are obviously not at your best.
If you find yourself asking, “What’s the use?” take some time to assess what has gotten you there. Remember that you are CEO of your career. You have some control over what happens. If something isn’t working for you, you know how to move on and make it better.
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Frustration can race like fire, once it starts. Best to have a way to manage your frustration, so it does not consume you. Have you experienced frustration in the past week or two? Think of what happened. How did you handle it? Did you manage your frustration or let it get the better of you?
Frustration is a powerful energy once it gets going, but you can manage it. Here are a few ways: step back and away from the situation to cool off, stop and figure out its cause and what you can do about it or channel your frustration into constructive action. You are more powerful than your frustration – keep it under your control.
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Much too often, I hear from managers that they are in an organization that is working them to death and, at the same time, communicating that they are dispensable. There’s a major disjoint in this. An organization is asking more of a manager, often way beyond reason, and at the same time is refusing to recognize the extra (and often extraordinary) contributions the manager is making. The dispensability message may be subtle, but is heard clearly by managers and employees. No additional income, no recognition, “bottom line” justifications, more time, less resources, we can find someone else if you cannot do it – a recipe for burnout and frustration. The tactic is weighted significantly in the favor of the organization, at the expense of their employees. Something is radically wrong here.
Are you in a situation like this? Best to evaluate the toll it is taking on you and what your options are. Save yourself. There may be no one else watching out for you. Be confident of your value, set boundaries and don’t let anyone run you into the ground. You are worthy of more than this.