Beyond Frustrated

Leadership is often born out of frustration.

The result of a deep dissatisfaction with how things are and a burning desire to instigate change.  So that’s a good thing, right?

Yet the very act of stepping up to deal with the source of your frustration brings you into contact with new obstacles. While some forms of frustration can be channeled for good, there are times when our frustrations lead to damage, distraction, and discouragement.

When you become frustrated your first response may be to seek an external focus for the problem, to find someone or something to blame. However, the frustration you feel is more likely attributed to your own expectations and beliefs about what is happening to you and how you are choosing to respond.

When you are frustrated you are also prone to making poor choices and to acting out your frustration with others. You might look for quick ways to remedy your discomfort that can be shortsighted and compound the problems you were trying to resolve in the first place.

You can learn to move through and beyond your frustration.

Learning to recognize the source of your frustration and deal with it creatively will help you to clear your mind and channel your emotions so that you are empowered to live, lead and serve more effectively.

The inner strength, adaptability, and consistency you present will inspire trust and confidence in others.

7 Common Sources of Frustration AKA The Seven Deadly Shoulds:

Control – the belief that you should have all the answers.

Conflict – the belief that everyone should just get along.

Communication – the belief that people should understand you.

Change – the belief that things should slow down.

Criticism – the belief that people should like you and your ideas.

Complexity – the belief that the solution should be easier.

Choices – the belief that the decision should be simple.

Ok, I know some of these are hard to see or admit but if you take a closer look you may find they are hiding somewhere in the back of your mind, waiting to take over your emotions at the worst possible time.

So what to do?

Examine your beliefs – Start paying attention to the situations that frustrate you and find out if they are coming from beliefs and expectations that set you up to experience this over and over again. There are times it is appropriate to be frustrated but more often than not you can trace it back to one of these mental maps.

Reframe the experience – Jim Rohn used to say, “instead of being frustrated try being fascinated”. It’s possible to alter your emotional response through the simple act of changing the words you use to describe the situation. When you begin to feel frustrated try to catch yourself and decide to step back and look at the situation from a new perspective. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, focus on what’s possible.

Ask for feedback – Sometimes we aren’t aware how our frustrations are showing up to others. They may be walking on eggshells or withholding information from you because they’ve learned that certain situations push your buttons. You might be surprised to learn how your behavior is affecting the team. As you try to improve, ask for feedback on your progress.

Practice With Patience – As with any self-improvement effort, it will take time to replace your old habits and beliefs with new patterns. Be patient and compassionate with yourself. Try not to become frustrated with your efforts to manage your frustrations. If at first, all you accomplish is learning to notice your frustration, that’s still a big step.

Frustration is a natural reaction to a world that is messy but you don’t have to let it control you or your day. By carefully observing the situations that frustrate you, fearlessly examining their source and then responding from your imagination instead of your programming, you will reduce your stress and the stress in your workplace.


  1. Liked the 7 Deadly shoulds, Very true with your statement of from frustration raises Leadership, and if these 7 deadly should’s are not eliminated..the cycle continues.


  2. Scott, Self Awareness is the key. I am still learning this concept. I am a lifelong learner. :))


Start a Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.