Updated: Jul 24
Considering we spend most of our days working and interacting with a myriad of different personalities, it may be easy to feel frustrated in your professional life. How do you keep sane when frustrated at work? Executive Coach Beth Siegert, CPC, CPRC, ACC, CFAA suggests a new and powerful framework to handle this emotion: divide your approach to workplace frustration into three sections: Preparation, Assessment, and Moving Forward.
Frustration is a common part of a workday. Being aware of the situations that tempt you to react in an emotional manner is imperative so you can prepare yourself to respond with a clear mind.
Use the strong emotion of frustration as a natural switch to take a deep breath and step back so as to acknowledge (to yourself) the emotion (s) you are experiencing. You are not responsible for your initial reaction but you are responsible and accountable for what you do with that reaction.
Observe the feeling rather than judge it. Do not scold yourself or otherwise think negatively of yourself.
Regulate yourself with a few more deep breaths to counteract the mental and physical response of stress brought on by strong emotion (s). This regulation of your emotions helps to put you in control of your reactions and opens the door for you to be more rational in what is likely to be an irrational situation.
Work situations can be complex. Use your objective skills to assess what is happening. What do you sense and what do you observe? Next, ask yourself:
How can I impact the situation positively?
What do I need to have or what can I change to give myself the boost needed to manage this situation?
What roles are others playing?
What outside factors contribute to this workplace situation?
Noting what is in your control helps steer the ship back to the right course. Considering this, here are some tips to move forward:
Manage your expectations of yourself. The situation may influence you to raise your expectations of yourself, remain on course, or decide if your expectations are too high.
Reassess your expectations of others and the organization itself.
Prepare for a discussion with whomever you feel is best in order calmly and productively address the real issues at hand.
Keep in mind that frustration is merely the result of being blocked—whether it is your opinion, ideas, momentum, productivity—and career advancement. Rather than let frustration take over your critical thinking skills and cause both mental and physical stress, be curious, and utilize it as a tool for assessment.
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