If the feeling of frustration is coming up for you, you’re in good company, my friends. There’s a myriad of triggers that leave us feeling totally frustrated, whether that’s because of hybrid working models on the go, having to deal with difficult bosses or clients, or having no one to turn to in times of need. Nevertheless, the layers of frustration just seem to keep piling on.
If you have school-age kids, you’ll know too well the frustration of your best-laid plans becoming completely altered and having to adapt on the fly. And even if you don’t have kids, I’ll bet you’ve had those days where you arrive at the office, ready and excited to work, and all of a sudden, that dreaded urgent email that needs your attention right this second comes in, and your schedule is turned upside down. So, how do we deal with frustration?
Join me this week as I show you how frustration might be showing up in your life and practice, and why we find it so challenging to deal with. You’ll discover why we can’t outrun the feeling of frustration without taking the time to explore it deeper, and how frustration can be an ally to us when we tap into it.
You’re listening to The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers Podcast episode number 50.
Welcome to The Joyful Practice for Women Lawyers Podcast. I’m your host Paula Price, lawyer turned certified executive coach. This podcast was created to empower women lawyers just like you to create a life and practice you love. Join me every week for a break from the hustle so we can focus on you, what you truly want, and how you can create it.
If you’re over the overwhelm, done with putting out fires, and ready to create a life and practice that brings you more joy, you’re in the right place. Ready for today’s episode? Let’s dive in.
Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. welcome to episode number 50. I can’t believe we’re here, 50 episodes. I wanted to thank all of you for joining me every week to tune in, to catch up. I am just so grateful for all of you.
Today, we are going to talk about frustration. I realize that for episode number 50, it might feel more appropriate to talk about milestones or celebrating your wins. believe me, I thought about talking about those things.
But when I was going through the list of topics and thinking about what really resonated with me this particular week, it was frustration. I thought you know what? This is something that comes up. so our episode number 50 is going to be all about frustration and how to deal with it.
Now, one of the reasons that frustration resonates this week is that I have certainly had a few pockets of frustration. it all started last Thursday. Today’s Wednesday. I was picking my kids up from their after school care program. one of the staff members at the after school care program asked me, “So will the kids be coming to care on Monday?”
that’s a signal to me that the kids don’t have school that day. That there’s a professional development day, which came as a surprise to me. In my mind, we just had a four day Easter long weekend. Not that long ago we had a two week March break. I just wasn’t expecting another day off of school.
I have no issues with days off school. I think they’re great. The kids get to have some time off, and so do I sometimes. But I hadn’t really planned for that. this week’s schedule was chock a block full. So what ensued was some drama, a little bit of negotiation, and ultimately, sort of me not getting done all the things that I had really wanted to get done on Monday, which of course, pushes things off into the week.
I share this story because for any of you who have school aged kids, this probably resonates with you. The times when you have your schedule down to a science, down to a tee, and your daughter or son wakes up in the morning. they’ve got the sniffles. Which pre-COVID probably wasn’t meaning necessarily a day home from school. But in pandemic times, it does or it did.
Or they’re younger. They get pinkeye. They can’t go to daycare or fill in the blank. your best laid plans all of a sudden become completely altered. you’re adapting on the fly. You’re maybe relying on screen time to look after your kids while you’re getting your work done. You know the drill.
even if you don’t have kids, you can likely very much relate to what it feels like when you’ve setup your day, you arrive at the office, you’re ready to get to work on that brief you’ve been trying to get to but haven’t yet had the chance to, and all of a sudden, the email comes in. You know the one with a little red exclamation point, the urgent one that requires your immediate attention. all of a sudden, your day is totally rearranged. yes, you are adapting yourself to that schedule.
So I know you can all relate. the reason that I think it’s important to talk about frustration, and the reason that we’re talking about it today is that we don’t often talk about it. I mean, sometimes we do, but we don’t always talk about it in a way that allows us to come to some sort of a conclusion. I’m going to talk about that more. I’m going to talk about some tools to help when you are feeling frustrated. I hope that today’s topic resonates with you because I know it resonates with me.
I thought prior to becoming a coach that once I’m a coach, I’ll have all the answers. I have some tools. There’s some really excellent tools, but it doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated. I love being able to share these tools with you so that you can apply them in your practice so that the next time that you feel frustrated, you’ve got somewhere to turn. So with that, let’s dive in to today’s episode.
So as I mentioned, today we’re going to talk about frustration. How it can show up in your practice and some tools that I can offer you to deal with frustration next time it happens. So what does frustration look like? Why is it a problem?
Well, frustration can show up in your practice in any number of ways. as a coach, I am privileged to hear some of the situations that trigger frustration in my clients. So some examples that maybe you can relate to are sometimes the frustration comes from the environment in which you’re working.
So it may be that you’re working in an environment, and you’re reporting to somebody who you don’t necessarily get along with all that well. you may find sometimes they treat you in a way that you don’t particularly like. Maybe the way that they speak to you makes you think they don’t think that you know what you’re doing. Or they don’t speak to you in a way that is very respectful. Or the way that they manage their frustration isn’t really conducive to a peaceful working situation for you.
It may also be that you are relying on others who aren’t necessarily performing in the way that you would like them to. maybe you’ve had the experience of having assistants who are amazing and who almost anticipate your every move, and every letter they draft for you is free of typos. it’s beautiful. You can sign it and send it off, no questions asked.
Maybe that is quite a contrast from some of the other assistants that you’ve worked with where you don’t have that situation, where you find that you are dealing with the same mistakes over and over. You try to explain what it is that you need, and there just seems to be a disconnect between what you think that you’re asking for and the work product that you are getting back.
It may be that you feel frustrated by certain of your clients. I think I’ve mentioned this before on the podcast. The clients whose name appears in your inbox, and you can feel your stomach drop. Sometimes they can be really challenging. Clients who maybe question your fees, or they question why it’s taking so long to get something done. Why can’t you be more aggressive? maybe when you have interactions with those clients, you find yourself feeling frustrated. that might be one of the situations that you’re dealing with.
Another example might be time management. So you may be like me and you like to structure your days in a certain way. if you’ve listened to this podcast, you know I’ve got all sorts of podcast episodes about time management. I love to plan and schedule, do everything as efficiently as possible. But that doesn’t always work out the way that I planned it. I mean, it may be like what I described. You’re all ready to have a full day of work, and then your child is not feeling well. so you have to make new arrangements. that can be frustrating.
I find that particular setup frustrating because I feel like I’m torn. I’m conflicted between two things I love, my work and my children. how do I reconcile the fact that I have to do one at a time? I can’t do both at the same time.
It may mean that you feel like your day was the way that you wanted it to be, and then something else came up. I have a funny story about a seminar that I delivered with a fellow coach a year or two ago. we sent out a survey to gather information about the individuals that we were speaking with.
one of the questions was kind of a general question about some challenges that they’re having with time management. one of the responses was, “Well, I sat down today to do the work that I intended to do. instead now I find myself responding to this survey.” Which I thought was really quite funny, and also quite apt that this kind of thing happens to a lot of us where we think we have our day plan, we think it’s going to go a certain way, and then something comes up and that can lead to frustration.
Because you may feel anxious that you’re not getting the work done that you had intended to get done. Maybe you’ve got multiple deadlines, and now they’re back up against each other and you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to do that. Maybe you need to spend extra time to negotiate deadlines. next thing you know, you’ve spent an hour doing that instead of actually doing your substantive work. So they can show up in all sorts of different ways.
It may mean that you feel frustrated because you’re not moving fast enough. You may feel at sort of a more global level that you’re not advancing the way that you wanted to. You may find yourself sometimes dropping on to LinkedIn or Facebook or just looking at law firm websites and noticing where your classmates have ended up and wondering why it is that they’ve advanced and you haven’t.
That can feel frustrating to you. Why you don’t have those opportunities, why you haven’t made the progress that you wanted to make. Maybe you took some time off, and now you’re feeling like you’re catching up. That can cause frustration.
Maybe you feel like you’re not supported. Maybe you’re feeling disconnected and frustrated and like you don’t have the mentorship that you’d like to have or the connection with your colleagues that you’d like to have. this is something that I think is quite pronounced, particularly right now, in the work arrangement setup that we have. We’ve got some lawyers who are working in an office. We’ve got some lawyers who are working at home. We’ve got the hybrid arrangement where they’re doing both.
for some lawyers, young lawyers in particular, this can mean that there is a lack of interaction between you and other lawyers at your firm. that can really feel a bit isolating. It can feel a bit lonely. so you may feel that that adds to the frustration of trying to bring yourself up the learning curve, to have conversations about file work that you’re doing, have conversations about work that you would like to start doing. So that can be a source of frustration for some people.
There’s, of course, also the frustration with yourself. I mean you may find that you are trying to figure something out, and it’s really challenging, and you don’t really know what to do next. maybe you have an awkward conversation, and you find yourself walking away from that conversation with that feeling of oh, why did I say that? Did I say the right thing? What could I have done differently?
maybe you have, again, going back to that idea of do you have the right support? Maybe you’re working in isolation. You’re working from home, you’re remote, and you don’t really have anybody to turn to. so you might find yourself sitting at your desk, stewing over this conversation that you had, getting frustrated, and then getting frustrated at yourself for getting frustrated.
today we’re talking about frustration, but I would also invite you to think about what other emotions might come into play that are related to frustration. So where there is frustration, there may also be a feeling of restlessness. That you’re not moving fast enough. It may be that there’s frustration that is related to helplessness. That there’s a lack of control here that you’re just not able to get the traction that you want to get.
It may be that the frustration is one that’s closely related to anger. It may be that what started out is something that was kind of bothering you a little bit has escalated. now you find that you’re slipping into something that more resembles that anger where you are feeling really like there’s been something unjust that’s happening or something that’s really difficult for you.
it may also be that feeling of resentment, right. It may be that you feel like you’re doing all the things that you can do, all the things that are in your power, and that maybe it’s not being reciprocated on other sides. so I invite you to think about what these different emotions might be for you. as we go through today’s podcast episode to have those in mind as well.
Now, I don’t think you need me to tell you this, but I’ll say it anyways. If you feel frustrated, it is totally normal. It is part of being human. as working professionals and having lots of different balls to juggle, chances are there are times where you are going to feel that way. When you feel frustrated, it may be a signal that something isn’t going right. If you find that you are continually coming back to the same problem and that is the source of your frustration, it may be a signal that something needs to change.
one of the challenging things about frustration, and anger especially I think for women, is that it’s not necessarily an emotion that we feel comfortable sharing. It may seem like it’s a little bit taboo. It may seem like it’s not feminine for us to talk about that. It may be that talking about emotions generally just isn’t something that we think is okay. so we hold it in or we don’t talk about it. that doesn’t always help to resolve it.
Things that we might try to do to resolve those feelings of frustration or anger or resentment or hopelessness may be to try to outmaneuver those feelings. So if we’re feeling frustrated because we are having trouble juggling our different timelines, things keep falling onto our desk that we hadn’t anticipated, and we’re having to reschedule and all those things. Maybe we’re working harder hoping that by working harder will somehow get ahead of it and no longer feel that frustration.
Complaining is one way that I know I sometimes like to deal with frustration. Certain people that I will turn to when things are not going the way that I want because sometimes I just need someone to listen to me. I just need to complain. I know that there are others who feel the same way because they have complained to me—clients, friends alike—and sometimes that can make you feel better in the moment. It doesn’t always resolve the problem in the long run though.
It may be that you try to justify your feelings. So you may feel on the defensive, right. You have this feeling of frustration, and maybe you feel like you have to justify it in order to feel like it’s validated. It may be that you give up. It may be that something is really frustrating, and you think this is a sign that this isn’t right for me, and I just need to stop.
It may be that you try to resist the frustration, right? You start pushing against it, or maybe you deny that it’s even there. You try to suppress it. that might work for a while, but it doesn’t always work as a long term solution. maybe if the frustration that you’re feeling escalates to that point of anger, you might find yourself lashing out. maybe you’re lashing out with the person who is causing the problem for you, or at least who you think is causing that problem for you.
Or maybe it’s completely otherwise directed. It’s directed toward one of your people that’s close to you. Maybe you’re frustrated about something that’s happening at work, and you’re taking it out on a friend or a family member. so there are lots of different ways that you may try to deal with your frustration, but it may not be leading to the results that you want.
I mean, I think it’s safe to say we can’t really run our frustration. We can’t completely ignore it. Sometimes it’ll go away on its own, but it may simply come back. unfortunately, if we don’t deal with it or we don’t really take the time to explore it, we’re actually losing out on a powerful ally, which is how we feel.
I talk about emotions in other podcast episodes. I talk about fear. I talk about self-doubt. I talk about confidence. one of the themes that runs through these podcast episodes is the idea that there is so much power in our emotions.
I feel like as a lawyer, and this is speaking from my personal experience, so it may not be yours. But I feel like after starting law school and starting to practice law, I really disconnected my emotional life from my professional life. in my professional life, it was all facts and logic, and really trying to be dissociated from the emotional piece, right? I mean you think about how you write submissions for court, and you want to stick to the facts. You’re not really there to complain or tell your side of the story in a way that is overly emotional, right. We’re trying to tease out facts from everything else.
so you may find that in your own life, you’re taking the emotions and putting them out to the side. I almost think of it as putting the emotions into, what comes to mind are those boxes, those banker boxes. I don’t know if you still use them, but I used to use those when I was practicing law. we had a lot of paper. So we’d pack up the boxes and take them off to court.
I feel like we almost take our emotions, and we stuffed them into the banker’s boxes and then shove them into a closet. We don’t necessarily want to deal with them because they’re inconvenient. They aren’t really relevant, but I think they are.
when we don’t deal with our emotions, we don’t use them as clues. I think we’re really losing out on a very powerful ally. I think we’re losing out on information that can help us learn more about the direction in which we would really benefit exploring. so I’m just hopeful that by listening today’s podcast episode, you’re able to connect better with your emotions. Whether it’s frustration or anger or some other emotion and use it as a tool instead of treating it like an inconvenience that you just don’t want to deal with.
So what can happen is if we decide to take our emotions and stuff them in the banker box and lock the closet door. What can happen is, well, sometimes I think, especially with frustration, we can start to feel more frustrated. We start to layer frustration on top of our frustration. Sometimes I think we can start acting out of a place of frustration.
So I mentioned lashing out or making decisions that maybe rash. Maybe you quit, you give up, you decide it’s not for you. Or some of the other examples that we talked about. Maybe you complain, you try to justify them. you have to ask yourself whether acting from that place, acting from that place where you are fueled by the emotion of frustration, are you taking the actions, taking the steps that are resulting in what it is you want to create?
My guess is that it probably isn’t. Those probably aren’t your most evolved decisions, and they probably don’t lead to the outcomes that you would like to create in your practice or in your life.
So, today, I’m going to offer some solutions to figure out how you can use your frustration, how you can better understand your frustration so that you can process it more effectively and make decisions that actually take the benefit of that frustration instead of taking actions that further exacerbate that feeling of frustration. So I have a number of suggestions. So I’m gonna go through them one by one.
Now, the first suggestion is to simply acknowledge that you are frustrated. this can be done in a number of ways. Some people like to give their emotions a name. in this case, you can give it a name like an adjective. Like oh, I feel frustrated right now.
For some people, it actually helps to say that out loud. You might not say it if you’re in a room full of people, but if you’re sitting quietly in your office, you might say, “Oh, I’m feeling frustrated.” Or if you’re speaking with somebody and it’s an environment where you can say something, maybe it’s a close friend. You might say I’m feeling frustrated right now.
Or you might also give your emotion a name. So I have heard of people doing this, particularly when they’re trying to manage their anxiety. They might give that emotion a name. Maybe it’s Bob or Jenna or I don’t know, you get to decide. But what would the anger or the frustration be named? what you’re doing here is by giving a name to the emotion, you’re creating some distance between you and the emotion, and it makes it easier for you to process it in a more neutral way.
Now, once you’ve acknowledged that you’re frustrated, then I would ask yourself what is happening? So what is the source of the frustration? What is happening that is causing you to feel frustrated? I mean is it the fact that your calendar has now been turned upside down and you need to reschedule everything?
Did somebody speak to you in a way that made you feel a certain way? Maybe they spoke to you in a way that you found to be condescending or caused you to question the value that you’re bringing to a particular file. Maybe it’s a client who’s putting pressure on you, and you feel like it’s unjustified. you’re not really sure how to respond to it. So try to figure out what the source is. think about how you would elicit that information from yourself.
So what I like to do here is think about what I would ask, what I would say if it was my daughter, for example, who was coming to me and she was upset. I would probably ask her some questions about it in a very non-judgmental and curious way. I would invite you to do the same for yourself. Just ask yourself what happened and start getting more clarity on the circumstances that led to you feeling a certain way.
Now, the third thing that I would suggest to do here is to allow yourself to just feel frustrated. again, if you’re a lawyer and you’re anything like me, you may feel like emotions are this kind of hazy thing that you don’t really want to engage in. that’s fine. But I would invite you to have an open mind about this because it can actually be really interesting and totally liberating.
I had a coaching conversation not that long ago. I was actually being coached. And the coach that I was talking with specialized in emotions. so she was just asking me some questions. she wanted me to get really involved in this emotion. it will sound totally woo. as I was doing it, I felt this is so woo, but it was amazing. I really enjoyed it.
Because what I was doing was actually describing the emotion. She asked me to give it a color, give it a texture, give it a temperature. when you start to really ask yourself what that emotion feels like in your body, then all of a sudden, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming, right? Much like giving it a name and looking at it from a more objective standpoint helps distance you from the emotion, helps you get power over that emotion.
It’s the same thing when you actually try to identify where in your body this emotion is coming from, what it feels like, what it looks like. it allows you to become more curious about it and open to understanding where it’s coming from and how it serves you, how it helps you. As opposed to trying to simply resist it or wrap it up and put it in that banker’s box so that you don’t have to deal with it.
So that’s something I’d really encourage doing. It might feel totally counterintuitive. You might feel like this is crazy. Paula, why are you asking me to do this? But trust me, it can actually be pretty effective.
So the next idea, the next suggestion, is to notice when you feel most frustrated. So if it’s time management, for example, I would ask you to think about what is happening there.
So if you’re like me, I mentioned I’m so into time management. I have a practice that I love. I have my children and family that I love. And friends too, and I try to do some self-care as well. So there’s all these different pockets in my life. I’m always thinking about how to optimize my day so that I get to do everything that I want to do. so they tend to be pretty tightly scheduled. if things shift, it means I need to shift things around.
Now, the benefit of having a timetable the way that I have it is that I know how to shift things, right? If I need to make adjustments, it’s pretty clear to me which levers I need to press on so that I can actually create the time I need to do things.
But it can also, as I mentioned earlier, bring up some feelings of frustration, especially if what I’m trying to do is balance my family and my work. I find that, for me, is probably one of the most difficult areas. Because, like I said, I love both. when I have to make choices, when it feels like I have to choose one or the other, that can really make me feel conflicted.
So ask yourself, if it is time management, what is happening there? What exactly does it mean for you? I mean, sometimes it means you need to schedule more time for yourself. If you feel like you’re constantly at the beck and call of somebody or something or some project and you feel that you’re getting burnt out, your energy levels are low, you’re starting to feel really resentful, you feel like the quality of your work is suffering, it may mean that what you really need is time to give yourself some self-care. Whether it’s time away from the office or if it’s time just to walk around the block during the day. But maybe that’s something that you need.
Maybe it’s scheduling less. Maybe you’re being a little over ambitious with your schedule, and everything is so packed in that there is no wiggle room. believe me, I can relate to this. I can relate to it back when I was practicing law. I can relate to it now. I love having a full schedule, but sometimes I think I get a little bit overzealous. Maybe this is you.
Maybe you have trouble setting boundaries. Maybe when you’re feeling frustrated, maybe when you start to feel resentful, you’re doing more than you really need to. It may be that there’s opportunities to enlist the help of others. also just set some boundaries.
It may also mean that you need to get more organized. It may be that time management is something that you haven’t really spent a lot of time practicing. so you may find that what you really need is actually to devote some time to the planning, to the scheduling, to thinking about how to be efficient with your time so that you’re not in a constant scramble.
Now another area where you may feel frustrated is if you’re undervaluing yourself. this can show up in a number of different ways. it may be in the way that you speak to yourself. if you go back to the best boss episode that I recorded a while back, I go into that in depth. Really that conversation, that internal narrative that we’re having with ourselves. Are you having a conversation that supports you and highlights your value? Or are you having a conversation where you’re constantly grading yourself and looking at the things that you’re not doing?
Maybe it’s the way that other people speak to you. So what I’ve noticed is that sometimes when we undervalue ourselves, we attract that kind of thinking from those who we interact with. it’s amazing how even what you don’t say, right, the way that you communicate when it’s emanating from a place where you don’t see your value, where you’re not truly appreciating what you’re bringing to the table. Then others can reflect that back to you in very subtle ways. So maybe that’s something that’s happening for you, and it’s making you feel frustrated.
It may be that you are tolerating treatment from others that is not respectful, that you feel is unfair, and you’re not saying anything about it. if that’s the case, I strongly encourage you to go back to Episode 48 where Catalina Rodriguez and I have a conversation. She talks about how to have difficult conversations at work, and she offers some beautiful strategies. So that might be a place for you to turn.
So these are all areas where you may be undervaluing yourself, and that can lead to frustration in terms of how events are unfolding and also how you feel about yourself. That relationship that you have with yourself.
Another area where you may feel frustrated is alignment. Maybe you’re doing work that is further and further out of alignment with the values that you have. as you start to realize that more, you might feel like you’re spinning. Like you’ve lost direction in your career. You may feel like you need to make some changes. You need to really find out if where you are headed is truly where you want to be going.
You may find that people are asking you to work on files, and that file comes to you and you think, oh like do I really have to do this again? I don’t want to do this file. This work is not resonating with me. You might find yourself not eager to take things on. Versus other files where maybe you just can’t wait to get another one. so if you find that the balance of your practice is shifting into a domain where you just don’t feel that connection and what you really want is something different, that may be leading to frustration for you.
finally, another area, and these are not all the areas where you may feel frustrated, but here we’re just looking. We’re looking to see are there certain patterns here? Is maybe it’s your environment.
So there’s something to be said about who it is that you’re surrounding yourself with, about who you are in relation to the organization in which you work. maybe there’s a disconnect between the values that you have and the values that others around you have. Maybe you have kind of reached a plateau. Maybe you’ve reached a point where there is no further growth available to you, and you’re itching for that growth and you’re just not in that space. so you keep wanting to push up. You want to keep pushing forward, but you feel like you’re being held back.
So these are all areas to look at. I would invite you to think about where you feel frustrated, how that’s showing up, where it shows up repeatedly because now you know what to look for. when those feelings come up, when those feelings of frustration come up, then you can start asking yourself these questions.
You can start trying to figure out what is it that I’m feeling here? Is it frustration? Is it anger? Is it hopelessness? Is it resentment? Really ask yourself what’s happening, right? What’s the source? How do I feel about this? Again, that’s going in and identifying the emotion, trying to describe it in your body. All the woo, all the colors, all the textures, all the feelings.
so once you’ve done that and you’ve noticed where you start to feel frustrated, then I would encourage you to start taking steps. So you can start taking steps toward self-care. That is often an area—If we’re feeling frustrated, often it’s because we aren’t taking care of ourselves, especially if you’re a busy professional. You’re wearing lots of hats. You’re always on the go. Chances are you’re not fully taking care of yourself the way that you might need to be.
if you pause here for a minute and think about, this might be ridiculous, but a really fancy racecar. I’m not a car enthusiast by any stretch, but you look at like a Ferrari, for example, versus some other sort of nondescript car. A Ferrari needs a certain amount of care and tune up. When I think of a Ferrari, I imagine it with like this super polished, I don’t even know what you call that. Not glaze, but you know, the paint on the car. You’re probably tuning up the engine, and you’re making sure that all the gadgets and gizmos are all up to speed and finely tuned.
Whereas maybe with that ordinary car, you’re kind of letting it run to the ground. You haven’t had the oil changed in a while. so how are you treating yourself, right? Are you treating yourself like that Ferrari? Or are you just kind of letting the tune-ups slide and not really taking care of yourself? So here if you are feeling frustrated, if you’re feeling resentful, I highly encourage you to consider what kind of self-care you might be able to incorporate into your routine so that you can feel better.
another thing that I would encourage you to do is to ask yourself questions from a place of curiosity. So, again, going back to that example of if it was somebody else who was coming to you with these feelings of frustration, how would you approach that? You’d maybe approach it with curiosity, with empathy, with non-judgment. So what if you were to take those same approaches with yourself when you are investigating, when you’re asking yourself what’s really going on there?
What, I think, happens here as well is when you start giving yourself that grace, when you start taking care of yourself better, when you start asking yourself questions from a place of curiosity and non-judgment, what you may find is that the way that you relate to others, including others who may be frustrating for you, you can then start to ask them questions from that place of curiosity. So if there’s somebody who you come into conflict with, maybe you can start to ask them questions from a more neutral place.
So a couple more suggestions here is to approach your challenges with the end in sight. So I remember talking about this in an earlier podcast episode. There was a woman that I met who told me that she was recognized at her organization for mentorship. She’d been recognized her mentorship for years. I asked her what her secret was. Like what it was about her mentoring that she thought separated her from others.
she said that it was because when she had conversations with junior lawyers who maybe had made mistakes on files or not done the job the way that people had hoped that they would do the job, that she approached those conversations with a long term view in mind. the long term view was that they would remain part of the organization. That they would have formed a very fluid and collegial working relationship.
So here too, I would encourage you to think about what it is you want as the end result. this likely means moving out of that state of frustration. Like I said, it can be really hard to be mindful and super logical and have the discipline to think of what it is you truly want, what your most evolved self wants out of a situation when you are in that state of frustration. So once you kind of work through your emotion, once you’re kind of in that more rest and digest neutral space, think about what it is that you want at the end, and you can approach your challenges from that place.
then finally, the last thing that I want to mention here is that you are not alone. If you feel frustrated about things landing on your desk last minute and you have to scramble to get something done. Or one of your clients is talking to you in a way that you don’t like. Or you feel isolated and cut off from everybody in your organization because you’ve been working remotely and you haven’t seen a human in 3D for three months. Whatever it might be, I can assure you that you are not alone. so hopefully, you can take some comfort in that because we truly are all in this together.
So when you follow these suggestions. So acknowledge that you’re frustrated, allow yourself to feel frustrated, notice what situations are causing that frustration, taking steps towards self-care and curiosity, approaching your challenges with the insight, and knowing that you are not alone. This will allow you to get a lot more comfortable and acquainted with your emotions, whether it’s frustration or anger or hopelessness or resent or whatever it is that is getting under your skin and making you feel that way.
when you no longer suppress your emotions, when you’re not trying to fight them or resist them or pretend like they don’t exist, then they lose their control over you. They lose their power over you. what that means is that you actually are taking your power back. You’re much better positioned to move forward in a productive and powerful way.
Now the skills that you need in order to do this. Number one, you need to allow yourself to feel your emotions and engage with them. like I said, this might be really uncomfortable, especially if you’re anything like me, and you decided that emotions have no business in your professional life. Let’s stick to the facts, please. So that might take a bit of extra work on your part. It might mean moving into a zone that is not necessarily comfortable for you.
Another skill that you’ll need is to start to be able to toggle between your emotional and logical mind. this is actually kind of fun. What you might find is when you start practicing this, when you really start to become aware of when your emotions are bubbling up, when the feelings of frustration are starting to take over.
What you may find is that you see them, right. You realize, oh, okay. I’m starting to feel really frustrated here. this is a sign that I just need to stop talking. It means I just need to be still for a minute and allow this feeling to pass. Allow this feeling to work its way through so that I can wait to be on the other side of it before I take any actions or say anything or say something that I regret. having that power over yourself is really neat and so great for making intentional decisions that align with what you really want as opposed to what you think you want in the moment.
It also requires you learn to act from a place of creation versus reaction. In earlier podcast episodes, I draw the distinction between creation and reaction. Or actually I think it’s creative versus reactive. what I love about the contrast is that it’s the same letters, but two totally different mindsets.
So when you’re in that creative state, this is when you’re feeling calm. You’re in that rest and digest, and your mind actually works in a much more expansive way when you’re in that physiological state versus when you’re in a reactive state. So you can imagine you’re stressed your calendar has just been turned upside down. Somebody has said something that just piqued your anger. if you are in a reactive state, chances are the decisions that you make, the actions that you take are not the ones that align with what you want in that more creative state.
So being able to navigate between those two and to take action from that more creative state, again, leads you to the outcomes that you want versus the outcomes that feel good in the moment but don’t necessarily create the results you want.
finally, another skill that you will need is to let go of judgment. that means that you may need to stop judging yourself, stop judging your emotions, and also maybe stop judging others who should be acting a certain way. The results that you will create are that you will have more compassion for yourself and for others and be able to act from that more compassionate space.
It may be that you find yourself more calm. That when you’re able to really deal with frustration in a very tangible and intentional way that it holds so much less power over you, and you feel calmer and you’re able to act from that space. It may be that you then feel more powerful, right. You’ve got control over this. This is no longer something that controls you. ultimately, what that can create for you is a more joyful practice, which ultimately is what we’re after.
So my friends, that is what I have to share with you this week. Episode number 50, all about dealing with frustration. I can tell you it has been one of those weeks. I have to say I’m gonna give myself a little pat on the back here. But altogether, I really have been practicing these things. it really does help even though my calendar has been totally, totally manipulated. I feel still very much like I’m coming from that place of being creative and solution focused.
so I hope for all of you listening that whatever it is that is challenging you right now, whatever it is that is causing you to feel frustrated, that you’re able to use some of these strategies to overcome that frustration, to process that frustration, to create more of what it is that you want in your practice. I hope that yeah. That’s what I hope for you all.
So thank you, again, for joining me for episode 50. If you would like to reach out to me, if you’d like to connect with me, I’m on LinkedIn. You can send me an email. You can connect with me through the website. I’m always so happy to hear from you. If you’ve been listening to this podcast and you would like to rate and review it, please do that. I always love hearing your reviews, hearing how this podcast has positively impacted you and your practice. with that, my friends, I will bid you farewell and look forward to reconnecting with you next week for episode 51. Bye for now.
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