This article was originally published on Forbes.com
As a long-term entrepreneur and success coach, I have direct experience dealing with my own and clients’ career frustration. It happens to virtually everyone in every field — regardless of the position you hold.
If not dealt with effectively, the experience of frustration can become overwhelming, unmanageable, scary and even paralyzing. Armed with the proper frustration-busting strategies, you can quickly turn what may feel like a negative no-way-out or doomsday situation into an opportunity for positive change, greater personal and professional expansion and increased success.
When you find yourself stuck in feelings of frustration about your career, here are four steps you can take to get unstuck and move forward in a positive direction:
Step 1: Shift The Energy
The first thing to do is break up the feelings of frustration by refocusing your attention on something different that you have control over. Here are some examples:
A: Move into a different environment that brings you a sense of peace or calm — do something healthy like go outside for a walk or run, or do some other kind of exercise.
B: Go to your favorite coffee shop and sit and sip for a break.
C: Find a quiet place to meditate for 15 minutes.
D: Switch your focus off the source of frustration and onto a work-related task that you enjoy (something that gives you a feeling of joy and accomplishment) and that doesn’t require anyone else’s involvement, such as writing an article.
Most frustration is born out of the inability to get others to do what you want or need them to do. Therefore, by focusing your energy on a task that you have complete control over, you can release the feelings of frustration that bind you. This can take you back into a positive mindset and allow you to revisit the source of frustration and problem-solve in a more rational state of mind.
Step 2: Evaluate The Source Of Frustration
After you’ve returned to a state of calm, it’s time to take a rational and realistic look at the situation and assess whether there is, in fact, a real problem to be solved or whether your own character traits might be causing self-inflicted frustration. Personally, I can allow my tendency to be impatient to cause frustration at times. Write an honest evaluation of your own and/or others’ part in the frustration that you’re feeling. Be honest with yourself, and specifically identify your character traits (unrealistic expectations of others, impatience, fear of the future, etc.).
Step 3: Take Action
If you see that your own traits — such as perfectionism, impatience and unrealistic expectations of others — might be getting in the way of being in a positive state of mind, then commit to working on them to become more effective and successful. Shift the focus off of others and onto yourself by conducting an honest appraisal of yourself. Ask yourself these questions, and write down your answers: What could I be doing better to evolve myself? What could I be doing better in this situation that’s causing me so much frustration? Why am I allowing this to cause me so much stress?
Journaling is one of the best ways to work on your character defects. Another way is to work with a coach or mentor to help you identify what’s at the root of the fear that’s driving the frustration. This can release the fear that binds you, help you liberate yourself from those traits and maximize success in minimum time.
If you find that it’s someone else who is leading to your frustration — because they’re failing to do what they’re responsible for or they aren’t capable of performing their job — then the next step might be to either talk to them about their performance or to begin the search to replace them.
Step 4: Don’t Settle For Less
Sometimes we stay the course in jobs, relationships and situations long after we’ve seen the hard evidence that they aren’t a healthy fit for our career goals or our overall well-being. It’s often uncomfortable to confront the reality that it may be time to move on, but staying in an unhealthy situation for too long will likely continue to cause you frustration and postpone the achievement of your goals. In the end, it probably doesn’t serve you or others involved.
If you find that something in your current career is a consistent source of frustration after having taken all of the above steps, don’t see it as a sign of failure, but rather as a sign of your own positive growth. Congratulate yourself because it means that you’ve put in the hard work and are now ready for an upgrade to something more fulfilling that can serve to help you attain true success, which I believe is a balanced achievement of both wealth and well-being.
Everyone consciously or subconsciously is hoping, wishing and dreaming of having success. But, all to often, in their wildest dreams of success, they neglect to add into the dream criteria that the success be one that will make them feel happy, joyous, free and loving the life they’ve created.
All too frequently, I bear direct witness to those who have created material success and yet have lost that loving feeling for what they’re doing, and that discontent permeates all areas of their lives adversely affecting the quality of their lives, including their ability to be clear and present for LOVE.
“If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?” ~Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
Here Are the Seven I Do’s to Creating a Life You’ll Love:
1. Only Engage in Activities that Enhance the Quality of Your Life: In your eagerness to attain success, don’t neglect to take reasonable time out to analyze each opportunity that presents itself to you. Grabbing onto everything and anything that comes your way will only push out your time to success and more importantly, will fail to deliver you a successful quality of life.
2. Don’t Become Too Hungry for Success: Too hungry for success means you will go to any lengths to get what you want. This is often the downfall of many entrepreneurs. It’s when they start making too many sacrifices to get ahead and make mistakes. It often means lowering one’s standards, which results in less than desirable results in all areas of one’s life.
3. Be Discerning Who You Partner With: This applies to all areas of one’s life. If any partnership isn’t one which enhances the quality of your life and inspires you to grow; then it simply isn’t going to nurture you, your success or your happiness. Partnerships should be energizing and not draining.
4. Be Willing to Say No and Walk Away: After seeing warning signs that something isn’t working out and rationally assessing the situation, be courageous in letting go and in trusting that something more in alignment with your values and goals will replace it. Long term success is achieved when you know where and when to cut your losses by giving something up that realistically doesn’t serve to preserve both your wealth and well-being.
5. Have a Clear Definition of Success: Understand that sustainable success is a balanced achievement of wealth and well being through consistently living the truth of your values. Regularly ask yourself if the opportunity in front of you supports the truth of your core values and your overall health, wealth and well being and if it doesn’t –don’t go there.
6. Have Outside Interests: Success is achieved and sustained when one has a balanced life through consistently, healthfully engaging in the four corner stones of success: Mental, Physical, Financial and Spiritual. Overworking creates a out of balance dynamic which only brings dissatisfaction to you and those around you.
7. Have a Relationship with a Higher Power: A life without faith is at peril. Life is constantly filled with change and challenge. To move through them successfully, one needs optimal clarity, calm and courage that only a power greater than oneself can deliver. A faith filled practice provides answers that can’t be accessed without divine inspiration.
A successful life is one that is filled with love. The love of what you’re doing, who you are sharing your time and energy with, who you’re serving and inspiring and who’s inspiring you. If you’ve lost that loving feeling, it’s time to reconnect to your heart and soul. Then, go out and boldly commit to love again– more deeply–more richly.
In Closing My Shocking Confession: I had just left an 8-year marriage. It was a tough decision. I’m a fiercely loyal, long term player. The reality of my husband’s inability to be present to himself or to me was one that could no longer be ignored. I tried to fix him because I wanted him to be happy and successful. I was young and back then I thought I could fix those who didn’t want to be fixed. He didn’t want to give up the behaviors that kept him underachieving in all areas of his life. I had to let go. This one experience taught me going forward to see every relationship opportunity for the truth of what it is in it’s present “as is” condition and to assess it for its ability to enhance the quality of my own life and hence the lives of those around me. It also taught me that if I’m not clear about myself, my values and commit 100% to living my truth in every and all circumstances, then I will not be able to live a successful life or lead others to one.
Getting your business off to a great start for the coming year means dedicating yourself to planning and strategy. But while start-of-year planning is important to business success, you can’t ignore the rest of the year.
Sixteen members of the Forbes Coaches Council, including myself, were asked what business leaders should do in January – and beyond – to set themselves up for a successful year. Among the suggestions, ideas on:
- Mapping goals and defining potential wins
- Understanding key trends that can affect your business success
- Prioritizing human resources strategies and learning from your staff
- Improving company culture
- Focusing on customer needs
- Carving out time to think
- Responding and adapting to change
- Taking a critical look at the past year
- Developing habits that lead to sustainable business success
Read the full article for a wide variety of tips and strategies on what to do – and what not to do – in the months ahead.
More suggested reading on the topic of business success:
6 Growth Hacks to Consistently Grow Your Success
Convert Losses to Wins for Everlasting Success
Often, when confronted with situations that are unfamiliar or stressful, we stay in our comfort zone to shield ourselves. But that personal bubble might be holding you back from achieving success.
To reach our goals, in sales and other areas of entrepreneurial life, it is sometimes necessary to take actions that might seem daunting, rather than exhilarating. So how can you move beyond your comfort zone and achieve your potential?
I believe the combination of passion and purpose is powerful. Find out how to use them to soar above any personal discomfort and achieve success. More on this, and 14 other strategies and first-hand insights from members of the Forbes Coaches Council in this article on breaking out of your comfort zone.
Learn how to use valuable strategies including:
- Problem-focused interaction
- Practice and presentation
- Setting up systems
- Understanding ‘no’
- Changing perspectives
- Experimenting with approaches
Additional reading you may enjoy: Embracing your Inner Salesperson
How do you know if you’re in the wrong job, or if a new job offer will be a good fit?
Your career goals can change over time, and the wrong job will only delay your success.
There are many signs your job is not a good fit, starting with the company’s values. Know what a company stands for before you accept employment, and make sure it’s a match for your own beliefs. If your existing employer is no longer living up to the values they had when you started, it may be time to move on. Choosing to stay will only delay your success.
Just surviving in a job isn’t enough. You should be thriving. Are you constantly bored or having negative feelings about the work you do? Has there been a change in management or company direction? Are you utilizing your strengths?
I shared my thoughts on this topic, along with other members of the Forbes Coaches Council. Find out our 13 clear signs your job isn’t the right fit in this article on Forbes.
You might also be interested in the top questions to ask before taking a job.