Tag Archives: Career Advice

How Do You Deal with Frustration?

“The problem is that frustration is a gateway to both productive and destructive action. If channelled correctly, frustration can help you overcome obstacles and initiate positive change. If channelled incorrectly, it can spur recklessness and resentment.” Isaiah Hankel PH.D.

Once upon a time, the game ‘Frustration!’ invited feelings of excitement and fun. I looked forward to racing around the board and getting all my pieces  to the dice in the middle.  Unlike this favourite childhood board game of mine, today I treat real frustration very differently.

Lately I’ve found myself annoyed, angry or disappointed with some things at work.  Although negative, it seems that I can be somewhat addicted to this cycle of emotions. Some call it a love for drama, or company politics, either way I seem to be drawn to it, or it to me (especially during my recent turmoil of applying for a new position within the company).

In time, as I have become more aware of this tendency, I have realized that the consequences are destructive. There have been moments that I am unable to focus on important tasks because I have allowed myself to wallow in frustration, anger or pity. My productivity diminishes, which leads to increased frustration interwoven with a twinge of revenge; all of which escalates until I mentally and/or emotionally take charge of my psyche to break the cycle.

“Revenge is never a straight line. It’s a forest, And like a forest it’s easy to lose your way… To get lost… To forget where you came in.”  Hattori Hanzo (Played by Shin’ichi Chiba in Kill Bill: Vol. 1)

So What Do We Do About It?

Get better, not bitterFrustration can really be a catalyst for 
productive action if channelled in the right way. I’ve learned that transforming frustration into problem solving motivation not only builds happiness, but improves leadership qualities.

Maybe there are some lessons we can learn from my other favourite childhood games to help deal with frustration.

Connect 4

Great Connect 4 players have a pattern or a well thought out strategy to win. This usually involves understanding your opponents strategy and making the first move. With this in place the worst outcome is a tie. So, how can this help us deal with frustration? Understand both opponents, especially yourself. Know what triggers your frustration, and come prepared to win. Make a plan of how you will block some of these early cues that will start the frustration spiral and block them with more positive things. Doing so will create a habit of avoiding frustration in the first place. Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit describes the technical definition of a habit as:

“…the choices that all of us deliberately make at some point, and then stop thinking about but continue doing, often every day.”

Commit in this moment to align your words with your actions and apply positive change to your life. It will be hard and take time, but luckily you know yourself better than anyone! You know your triggers and are therefore qualified to succeed- and you will.


Like many games of this nature it is frustrating when you cannot see what you did to set off the buzzer and flashing red nose. Carefully navigating and understnding any situation always improves patience and control. As Marcus Aurelius said

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

The power is within us to change how we allow our frustrations to wear us down. We need to channel our emotions correctly so that the negativity spurs us to get better (not bitter!). Or in the words of Napoleon Hill:

“If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”

How do you deal with frustration? Any thoughts or advice?



Vision, Vision, Vision


“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”  Helen Keller.
My wife and I are in the process of buying our first house. This, as you can imagine, is a time filled with excitement, yet sprinkled with trepidation. During our house hunt for the perfect place we came across 3 strong contenders. One stuck out above the rest. Zachary Drive. Was it the square footage? Price? Or the stylish updates? Kind of- but mostly it had a lot to do with thefeel of the home, the pictures on the wall depicting a happy family almost identical to ours. There was a perfect kid’s bedroom for our 7 month old daughter, a dining room with the exact Pottery Barn table my wife had been envisioning from the website… In short we could see ourselves living in it. So, naturally, we were devastated when a Cash Buyer swooped in and snatched up our dream property for well over asking price.

So, now you’re wondering what figurative relevance this could have to your career, it is this: Salary, title and benefits cannot define whether you are or will be happy with your job. It is you and your desires. In other words- your vision. A recent study carried out by UC Berkeley revealed that 48% of respondents felt that the most important job factor was “important work and a feeling of accomplishment” this ranked twice as high over salary and opportunities for advancement (http://www.statisticbrain.com/u-s-job-satisfaction-statistics).
Many of life’s problems are the result of lack of vision, uncertainty or unfocused energy.Therefore, if you are reading this feeling dissatisfied with your current job or career trajectory I implore you to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How did I get here?
  • Why am I here? 
  • Where would I like to be and why?

Answer these questions and you will uncover the steps you have made to get where you are today. And therefore, be equipped with your re-energized vision to chart a course to your desired destination. Make sure as you plan your journey, that you set specific milestones or goals. After all:

“When we deal in generalities, we shall never succeed. When we deal in specifics, we rarely have failure.” (Thomas.S.Monson).