jen spencer coaches

Genius of Frustration

I had a client come in the other day, and quite frankly, she was just worn. Tired, grumpy, mad at the world, deflated about her dreams, looking at her life through old lenses of what she thought her life should be like.

She was not in a good place for coaching, and I asked her what she needed from me. She said: “Just don’t let me give up.”

And I couldn’t help but think of the fact that, just two hours before, I experienced my own meltdown of sorts.

After trying 5 different ways to creatively finance a project that I’m very emotionally attached to, I had hit a wall. I was mad at the banking institution, the housing market, and I was really mad at myself for having had hope that I could do it.

I was defeated. A Type A woman defeated.

After a short cry, queso, and some lunch, I felt much better. I had taken a pause and given my brain and self-inflicted judgment a rest.

And guess what happened? A random conversation with an old friend on my way back to the office sparked an idea, and voila! I had another way to play the game. My breakthrough had arrived!

When you are angry or mad or exhausted, yes, your emotions are winning over your practical, logical mind. And it’s in those moments that we want to give up.

But the rub is we need both emotions and our logic to survive. In Switch: How to Change When Change Is Hard, the Heath brothers talk about the emotional part of our brain as the Elephant and the logical/planning part of our brain as the Rider. The Rider can only control the Elephant for a specific amount of time, because the elephant is bigger.

We need emotions. They are our catalyst, but how they catalyze is entirely up to you. If you let it, frustration can suck the life out of a dream or hope. And the beauty is that frustration can also be a tipping point and bring about commitment to change.

The genius of frustration is its ability (or capacity) to help you figure out what you really care about – what you value.

When you know your values, it’s easier to get back on that horse and try again. You never know what could be right around the corner that helps inspire you to believe again that what you want is possible.

Look through the rolodex of your goals and dreams (past, present, and future). What frustration have you let get in the way of what you want? And more importantly, what are the real motivators behind the frustrations? Most of the time they are great ideas, goals and passions longing to be accomplished.

Reach in deep, find that sweet spot where logic shakes hands with your emotions, and try again to bring those dreams back to life. You’ve worked too hard to give up now.

Your Wing Woman,

Dominating Emotion in a Room Wins


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