May 3, 2023

Frustrated? Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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It can be so frustrating when someone doesn’t deliver on their promises. Maybe your team totally missed the mark on a project or a stakeholder just doesn’t seem to get it.

One thing is in common – you’re frustrated.

On today’s episode of the podcast, I’m sharing with you the 4 key questions to ask yourself to process that frustration and move into productive problem solving so you can get the outcome you desire. This episode will ensure you not only take care of yourself but that you are able to better manage and prevent failed expectations in the future.

What you’ll learn:

  • The important thing to do to avoid escalation and take care of yourself when you’re frustrated
  • 4 questions to ask to take yourself from frustrated to productive problem solving
  • How to prevent failed expectations in the future

Work with Melissa:

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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here, the one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of rule so you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up level begins now.

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. This week, we are going to dive into something that impacts all of us one time or another, and that is when we get frustrated with someone. But first, I want to celebrate one of one of my clients, Katherine. Katherine, if you’re listening, I just want to give you a huge shout out. Catherine reached out to me after listening to my podcast for about a month. She didn’t think her work culture was a good fit, and she wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do for her career. So she generally just felt stuck. She has a lot of interests and she could take her career in many different directions. She wanted to be sure that she was making choices for her and moving into something that she was actually going to enjoy doing. Imagine that. She didn’t want to just get a certification or move into another department, change companies or departments, and realize that the grass just really isn’t greener on the other side. So she reached out and set up a consultation with me. I had a waitlist to start coaching, so she waited a couple of months before we started our one on one sessions.

But she continued to listen to the podcast and apply what she learned here. She attended my trainings. And when we started in January, you can imagine she was eager to know her next move. After waiting two months to start, she just wanted to know what she was going to be doing already and how to get there. She wanted to be in that new job now. But she trusted the process, and within just a few weeks, she not only knew exactly what she wanted, imagine that feeling of being so confident and sure in the type of role you want to have, the exact work you want to do, where to find it. But she felt more confident than ever, and she had received multiple job offers. She advocated for herself in her current job while she was navigating the interview process so that she wasn’t overworking, and she was feeling more in control of her work life while she was navigating the interviews. But she knew what questions to ask, she knew what job to apply for because of my process. And in the end, she negotiated a sign on bonus that reimbursed her for the entire coaching investment and a 25 % salary increase and an increased title and scope of work.

And the very best part is she feels amazing and is moving into work she actually knows she wants to do. Now, we have this bonus of having a few months to coach on her transition and focus on her other personal and professional development goals. How amazing is this? Now, I share this with you with you, not just to talk about how amazing and proven my process is and how coaching is just the thing you need to do for your development in general, because it is. But to show you that if you want something different, all you have to do is take a leap and go after it. Katherine has shown up to our coaching sessions prepared with intention for what she wants to achieve. She takes action in between our meetings, and it has paid her back in such a huge way. Now, you can hear what she has to say about her experience on my LinkedIn profile, but the takeaway that I want you to have is this, whether it’s a job you love, feeling confident in your skin and letting go of the negative self talk and doubt, making more money, being more effective, you can have it.

Don’t let your brain or anyone else tell you otherwise. You just have to be the one to stand up and initiate the change. I work with people at all stages of their careers, and I have seen these transformations at different levels, different ages, different geographical locations. So it is possible for you, too. So congratulations, Katherine. If you’re listening, I’m so happy for you and thank you for being such an amazing example of what is possible for others. Now, let’s get into the topic of today’s session, being frustrated with someone. You could be frustrated with your team, frustrated with your boss, a coworker who failed to meet a deliverable, whatever it is, I got you. Because in this episode, we are going to take that frustration and we are going to turn it into something productive. The last thing you want is to stew on that negativity, bring it home to your loved ones, or let it carry into the next day or conversation. So I’m going to share four questions you can ask that will help you get into a more productive state and get you into the result that you want. Maybe you’re frustrated right now, or maybe you’re listening to this to be prepared for that next inevitable time that someone gets on your nerves.

We are only human. For the purpose of this episode, I’m referring to being frustrated with someone for not following through or meeting your expectations. Now, when you’re feeling frustrated, the first thing I want you to do is to address your nervous system, which is your body. I want you to acknowledge how you’re feeling, and before you try to logic your way into a solution, what we really need to do is regulate ourselves. Otherwise, we can’t get into the deep brain work that we need to that is going to help us problem solve and get to the solution that we want. So if you find yourself frustrated, here are some things you can do to calm yourself before we get into these questions you’re going to ask yourself. You can go for a walk, you can put your hand on your heart, and you can do some box breathing. If you’re not familiar with box breathing, it’s essentially breathing in for four counts, taking a pause for four counts, letting it out for four counts, holding for four counts. And you just repeat that cycle over and over until you are feeling your heartbeat calm down, until you’re able to feel the sensations in your body, feel connected to yourself again.

You can have a dance party. You essentially want to move the energy through your body so it doesn’t stay all tight and bound up in your shoulders, in your chest, or anywhere else. And there are so many ways to do this. There are somatic practices. There are things that you can Google and look up online. But essentially, you don’t want to try to go into problem solving and sitting down with your pen and paper and telling yourself how you should be or what should have been done or what they should do and problem solve. If your nervous system is having trauma response, if it’s having an anxiety response, you really want to calm it down, come back to your body. That is where your best thinking and problem solving will happen. So I know you might be thinking, Okay, but what if I’m in a meeting and I’m getting frustrated? What am I supposed to do? You always have the option to not address whatever is frustrating you in the moment and to take care of yourself. And so you can try things like saying, Let me get back to you on that, or I need some time to process this.

Can we get together next week to discuss this further? You can always end meetings early. You always have a choice for how to manage and respond to your body. When you think that you don’t, that’s often coming from some people pleasing tendency. And we can get into that another time because that is a deep topic. So first, you’re regulating and you’re acknowledging your body and your nervous system. That is the fundamental, the foundational thing that you need to do. Then here are some questions for you to think about when you’re frustrated with someone. I’m going to go over four questions, so this is like a systematic process that you’ll go through in order. The first question, why am I frustrated? That seems like a simple question, but asking yourself, why are you frustrated? And when you have that answer, then ask yourself, why again? There is a reason that is likely deeper than they didn’t finish the report. Not finishing a report, as an example, is a neutral circumstance. So if you’re having a strong negative feeling to it, it is likely because you are thinking it means something about you. It will prevent you from something, something like that.

It is most likely rooted in something that you think about yourself or that you think others will think about you because of this failure. So just ask yourself why as many times as you need to until you get to the real reason as to why you’re really frustrated. W hy is this causing such a strong emotional response in you? And then number two is, were the expectations clear? So when we’re frustrated in this situation where someone’s not following through on an expectation, and we’re the ones frustrated, then it is reasonable to think that we’re the ones setting the expectation. So did the person or people know what they were supposed to do? Did they know what success or good looked like? Did they have a deadline? Sometimes we make assumptions and think things are obvious to us, but they aren’t obvious to everyone else. And clearly they weren’t obvious to the person or people that are frustrating you. So reflect on what your expectations were and if they were clear to the person or people who didn’t meet them. Sometimes when my clients do this, they may realize that, Oh, I actually never gave a deadline.

It just seemed reasonable. They would get this done by Friday, and it wasn’t done by Friday. But they realized they didn’t actually spell it out for them because they didn’t think that they needed to. Or maybe the format or the quality of the work was not what was expected. It didn’t go into a deep enough analysis. But maybe that was an assumption that they would do that because that’s what you would do, but that’s not what was really clear for them. So I’m not saying that is for sure what happened in this situation. I’m just saying it’s a good question to ask, were the expectations clear? Who set them? What were they? Where was the disconnect? So once you know that, then that’s some proactive information that you can take with you in the future to prevent this from happening again. And if you’re in a situation where maybe you already expressed your frustration, right? And then you do this, you’re listening to this episode and you’re like, Oh, crap. I actually didn’t say the deadline, you can always go acknowledge that with the person. You can take a big piece of that humble pie and explain that that was something that you thought was inherent and it wasn’t, and you can always acknowledge them.

So I’m sure that you would appreciate that as well if that was a circumstance you were in where someone else was frustrated with you for not doing something, but you didn’t know you were supposed to do it. If they came back and acknowledged that, I’m sure that would do great for your relationship. Okay, so let me recap. Number one is why am I frustrated? Number two is were the expectations clear? And number three is how can I see this differently? So I want you to consider, is there a perspective that you’re not considering? If you put yourself in the shoes of the other person or people, what might they be thinking? What might be the reasons behind their decisions for why they did what they did or didn’t do what they were supposed to do? And maybe there isn’t another perspective that is really going to justify whatever the outcome was, but it’s really helpful just to consider how can you see this differently? What is another perspective? And then number 4 is, what is the outcome that you want? So you now know why you are frustrated. And also, if you went through these steps, you reflected on what expectations may not have been clear.

Maybe they were clear and you’re thinking, Okay, I did all the right things and I’m just frustrated because Jack sucks. I know, dramatic, but sometimes we’re dramatic. Regardless of what happened and why, what is done is done. So now, what do you want to do about it? What is the outcome that you want to have? Make a plan and move forward. So let’s dig into this last one a little bit more. So the solution may have more than one perspective. One could be figuring out what to do now, what is the new deadline, how will you manage it, what corrections need to be made. It could also be what conversations need to be had so that this doesn’t happen again. If the expectations weren’t clear, how can they be more clear next time? If the person didn’t get it and you think you did all the right things, then how can you problem solve for that to really understand that person better so that you can communicate to them in a way that will get it next time. Because if they didn’t do something that you thought they were supposed to do, or that you told them to do, or they didn’t meet your expectations, but you think you were really clear, then there’s something else going on.

There’s either a misalignment with the way it was communicated. They didn’t have the same understanding, and so there’s some strategies you could use around that. Is it a performance issue or a defiance issue where they just don’t acknowledge they were ever told to do it, or they just purposely didn’t do it right? So depending on that reasoning, there’s going to be different avenues that you’re going to take. So there are so many reasons that someone could make you frustrated or not meet your expectations. But what it comes down to is that your expectations weren’t met. And so now, after regulating your nervous system, after processing what you brought to this situation, then you can problem solve, what do you want to do now? If you consider this as a neutral problem or someone that is not you is going through this, how would you tell them to solve it? What is the neutral way that you can move forward to get the outcome that you want? These questions, they are simple, but they are very powerful when you take the time to go through them. Not only do that, but tend to your central nervous system, which is really important.

When you follow these questions, they are naturally taking you through the steps of nervous system regulation to analysis and problem solving. Next time you’re frustrated, whether it’s at work or in your personal life, I really want you to give these a try and let me know how they work for you. I am sending you so much love and cheering you on. Have a great week. I have something special for you. Episode is over, but that doesn’t mean your development ends here. If you enjoyed the podcast episode today, head to my website at yourworthy and check out additional free resources you can get access to right now. From joining my free VIP insiders to download more resources and trainings, you won’t want to miss it. Head there now.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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