I get so annoyed and frustrated when something does not go according to plan or when I feel like it’s out of my control.
- I come home from a work trip and the house is trashed
- I tell my manager I need to talk with them and they cancel my 1:1 last minute
- I get alignment on a project and then leadership contradicts themselves
- I tell my employee how to do something and they still screw it up
- I’m expected to do more than is possible in a day
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone and totally justified in feeling annoyed about these things, but I hate feeling stuck. When it seems like things are totally out of my control, I get so frustrated which makes it even worse because now I’m frustrated AND annoyed.
This is why we go out for happy hour and complain over IM with friends at work. We are annoyed and feel justified in it and know how to get backup to support how we are feeling. I love happy hour, but have you ever noticed that you don’t really feel better after complain about it?
So, what should you do when you feel stuck in this virtual cycle of needing to eat donuts all day to feel better?
There is one simple and powerful question that helps you get out of frustration and starts you moving forward. Ask NOW WHAT. Crap happened, now what am I going to do?
The house is a mess, NOW WHAT? I can get mad and passive aggressively clean up the mess (read as throw crap around) or talk with my partner to understand what happened and figure out a plan to get it clean it up.
My manager canceled my 1:1, NOW WHAT? I can complain to everyone and bad mouth them for always canceling or I can schedule time with my skip level or a different manager to get some help.
Leadership is contradicting themselves, NOW WHAT? I can point it out to them and spend time arguing or I can get scrappy and find more data to help frame the discussion and move forward based on that data.
You get my point. You can spend time continuing to validate your frustration, but there’s not upside to that.
Next time you feel frustrated and annoyed ask yourself NOW WHAT and get moving. Life happens. Now what.
P.S. Did you know I offer a free online confidence course? Get instant access to it HERE.