How To Be Less Frustrated At Work

“Hunker down. Fight for what you believe in. Nine out of ten days are frustrating. But hang in. And along the way, never lose kindness and decency.”
Tom Peters
       First of all, frustration doesn’t have to hold you in its grip nine out of ten days.
       If you think about it, the frustration arises because we think we know what’s going on. The personal context we bring to any given situation determines the meaning we assign to other people’s actions. For example, if we have a pet peeve about cell phone use during meetings; that it’s rude and disrespectful; we have pre-determined the motivation of another’s action and set ourselves up to be frustrated.

Consider this scenario:

During an important budget meeting one of your department heads was late and is now busily texting away instead of participating. Questions directed to him are answered in mono-syllables. You observe the other managers casting frowns his way.  And you feel your own frustration level rising. “What is this jerk doing?” you ask yourself.

      Wouldn’t everybody feel less frustration if they knew the manager’s mother was in a hospice and he was texting with his wife about his dying mother’s condition? How quickly frustration can turn to caring, and perhaps, even a sense of admiration that the manager is trying so hard to handle his work responsibilities in the face of an impending death. Information leads to an opportunity to shift our attitude.
      With a new attitude of kindness and decency we can make a big difference in this situation. As the meeting leader, we would more likely call for a break to find out what’s going on, as opposed to making a harsh comment about texting or calling out the team mate. The break would give you an opportunity to talk to the manager and discover the underlying reason behind his, what was for you and the other attendees, outrageously frustrating actions. Compassion would further lead you to suggest that another staff member fill in so the department head can be with his wife and mother.
      In the philosophy of Love is Good Business, kindness and decency flow naturally from the Positive Regard we have for our teammates. Positive Regard for others creates a space for our frustration to be channelled in more constructive ways so we don’t say or do something that could be detrimental to our working relationships; or later make us feel inadequate. The practice of Love is Good Business lays the foundation to create openness and authenticity within the workplace encouraging teammates to be forthcoming and real about their internal world, or where they are, at any given moment. This, in turn, enables us to be more open in our support for each other.
      As we come from a place of Love for ourselves and others, kindness and decency naturally follow; so do wiser choices. A simple change of our personal context opens us up to the possibility that we don’t always know why somebody is doing something. Kindness and decency then lead us to find out what’s really going on and, ultimately, provides a way to lessen the number of days we are frustrated at work. 
      Would you share a story about a frustrating incident at your work place and what happened or what you wish had happened? 

 by Michelle DeLaBarre and Arlin Pauler
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  1. Susan Russell says:

    Years ago, I was working as a cocktail waitress at the Old Fresno Hofbrau. I am very confident that I was effective and very competent in this work position. One day I learned from the manger that I was fired. I asked him why. He said that
    it was an order from the owner and that he (the manager) would write a good work recommendation for me. I liked this job and was very perplexed so I went to the owner and asked why I was fired. His response to me was when “frustration” set in. All the owner would tell me was and I quote, “You know why you were fired.” No matter how I questioned him I received the same reply, even when I implored that I did not know the reason for my termination. ~~That was the end of the “story”. I went and found work elsewhere. I suppose there was an agency I could go to, to dispute my termination. However, I was naive and it didn’t occur to me at the time. ~~At this point, when I think of my work history, I am still up in the air when I think of this event in my life.

    • Susan, thank you for sharing this story. In a way, the incompleteness of this sort of firing can leave us with the feeling we were robbed of an opportunity to learn and grow in our work. But, perhaps, the situation provides a different opportunity–to practice acceptance. The acceptance of an incomplete situation whose resolution is beyond our control, is an integral part of the Love is Good Business philosophy. Here, we have an opportunity to accept our own feelings, as well as accept the business owner’s inability to provide you with a complete answer to your questions.

  2. Being frustrated begins with one negative thought. One thought that went unchecked, and then more thoughts came until frustration sets in. No matter what you might have manifested, you can change it with ONE small positive thought.


  3. This is the beginning of the vision I have for this blog: A place where people will engage and discuss the topics we post.
    Thank you everyone for participating in this conversation.
    Please share this blog with your friends and colleagues.

  4. Michelle:
    This post does a good job connecting several key elements of the whole philosophy. I thought it
    would be good to read it again and appreciate how well done it is.
    Arlin Pauler

  5. This philosophy has to resonate within the executive board in order for it to be practiced effectively throughout the company. Unfortunately, there are several business owners who go into business not for Love, but for profits regardless of Love.
    The problem is our society has a great way of portraying successful CEOs and high-level executives as pricks and scumbags so it’s only natural consequence that most of them are exactly as described…

    • Regardless of our position in a company, we can practice the Art of Love. And we will be amazed at the results when we show compassionate caring for those around us, and, as you pointed out, for those above us in the company hierarchy. There is no doubt that a cultural shift in a company requires time and effort. We created our blog to provide inspiration, information, and guidance to those who practice the Art of Love in Business every day. They are driving the cultural shifts through patient effort empowered by a vested interest in making a difference-Love.
      Thank you for taking time out of your day to check out our blog.