Frustration and overwhelm. What do these have in common? They are emotions we experience when we learn something new. When we take on something big we haven’t done before. Sometimes its a quick thing and we easily figure it out. Other times, its slow and painful. When this happens, I usually have two different outcomes. The first is to let that frustration get the best of me, become so overwhelmed and tell myself I will pick it back up later once my brain isn’t fried. We all know how likely that is to happen. The second is to recognize my frustration, take a deep breath (and maybe take a quick drink) and push through. Being able to do this has been a skill I’ve had to sharpen and one I work on weekly if not daily. Here are some ways I have learned to do this.
When I first started learning to push through frustration, it was tough as new skills are. I was so sick of that quality and it was something I didn’t like about myself, I made a decision to change it. It was the development of my mindset. Years ago, I was waking up and I would start my morning routine. For some reason I would be in a bad mood before I even started work. I didn’t grow up like this so I was frustrated with myself. I couldn’t take a deep breath. I sat down one morning and found a spiral notebook which had been sitting on my office shelf for years, opened to the first blank page and started writing. This is something I have done for years every so often. Previously I kept a spiral in my night stand on nights my mind raced and I needed to get thoughts and ideas on paper so I could finally sleep. It worked wonders. So that morning I wrote out my thoughts for ten minutes straight. Whatever I was mad about, what I was frustrated about, whatever I was thinking. I wrote it. By the time I was finished that first morning, I had two pages full of venting. To my surprise, two other things happened to me. I wasn’t frustrated anymore, and I had processed through some things and they weren’t bothering me any longer. I put my spiral down and went to work more relaxed and breathing easy.
That morning something happened to me. I was frustrated and didn’t know what the solution was but I worked through it to figure it out. I tried something new and I had no idea how and if it would work but I did it anyway. The next couple mornings, I kept going. I finished my morning routine early so I could sit at my desk and write in that old spiral and I was so excited after those days I was more at ease before my day even started. I was able to handle things in my day better again because I got rid of my frustration before it took over and made things worse than they were. The frustrations which weren’t really worth being frustrated over, made for long days. Physically writing in a journal most mornings has now become a habit and has helped me to double down on my wins and the things going well, set intention for my day, and work through things which might throw my off my game. I always end with gratitude.
Years later I figured out I wanted to start this lovely blog. I wanted to write for people to share some of my crazy life and the things I’ve been through and learned. I knew what blogs were and that some friends had blogs for different things. I had no idea how to start one and the thought of how much I would need to learn overwhelmed me. I really wanted to do this so I thought to myself, “Ok, where do I start? I ask my friends with a blog where to start and google it.” I did both of those things. One led to overwhelm and the other got me started. I had to work through the google ads which overwhelmed me because there was too much information for someone starting out. I went to the website my friends started out and looked at the step by step. As I researched and read I got overwhelmed but excited. I researched a couple different times but I finally made myself sit down and start the process. I was sick of thinking about it so one day I told myself I was going to take an hour and do it. I accepted I would get frustrated but I would keep going. I was capable of figuring this out. This was different than anything I was used to but I could make it happen. I pushed through and made it happen. I anticipated the frustrated and worked through it. Proactive thinking over reactive thinking. I slowly gained confidence that I could figure things out. Not just a blog, but things that frustrated me.
A few months after figuring out the blog, I realized how bad I was at not only goal setting but achieving those goals. I had things I wanted to do. I could see the bigger picture. Taking the small steps to make those goals into a reality was a skill I desperately needed to learn and develop. I got overwhelmed every time I needed to break down a large goal into manageable steps. I wasn’t proud of this trait so I took a deep breath and thought “Ok, where do I start? Who can teach me this?” A couple podcasts I listened to had a 90 day system. You decide what you want to accomplish in the next 90 days, brainstorm all the things you can do to make this goal happen. Then, everyday, do three things that take 10 minutes which will move you to that goal. I followed this practice and goal setting became manageable. As I figured this out I began to realize I was getting better at working through frustration.
Each season of life comes with new frustrations we need to figure out. We figure out new things we want to do, new skills to learn and no doubt frustrating circumstances to wether. Those circumstances each bring their challenges. Learning to push through not only builds confidence and helps you learn new things. It helps you to form the mindset that no matter what life throws at you, you can figure out how to hunker down and figure it out. When life flips upside down on you, pivoting to make things work is so much easier.