Frustration allows us to occupy this wonderful middle ground where we neither accept the situation, nor take any decisive action. We complain about it, we feel vindicated, we feel righteous, but in the end, we’re completely helpless. Simply put, you can only be frustrated by adopting the role of the victim.

This is a horrifying thought for most high achievers, yet the most senior people, with the biggest jobs, do it all the time. We all do it, but it’s toxic and we need to eliminate it.

Take action or accept the situation

The first thing to do is call it what it is, frustration equals playing the victim. For those of us with a strong self-image, that may be enough to never do it again. After that, it’s a simple choice between action or acceptance. Simple doesn’t mean easy, it means there are only two choices.

If we can take some kind of action to positively affect the situation, then we should do that. If we can’t or don’t want to take action, then we must accept the situation as it is. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we like the situation, it just means we alter our expectations so that we are not frustrated and disappointed every day.

Redefine excellence

When someone does not meet our expectations, the temptation is to blame them, become frustrated and get lost in a negative story that does not serve us. It’s possible that your disappointment is justified. Alternatively, you may not have been clear enough in defining your expectations. Usually, the answer will be somewhere in between.

In any case, you can demonstrate leadership and take control of the situation in a way that’s helpful to everyone. Whenever someone comes up short of your expectations, see it as a golden opportunity for you to redefine what excellence looks like in this situation. The more you do this, the less frustration you will feel and the more you will achieve.

Frustration is a choice. If you want to eliminate it, take decisive action to change your situation, or accept the situation as it is, and change your expectations.

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about PETER

For two decades, Dr. Peter Fuda has been a Sherpa to leaders, teams and organizations across the globe. He’s coached more than 200 CEOs to measurably higher levels of performance. His consulting company has delivered some 50 cases of business transformation and more than 1,000 cases of leadership transformation, at a success rate of greater than 90%.

Find out more about Peter

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