Good Frustrations

Stress And Frustration

I left work a bit more annoyed than I cared to be yesterday as I tried to puzzle out how a situation in our support department escalated to near-critical status.

I walked the length of a parking lot, three flights of stairs, and most of the way to my living room thinking about how things got where they were and I realized that I was having a moment of good frustration. I took a few moments to absorb that fact.

Normally, when you hear about frustrations in any setting, it is simply a matter of someone being upset with not getting what they want while keeping themselves at the ready to breathe fire at the first person they see.

The texture of this wasn’t quite that. I remember these distinct feelings as I processed my emotion:

  1. I want things to be better.
  2. I want to be part of how things improve.

I think the second thing is what makes the frustration good. It takes your thinking from just complaining to actual problem-solving. It makes you want to create ways to improve, not just the situation, but everyone involved in it.

I wanted the client to feel comfortable, I wanted our team to communicate with each other a bit better, I wanted to make a process that everyone could use to make things smoother and I wanted the team to help me build it and…

…it was good. It was a good frustration to have and I hope to have more of that in the future (although not for similar reasons) because I believe that this kind of frustration, if handled well, it what causes you to become better and to make others better in the process.

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