Ep #125: Useful vs. Unuseful Frustration

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Something that I see in the coaching industry is people telling themselves they’re not supposed to feel negative emotions. So, any time they feel frustration or any other uncomfortable emotion, they try to coach themselves out of it. But this isn’t always the best idea.

Any negative emotion can actually be useful, as long as you look at the action it’s creating. Emotions are neutral, so in this episode, we’re taking the emotion of frustration as an example, and I’m showing you why it might be more useful than you currently believe, and why it might not be useful at all.

Tune in this week to discover the difference between useful and unuseful frustration. I’m sharing why you want to coach yourself through frustration, and how you can shift your thinking about your frustration, so you can make it a truly useful emotion and use it to create amazing results, instead of trying to just feel less frustrated.

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What You'll Learn on this Episode

  • Why all emotions are neutral, despite what you might believe.
  • The power of allowing yourself to experience the whole range of emotion, instead of trying to coach your way out of it.
  • What useful frustration looks like versus unuseful frustration.
  • How to harness the power of useful frustration and use it to change the results you’re getting.

Featured on the Show

  • If you are ready to take this work deeper and make your dream coaching business a reality, join my Anything but Average program.
  • Join me on Instagram and tag me in all your Anything but Average aha! moments!

Click to Read Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Anything But Average podcast where I will teach you how to create a coaching business one step at a time. I’m Lindsey Mango, a life coach passionate about helping you create the life of your wildest dreams by creating a coaching business. Let’s get started.

Hello, and welcome back to another week and another episode of Anything But Average. Guys, how are you? I am doing pretty good. I actually am recording this episode for a second time. I sent it into the podcast team and they emailed me back and said for some reason this episode just skips all over the place.

And, you know, I’m totally cool with messy action, like sometimes they’ll do that and I’m like, “It’s fine.” I’ll listen to it and I’m like, “It’s good.” But nope, this one was really bad. Don’t know what the problem was.

And it’s so crazy, we’re actually headed to Chicago to see my family. I get to meet my nephew for the first time, we’re doing some family photos. And so today is a little bit of a hectic day. We are just squashing this in between a couple of calls before we hit the road with Eva, so wish us luck.

But what’s actually really funny was the other night I happened to randomly wake up in the middle of the night and I realized that on the episode I had forgot to talk about something that I wanted to talk about. And I think this is just the universe’s way of giving me exactly what I want, the second opportunity to do this episode so I touch on the thing that I forgot to talk about.

So let’s jump in. Today what I wanted to talk about was the difference between useful frustration versus unuseful frustration. Because something that I see, I think, sometimes in the coaching industry we tell ourselves that we’re not supposed to feel negative emotions, we’re not supposed to feel bad. So any time we feel frustration or a negative emotion we think we’re supposed to coach ourselves out of it.

And that’s actually not the case. I think negative emotions, or any emotion, can be useful. The question you always have to ask yourself is whether it’s useful to you and whether it’s going to create the action you want to take and the result you want to create.

So before we jump into the difference between useful and unuseful frustration there’s a couple things I want to make sure I touch on. The first thing is that emotions are not good or bad, they are neutral. That there is nothing wrong with feeling a negative emotion, I don’t even know if I like to call is a negative emotion, but I think it’s the best way for us to have a conversation about it and relate to it. That part of the human experience is to have and experience the full gamut of emotions.

And I think when we don’t judge emotions as good or bad, we really allow ourselves to experience them. And that’s actually where you can get curious and coach yourself at a really high level. Versus when you think certain emotions are bad our brain makes that mean that we need to avoid them. And when we avoid them we actually do more harm and damage.

Like a lot of times the reason why we’re not chasing our dreams is because we’re avoiding emotions. Or the reason why we’re not losing the weight or creating the relationship that we want is because we’re avoiding emotions. So I want to start this episode off by saying that.

By the way, if you hear that jingle it’s my necklace and we’re just going to roll with it today. So there’s no good or bad emotions, and allowing yourself to experience them, whatever they are, that is like the step one of growth, awareness, all of it.

The second thing is that if you want to live out the full human experience part of that is both experiencing the best of emotions, like the good feeling emotions, and the bad feeling emotions. I always like to think with Eva it feels like she’s made my heart feel so much more deeply. And because of that I also feel sadness more deeply.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way because in order to love her the way that I do, in order to feel the depth of love that I have for her and experience the depth of joy and happiness, that comes with sadness. That comes with the potential of loss. That comes with feeling more deeply when I hear a sad story about another human being because I relate to it in such a different way.

And so I always like to think of the full human experience as such a gift. And that’s really what creating an anything but average life is about, is not to just feel happy and perfect all the time, but it’s to emotionally play all out and feel all of it because that is what we’re here for. We’re not here to be numbed out.

I always think if you’re kind of numbed out of your negative emotion, you’re also numbed out of the potential of the capacity of your positive emotion. There’s also a thunderstorm. We’ve got a lot going on out here. But again, we’ve got like 20 minutes to get this episode wrapped up before we hit the road, so we’re just doing it.

The last thing I wanted to touch on before I talk about the difference between useful and unuseful frustration is that when it comes to coaching I think people feel a little confused sometimes on like when do I coach myself versus when do I feel an emotion?

And the way, like the cut and dry way that I always tell my clients, I always teach, I always coach on is, are you running from the emotion? Are you resistant to feeling the emotion and you’re trying to coach yourself and you’re trying to think positive and you’re trying to think different things to get out of it?

If you’re doing that, the answer is going to be first to feel it, to allow your body to experience it. You actually only experience negative emotions or any emotion in your body for 90 seconds. So allowing yourself to sit with it is what allows it to pass.

Now, once you do that, if you’re finding yourself in a place where you want to coach yourself and shift it and shift the thinking, that’s where you are much more powerful in changing it. And that’s where it becomes much more useful. Because when you’re resisting you don’t actually have like power over the emotion, you don’t have awareness of what’s actually happening.

And so then on the other side is if you’re allowing the emotion and then you’re curious and you’re like, “Okay, is this emotion serving me? Is this going to help me create the result that I want?” Then you have the opportunity to evaluate and see where the emotion is coming from and how to change it.

Now, again, none of this is about being like a robot, being perfect. Like you’re going to do both of these things, and that’s also not a problem. So that’s the first thing I want to say before I talk about useful versus unuseful frustration.

Now, here’s the difference between useful and unuseful frustration. Useful frustration is frustration you experience where you feel empowered, certain, and motivated to take action in a way that’s sustainable and will help you create the result that you want.

So useful action could look something like this, let’s use your health. Let’s just say you gained 20 pounds over Covid and you look in the mirror and you realize that you’ve gained this weight. You don’t feel good, you don’t look the way that you want. And your thought is, I am done. I am not willing to settle for this anymore. It’s time for me to prioritize my health.

You could feel frustrated with your body, frustrated with yourself. And that frustration motivates useful action. It motivates the action to change. And again, I think sometimes the reason why most people don’t change is they just numb themselves out from feeling those emotions. And this is why allowing is so important, so that you can get curious, is this useful? Is it not?

So that’s what useful frustration looks like. It looks like almost getting to like a place where you’re fed up and empowered, and you’re ready to do something about it. You’re ready to make a change. You’re ready to make a commitment. And again, you can feel frustration, but it’s useful. It’s going to serve you to make that change.

Unuseful frustration looks like looking at your body and going, “You’re a piece of shit. I can’t believe you gained this weight again.” You’re never good enough, your body isn’t good enough.” Like all of those shameful, disempowered thoughts.

That might also cause frustration, but when we feel shame, when we feel disempowered, a couple of things happen. We either go into overdrive and hustle and burn ourselves out through action, and then that’s not maintainable. Or we feel shame. And in this example, maybe you go eat Oreos because you feel so shameful.

So that frustration isn’t useful. That line of thinking isn’t going to help you produce or create the results that you want. And again, the way you can always evaluate this is getting curious about, okay, what thoughts am I having? What feelings are they creating along with frustration? What do the actions look like that will happen as a byproduct of this?

And I always like to think of it, not just as a byproduct in this moment, but as a byproduct in the long term. Like over a year is this action maintainable? And then is this going to get the result that I want?

If the answer is yes, then it might actually be useful. If the answer’s no, then that’s where you get an opportunity to evaluate and get curious and start to work on your thinking and your mindset to change it to something that is more useful.

And again, it’s not that frustration is good or bad. It’s not that an emotion is good or bad. It’s not that a thought is good or bad. It’s all about being open and curious to whether it’s going to motivate the action, the consistent action and the long-term result that you want to create.

So don’t talk yourself out of frustration. Don’t talk yourself out of negative emotions just to try to appease yourself so you can feel happy, because it might not be the required emotion that it will take to motivate change and you guys are here to change. You’re here to create the life that you really want. So use your frustration for you, use your emotions for you.

The last thing that I wanted to add in that I woke up in the middle of night thinking about is also looking at is the frustration driven from an empowered place? Or is the frustration driven from a victimized place? So are you feeling like you have no power, you have no control?

Let’s use business for example, if you’re like, “I’m done not hitting my goal, and I don’t know what to do, nobody wants to buy from me. I have no control. I can’t help that people don’t want what I have to offer.” That feels very disempowered and victim-y. And that’s not going to help you create the result that you want.

Versus if you’re like, “I haven’t hit my goal three months in a row, I’m done. I’m frustrated. There are people out there that need my help. I want to make more money, I’m committed to my goal.” And that motivates a very different type of action that’s going to create a different result.

So again, the big key component here is not making an emotion good or bad. It’s about being curious, being open, allowing them to be there and then deciding and choosing whether they serve you to create the outcome you want.

All right, I love you guys. I’m going to go coach my last call for today and then get in the car and wish us luck for a five, six hour drive with a four and a half month old. I love you guys. I hope you have a beautiful week. And again, use your emotions for you. Use this work for you. That’s what this is all about.

All right, I love you guys. I will talk to you next week. Bye.

If you’re ready to take this work deeper and create your own coaching business, join us in Anything But Average where I will walk you through the step by step process to become a coach, start your coaching business, and start signing clients. Go to lindseymangocoaching.com/anythingbutaverage and I will see you on the inside.

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