“What we actually learn, from any given set of circumstances, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful.” ~Blaine Lee
"Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction." ~Al Bernstein
Recently I was frustrated by what I felt was an unreasonable and silly request from my boss. I tried for a week to push it off, tried to get out of it until the very end, and tried to explain why it wasn’t necessary, all to no avail. So when I was finally forced to do it, I set off with the following attitude in my head:
“Well I’ll show them, I’ll throw everything I’ve got at this, waste a ton of time, do it better than they thought possible, and it will still flop”.
So yes, now you all know that I can be juvenile, but guess what happened? You probably already know where this is going ….. It only took me half the time I thought it would, it was better than I thought it would be, and it turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the quarter. So why is that?
Anger is comprised of a number of things that are very negative, but it does have two things that have positive sides:
Passion – One thing you are when you are angry is passionate. This unleashes all kinds of energy and really gets the “juices flowing”. It also makes you prone to action, when you’re angry you want to do something about it. Even if you are sitting there stewing, you are generally playing out what you should do. This creativity, matched with energy and action can be powerful, if it can be channeled towards something productive.
Focus – When we’re angry we are hyper-focused on the issue at hand. We put on our blinders and focus on how we were wronged. We don’t listen to other arguments, we play it over and over in our head. Basically we’re obsessed. This obsession eliminates all distraction, daydreaming, etc. and leaves only the work at hand.
Passion and Focus are the two most important elements in doing fantastic work. If you can carefully twist the negative and direct it towards a positive outcome you can do great things…..but how?
- Prove them wrong – Whether they question your work ethic, the quality of your work, your ability to assist them, etc. Throw that energy into addressing the perceived deficiency. Proving someone wrong is one of the most deliciously and selfishly satisfying things and will quell that anger at the same time as it addresses the issue.
- Magnify the priority – They may believe their issue, product, service, etc. is vastly more important than you do. OK, so flip it and make it vastly more important than even they think. This takes whatever it is to the far extreme where you may discover either limits or new horizons. It becomes an active brainstorming session if you will.
- Go back to your “secret lair “– Some call it scheming, I call it passionate planning. Sometimes these are the best times to sit down in your office and lay out your road map to redemption (notice I don’t say revenge). This focuses you on the future, while allowing you time to not take destructive action with your anger.
Listen, none of us want an angry work environment, but we are all human. There will be times when your frustration will boil over into anger. While the best thing to do is to cool down and seek resolution with the other party, if that isn’t possible, at least channel it into something productive, not something personal.