Why Frustration is Your Most Powerful Ally

A reader recently wrote to tell me of her frustration:

“I’m already 24 but not living the life I dream of, and instead I just do the 8am to 4pm working life like most people. Just thinking about it made me frustrated”.

As soon as I read the words frustrated, I let out an inner Yes! Get excited, you’re in the right place.

This might seem like a weird reaction because frustration doesn’t feel good.

Frustration feels like we’re stuck. Frustration feels like we’re losing. Why get excited about it?

It’s all about the way you choose to see things.

Sunrise over Cape Tribulation Beach in the Daintree Rainforest of Queensland, Australia

Negative emotions are where we find the highest source of fuel to move us towards the life we really want.

Negative emotions are a signal that change is needed and frustration is one of the most powerful.

Every time I feel frustration, the angst of it has a layer of excitement on top because I know bigger and better things are coming.

Every major change in my life has been proceeded by a dose of frustration so bad it’s had me pacing, pulling and wringing for days on end.

A story of frustration

woman sitting on the beach

It was Christmas time 2009. Right in the middle of our financial disaster.

We’d been trying for two years to find the right path. The path to financial freedom, a life of travel, and a business that we loved. We were going nowhere so fast. No we were sliding backwards so fast.

Frustration burned my insides with inadequacy.

I was not living my true potential and I was tired of being ignored.

I paced and wringed, not always with my body, but on the inside – a frantic searching and analyzing and waiting for the breakthrough.

Life was becoming unbearable with the knowing that I was not making anything meaningful from it.

We were standing in a friend’s living room at her annual Christmas party. I was doing that verbal pacing again with Craig.

“Why can’t we figure this out and make it work. I’m so frustrated. I just feel like all our years of travel and all we have learned has been for nothing. We’re not doing anything valuable with it. I just feel like I’m going to be another mug left on the shelf.”

Even though I was on about my fourth delicious Christmas cocktail, the vividness of that moment when the stars and planets aligned for me has never left.

With that one simple sentence I finally understood what I had to do.

I share the story behind why this was a huge revelation for me in my TBEX keynote talk. It has something to do with a Romanian gypsy, disastrous relationships, and a broken soul. It’s too long a story to share here.

Because of my willingness to work through the frustration, one of my most valuable life lessons was able to bubble to the surface.

I realized that my travels had never been for me alone. I experienced them in order to share. It was my purpose to take those lessons and my passion and enthusiasm for travel to somehow make a difference.

It’s why I embrace vulnerability and willingly share very personal thoughts and experiences with you on this blog and more so in our weekly newsletter.

I’ll keep sharing it because I know my challenges and victories are not just for me; they’re for me to share in order to serve.

This moment started the process of change and a few months later, y Travel Blog was born and here we are now. If I didn’t feel the frustration and continue to push through it to seek the answers I’d still be on Struggle Street.

Frustration is powerful. Why are you feeling it? What new path is frustration trying to show you? What needs to change?

Ask the questions, like a pondering curious ask, rather than a demanding one, and the answer will arrive in ways you never imagined.

Frustration is always a stepping stone to a better life.

You’ve got to get frustrated. You have to feel that your ways aren’t working. It’s a signal for change. It’s a sign to do something different. Think in another way, approach it from a new angle, try something new.

Another story about frustration.

people standing on the beach

Two years ago we were totally frustrated with not getting the results we needed with our blog and earning an income that was on par with what we offered. If we let the frustration get the better of us, we would have quit and threw it in the Too Hard, Doesn’t Work bin.

Our frustration alerted us to the fact that something had to change.

We needed to change the way we do things, take a different path, and learn in the areas we were lacking.

We were in the frustrated place because what we were doing wasn’t working and we were trying to create success without any knowledge or insights to help us.

The fear of taking a leap of faith was huge, but I  committed to getting to the dream no matter how uncomfortable I had to get.

It meant pushing past my fear, taking risks, and doing something different to eliminate the frustration and walk a different path.

That frustration lead to the questioning and seeking, and the solutions effortlessly arrived by way of B-School and my own Money Project. Both of those cleared away my blockages, gave me confidence, helped me think and act in a more empowering way and gave me a blueprint I cold use for life.

It definitely elevated us to a better path and one that was more in tune with serving our purpose.

and one more recent frustration story

Cable Beach Caravan park

For the past couple of months, the joy of our Australian road trip slipped away and was replaced with KILLER frustration.

I was frustrated with trying to manage everything on the road: our family life, the travels, the business, and homeschooling. Previous to that I handled it okay and saw it as part of the adventure and embraced it.

But as travel will often facilitate, I began to evolve on the journey.

My values changed and I began thirsting for a different kind of life. One that wasn’t so intense and allowed me the chance to embrace all the parts of me that I loved. And one that was calling me so deeply to do more with our blog and business.

It was a calling that set the frustration wheels spinning wildly because I could not satisfy that yearning in our current circumstances.

The pacing, the wringing, the deep introspection, the questioning, the tears, and sullen moods all started up again.

I felt that exact same twitching itch that I did in 2009 at the Christmas party. There’s more I have to do.

This current life is restricting me from living out my true potential. I don’t want to be another mug left on the shelf. (Wow wow wow. I tell you this is the first time I’ve actually made that deep connection to our recent frustrations. Gosh this is a much bigger driver in my life than I realized. Thank you Romanian gypsy lady!)

I realized something bigger and more powerful than me was happening and it was manifesting as frustration. I just had to trust in this process and be open to moving through it to uncover the answers. You can read more about how I did that here.

Be aware of the magic frustration holds otherwise you’ll let it consume you and you won’t move anywhere.

I knew I was going through this process of change and frustration signaled it for me. It got me recognizing our ways no longer worked for us and we had to do something different.

This one was a tough one as we had far too many balls in the air and I couldn’t figure out what to do. But, I held on and trusted in the process, and sure enough I can tell you now, several weeks on, the rain clouds have dispersed.

We have a very clear purpose and pathway. Both Craig and I are excited because we are once again stepping up into a new world and we just know great things are coming that are in tune with my evolving soul.

This is the way it has always worked.

I was so excited to receive another email from a reader this week. He began by sharing his frustration, the angst was evident as he explained being stuck doing a job he didn’t like and turning his back on his yearning to be a musician.

By the end of the email, he explained how he burst through that frustration and is now living a life more on par with his dream. I could feel his soul dancing by the end of it. I fist pumped. Look at frustration leading him to a better place. Love this stuff!

Frustration is the bridge between your yearning and the creation of it. (click to tweet)

Look back on your life now: When has frustration served you? How did it help you make a change?

Frustration has taught me not to be scared of change. The past has always proven to me that in this moment of extreme frustration, if I move through it and seek the answers, a new and infinitely better life arrives for me. All I have to do is trust in the process and accept that I will be part of this frustration journey for ever.

Don’t let the fear overtake the frustration, allow your inner strength to.

Does something need to change? Believe you can make that change and the Universe will support you.

Don’t let the fear cause you to back out of the frustration to return to the sad couch with the belief the life you dream of is just not meant to be for you.

It is.

How has frustration moved you to a better life before?’

Why FRUSTRATION is your most powerful ally. Click inside to learn more!

6 thoughts on “Why Frustration is Your Most Powerful Ally”

  1. Ingrid @WorkTravelBalance

    Such an inspirational post Caz. I’m rebuilding my travel blog right now and definitely need to channel that frustration to a more positive place. Thank you and I love your blog!

  2. Wow this is so inspiring! And very timely. I recently wrote a post (not yet published,) along the same vein. Negative emotions prompt action. It is people who go through the dynamics of life – the good, the bad and everything in between – who experience it most fully.

  3. A radio personality in the United States frequently says that you truly gain traction on accomplishing whatever it is you’d like to accomplish when you are:

    “Sick And Tired of Being Sick And Tired!”

    I could’t agree more.

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