Skip to content

UXL Blog

Creating Successful Leaders

Woman looking out window

It’s been a rollercoaster year and, if you’re like me, you’ve oscillated between feelings of frustration, joy, hope, anger, and sadness. Though it may be easy to fall victim to your negative emotions–to let them pull you into despair–that doesn’t have to be. Instead, you can use those emotions to fuel action.

1. Catch Your Emotions

First, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what you’re feeling and when. What sets off your feelings of frustration? What makes you deeply sad? When do you feel most joyful and at ease?

These are the areas that can inspire action. Lean on these intense feelings of joy/anger/frustration to make positive change.

2. Establish Your Scope of Control

Focus on what you can control and what, potentially, you can change. You may not, for instance, be able to singlehandedly stop the wildfires raging along the Western U.S., but you can donate to organizations that are either fighting the fires OR working on rehabilitating the forests or damaged properties. You can also make an effort to learn about fire prevention and the best practices you can take in your own life.

This is just one example of establishing your scope of control. Focus on the small things you can do to help better a situation, such as donating time or money, volunteering, taking an active role in a local organization, or spreading the word via social media. Small efforts can lead to big change.

3. Learn to Let Go

While you can establish control over some things, it’s useful to recognize that other things are simply out of your hands. You can’t, for instance, change everyone’s mind through social media posts (but you might be able to sway a few people through meaningful one-on-one conversations). You also can’t bring people back from the dead, change the past, or have conversations with people who don’t want to listen.

When it comes to these kinds of things, it’s best to let go. Understand your limitations, and don’t let yourself become frustrated by what you cannot do. Be gentle with yourself and learn to shift your focus to the areas you have power over.

4. Burn Energy

If you’re full of pent-up emotions, you might consider taking action in the physical sense. Go for a bike ride, do video workout, practice yoga, go for a walk–exercise can help to clear your mind and get you into a more positive frame of mind. There’s no harm letting your rage or frustration fuel your workouts. Burn off those harmful emotions, and carry on.

There are many ways to respond to your emotions. Do what works for you–whatever makes you feel the most healthy and productive. And, when you recognize that things are beyond your control, do your best to let go.


MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: