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Tag Archives: Margaret Smith Twin Cities

We can become frustrated for any number of reasons—the car won’t start, a family member is stirring up drama, or the person at the front of the checkout line is arguing about the price of each item in their shopping cart. That’s life. And, unfortunately, the workplace is not immune from these everyday frustrations.

However, in most workplaces, we’re expected to mask or ignore our frustrations. This doesn’t make them go away, of course, it simply buries them. And if you continually bury your frustrations, those feelings might bubble up at inopportune times.

So, what to do?

First of all, it’s important to recognize when you’re feeling frustrated. If you feel your temperature rising or your body start to clench (the physiological effects of our fight-or-flight instinct), or if you feel on the verge of shouting, those are good signs you’re dealing with frustration. By recognizing your frustration in the moment, you can then deal with it.

Once you acknowledge your frustration, you can choose to face it in a few different ways. Try any or all of the following:

Take a Break

Step away from the situation, take a few deep breaths, and clear your head. Even taking one or two minutes can be helpful. If you’re in a meeting, you might take a break to use the restroom or drinking fountain. Or, you might simply tune out the meeting for a few seconds to collect your thoughts.

Take Deep Breaths

Studies have shown that deep breathing can help lower your heart rate and alleviate feelings of stress and anger. If you’re in a meeting or intense conversation, focus on your breath and let your body relax by taking a few deep breaths.

Talk to a Trusted Colleague

Talking to a colleague about the situation can help you understand the situation better, gain perspective, and even find a solution to your problem. Just remember to be open and honest with your colleague and refrain from gossiping.

Reframe Frustration

Sometimes frustrations can crop up if you are dealing with a difficult situation or something you’ve never encountered before. In those cases, try reframing your frustration as a challenge or an opportunity. This is your chance to rise to the occasion, learn a new skill, and come up with an innovative solution.

Practice Self-Compassion

No one is perfect — we all make mistakes. So, when frustration arises at work, try to be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that it’s okay to make mistakes and that you’ll be better equipped to handle similar situations in the future.

By learning to recognize, address, and manage frustration in the workplace you can avoid explosive outbursts and unhealthy situations. Remember to stay calm, recognize the problem, and practice self-compassion.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE.

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Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea? Or thought of something you needed to do as soon as you stepped into the shower? Or had a poignant thought in the middle of a Zoom meeting, but didn’t want to interrupt the flow?

And then…the thought left your head. No matter how hard you tried to recall your brilliant idea, you could not.

This happens to me, and I’m guessing we’ve all experienced something similar. One way to capture these fleeting ideas is through note-taking apps.

That may sound simple (and it is), but the trick is getting into a note-taking habit. If this isn’t something you’ve done, you’ll have to train yourself to recognize when you’ve had a poignant thought, pause, and jot down the note. Tiago Forte, author of Building a Second Brain, says that it helps to view ourselves as “givers of notes to our future selves.” In a three-minute interview by Daniel Pink, Forte describes the benefits of note-taking apps and suggests a number of different apps to try, including:

Another advantage of note-taking apps is that they can keep all your thoughts organized in a single place. Instead of sifting through folders, documents, emails and tabs to find information, everything can be collected into one central hub. Plus, you can use the search feature to quickly identify what you’re looking for.

In a nutshell: using note-taking apps can help capture ideas and keep you organized. It’s a great way to grab ahold of those momentary flashes of brilliance and record them. You never know when your next big idea will strike!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE.

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During the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in spending money to “prove” how much we care about others. The season has become more about presents and the latest gadgets than togetherness, gratitude, and kindness.

What if we flipped the script?

What if we focused on people over products? And acts of kindness over stuff? What if the holidays were less about checklists (I have to buy presents for X, Y, and Z) and more about reminding others how much they mean to you?

This season, I challenge you to focus on quality over quantity, and on people over things. In that spirit, here are 8 ways you can show how much you care without spending a dime (or, at least, not many of them!)…

1. Pick up the phone

We are a society of quick text messages, Snaps, and social media updates. How often do we pick up the phone anymore, simply to have a conversation? I suggest surprising a loved one with a phone call. It’s a personal way to show you care and it doesn’t cost anything but your time.

2. Send a hand-written card

Sending a card might not be free, but it’s pretty darn inexpensive. You may even have a stash of blank cards sitting around (I know I do!). If that’s the case, you could make someone’s day for the cost of a stamp. It’s always fun to receive mail that isn’t bills or mass mailings, isn’t it?

3. Shovel someone’s walk

If you live in a cold climate, a wonderful way to show you care about someone is to shovel their sidewalk or driveway. Help out a neighbor, an elderly acquaintance, or anyone who could use an extra hand. Bonus: You’ll squeeze in a good exercise while doing it!

4. Say thank you

Many people work overtime during the holidays—mail carriers, servers, retail workers, delivery drivers—and few receive the thanks they deserve for their services. Next time you’re in line at the grocery store or you have to make a return at Target, focus on being patient (a true virtue in retail stores!), keep calm, and say thank you. Your politeness goes a long way.

5. Donate clothes or home goods

If you’re like me, you have rows of old clothing you haven’t worn in ages, and stacks of home goods that are taking up space at the bottom of the drawer. Make an effort to clean it out! Then, donate it to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or your local “Buy Nothing” group. Not only will you be helping others, you’ll have the satisfaction of clearing/cleansing your space.

6. Bake treats

Few things say, “I care about you” like homemade treats. Make your friend her favorite cookies, bake a pie for your mom, or whip up something special for your significant other. (And don’t forget to save a few for yourself!)

7. Babysit for a friend

Many of the parents I know are chronically exhausted from having to juggle work, childcare, household maintenance, meal prep, and more. Give your friends (or family) a break by offering to babysit while they have an evening to themselves. They need it.

8. Volunteer

Your time can be just as valuable as your dollars. Volunteer at a food shelf, animal shelter, church, toy drive, soup kitchen—anything that will infuse a bit of good into the world. If you don’t have time to formally volunteer, you can always help out in your own way (such as picking up litter in your neighborhood while you walk the dog).

Caring and kindness do not have to come with a price tag. There are many free (or low cost) ways you can show up for others, spread joy, and demonstrate compassion. Tis the season.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

HER NEW EBOOK IS CALLED A QUICK GUIDE TO COURAGE.

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