Feeling more irritable than usual? This may help...


The world might be on global pause right now, but perhaps in your own world, life still feels like it's spinning faster than you can keep up with? Trying to juggle sales targets, homeschooling, being stuck at home for 23 hours of the day, and generally adjusting to the ‘new normal’ that we find ourselves in - is not easy!

That ambitious business or sales strategy you put in place just a few months ago may seem like a distant memory now, and the question on many people’s minds, (although no one can answer) is when is this going to be over, so we can go back to normal?

Let’s be clear: these are extraordinary times we’re living in. People finding themselves in unfamiliar situations that just a few weeks ago would’ve seemed unimaginable. The feeling of uncertainty is widely felt and our minds can quickly ‘fill the gaps’ with catastrophic futures that can look and feel worryingly real. It’s no wonder that people are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and confused about what to do.  

If you've found yourself in recent weeks feeling more overwhelmed, frustrated, or irritable than usual, then this short read (as part of a series of posts) may help you restore a clearer and calmer state of mind so that you can focus on what needs to be done at the right time, with maximum impact.

Expectations vs Reality

When you’re stuck in the loop of frustration, overwhelm, irritation or disappointment, one of the most helpful questions you can ask yourself is:

Are my expectations in line with reality right now?

You see, it’s not necessarily what’s happening ‘out there’ in the world that causes us to feel a certain way, (even though it really seems like that!), instead, when we expect things to be different from what they actually are - that’s what causes the internal discomfort and frustration.  

As human beings, we're built to deal with reality, in fact, we're brilliant at it.  And when reality delivers a difficult blow, we have the innate capacity for resourcefulness and creative-problem-solving to navigate our way through anything. Think back to times in your own life when you’ve been confronted with really challenging situations right there in front of you.  Somehow, you knew what to do. In fact, you may have been aware of feeling so calm and clear-headed in the moment, that it surprised you? That’s when we’re operating at our best; when dealing with what’s directly in front of us. 

Through asking yourself what are my expectations here? and taking the time to listen to what comes back, either by writing in a notebook or talking through with your partner/ close friend/colleague, you may arrive at some helpful insights. 

For example:

  • Are you expecting to hit all of your sales targets as though COVID-19 wasn’t happening? (No wonder you’re feeling frustrated that you can’t sell in the ‘usual’ way right now.) 
  • Are you expecting everyone to be adhering to the Govt guidelines? (Of course, you’ll find yourself getting angry when you see some who are not.)
  • Are you expecting to do a full day’s work without any interruptions from your kids? (If so, it’s no surprise that you’ve found yourself shouting at them three times already this morning)

As humans, it’s common to create expectations in our mind about how things ‘should’ be, and if that’s the internal software program we're running, then (innocently) we act accordingly. 

When you think about it, expectations are just another word for thoughts. 

The problem is not that we have thoughts in the first place, the problem is that we believe them to be true. 

The good news is that given half the chance and left alone, our minds are able to automatically recalibrate to the reality of the current situation so that we're able to get on and deal with each moment as it presents itself. 

What if, you didn't listen to any pre-conceived 'rules' or expectations that entered your mind, and instead responded to the exact needs of the moment, however that unfolded? Whether it's having a call with one of your team who's feeling anxious, or a customer who wants to cancel a contract, or even your child walking in on an important conference call. 

It's when we expect something to be different from what it actually is, that's when we trip ourselves up. Our mind floods us with this shouldn't be happening to me! when actually, OK, this has happened, what now? may be more helpful. The closer we can sail to the reality of what's actually going on, rather than what we think it should be, that's when we allow our natural resourcefulness to come through.

Found this useful? Please do share with someone you think may also find this helpful. 

Hi, I'm Sarah Swanton, Co-Founder of 808 Talent, and I provide Wellbeing & Resilience Coaching to Leaders and Entrepreneurs who want to learn how to operate from a place of calm, clarity and common-sense more of the time, so they can make smarter decisionscreate more impact, and achieve better results in both their work and personal life.

For more information about how to connect please go to www.808talent.com/wellbeing where you can arrange an initial (free) consultation with me, where we can talk about what you'd like to achieve, and how I may be able to help you with that. 

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash