We have all been there, the place where we feel stuck, the place where our work seems to be stopped, the place where we just want to scream, “Dang it!” and tear our hair out. Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time in that place. It’s called Frustration. One thing we learned about frustration is that it can be blinding. It can blind you to alternatives and solutions that you can’t see when all you’re seeing is red!

So much of entrepreneurship is just a grind. You have to get through a period where you seem to be putting out a lot of energy and money for very little return. It’s like trying to move the Queen Mary with your hand. You could push for years before you finally overcome the inertia and it begins to move. This type of frustration is ongoing for most startups. It goes with the territory and is to be expected.

But there is another kind of frustration, one that can seem to visit us daily. It usually occurs when we are working with compliance, authority, or some other kind of legal paperwork. Their one-size-fits-all approach to regulation and management can be especially frustrating, especially when you don’t have all the information they require. Or when the agencies you need that information from shunt you around to other agencies that are even less helpful. The hours and days and even weeks can go by before these fine administrative folks get back to you – if they do at all. And meanwhile, you’re up against a deadline.

What to do? Here’s our 5 tips you can use to overcome frustration:

  1. Take a Short Break. Do something else that you can accomplish in a reasonably short period of time. Do something that provides immediate results. This will empower you and remind you that you are effective and encourage you to get back to the “beast” – later.
  2. Take a Walk. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Get some exercise. But get away from that screen and that phone! Walking will give you some perspective and clear your mind if only for a little while. Nature demonstrates balance and functionality. Colors will cheer you up.
  3. Escalate. Ask a supervising official at the agency you are dealing with for help. Tell them what you’ve been going through. Recount the steps you’ve taken so far, and to no avail. Ask them what you’re doing wrong and what advice they can give you. Tell them you’re frustrated. You might luck out and get someone with compassion who can actually help!
  4. Get an Extension. If at all possible, ask for an extension on the deadline based on your inability to collect the required data from other agencies. Give it up for a while. You will come back fresh. You will be much more likely to make progress once you take the blinders off and have a chance to see the big picture. You’ll be much more objective and receptive to suggestions. Sometimes just the time you’ve committed alone can turn tenacity into stubbornness which can only add to your frustration.
  5. Be Open to a New Approach. Go back to the beginning and look at the path you’ve taken so far. Is there another path you could take? Is there something you missed? Remember, frustration is caused by not making progress over extended periods of time. This time go at it in short bursts instead of the marathon approach. You can ease your frustration with shorter time periods devoted to your goal.

Frustration happens! But we can mitigate our frustration by recognizing where and when we are exacerbating it ourselves. We can take steps to manage it, save a few hairs, and a few vocal cords!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.