How to Make Frustration Work for You Instead of Against You 

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Life seems filled with a long list of frustrations. In the past few days alone, my list of toestubbers keeps growing at a rapid pace.

From the client who struggles to follow-thru with a promise… To the colleague who has made it challenging to schedule a collaboration call… To the team member who is full of excuses—my business-list of frustrations seems to circle how others behave.

From trying to unsuccessfully potty train our 7-month-old Cavalier Finley—who we have (temporarily) nicknamed 'Sir-Poop-a-Lot'... To attempting to apply protective glass correctly on my new cell... To losing an expensive anchor in muddy waters during a kayak adventure—the life-list of frustrations for my husband and me seems to circle our need for know-how and knowledge.

I don't know about you, but both Robert and I tend to loudly display our emotions whenever we are frustrated. Sometimes I'm guilty of holding emotions inside, while other times, I share them with someone whether they are a willing listener or not.

Learning how to harness those feelings and channel them into something good is a never-ending "game" that I tackle daily sometimes.

If only I weren't so passionate about life, business, and helping others. If only I didn't care so much about the impact of my thoughts, words, and actions.

Telling you that I get frustrated only demonstrates my flaws and humanness. (Can you believe that I'm not perfect?! I know. Me, either. )

How Do You Navigate Frustration?

You may relate because under your cool-as-a-cucumber veneer is someone who gets frustrated just as easily about a laundry list of things, too. Right?!

These days you probably see social posts and messages that send you into a tailspin one way or another. You may listen or read news that creates similar reactions inside your psyche.

You may—like me—get so wound up about a particular topic that you vow to stop reading Facebook or watching a specific news station. (I know I’m guilty as charged.)

So what do you do with all of that? Keep it bottled up inside? You may—also like me—keep a journal to write out your thoughts, feelings, and revelations.

A Transformative Process

Perhaps—like me— you pause and give your frustrations to the One who sticks closer than a brother. (I've been doing that a LOT lately; so much that I wonder if He laughs, sighs, or rolls His eyes whenever I share how I feel with Him.)

Just today, He showed me that the frustrations we walk through daily are nothing new to Him. He has spent an eternity frustrated in oh-so-many ways ever since Eve took a bite out of that apple in the Garden of Eden.

He also reminded me that He used to respond to the frustrations we caused with anger (see examples in the Old Testament). But these days—after giving us the Ultimate sacrifice—He responds to our frustrations with love.

If our Creator can transform from a God of wrath to a God of love, then we—His children—might want to consider doing likewise.

Frustration as a Writing Technique

He also reminded me that leveraging frustrations is a writing technique I've learned and teach others to use.

Have you ever noticed how loud the cricket sounds get whenever you write something about your life, business, or service that talks about how awesome you are? This sound of silence demonstrates that no one—but maybe your mom—cares about what you've shared.

On the other hand, have you noticed engagement and responses increase whenever you write something that pings on a frustration your audience understands to because they can relate?

Putting your finger on the cut or wound of your audience and pushing hard is a writing technique that works really well. (Veteran copywriters and storytellers have used frustration as a technique for decades.)

If you want to get your audience to listen, then you will talk about things that keep them up at night.

Here are some examples:

If I wrote about the unjust system in the world that puts a target on anyone with black or brown skin, you'd bristle and have a response one way or another. Right?!

If I were writing to a bunch of Trump supporters and started poking fun at the things Democrats do and the frustrations they have caused Republicans—you would either be repelled or sucked in closer. Your response would depend on which side of the fence you support.

Similarly, if you take the time to figure out what bugs your target audience and learn how to talk about it in a way that points them to your message, solution, or service—you'll start making the connections you desire.

Make Frustrations Work for You

Let’s face it, frustrations are a part of life. They happen to everyone in different ways.

Some hindrances are common to specific groups of people and become obstacles they want to overcome.

For example, women who want to lose weight share two things: they are women, and they want to lose weight. If you dig a little deeper into this group, you'll uncover more frustration points they have in common. 

If you sort out your target audience's list of pain points from greatest to least, you will see specific problems you could focus on to demonstrate your understanding of their problems.

The challenge I pose to every business owner is to find ways to make your audience's top frustrations open up the lines of communication.

If you are writing Joyful Copy, you only want to elevate concerns that you relate to and understand genuinely. You never want to stretch the truth. For instance, you wouldn't want to say you know what it feels like to try to lose weight if you've been a size 0-4 your entire life.

Any Joyful Copy should only demonstrate what you know and understand. If you write that you get how the lack of self-control will cause you to eat the entire bag of chips in one sitting — then it better be true.

Likewise, any Joyful Copy you write to showcase your authority and knowledge for overcoming objections should be because you authentically possess the power and know-how.

So the next time you go to write or say something, spend a moment thinking about who you are targeting and what is important to them.

The proof is in the pudding as “they” say because many who read this were either turned on or off to the examples I shared. While some of your eyes glazed over, I know that others followed along with the focus our fur-son Paisley gives whenever food is involved.

(Now don't get your hackles up thinking I compared you to a dog. Paisley sleeps with us and gets spoiled by having whatever his little heart desires, so the comparison puts you high on a pedestal in my world.)

Let me encourage you to invest the time to uncover the frustrations of your target audience. When you do, you will unlock doors that start conversations with customers about how you might help them. 

Want to learn more about how to uncover those frustrations and use them in what you write about your business? Click the "Discuss Your Joyful Copy Needs" button on this page to set up a free call today.