What would you do, if you could? Overcome moments of frustration & doubt.


I left her office feeling disappointed and flustered. Each footstep heavier as I walked with frustration back to my desk. I did it again! I could hear a familiar tape starting in my head.

Today’s tennis match is brought to you by Fear. Fear-- always there! We’ve got your back!

In today’s highly anticipated doubles match, Victim &  Doubt are playing the champion doubles team Blame & Fear.

"She does this to everyone. We never have time to share our ideas. She talks all the time. I can’t get a word in. No wonder no one likes her or respects her,” Victim whimpers out in her best rebellious voice as the tennis ball whizzes across the court.

“Stop blaming her. It’s your fault! You didn’t speak up. You just sat there. Will you ever get up the courage to speak up.” Blame hits a zinger back over the net. Doubts in the front row ready to receive the lob.

“Really? You want me to speak up? How? She won’t hear me. She doesn’t care what I have to say.” Doubt scrambles to volley the ball into the air. On the other side, Fear is ready.

“You're just scared!” The ball is spiked and speeds by both Victim & Doubt. Point for Blame & Fear.

Sound familiar? This happens over and over during our day. By the end of the day, you go home exhausted and frustrated. Under our frustration and anger is a deep desire to make a difference, to do good work, and to change the things around you that aren’t working. In order to do this, we need to change the game.

[bctt tweet="Under our frustration is a powerful desire and opportunity for change."]

Change the game

We are all passionate about things. Every frustration, doubt, feeling of anger, and sarcasm are telling you something. Something you want. The question is, what do you really want? Let’s find out!

  • What would you do, if you could? At work (with your manager, team, clients, customers) what would you do? At home (with your spouse, kids, parents, family, friends) what would you do?
  • What would you say, if you could?

Any surprises? Notice any themes? These are the things you are passionate about and you're reacting to not having them.

Every day we will see things we want to change. You may walk by a crushed can on the sidewalk on your way to work and wish that people would clean up after themselves. Next, you go to the coffee bar and see that they don’t have the chocolate chocolate chip muffin you like. As you arrive at your desk with the blueberry muffin you settled for, you read that the deliverable you were expecting today is going to be a week late. Just at that moment, you get a message on Slack that your manager needs you to take on a new project. This is life. It’s complex and we can’t control any of it. Most of these things we can let roll off our backs and it’s easy to forget. By the end of the day, you probably won’t remember the crushed can. Some things grab us. It’s the things we would do, if we could.

Why can't you?

We can’t because of fear, doubt, and old beliefs that hold us back. We get stuck by the surge of emotion in our bodies that instead of doing what we could, we keep quiet and don’t move. Let’s look at the truth of these things. The tapes will always be there, the doubts and fears that hold us back from what we want. Because what we want comes with risk. “I’ll get in trouble.” “I’m not good enough.” “They won’t listen to me.” We each have our own list that haunts us. We tell ourselves we can’t because of Four Fatal Fears that keep us living in a box of comfort. Let’s meet them now.

The Four Fatal Fears:

  • Fear of Losing. I need to win. I can’t be a loser! I’m not a loser.
  • Fear of Emotional Discomfort. I need to feel safe. Unless I’m happy, content, joyful, and a ok; I’m unsafe.
  • Fear of Being Wrong. I need to be right. I can’t be wrong. It’s not my fault. It’s there's.
  • Fear of Rejection. I want to be accepted. I want to belong.

If we let them, these fears would keep us bundled up indoors and safe from harm. They have the best intentions to keep us safe because on the other side of these fears are truths we don’t want to face. Our fears will always be there, we can get better at moving through them.

What would you do?

As leaders, we set the context and create the environment for our teams and organization to thrive. It implies that leaders have a clear vision and have defined what success is and looks like.

Are you clear on your personal vision and what success is? As a leader, you need to decide what you stand for and what success is, for you. With these as your north star, look at your list of could’s. How do your could’s serve your vision? And my favorite question. What do you care about that is worth the risk?

Do it!

The vision lives or dies in moment of courage.

Robert J. Anderson & William A. Adams

I'm here to tell you, you can do it. Your team, your family, the world needs you to be authentic and to take courageous action. It’s not easy. If it was, you would have already done it. Let your next time be the last time with these three tips.

  1. What do you want?
  2. How are you showing up? Take a deep breath in, put your weight into your feet, roll your shoulders back and come into your command position.
  3. Lift off! I learned this trick from Mel Robbins. When something comes into your head that you want to do or want to change, don’t wait. When you wait, the fear tape starts to play. From the time you have the thought start a countdown in your mind 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and lift off!  Be honest, you will never feel like doing it. You won’t want to. Everything in you will say don’t do it. This is your moment of growth. This is where your could becomes a did.
[bctt tweet="The difference between could and did is courageous action."]

Let the rest go.

For the rest of the stuff in your day that just peeves you, find a way to let it go. My favorite way is to journal at the end of the day. Take a piece of paper and at the top write "I feel frustrated that …” and let it all out. Don’t filter yourself. If you want to call someone a name. Call them a name. If you want to write fuck a lot, write fuck a lot. Keep going until it’s all out and you have nothing else to say. When you are done take the piece of paper, tear it up and throw it away. When that is done take out another sheet of paper. Write down at least 5 things that were great about the day and one thing you want to do better.


About the Author

Kim-Elisha Proctor is an Executive Coach, teacher, and writer. For over 15 years, she has worked with companies at all stages of growth and understands the complexity of organizations and leadership that is needed for success. Whether one-on-one coaching, with groups or delivering leadership development programs, her passion is the same: to support leaders to enhance their performance, impact, purpose & well-being to create communities they long to belong to.

Kim-ElishaCreate & Navigate Change, Emotional Health, Lead Smarter