Focus frustration…

Aim at anything excellent and you’re going to experience frustration in your effort. Fact. You and I are going to fall and fail even when we’re on the right path, have good intentions, and have built momentum along the way. Look no further than last nights futile effort by the Sooners. Oklahoma lost by more points last night in their final four bout with Nova (44) than they did in their seven other losses combined. Buddy Hield, Sooner senior star, summed up their frustration. “I was aggressive at first – first half,” Heild said. “When a team is making shots, making everything, it just sucks the life out of you.” Translation. OU took their collective eyes off what they could control, their effort, and let their frustration speed their minds and slow their steps.

Frustration speeds up our minds and dampens our effort. I see this in me when practice doesn’t go where I’ve designed it to go, as if practice is all about me. Instead of sitting patiently and letting the student figure it out, when frustrated, I give answers with an angry edge. Not good. Lead anything and you can expect frustration, lots of it too. Buddy’s gonna learn from last nights frustrating performance that he didn’t adjust quickly enough to what the opposition presented him. He got sped up mentally and lost his aggressiveness. The team followed his lead. Fail.

Here’s what I’m slowly learning with regard to frustration. Frustration is part of the gig when you’re aiming at building something elite. Expect it. Anticipate it. Prepare for it mentally. Tune in to truth tellers. Admit failures and move forward. Focus on your aim, not your frustration. Last week I misplaced frustration. I got frustrated with a team instead of getting frustrated with me. Fail. Bad practice. Lost it. Learn. This week, I’m going to expect it, anticipate it, prepare mentally for it, and tune into truth tellers to ensure I don’t miss it. I’m going to focus my frustration on me, not others. Imagine if Buddy had channeled his frustration with Nova last night and instead of letting it take him out of his game, he took it as a challenge to double down his effort and stay after it all game long. No telling what would have happened. I don’t think his team would have won. I do think, however, he would feel a whole lot better today about leaving it all on the court.

This week, leader, expect to be frustrated in your aim of building something elite. Expect it. Anticipate it. Prepare for it. Tune in to truth tellers. Focus frustration. Focus frustration on your aim, not your team. Control your effort. Keep working. Keep working. Keep working. Elite, remember, focus frustration instead of focusing on what’s frustrating. I like this word change reminder. Elite focus frustration.

And, yes, I’ll be taking my own advice. Good…

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