The Antidote to Frustration & Failure

This is the type of post I write that gives me chills when I think about it.  We’re not gonna talk about some new strategy or cutting-edge trick that’s working right now.  I’m not going to give you the 7 steps, or 5 ways, 3 Tactics, or anything like that.  This post is for those who are feeling, frustrated, lost or even broken.

You may be searching for those 5 steps right now, but the best gift I can share is a story, and the lesson behind it…

We’re going back to a time when I was personally frustrated.  On a scale of one to ten, I was an 11.  I had recently moved back home with my parents, because I couldn’t afford to live on my own.  I was sitting in front of the computer from the moment I rolled out of bed, until I got too tired to work some 14 hours later. This feeling of FRUSTRATION was so strong, I can still remember exactly how it felt today.  And in this post, I want to share a strategy for dissolving this frustration and turning it into your biggest ally.

The dictionary defines frustration as “The feeling of being upset or annoyed, esp. because of inability to change or achieve something.”  You feel frustrated when something isn’t working.  When you’re putting forth your effort and not seeing your results.  I remember feeling powerless, confused, broken.  But worst of all, the more I forced something to work, or pushed harder, the more I could feel my goals slip further and further away.

Still a little embarrassed to admit, I was so confused, that I went and saw a physic.  The first thing she told me, “You’re Frustrated.”  (No sh*t Miss Cleo!) “You need to practice patience. What you are creating now is simply preparing you for the next thing.  And it simply takes time to all unfold.” It wasn’t  exactly what I wanted to hear, but  I obliged, and went searching for some patience.

I wish I could tell you I had some eye-opening, breakthrough moment where I was flashed with inspiration and all the answers came flooding to me like John Travolta from that movie Phenomenon.  Not quite.

It was more of a gradual understanding, that I’m still discovering to this day.  But today, I look back at the past five years of entrepreneurship, and I see ONE POWERFUL TRUTH: that everything I did (whether success or failure) simply prepared me for the next leg in my journey. In fact, I look at where I am today, and somehow all of the required skills that I use today, were somehow acquired along the way…without me ever knowing that I would one day need them  (chills).

In High School, I started a business selling junk like old motorcycles on eBay.  I learned simple things like how to build a website, write copy, and even develop basic systems.

In college, I went to film school.  (Oh hey, I make online videos today!) Not because I wanted to make movies, but because I didn’t know what else to do with my life.

I became a bartender because I wanted a job that was “cool.”  Because working for other people sucks, I leveraged my bartending knowledge into an Event-Staffing Company where I provided a staff of 15 bartenders and servers to weddings and private events all across Southern California.

Then, when I was fed up with that business,  I decided to create an online course teaching others how to bartend.  Even at a low bargain price of $197, it didn’t sell. Well, not a first.

I used my “film school skillz” and put some silly videos of me bartending up on YouTube.   Then, April 18th, 2008 I made my first sale.

I started doing cool stuff with video, and people wanted to know how I was doing it. The list goes on and on.

The point is this… At each one of these “legs” in my journey, I had become FRUSTRATED.  I wasn’t happy.  I always wanted more.  Yet…each of those experiences were ESSENTIAL in order to prepare me for where I am today.  If I could go back and do it all over again, the only thing I would change is the meaning of my circumstances.

That’s what this article is about… No matter where you are in your journey (which never ends by the way), you may be feeling frustrated…or stressed…or unfulfilled.

My question for you:  what if this place you are in RGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW is essential for your growth?

What if your “Success” is inevitable, and the only thing standing in your way is time?  Would you still be frustrated?  Would you still be frustrated if you KNEW your destination was inevitable?  …would you still be stressed…confused…or lost?

If it weren’t for my years of FRUSTRATION and Struggle, I wouldn’t be able to share this story or help and inspire others.  Because let’s face it, no one wants to hear the story of the person who was born successful and never struggled a day in their life.  If you feel you are struggling right here, right now, this is just the juicy part of your story that you’ll get to share one day, and inspire others.   And as someone much wiser than me once said…

“There is no such thing as a happy ending to an unhappy journey.”

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  1. says

    James, I really appreciate this. I have been very frustrated lately and this is advice I give to others that are struggling but sometimes you need someone else to remind you or your own advice;) lol.

  2. Stella says

    This is the sort of story that needs to get out to the young ones who want to make it big really quick. Its all about patience and focus

  3. says

    Great article James! It is so true that when you take the time to look back and reflect at your journey, you will see where you were and where you are now. This is a great reminder to stop and smell the roses while enjoying where you are today. If you are always willing to learn and grow your path will always change (and most of the time for the better) Thank you James

  4. says

    It’s stories like James’ that always help me recognize where I am and that wherever I am at the moment is okay. Many things seem to hold entrepreneurs back, -money, time, relationships, -by the fact of the matter is that the ones who have that patience that James talks about; that believe -without a doubt, that they will persevere; those are the ones that usually succeed. Like James, I am on a journey toward enjoying the success of being in a business that works; where I’m loving what I m doing and nothing is going to stand in my way for long! Let’s all keep trucking; this all part of the “fun”! ~Rena 😉

  5. says

    Your best post by far that has resonated with me!

    Love: What if your “Success” is inevitable, and the only thing standing in your way is time?

    To many people are inpatient and stop when not getting the immediate results they envisioned or when they hit the first wall/set-back. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote an incredible piece this week stating similar that “Time” and repetition is what it takes.

    Awesome advice here and Look forward to hearing you speak in 3 weeks at Agents of Change. Safe travels ~ Mike

  6. says

    Excellent post James…and yes…very uplifting.
    I had a fair share of success for a few years, and
    then things started falling apart for quite some time. In many respects I started from complete scratch again. Though frustrating at times, I certainly do know that I learned some valuable lessons from my past choices and experiences…They’ll be a big help in my new journey. Thanx for the great post…sometimes it seems when certain people get to a certain level, they forget where they came from..and start to “look down” upon others still struggling. Glad your real enough to never forget…

  7. Ricardo DaCunha says

    Thanks James! very inspiring indeed… I am accepting my procrastination… Although it’s inevitable to strike forward

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