The motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said, “I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”
What is your frustration really telling you? Let’s assume that you and your hygienist are out of sync. She never relays any key findings when you enter the operatory for your exam, which puts all of the pressure for treatment planning on you. She is not proactive about recommending treatment for gum disease. And, she has yet to use the intra-oral camera you purchased six months ago.
At first it seems your frustration is telling you to terminate this employee. But you decide to meet with her to discuss the issues, and you quickly discover you share part of the blame. Instead of talking to an unmotivated hygienist, as you assumed, you instead find someone who was confused about what you wanted and who is very motivated to change.
Frustration was really telling you about the need to regularly meet with your team. But even if the meeting had confirmed your original suspicions, and even if termination was warranted, you are still moving in the best direction for the practice by taking action.
Frustration is never enjoyable to experience, and part of what makes it so difficult is our failure to do anything. As Tony Robbins suggests, when we finally wake up and take action we often find a path that leads us to a better place. Maybe it’s a stronger team, a more profitable practice, or a life with greater peace of mind. But we’ll never get there if we continue to ignore what our frustration is trying to tell us.