About to explode? How to use your anger to discover your calling (or confirm it all over again.)

I could NOT believe the words that were coming out of his mouth.

There I was, sitting politely at the dinner table, listening to someone (that I considered a “friend”) spewing words that rubbed against everything I believe in.

Every sentence was like sandpaper on my soul.

I felt my pulse start to race, as he continued. My face was flushing hot. Fists clenched, under the tablecloth.

My inner teenager wanted to jump on top of the table and scream:

“You have GOT to kidding me … seriously?! That’s what you believe? Are you BLIND?”

And honestly? I almost did.

But I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m a grown-ass woman.

So I chose a different option.

I took my anger and used it to reaffirm my life’s mission — why I do the work that I do — instead of starting an ugly argument that I’d never win.

Here are 4 questions to help you capture your anger & use it to clarify your calling:

1.Why is this making me SO angry?

After the dinner party fiasco, I excused myself and went into my bedroom. I took out my journal and wrote furiously, capturing everything he’d said — and why it bothered me so much.

(You might try recording your thoughts into your phone, audio-style, if journaling isn’t your thing.)

2.What’s the problem, here?

When you have a strong emotional reaction to something, it’s often a clue about a problem in the world that bothers you. A LOT. A problem that YOU want to solve. (Hello, life purpose.)

3.Is that a problem that I want to solve?

If someone says …

“Oh, I don’t know why women are always complaining about inequality. They have all the same opportunities as men, these days!”

… and that makes you furious, it might be a clue that working for women’s equality is part of your calling.

If someone says …

“I can’t believe you went back to work just 8 weeks after giving birth. Don’t you want to be there for your kid?”

… and that makes you feel stabby, it might be a clue that you want to educate people about parenting possibilities they hadn’t considered.

4.What feels productive, right now?

Starting an argument with the person that angered you, in the heat of the moment? Probably not the best use of your time.

Writing a powerful blog post … or outlining a book … or recording a podcast … or scripting a TEDx talk on the problem that you’re ready to solve? Now we’re talking.

Choose a productive power-move.

One that carries you — and your calling — to the next level.

Instead of sinking down to theirs.



PS. Have you ever turned a moment of anger into something really, really good? What did you do?

xoxo, Susan


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