Is anger good or bad?

“I have never seen you angry. You are always unfazed. It makes me wonder what you are like when you do get angry.”

You don’t want to know what I am like when I am angry, I thought, when a colleague of mine made this remark years ago.

The most frequent feedback I ever received over the years as a leader has been that I am calm. Regardless of circumstances, regardless of how stressful a situation may seem, I remain calm. 

That doesn’t mean I never get angry. I do.

My kids definitely agree to this, as well as the guy who didn’t keep his hands to himself at that party at University decades ago. I shoved my elbow in his chest before I turned around and yelled at him. With fear in his eyes he stepped backwards, repeating over and over again it wasn’t him. It wasn’t until my friend tapped me on the shoulder and let me know it indeed hadn’t been the guy I was yelling at, but his friend (who, cowardly enough, had run away before I turned around) that I stopped yelling at the semi-innocent guy. Semi, because, you know, just standing by and doing nothing when your friend behaves like that isn’t exactly something to be proud of either.

Should, or shouldn’t we use anger to influence a situation, to initiate change?

According to Freedomways magazine, Martin Luther King said in 1968:

"The supreme task [of a leader] is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.

I admire Martin Luther King greatly. Who doesn’t? But I think we can agree that it is better to transform and influence people and situations without anger than with.

If you do get angry, make sure you don’t suppress it. According to Chris Aiken MD at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, repressed anger is associated with heart disease.

Don’t repress your anger. Don’t let your anger get the better of you. But do allow yourself to use it.


How saying no to great things can lead to something greater

“When I finally quit working last Friday I still had 15 drafts in my mailbox.”

A lovely woman I spoke to about time management shared this with me.

You may recognize the feeling. I do.

When I was on maternity leave with my 3 children (at the time a baby, a 2 year old and a 5 year old) and my husband asked if I wanted to take some time off from caring for the kids, I replied:

“Actually, I just want to finish stacking the dishwasher. I started this morning and have re-started at least 20 times.“

I remember how I could really long for concluding something, anything, in these days. 

Taking a task to completion without interruption.

When we constantly get interrupted or when we work with many things rather than a few, we are not efficient.

Worse, we feel stressed when we do.

Let me quote the remarkable Steve Jobs:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.”

As I often say to my Timefinder clients – first we need to learn to say no to the boring and unimportant stuff (saying no can mean delegating by the way). Then we get to the hard part. Choosing between all great ideas and opportunities.

Saying yes to everything can be a sign of scarcity thinking.

    “If I don’t do this now, I will never have the chance to do it again.”

We may be so afraid of losing an opportunity that we end up with lots of great ideas that we start – but don’t manage to complete.

I know it is not easy. 

One of my biggest fears is to get bored so I typically act on many interesting and fun ideas and opportunities at the same time.

But when you do find the balance, when you focus on just the right amount of great things for you, you will notice that your focus and your efficiency will multiply and you will find yourself in a flow. You will get lots of great things done and you will enjoy it.

I do J. (And yes, it does help that my three sons are teenagers now).