Move from Pissed Off to Fired Up!

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Activate Your Anger into Action

I was speaking to a group of women at a professional association, and they were asking me what they could do to find their SPARKLE, a metaphor for what gives them joy, and pizzazz in their life, and speaks to my signature brand, Courage to SPARKLE.

Another woman chimed in “Everything frustrates me,” I countered, “Are you sure, really everything? Can you be really specific this week about what got on your nerves?” She started giving me a list of things like the guy leaving the sweaty towel on the gym equipment, someone cutting her off at the bus station, and another person talking over her at a meeting. “Like I said ‘everything,’  I gotta chill out.

I smiled. “Actually, all those things you mentioned are not separate they’re all connected. They are your pet peeves/pissed-off parts and are your treasure map to find your SPARKLE.”

She looked at me as if I was suggesting studying the hieroglyphics in the local caves of India to learn how to speak Spanish.

“Treasure map,” and rolled her eyes.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” I went on to say that I saw that when people were disconnected from a sense of meaning in their lives, exploring the 3P’s Passions, Purpose, and Pet Peeves will guide them back. Clearly, she felt disconnected from both her passions and purpose, so her pet peeves were her best bet.

“What do these have in common? The things you get irritated by. How do they make you feel?” She chimed in that all three were acts of disrespect, thoughtlessness, and self-centeredness.

“Great, so what core value is being “violated” if you will with these three incidents?”

She paused. “Respect is so important and definitely a core value, as is thoughtfulness, and being selfless but in a non-codependent way, just really focusing on the bigger picture, as opposed to my own needs.”

“Great, we’re getting somewhere. Where in your life do you not feel respected, thought of, or cared about?

She turned a sheepish white, and her friends simultaneously prodded her with their elbows as in ‘pay attention.’ She shared that she has a really hard time setting boundaries with her husband and her two children, and she feels like an unpaid maid in her own home and is exhausted and angry at them.

“This is great, no it doesn’t feel great, but this is the gateway back to your Sparkle. You see our Pet Peeves guide us to our core values, and our core values guide us to our sense of fulfillment, meaning, and happiness, it’s what makes us tick. By addressing this head-on, you’ll be on your way to feeling more connected to your purpose, passion, and greater joy. “What’s one small action you can take tonight to correct that?” She got quiet and basically responded that she could give each kid a responsibility around the house and that moving forward dinner had to be a group project. The women applauded and said, “Amen.” A smile started to crawl back onto her face. A hint of her Sparkle was clearly returning.

It’s just too easy to get angry and either wish or intellectualize it away or explode at someone in a toxic or irresponsible way, none of which does anything. But if we can really sit with our anger, breathe, feel it, and see it as a sacred messenger pointing us to a core value that is imperative for us, and then take action, that’s when anger is such a productive emotion.

All great change in the world was fueled by productive anger, not being willing to sit by passively, but bringing that core value that our anger was telegraphing into the world and making a shift.

As a motivational, resiliency, and mindfulness speaker in NYC, I’m I’m often brought in to help groups and teams experience greater engagement, and productivity, strengthen their communication and feel more motivated.

While I love bringing a certain energy to the group with my tools, stories, and exercises, what I also think is equally important is to create a space for greater awareness, embrace all of what someone is going through, and see the lessons and opportunities for growth.

Next time you feel angry, or are struggling with your Pet Peeve, instead of trying to wish it away, take a moment and ask yourself, “What core value is this pointing me to? Breathe, and ask yourself, “What action can I take to honor that core value in my life right now, so that I can feel more aligned, more alive with who I truly am?”

Part of growing is awakening to our shadows as much as our light. We often learn more from what is upsetting us, than what delights us. So next time you feel pissed off do this process, and get fired up. Anger is often an emotion telling us that one or many core values are not being honored, either by ourselves and/or others. Take that action towards remedying it, you’ll be glad you did.

If you’re ready to make some changes in your life both personally and professionally, feel free to book a Discovery Call with me.

Hey, thanks for tuning in and not tuning out, what the world needs are people who are tuned in and not tuned out!


  • Lois Barth

    Lois Barth is a human development expert, motivational speaker, coach, and thrilled to have delivered her first ‘book child,’ “Courage to Sparkle.” She champions women to share their brilliance and to live an authentic life. She speaks at women’s conferences all over the country and has been quoted in The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Fitness, Weight Watchers, and to name a few.

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