The single most important step you can take on your path for personal growth

5 May

Personal growth is getting a lot of momentum theses days. So many people I meet are committed to do their “work”. More and more people are hiring coaches or doing workshops and retreats to expand their awareness, rise their consciousness and create a more fulfilling life for themselves.

The more I think about the journey I embarked on when I decided to take my 21 challenge to quit complaining, the more I realize that this challenge is probably the single most important step you can take for yourself when you want to grow.

First Step

I have now led hundreds of people during my own seminars and workshop and each time someone feels like despite all their inner work they are not getting the results they want, we go back to this idea of quitting the complaining.

I see so many people who are thinking of themselves as ” positive” people.  They are outgoing and they usually do tend to see the glass half full instead of half empty when difficulties arise. I really connect with those people because I was exactly like them. I think that if I had seen the cover of my own book ” I Quit Complaining { and Bitching} in a bookstore I would have NOT bought it. It would have said ” I don’t need it, I don’t complain !”

This is because when we talk about this topic of complaining we easily think about the big complainers in our lives: the colleague who is always ranting about everything, a member of our family who seems to never be happy or satisfied with what is. They are irritating us and we don’t want to be around them. Most of you ( like me)  are not like that.

But does that mean that we don’t complain ? how do we react when our child spills milk on the floor ? how about when we are stuck in traffic or when we get to work and our long to do list is putting too much pressure on us ? Maybe we are nothing like the loud complainers that we have identified in our lives, but does that mean that we don’t complain ?

Why does it matter to quit complaining, you may ask ?

My understanding is that when we complain we are choosing to put ourselves in the victim seat of the situation. We are pointing fingers and usually  making someone else wrong for the frustrating situation.

Taking this 21 day challenge to quit complaining is the most important step on your path to freedom. When you start this challenge you get to wake-up in the morning and decide that no matter what happens ( and sh.t will happen, many people won’t do what you want them to do ) you won’t be a victim of anything or anyone. When I say that you won’t be a victim I am not only referring to the BIG situation of your life, I am also and precisely referring to all the small and insignificant frustrations of our every days lives. You decide that you won’t be a victim of the milk spilled on the floor, you won’t be a victim of traffic ( what will you do instead?), you won’t be a victim of your workload…

Being a victim is easy, taking responsibility for your day is another journey. When you make this firm decision that you won’t be the victim then anything and everything becomes possible. And that is THE most important step you can take if you want to grow.

Don’t you think ?

Love & Respect,

Christine Lewicki

Want to you use this article in your newsletter, blog, or on your website? You can, as long as you include the following blurb:

“Christine Lewicki is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE”I Quit Complaining Starter Kit” on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com

I, the complainer !

4 May

What gave me the idea of embarking on this challenge was to realize that even though I am generally rather positive, I often found myself in frustrating or irritating situations where I would play the victim and…complained.

Many times, I realized that I would go to bed completely exhausted from everything that “happened to me” during the day. Under my so called“good life” I had the lingering impression of constantly fighting… to get the kids to school, get my work done, be on time, manage work and family and all the problems. Too often I went to bed feeling that I just had a terrible day.

Strangely enough, that “ terrible day”  day was usually simply a “ normal” day of my life.  . Nothing really bad happened. Actually, it was ordinary , like every day… It was what I  like to call now my “ not always very sexy life”.

I wanted to learn to enjoy this daily life.  I was sick and tired of  telling myself that when my three kids would grow up (especially the young one), when my business would be successful, when I would have time for myself, when I would be on vacation, when my family could help me this summer, etc. In short, later, only later, would I be able to live better.

Why wait for tomorrow to finally be happy? It’s a shame after all, because isn’t daily life real life.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow doesn’t exist…Only today matters most”. I had heard this before, but it wasn’t until then that I decided to put those words into practice.

I am a “mompreneur” and my days are filled with my business (O Coaching Inc), my three kids attending three different schools and all their extracurricular activities (swimming, guitar, piano…), my volunteering activities, my life as a woman, wife and mom…and all of this at more than 6 000 miles from my family in a very fast-paced city!

That’s how one night I  found myself in bed, my head on the pillow and eyes wide open, trying to find a way to lighten up my daily life and feel more satisfied right at this moment, no matter how chaotic my life seemed to be.

We all have happy and joyful moments in our lives. Weekends, vacations, birthdays, dinners with friends filled with laughter, dates, weddings, travels…We also have all these little moments like getting a massage, a moment to take care of ourselves. All these moments are times of happiness and fulfillment that break the routine. But we must also realize that these moments are relatively limited and unfortunately conditioned by an external context quite rare, if not exceptional.

So what about the rest of our life? Our daily life is much more ordinary, punctuated with different obligations…When I thought about it, I realized how sad it was to let life pass me by without trying to enjoy all these “normal” hours of my life as if they were something that “happened to me”.

I want happiness every day…because I know that one day or another, I won’t be here anymore. Each minute is like gold. My life is a gift, and I intend on living it at the fullest.  I realized that what really got to me were all those moments spent complaining. Doing things while resisting them, getting irritated at the computer, complaining in the car, gossiping with the others, whining  about the kids,  wheezing and yes even sometimes“bitching”I was not doing anything “ wrong” or truly damaging but in the end it polluted my life and, let’s face it, didn’t get me anywhere.

I am the kind of person who always says how “beautiful life is”, so why complain? I wasn’t depressed, rather in good health, mostly happy and positive, happily married, in love with my kids, I had a great job…But still, no matter what the circumstances, I found a way to complain and to go bed frustrated, exhausted, drained…

“Whether we are feeling happy or unhappy at any given moment often has very little to do with our absolute conditions but, rather it is a function of how we perceive our situation, how satisfied we are with what we have.” The Dalai Lama

That’s when I told myself: and what if I just stopped complaining? Yes, I know, I wrote “just”, but I now realize after the challenge that it’s not as easy as it seems. The idea for me was to mostly choose between discussing happiness, read a bunch of books and attend seminars on the topic, or to actually start doing something different today to experience happiness. That’s how I decided to start; by not complaining at all for 21 days in a row! I was curious to see what would happen.

I’ve been living in the United States for more than ten years now, and this type of challenge is pretty common here, to stop smoking, to meditate, loose weight, be grateful…so I told myself that there was no going back, I had to do it until the end for myself, my life, my family. I’ll delve deeper into the “why” of these 21 days in the third part of this book.

When I started my challenge, I had no idea of the actual amount of complaining I was doing (it was a shock!!!), or what I would gain from the experience. This blog is here to share with you my biggest lessons.

Love and Respect,

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Christine Lewicki

Want to you use this article in your newsletter, blog, or on your website? You can, as long as you include the following blurb:

“Christine Lewicki is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE ”I Quit Complaining Starter Kit” on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com

Interview “I Quit Complaining and Bitching!” for Soul.Am

28 Apr Soul You Interview IQC

A lovely interview by Julie Hasson for Soul.Am on the topic of the 21 Day  Challenge and how it all started  for  ” I Quit Complaining and Bitching! “ by Christine Lewicki, bestselling author

 

How is your Quit Complaining Challenge going?  Please share your comments on the blog or on the  Facebook page too!

 

Love and Respect,

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Christine Lewicki

Want to you use this article in your newsletter, blog, or on your website? You can, as long as you include the following blurb:

“Christine Lewicki is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE ”I Quit Complaining Starter Kit” on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com

Stop Complaining and Just Do IT !

13 Apr

Stop Complaining !  Let go! Just Do it! We KNOW what we need to do to be happier in our lives. We have ” Haha!” moments, intuitive insights but then the next day or sometimes even the following hour, doubt takes over and we don’t follow through on our good intentions! We KNOW what we need to do but somehow we find a thousand excuses not to start and we procrastinate!

I can’t do it today, I already have too many things going on, I’ll start tomorrow!” In the end, we let other things take over and watch our lives go by as a spectator. The hardest part is to CHOOSE to live a better life and START to do IT! The “IT” that we want to do does not yet have a place in our busy lives and starting means to make room for it. Choosing to do “IT” instead of answering all the emails, surfing the web, having another cup of tea, starting a load of laundry or watching something on TV etc..

possible

I am always surprised to notice how my emails can become much more important than what I KNOW will contribute to my life. Sometimes I just want to shout ” Stop sending  me emails!” ” I have a life to live!” ( hummmmm…am I complaining, now?)

I am becoming more and more aware of all those times when I want to give to others before giving to myself. I have important ( or not) emails in my box or comments on my blog and I have the urge to reply right away and I end up choosing to give “to myself”, later.

Today, I feel that I must focus on my wellbeing and happiness FIRST in my life. My biggest responsibility in life is to take care of me. In doing so, I will be nourished, inspired, happy , in good health to better ( and not more) help others and contribute.

“What” I want to do personally at this point in my life, is to create a bigger discipline in my life and a daily ritual which will contribute to my wellbeing . This “IT’, I’ve been thinking about it for the last 2 months and it is time that I turn this “idea” into a “reality” because in the long run just thinking about it and thinking I’ll get to do it one day , well it makes my head spin! ….

What is  this “IT” that you’ve  been procrastinating about in your life?

Love and Respect,

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Christine Lewicki

Want to you use this article in your newsletter, blog, or on your website? You can, as long as you include the following blurb:

“Christine Lewicki is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE ”I Quit Complaining Starter Kit” on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com

 

[Flashback ] The First Few Days of My 21 Day Challenge

6 Apr rose colored glasses

My 21 days without complaining challenge really was paved with discoveries and realizations from the very beginning. During the first few days, I went through what I call the “bracelet dance”. From the left wrist to the right wrist, and so forth…All day long. I was very happy that I picked a stretchy bracelet (very practical ) !

Then, I became aware that if I wanted to stop having to start from day 1  every day, it was of the utmost importance that I start becoming aware of the situations that pushed me to complain every time, and see if I could avoid them. This way, I clearly identified that the morning was my most dangerous moment of the day (followed closely by bed time at night!) with three daughters, breakfast, packing lunches, three different schools and the clock that keeps on ticking…Danger was straight ahead!

Every morning, I found myself complaining, whining, feeling rushed, oppressed, trying to monitor my kids: “Get ready, eat your breakfast, how can you not know where your shoes are? Hurry, hurry, hurry!”

It really wasn’t a good way to start my day. In an ideal setting, I  wanted mornings to be calm and a nice family moment to be at peace with my daughters before parting ways at school and at work.

So, I asked myself what I could do to avoid putting myself in these situations. This seemed to be the more efficient strategy to really stop complaining. If I eliminated the reason to complain, then the challenge would be easier! No more having to keep it to myself! With this in mind, I slowly implemented some changes:

# I asked my daughters to get their own school lunch ready the night before (not all schools have a cafeteria);

# I created a routine with them: they pick their outfits the night before (as for the shoes, we are still working on that!);

# I started to get my coffee machine ready the night before…;

# I finally managed to get up earlier (which seemed impossible before).

This challenge quickly made me realize how important it is to be clear about what works for me, and what doesn’t. So, I gave myself the mission to avoid situations that I know will make me complain.

# If I’m still sitting at my desk at 6pm when it’s my turn to make dinner, I know that soon my kids will be asking to eat and this will stress me out, so I can either stop working and make dinner, or stay at work and assume my own choice later without complaining.

# If I have an important appointment, I have to leave 10 minutes earlier instead of trying to get “one more thing done that will inevitably make me late”.

To this day, this idea of avoiding situations that generate frustration or stress has become my priority and, each time I can see trouble heading my way in that sense, I get back on track as soon as possible. No more waiting to reach the deep end.

As a matter of fact, this challenge quickly demonstrated that the idea is not to take in everything with a smile, or to force ourselves to see life through rose-colored glasses. It is actually the opposite; it is a project to help us develop a new way of life. To live moments with more pleasure and, if it’s really not going well, you have to assume your part of responsibility and see what can be done to reorganize things or do them differently.

Those who attempt the challenge by adopting the take it all in with a smile strategy cannot last for more than a few hours or a few days. And, in the end, they have not obtained the expected result of a happier, more serene, and fuller life.

Love and Respect,

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Christine Lewicki

Want to you use this article in your newsletter, blog, or on your website? You can, as long as you include the following blurb:

“Christine Lewicki is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE ”I Quit Complaining Starter Kit” on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com

 

The Art of Complaining… without Complaining

24 Mar

A survey taken near 6,000 people by scientists in psychology from the German University of Lena would tend to demonstrate that complaining is good for your health and  your life span according to an article in the French newspaper Parisien.

The survey also concludes that to bottle-up your emotions could lead to cardiac acceleration which could increase the risks of hypertension or health problems in the long run.  Apparently, we all agree that containing our frustrations inside would be far more dangerous than to express them. The article then ponders if complaining “which is considered like a  French national sport” has become the norm. The article forewarns us that the act of complaining must respect certain rules…”

The method shared in J’arrête de râler! aka “I Quit Complaining and Bitching” (over 150 000 copies sold ) invites us to give ourselves the means to take care of our needs. Many readers have testified to tell us how this challenge had allowed them to really get a handle on their negative complaining and their lives. We are far from the idea of not expressing our frustrations which could lead to depression.

IQC communicateThe challenge makes us take a real look at our complaints so we can become aware of them, take charge and not suffer from them.  We seek to understand why we complain and to express our frustrations without complaining.

Why, you may ask, without complaining?  Because we learned and found out that complaining, although it expresses our need, is really not very good strategy to obtain what we really want in the long run. If complaining really worked, then we would have no other reason to complain since all our needs would be met. Often complaining doesn’t provide lasting real change and we find ourselves again complaining about something else or the same thing over and over again. We cultivate and get stuck in a spiral of frustration that drains and pollutes our life.

TO QUIT COMPLAINING DOESN’T MEAN BOTTLING-UP OUR EMOTIONS 

It really is an art to know how to express ourselves without complaining!

Life will bring us trials and difficulties. People will upset us and prevent us from doing what we’d like to do. And it’s frankly aggravating, but true… However, we cannot accept everything. We cannot allow others to walk all  over us and  treat us like doormats. It’s important to be able to express what we don’t like and what doesn’t suit us. If we keep our feelings bottled in we risk exploding in what I call the ” pressure cooker” effect where our only outlet and alternative is to complain and vent out our frustrations too often contained.

The I Quit Complaining Challenge invites us to express our emotions more appropriately with less aggression. We learn to ask others what we need with force and determination without any drama.  We realize then that we greatly increase our chances to be heard and our needs to be really taken in consideration .

TO QUIT COMPLAINING IS A CHOICE AND A WAY OF LIFE  

Serenity is a choice that we can make today, whatever our circumstances. We can choose to experience our frustrations differently and realize that complaining is a habit deeply anchored in us ( just like smoking) which cannot disappear overnight.  During 21 consecutive days we learn to change our outlook on our daily life, we learn to delve into our resources so we no longer suffer the problems of life and so that we can better savor all the hidden treasures.

To quit complaining is of course, choosing to see life in a positive light and it’s an important lesson… however seeing “life through  rose-colored glasses” is not enough. To quit complaining is really about putting an end to acting like a victim of everything and everyone. We stop pointing the finger at the guilty people in our life and we devote our resources and energy to become actors and co-creators  of solutions.

When we quit complaining, we eliminate a big layer of pollution in our life  so that we can finally take advance of the blue sky.  We spend our energy on what propels us forward and we can have enjoy the freedom to take advantage of what life has to offer us.

4 TIPS TO EXPRESS OUR EMOTIONS AND GET WHAT WE WANT: 

1. Identify the real need hiding under the emotion. For example: am I complaining because I asked my child several times to empty the dishwasher, or am I really complaining because I feel the whole housekeeping logistics is on my shoulders and this is not working for me?

2. Use the rights words and resist the tendency to exaggerate. Example: often when we complain we are so afraid that we won’t be heard that we exaggerate and amplify. We transform the problem in a drama, we say :” I asked you 100 times to do this or that” or “It’s always the same thing” , “It’s killing me!”

3. Express our frustration without the need to make the other guilty is an art to establish our limits and make our demands without accusing the other. Example: instead of saying ” You never  help me ! “, I can say ” I feel like I am speaking in a vacuum and that every thing lies on my shoulders and I don’t like it. I don’t want to be in this position. I need your help.” Of course this takes more self-control, but I can guarantee that it’s much more effective to obtain what we want and need.

4. Accept that we cannot force others to do what we want when we want (really ? )  It is exhausting to try to coerce others to do certain things. It is much more effective to try and negotiate with them. Be aware that everyone must be in agreement and be weary of so-called agreements which are in fact disguised obligations. You need to remain firm on the fact that you need their cooperation so that your needs are met, but also remain open to your needs being met differently than originally planned.

It’s not an easy process and this is why I often intervene and speak on this subject and train in people in business and why we also have in place workshops to accompany those who want to follow this path for their business or their families.

What lessons have you learned with your I quit complaining challenge?

Love and Respect,

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Christine Lewicki

Want to you use this article in your newsletter, blog, or on your website? You can, as long as you include the following blurb:

“Christine Lewicki is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE ”I Quit Complaining Starter Kit” on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com

There is NO Lucky Victim

2 Mar

One of the biggest lessons I learned during my 21 day I Quit Complaining Challenge” was the realization I made of how many times in my life I really felt like a victim.

For instance, when the school changed the schedule at the last-minute upsetting my whole day’s planning,  when my hotel messed up my reservation, when my kids woke me up in the middle of the night, when the city street work  created traffic jams causing me to be late for my appointments, when the economy was bad and my finances were hurting, when electricity was shut off because I forgot to pay the bill on time, when my Internet connection was slow, when someone forgot to cancel their appointment with me and I ended up wasting my precious time waiting for them…

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All these incidents were like daggers through my heart and I felt like port little victim. Often, it was just too much to bare and I just wanted to just give up and say: “This is  just the worst day of my life!  or “I knew it, this only happens to me! ” or even : “It never fails…more problems to deal with!”

When I stumbled upon the  tale about the Donkey and the Well  it really had an impact and  helped me change my outlook on things. I had read it a few years back but all of a sudden during my challenge it started making a lot more sense and I could really apply it in my life. So here it is:

The Donkey in the Well
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over & help him. They all grabbed a dirt & began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening & cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off & take a step up.
As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off & take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well & happily trotted off! 

The lesson I learned in this tale is that life would try to kick me when I am  down and that the best way to get back up is to shake it off and keep moving forward. I learned that each of our problems is like a stepping-stone towards progress. We can get out of the deepest well  if we just keep on moving. Never give up! Shake it off! Start climbing!

If the donkey had chosen to be a victim and kept on whining and complaining, he would have been buried at the bottom of the well.  Instead, he chose to take charge and be creative.

Often times, when I feel like I’m at the bottom of the well myself, I think about this donkey. When I feel paralyzed by what’s happening to me and I just want to point a finger towards other people and complain, I remember that it won’t help me get out of this hole. Quite the opposite, if I just complain about what’s happening, I’ll end up buried under my own complaints.

With this in mind, no matter what happens to me, even if I feel like I’m suffering through something that “someone is doing to me”, I now try to not waste my energy with complaints or judgments, because I know now that this will only make me more miserable  and will keep me stuck in the victim role and prevent me from moving forward!

Love and Respect,

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Christine Lewicki

Want to you use this article in your newsletter, blog, or on your website? You can, as long as you include the following blurb:

“Christine Lewicki is committed to help people quit complaining and become entrepreneurs of their lives. You can download your FREE ”I Quit Complaining Starter Kit” on her blog www.iquitcomplaining.com

 

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