Complaining at work … an effective strategy?

1 Dec

Let’s face it, in our pantheon of complaints, our job holds a special place…  with its gods (we love to take issue with our boss and our clients) and its cults (around the coffee machine or after a meeting.)
Yet usually when we complain it is because we have “good reasons”. It’s true; we complain because we have a need that is not satisfied. This need is important enough to generate frustration and give rise to anger or annoyance, which are the source of our “bitching”.


Although our need is real and often justified, we use moaning as a strategy – one that cannot bear fruit. This is one of the greatest lessons of the challenge “I quit complaining”.

To understand what I mean, put yourself in the shoes of the person who is on the receiving end of this kind of complaining.

Imagine that one of your relatives or co-workers came to you to discuss a problem and used one of these 3 recognizable aspects of complaining :

  • A bitter tone of voice – (Tone)
  • Blaming – (Positioning)
  • Exaggerating – (Accuracy)

For example, the person says,

“Look, I’m fed up. I’m telling you for the twentieth time that’s not the way to do it…  Why don’t you pay attention? We’re way behind and management is going to kill us! I can’t always be looking over your shoulder… I have more important things to do…”

How do you feel after this exchange? What is your automatic reaction?

When someone feels attacked, they generally do not want to cooperate or get involved with problem-solving; on the contrary, they usually have two reactions (or a sophisticated mix of both):

  • They will either leave (or ignore you)
  • Or they will defend themselves and attack in return

The fact is that we do not like being attacked and it stimulates our protective and / or defensive mechanisms.

To protect ourselves we try to create a distance  – create a filter –  between the ‘aggressor’ and ourselves. If we can, we will leave the room (sometimes slamming the door, other times more discreetly) because frankly, we try to avoid this kind of conversation. If it is not appropriate (or possible) to leave the room we create a mental distance between the words of the complainer and ourselves. Maybe in our head, we will say something like “There he goes again / he sure is fired up, but he’ll get over it.” So although we understand, we do not listen!

Although the person who feels hard done by tries to get us to care about their grievances (using a bitter tone, making us feel guilty and exaggerating reality)… we do not like to feel guilty and we disengage.

Sometimes we defend ourselves by attacking  in return – accusing the other person and declaring that he is wrong and we are right (and that’s easy since he is probably  exaggerating). We say “It’s not true… I don’t agree… you don’t realize… you don’t understand.” We then find ourselves in a battle of “who’s wrong and who’s right” and things quickly become heated because no one wants to lose that battle! If we are temperamentally disinclined to engage directly, then we often do it indirectly, for example by making a complaint to the Human Resources Department about how we’ve been spoken to.

Sometimes when we complain we are unconsciously hoping to create an ‘electric shock’. We think that by allowing our annoyance to show in our voice, demonstrating (or insinuating) that it is the other person’s fault, and by exaggerating a bit (or a lot) they will come to understand that they must change or that they need to do something to solve our problem.

Yet, however, many times this happens, we never seem to realize that someone who is wrong-footed has no desire to cooperate. He does not want to consider our words or our needs; we hoped to rally him to our cause but instead he will try to get away from us or, worse still, attack us.

I invite you to re-read that last part and think of the ‘life lesson’ that I am wanting to share because it is critical. By moaning and complaining, we are trying to satisfy a real need but we are using a strategy that doesn’t work and ends up creating the opposite effect: we would like to create empathy for our problem but all we do is create annoyance or antagonism.

The link between our health and our tweets!

2 Nov

I just came across Michelle Gielan’s book “Broadcasting Happiness” and was really interested to read the following:

“And as you’ve seen throughout this book, our communication patterns are predictive of a range of business, educational, and health outcomes. In a recent study conducted by my brilliant friends at the University of Pennsylvania, they have been able to predict levels of heart disease in a community based upon the tweets coming from people living there. By assessing language patterns that reflected strained relationships and negative emotions (especially anger) coming from local Twitter users, the team was able to predict levels of heart disease better than an existing ten-point model that used information such as demographics and health risk factors, including diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Language expression on Twitter might be a better predictive medical tool than questionnaires given to people at the doctor’s office!
Let’s get really practical. Here are several examples of shifting-the-focus questions that you can use to greatly improve your broadcast and its ripple effects at home and at work.”

1Do you realize what she is saying! What we broadcast on twitter is a better predictor of our risk for heart disease than the traditional medical exam. If what we say and the conversations that we feed are a better indicator of the health of our heart than our body weight or blood pressure… then we better start a complaint-free diet!

YES, the words that come out of our mouth and the ones that we broadcast on social media (or around the coffee machine at work) have an impact on our health. They also have a huge impact on how we navigate our lives! If we broadcast lack, fear and limitation then we experience what we express – lack, fear and limitation – and days after days we go to bed at night feeling empty and powerless.

The good news is that we  can totally change this habit we have of complaining all the time. Hundreds of people have done it and they shared with me how amazing their lives are now. By learning to cultivate another conversation with our life we start to see our resources and all the possibilities that it is offering us. We get out of our draining victim position and we start to fuel our lives.

When we learn to broadcast a “higher” conversation with our life, we can experience a “higher” life.

You can join the 21 day “I quit complaining challenge”  that changed my life anytime and I would love to read your feedback!


How to take action and go change your life? Interview by David Laroche

4 Oct

Some time ago I was interviewed by David Laroche who is France’s youngest motivational speaker. David was in the US on a road trip to interview experts like Seth Godin, Mark Victor Hansen, and Brian Tracy to name a few. And he invited me to meet with him in Beverly Hills.

The main focus of our talk was “How to take action and go change your life?”

I was delighted to share with him my own experience and the biggest lessons I had to learn on my journey to transform my own life from ordinary to {extra} ordinary.

Lessons in this video:

  • Everything is created twice, first as an idea and then as an action.
  • The only way to create perfection is through imperfect actions.
  • There is no luck in this game. In order to create a good life for myself, I had to keep taking action even in the face of financial and personal struggles.
  • Why nurturing our inspiration is a priority (not a frivolity).

An electric shock!

16 Sep

Somehow, subconsciously, when we {bitch} and complain we hope that we will perhaps cause an “electric shock” in others.


We think that by showing our annoyance in our tone, by demonstrating (sometimes just by innuendo) that it is their fault, and by exaggerating a bit (or a lot!), then they will understand that they must change or that they have to do something  to solve the problem.

Yet it is proven over and over again that someone put in the position of “culprit” has no desire to cooperate!

That person feels threatened and won’t consider our words or our needs. We hoped to rally them to our cause but instead they end up fleeing or, even worse, attacking us.

The surprising science of happiness!

8 Sep

This interactive video is at once intellectually stimulating and funny.

What makes us happy? Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, whose book “Stumbling on Happiness” is a bestseller says that our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong


Definitely some compelling information on the subject, some of which may challenge your beliefs!

Winning or losing, finding a life partner, getting or not getting a promotion, even winning the lottery… all these factors have far less impact on our happiness than we think.

Happiness is synthesized, it is not something to be found… We are the only human species with a well-developed frontal lobe – the prefrontal cortex – which allows us to orchestrate thoughts and actions with our internal goals. In simpler terms this part of our brains allows us to act in accordance with our intentions. We can’t control our thoughts but we can control our actions.

 We can train our brain to find happiness within each and every one of our days and the 21 days challenge  to quit complaining  is an amazing game to play with yourself !

Gilbert talks about unbounded fears and ambitions. The prefrontal cortex gives us the capacity to inhibit or “uninhibit” these elements in our lives and to accept and make the most of the things that are ultimately out of our control. He even claims that freedom to choose is the enemy of synthetic happiness!

This reminds me of the sentence “please grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change” which stems from the well-known prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr used in twelve steps programs.  Most of our happiness comes from making the best of our situations in life. Abraham Lincoln famously wrote  : “We are as happy as we make up our minds to be”!

Can we believe that not getting what we want can make us as happy as getting it? Gilbert gives some great examples of people who in hindsight found that they were happier than if they had gotten what they thought they wanted.

What do you think?




Give yourself permission to recharge your batteries!

28 Jul

Summer or not, many of us don’t get to go on a long vacation… but we can take time for a getaway and even make a habit of it!

Get Away

In his book, The Charge,* Brendon Burchard talks about, among other things, the importance of  seeking challenges that will help you  live life to its fullest.

It will come as no surprise that I am an advocate of many topics in his book. Following my 21 day “I Quit Complaining Challenge” (in French “j’arrête de râler”), I decided to undertake other challenges, such as 21 days of drinking vegetable juice for breakfast, 21 days in dresses, 21 days to celebrate, 21 days without media, 21 days of sit-ups…

One of the challenges in Burchard’s book that grabbed my attention is the  “90 days getaway challenge”. This challenge consists of planning a getaway alone, or as a couple, every 90 days to recharge our batteries and reconnect with ourselves. There’s no need anymore to wait for official “vacation”! Whoohoo!

When I read about this idea my heart started to sing!!! Take a getaway every 90 days to recharge your batteries. (Your cousin’s wedding across country doesn’t count as a getaway.) A getaway of a day, a weekend, or a week (without the kids), to disconnect from daily life, without any phone or emails… just taking a little time for ourselves!

Take a little time to try something new and different. For instance, discover a new city, dive into a new book, start a new activity, participate in a program to reconnect with yourself (a spiritual retreat, some coaching, or the  Wake Up! seminar!)

It’s your turn:

  • What would you do if you could take off for a day, or a few days alone or with your spouse, to recharge your batteries? Make a list of all the things that would do you good, bring you serenity and help your growth. (Be careful not to censure yourself, make a list of everything that makes YOUR heart sing!)


  • Take a look at your calendar and schedule dates for your 4 upcoming getaways in the next 12 months (one every 3 months). Have fun with it! Dream!


  • Take time to plan with your spouse the logistics of your getaway ( budget, childcare) to make this project a reality. If need be, start a special “getaway piggy bank” to help finance your projects.


Happy getaways!

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 a Bestselling Author, Speaker & Coach. She 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

IQC Visual

How to tap into your creativity?

7 Jul

This video is awesome! I was lucky to meet Sue Morter and to listen to her talks many times LIVE in Los Angeles (and to dance with her). She always has this talent for combining science, spiritual wisdom and inspiration.  You’ll be be transformed by watching it.

When science meets what we intuitively know… we are what our minds tell us we are!

Do you feel that you are not a creative person? If that is the case you are not alone. We are all creative beings but sometimes we have a hard time tapping into that creativity. We feel stuck,  we limit ourselves and in the end we can’t see the possibilities for creation.

One of our biggest source of complaining is the feeling that we are not self-fulfilled, the sense that we are not fully activating our lives – an intuition that we are living our lives half-asleep. Chasing after time and money, running after deadlines, feeling sometimes like a hamster in a wheel, feeling overwhelmed… and wondering if we are going anywhere.

When I decided to quit complaining, I learned to activate my creative potential. I learned to tap into my creativity to solve problems in unexpected ways, I learned to tap into my creativity to feel and express myself… that creativity transformed my life!

How can we tap into our creativity?

-When we step outside of the box (and stop thinking of ourselves as victims).

-When we create space through the heart, we then receive creative energy and that energy gets into our full human experience.

The human heart is more powerful than the brain in creating energy. These energy fields penetrate every part of our bodies and provide a coherent message that bombards the physical body. We are deeply affected by these energy fields our bodies receive and they become our thoughts! The thoughts that come from the heart space are the creative thoughts.

Watch until the end to practice deep breathing and movement exercises that will help you to release obstacles –  energy frequencies and thoughts – that may be standing in the way of your creative potentials.

How do you feel after doing those exercises?


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