Readers of my French book “J’Arrête de Râler! “ – I Stop Complaining! and journalists often ask me to share tips on how to stop complaining. And yes, sometimes good intentions are not enough and we need to use some tricks to be able to take the plunge and stop complaining.
Picture Credit: Marie Claire article on “J’Arrête de Râler!”
I recently published an article called “7 Tips to Stop Complaining as Parents” and today in the spirit of Back to Business I wanted to share with you my best “5 Tips to Stop Complaining at Work!”
TIP # 1 – COMMUNICATE IN REAL TIME:
If something is troubling you, talk about it on the spot in real time when it is still fresh. Do not wait ! It’s in the waiting that the trouble usually appears. By the way I want to remind you that you can use the same technique to communicate about something you appreciate ( yes, why not?).
There is nothing worse than not “SAYING” things. When too much time has passed to express ourselves, misunderstandings and frustrations arise and become subjective interpretations which gradually create distance and discomfort between people. Unexpressed frustrations quickly turn into judgments of the other person in our own mind and ultimately our perception has nothing to do with reality. In addition, we unconsciously begin to find fault and evidence to confirm our own judgment and bad thoughts arise about the person. Eventually the situation explodes and both sides accused of all evils will be forced to defend themselves tooth and nail. Communication is no longer possible because it is too late. To stop complaining at work is also about identifying discomfort and deciphering problems when they are still relatively small. Also beware of emails communication. They are real communication hazard loaded with potential misunderstandings.
TIP #2 -CELEBRATE THE POSITIVE:
We often spend so much time complaining about what’s not working, why not switch gears and talk instead of the positive and what is working. Talk about our achievements, the contributions of our colleagues, the obstacles overcome, projects that are advancing … Celebrate the positive and fill the tank with goodness, you identify strengths and talents, you realize that even if sometimes you feel you are stagnating in fact you are making progress! It is wise to stop and address and confront problems in real time. What if you started all your business or staff meetings on a positive note spending 10 minutes to talk about and highlight the positive and the contributions of all concerned in the projects?
TIP # 3 – BE PERFECT WITH YOUR WORDS: How many times have we found ourselves at work unconsciously muttering: “It’s always my fault” “It’s always the same” “This is hell” “They’re all incompetent” “They’re all thieves! “We generalize failures we exaggerate, we amplify and we do not use the right word. For example we blame our chronic lateness on traffic not owning that we are in fact responsible for not hitting the road early enough. The worst is that in the end we come to believe what we say and the words we speak become our reality. Can you imagine the serenity which could arise from simply having and using the right words? Saying things as they are is very liberating. Try it and see! To dig deeper on this subject I suggest you read the famous book: “The Four Agreements: The Path to Personal Freedom”
TIP #4 – REPLACE “BUT” BY “AND” : Instead of saying “you have done well BUT …. (and then accuses the other of something they’ve done wrong …). Try saying ” you have done well AND “… (and continue by listing a progress track). BUT announces a judgment that we express and cancels the positive feedback that we have to make and it gives our partner the impression that we are hypocrites by giving a compliment only to better swallow the pill of criticism that we are about to administer ! By using the word AND instead it opens the door for creative development. We can say, “You have done well AND it would be interesting next time to…. (it works at work but also in your relationship and with family! ) Try it, it’s magic!)
TIP # 5 – BECOME AWARE OF YOUR COMPLAINT TRIGGERS : Often we complain out of sheer habit and don’t even realize we’re doing it. As soon as we get to the office in the morning we automatically complain about traffic, or rattle all day long about our back pain, our slow computer or the incompetence of our colleague or boss. We all have triggers that make us sound like a broken record. If you really want to stop complaining at work but is seems impossible at this time, then tackle it in stages: first identify YOUR TRIGGERS that automatically pop up for you every day and focus on becoming aware and removing it one at a time and so on
I really hope these tips will be helpful and feel free to share this article with your networks and office! We spend so much time at work that it’s really sad to feel victimized and suffer. Work is such a wonderful arena to excel, discover, prove, assert ourselves and contribute and it can empower us in our lives if we allow it.
Good luck and do not hesitate to share your comments on this blog.
Love and Respect,
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 www.iquitcomplaining.com
PS: I now offer conferences & seminars for companies on
” Quit Complaining at work!” Contact me if you are interested.
5 trucs pour arrêter de râler au boulot ( French article on J’Arrête de Râler! blog)