There’s venting and then there’s complaining. Which one are you doing?
More importantly, how do you move beyond it?
We all have the occasional bad day (or week or month), where one snafu piles on top of another. It’s even worse when you’re tired or working against a deadline – or both. It’s only human to let out a shout or the occasional curse, let go with a kick or punch at a workout bag, or head out for a run. This kind of release can free your mental and physical energy so you can move on to something productive and effective.
On the other hand, what I’m concerned about here is getting pulled into a complaining spiral. Did you ever notice that complaining steals your energy? Whatever you complain about actually gains more depth and substance, greater reality? It feels heavier on your shoulders, in your gut? How can just talking about something make you feel more miserable?
Why Complaining Seems to Feed on Itself, Growing Like Some Alien Fungus
The most troubling thing about complaining is that it’s easy to mistake it for taking action. It can take a lot of time and fill up what would otherwise be productive conversations. When it replaces the action steps you could take to get you out of the mire of dark and helpless thinking, complaining makes it that much harder to scramble your way up from the bottom of the negative-thinking gravel pit. Suddenly, complaining has become your business action plan.
Complaining always seems better shared. When you complain about something, you get three different reactions from cohorts and acquaintances:
- Commiseration or empathy: “That’s really rough.” “That’s too bad.”
- One upping your misery: “That’s nothing! Wait until you hear what happened to me . . . it’s lots worse than your problem!”
- Kick-your-butt-out-of-misery action questions: “That stinks! What are you going to do about it? Who are you going to contact when they open in the morning? What’s your email going to say? What are you hoping they’ll do to correct the problem?”
Getting Out of Your Head…And Into a Real Business Action Plan That Works
Is there a lot of difference between complaining out loud and complaining in your own head? That depends on you.
Are you the kind of person who can talk yourself out of a funk? If so, go inside and talk yourself up. Get yourself into action.
Are you the kind of person who, once you get started down the path of negative thoughts, just keeps following the same rut, until it’s so deep you can barely see the terrain around you? Get an outside reference point, an objective buddy who may commiserate, but will definitely ask questions to get your behind moving in a positive direction – even if it’s only an inch.
If this is a years-old pattern (or perhaps depression in disguise) and even good friends or a steady accountability coach can’t get you moving, this is a place for intervention by a professional counselor or minister/priest/rabbi.
The bad news: Complaining instead of taking action is a death knell for your business.
The good news: Accountability and/or counseling have been proven very successful for moving this personal style off dead center.
Take Action – Make This Your Own
- Take a hard, objective look at the way you’re thinking. Are you picking actions each day to move you forward or have you gotten too comfortable with complaining and victimhood?
- If you’re surrounded by people who reinforce your complaining and victimhood, ask yourself if it’s time to switch out your companions and associates for more action oriented people.
- What one action can you take today to move you a baby step forward, out of your thinking slump?
- If it’s serious and long standing pattern, seek professional help.
You can also check out these related posts:
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Is Hope Your Main Business Strategy
Burned Out? – What to Do About It (Besides Quit)
Bounce Back Fast – 11 Tools in 60 Seconds
How to Get Things Done: 13 Tips in 60 Seconds
Share a comment – what works well to get you out of complaining and into action?