A weekly kick-off e-message from Katherine Eitel
to breathe life back into your practice, your team, and you!
November 22, 2010
Complaining on Thanksgiving
Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is the holiday of gratitude, but
.... if you listen closely, you'll hear a whole lot of complaining going on. It comes from the kitchen, the living room, the television and definitely from those adorable teenagers in your family. We complain about the traffic, the rigors of travel, the results of our favorite football team, the dryness of the turkey and amount of effort it takes to put on that fabulous feast. I think we've become a culture of complaining. It's almost celebrated when you do it. People happily join in, trying to beat your complaint with a better one of their own. (And just so you know... I'm acutely aware that I am complaining about complaining!)
Committed to it being different? I am. So in honor of this holiday of gratitude, this holiday of non-complaining, as you indulge yourself in too much delicious food go on a complaining fast. Not only because it will make you feel better (though it most certainly will) but because it will make everyone around you happier and bring more joy, contentedness, and higher morale to your family (as well as your business.)
Here are a couple of tips to practice:
- Be thankful. Try practicing it now and through the month of December. Notice the subtle shift. When you think about complaining about something, insert and verbalize something you're grateful for instead. For example, when someone asks how your travels were, instead of complaining about how long the security line was at the airport and how dumb the TSA agents seem to be these days, comment on how amazing and incredible it is that you live in a time when you can be clear across the country and in the arms of those you love within hours. Consider a comment on how safe all that security makes you feel these days when you travel. You can't think two thoughts at the very same time so one will take the place of the other. Choose wisely. You have the power to do so every minute of every day.
- Let go. Some things just bug you. If you can't do anything about them, just let them go. Whatever you give your attention and energy to, grows and expands. Don't give it any energy and definitely don't give it your attention by complaining and speaking about it to others.
- Compliment and Connect. Turn the conversation to the other people and their experiences instead of complaining about your own. Instead of complaining about what others do or did wrong, find something to praise. For example, instead of complaining about the screaming baby on the plane, compliment the mother who kept her patience and eventually quieted the child. There are always two sides to every coin. I think flipping that coin to the more positive side increases our emotional wealth greatly. If you are applying these principles to reducing the complaints at work, you'll definitely need to help others see the things they need to correct but be sure you balance these conversations with the 3:1 praise to correction formula.
- Keep at it. If you're like me, you will complain. We've just done it for too long to instantly stop. But like any habit we find that does not serve us, it is up to us to change it over the long haul and we definitely have the power to do that. So when you catch yourself, just get back in the game of different and empowered choices. Remember, you control how you experience your life. Only you.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends, followers, clients, and colleagues here in The Lion's Den. I'm particularly grateful for all the support and encouragement you've given me over this past year. Seems we've found a little place in the ether to lift each other up and make the world a better place. We're all in this together and I am sincerely thankful that our lives intersect here in this weird, cyber world. It sustains me and I know I've said it many times before but I still can't believe I get to make a living doing something that brings me so much joy.
Happy, joy-filled holidays to you all.
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"Had we not faults of our own, we should take less pleasure in complaining of others."
~ Francois Fenelon
Instead of complaining, I find other more positive and affirming ways to communicate my experiences to others. I, and they, reap the benefits of this empowerment.