No Complaining at Work: Myth or Reality? Part II

I Stop Complaining Office

No Complaining at Work: Myth or Reality? Part II

It seems to me that to be able to stop complaining at work, it is important to understand why we complain in the first place? Then, we can identify the changes that we can make to EXPERIENCE our life at work differently.

So why do we complain at work?

We complain because we need acknowledgement. We whine because we want others to realize all that we do. Nowadays our need for acknowledgment is not always easy to be fulfilled  because  with the use of computers  our work load is less noticeable in the eyes of others. In reality, we complain because we’re going through a hard time and we want everyone to know about it. Isn’t that right?

We complain because we need to connect with others. Have you noticed how when we complain there is always someone who joins in? This is why we start complaining the minute we arrive at  work, We complain about the weather, about public transportation, about our emails overload, about our never ending list of things to do …. sometimes even before simply saying good morning!  Complaining is like a low frequency/low engagement conversation so its easy to vent around the coffee machine at break time.

We also complain to be seen and heard and to put ourselves on a pedestal. We complain to be right and to make the other people wrong, we say that they don’t understand, that it’s not our fault, and that the others are guilty ( sometimes we conveniently omit a few details to make ourselves look good and take no responsibility)

It’s easier to complain than to take action. I notice for myself that it’s easier to complain to accuse and blame others  and prove that we are victims than to roll up our sleeves to create change! It’s easy to complain, easier than to take a stand. When we complain we are often like the spectators on the benches at the sporting event commenting the game.  ( and judging the qualities of the players and their strategies) It’s so much easier to be seating in the stands than to dare get up from the benches and go on the playground.

Let’s be clear, when we complain we are not doing anything wrong. We are not hurting people after all. We all have in our surroundings a colleague who is always complaining and gets on everybody’s nerves. I would like today to address everyone else. All those who like me have a tendency to complain without being aggressive but who complain by habit. Those who have a tendency to endure all the little petty annoyances and ruminate all day long under their breath, among friends having coffee and even sometimes all in good fun!

The problem is that complaining doesn’t make things go any faster or smoother. We may think that complaining makes things happen and helps us get what we want but the truth is  that when someone is complaining at me I have only two possible reactions: I either get away and plug my ears ( to protect myself from the annoyance) or I defend myself and start a fight ( who likes to me made wrong ? not me)

Complaining prevents our emotional intelligence to kick in. Rather than looking for solutions, to use common sense and to try to communicate our needs, we choose the strategy to accuse the other and to blame them for our misfortunes.

I noticed that when we complain we think we are punishing others when in fact we are punishing ourselves. We hold on to our frustrations like a precious treasure. We transform our problems into dramas instead of looking at them like they are problems that we can overcome. We exaggerate, we amplify, we cannot find the right words…and in the end we spend our day with a grey cloud over our heads which prevents us from noticing the blue sky. In the end, we go to bed exhausted and as if we’ve had to endure the whole day instead of living and enjoying it.

It’s as if we get to work in the morning with the illusion that everything is going to go as planned without any obstacles, without any delays  and that everyone around us will comply and act according to our desires whether it be our colleagues, our suppliers, or even our work tools. So when things get sidetracked,  we start to complain and have a breakdown sort of speak. We are in the end the first ones to endure our bad mood ( and our bad will)

What about you? What do you get out of complaining at work ?  Need more concrete tips?

Be sure you did not miss Part I of article  and the special  5 tips to stop complaining at work!

Share it with your friends or colleagues :)

No Complaining at Work: Myth or Reality? Part I

I STOP Complaining

Getty Image

No Complaining at Work: Myth or Reality? Part I

Let’s get real! We all have plenty ” good reasons” to complain at work!

Why? Well, first of all the main reason is that we find ourselves in a hierarchical relationship and we have to abide to a supervisor, rules and follow directions. It’s not really fun !

This affects our deep desire for freedom and our human nature rebels. We’d like to have more freedom to choose, to express ourselves. We are sick and tired of having to take orders and obey and often time we have a hard time making sense of what we are doing… so we end up complaining!

At work we are often under pressure. Of course there’s always too much to do in a day that is always too short, so in the end we get exhausted, we didn’t stop all day and we are never 100% caught up and it gets frustrating. We’d like to be able to control everything. We’d like everything to go according to plan but unfortunately it’s an unattainable illusion.

As soon as a mere grain of salt comes and compromise our plans we explode because we are already on the edge, tired and overwhelmed. Sometimes we feel like we’re going against the current and that we’ll never make it… so we complain.

With our laptops and our cell phones, the thin line between work and private life is compromised and it goes too far sometimes… so we complain to reassure ourselves that we are alive and that we are not just a machine working at the service of the company.

Our performance and results are constantly being evaluated and it can be an uncomfortable situation to be constantly feeling judged. It’s as if our professional success determines our personal value… so we complain.

We feel overwhelmed so we have a tendency to accuse others who also have much to do and may feel like us. It’s like an infernal spiral and in the end our work place starts to resemble the wall of lamentations.

Have you noticed how we often complain about the complainers? Hearing others complain rubs off on us  and we complain even more. Do you know that complaining is like bad breath ? We notice it in others but hardly notice our own, ( the same for bad driving !) Yes, other people complain and that’s why I wanted to be the change in my own life and start the 21 day challenge.

What about you, yes you have plenty of reasons to complain, but could you envision a day  at work without complaining?

In the next article, we’ll explore in more details what really makes us complain at work? Don’t miss it!

Home sweet home

Pick and Choose Your Battles!

Home sweet home

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” Phyllis Diller

Have you noticed how as parents we can  sometimes become stuck in our principles? We want to do such a good job raising our children, we want our couple life to thrive and we have such a very precise idea of how things ” must “or “should” be in our home and in our  life.  We know what we need and we want everything to happen as we have planned it.

  • Our children must be polite
  • Their rooms must be clean and tidy and the clothes put away in their dressers
  • They must stay at the dinner table until the end of the meal
  • They have to help us empty the dishwasher and take out the trash
  • The house must be tidy
  • The socks cannot lie around on the floor
  • The toilet seat must be up (or down)
  • Our spouse has to help us put the kids to bed
  • We must make love at least 3 times a week
  • …/…. (  fill in  your own blanks )

We have such a preconceived notion of how our organized and happy  life is supposed to look like that we  often become  really stubborn and spend our time complaining because it’s not happening the way we want!  We are also  afraid to become too easy-going and that everything we get out of control if we do,  so to counter effect we try to control everything and our daily life becomes a succession of complaints.

After I did my 21 day challenge  to stop complaining (which took about 4 1/2 months) I was able to reevaluate and pick and choose my battles with my children and my spouse. I will leave you with this quote from anonymous author ( if you know who said it please let me know)

“Before,  I had principles… now.  I have children!” Unknown author

Does this speak to you ?

10 best tips to stop complaining about your kids {and your spouse}

Florence Leroy & Christine Lewicki

Florence Leroy Parental Expert & Christine Lewicki Coach & Speaker  –  authors of the French bestseller ” I Stop Complaining about my Kids {and my Spouse}

This article was published in the magazine  PARENTS.fr  written by  Catherine Marchi  in psychology/family category published in February 2014 – “10 tips to stop complaining about your kids {and your spouse!}”

Are you sick and tired of  raising your voice every two minutes?  The authors of the book entitled in French  “J’arrête de râler sur mes enfants – et mon conjoint”“I Stop Complaining about my Kids {and my Spouse!”Christine Lewicki and Florence Leroy,  share their best tips to end this bad habit …
Florence Leroy & Christine Lewicki 4

Florence Leroy & Christine Lewicki

 In their book,  “I Stop Complaining about my Kids {and my Spouse!}”, Christine Lewicki and Florence Leroy have created a program to help you wean  yourself from this very bad habit. Here are their professional advice to create a new nature.

TIP #1 – Let Go and Choose Your Battles

We have so many principles when it comes to  raising our children. We have a very precise idea of how things “must” be in our homes.  So we spend our time complaining when things don’t go as planned. We are so afraid to be too permissive with our kids that we try to control everything.  To stop complaining, it’s important to let go of the pressure of the perfect parent and learn to choose your battles.  Identify what is really important for you and  in accordance with your values.  You can then get your message across with more power and increase your chances of being heard without complaining!

TIP # 2 – Celebrate What is Going Well

Even if things don’t  go according to your wishes, it’s important to acknowledge that everyone contributes to the family life.  Sometimes the efforts made by everyone may be too little (in your eyes) but they are made and if you don’t acknowledge them they will disappear.  ” Nothing I do gets noticed! so why bother?” By concentrating on the things that are not done ( or not the way you like it)  you don’t even notice what is going well. So turn on the radar ” the detector of things going well” in your family and take the time to name them and to celebrate what is going in the right direction.

TIP # 3 – Rely on the power of routines

A routine is every thing  that can be written on the little things you or your child must do each day. For example, after diner, get into pyjamas and leave the clothes on the chair, brush our teeth, go to bed and wait for mom or dad to read a story. Routines will not simplify our life if they are not clearly identified. To stop complaining, make sure that your daily organization does not create more stress than serenity!  If your  unmet expectations make you complain, they must be changed ( get up a little earlier, prepare your clothes the night before…),  until they become good habits for your family. Then you won’t need to complain anymore to get things done!

TIP # 4 – Make your demands face-to-face

Has this ever happened to you ?  it’s time to leave and you find yourself yelling at the bottom of the stairway or at the end of the apartment while finishing up getting ready in a frenzy. You end up complaining because your child is either not going fast enough according to you, or worse he didn’t  stop playing. What’s going on from the child’s point of view ? They are playing, having fun, drawing, they are in their world in the moment where the thought of leaving and getting ready is non-existent for the time being.  So when we address our kids with yelling and at a distance, our world doesn’t connect to their world. They don’t react. This is why it’s important to connect and make our demands  face to face and eye to eye. It’s in the eye that your child will understand emotion. When you take the time to connect visually at his or her height for example, you are creating rapport and connecting heart to heart and have a better chance to receive a positive response.

TIP # 5 – Sit on the floor and take your child in your arms

If your child is pushing your limits and you are on the brink of screaming, your reflex may be to flee or to shut him down ” Stop it you are driving me nuts with your whining” . However, what your  truly child needs at the moment, is your presence.  He is probably only acting out to get you attention. His reservoir of love it empty and as long as you don’t fill it up a little the situation will not change. Remind yourself that the more you want to push your child away, the more you need to take your child in your arms. Try it! Let yourself go, sit on the floor ( at his level) and ask if he wants a hug. Everything will be back to normal in 5 minutes.  It’s incredible how the effects of  physical contact can do good in your relationship.

TIP # 6 – Practice the mirror

When your child is having a tantrum and repeats 50 times that he wants a candy “right now” hoping you’ll give in, you yell at him to stop, you complain, knowing by experience that it won’t work.  Change your tactic and practice the mirror.  Reflect your child’s desire to show him that you understand and that you connect with his frustration. Tell him for example, ” I know, you don’t care that it’s dinner time, you want a candy right away, you really want a candy and it annoys you that your mommy says no.” the fact of feeling heard can satisfy a big part of his desire and he is more likely to let it go.

TIP # 7 – Express yourself to be heard

When we whine and complain, we think that the others ( our kids, our spouse…) will get that there is a problem and that they will do what we want them to do ( or stop doing what we don’t want them to do).  Something is not working for us and we use the strategy of whining or blaming ( unconsciously) to get a reaction.  The problem is that the complaining only creates the opposite of the expected reactions. The other person will either flee and ignore us or rebel and defend themselves. Nobody (including me) likes to be made wrong. If you want to stop complaining, you will have to learn to communicate in another way to be heard. Express what you are witnessing, what you are feeling, what you desire, speak in your name in the first person without accusing the others or making them wrong.

TIP # 8 – On the brink of an explosion, breathe, speak softly or sing

Taking the time to breathe deeply  when a situation stresses you allows you to get some air, to calm down and also to show the children that you know how to manage the pressure you feel.  Then if your child is agitated and screams, talk to him in what what seems like an exaggerated soft voice to try to understand what is going on. If you start screaming too things will only get worse.  Speaking in a low voice, will make your child  calm down in order to hear what you are saying. In case of extreme tension, you can also try singing. Don’t start singing a happy tune or a lullaby. Sing out your frustration ( own it don’t accuse anyone)  on a musical air you like.   Your child will be surprised and this will allow you to appease  your emotions without screaming and without harming your relationship. You’ve probably noticed that we always regret screaming!

TIP # 9 – Give yourself permission to take care of yourself well

This is one element that is the most important of this challenge . As parents, we have gotten used to sacrifice ourselves, our needs and desires after those of our children and our couple.  To succeed in quitting complaining, this will obviously have to change!  Dare to make yourself happy without guilt  and without thinking  “this  will bother others, it’s not reasonable”.  Taking care of ourselves is as urgent and important than taking care of others.  Give yourself permission to do what would make you happy, otherwise you will feel resentment towards life and you will complaint and resent others!

TIP # 10  – Agree to disagree and follow the principle that the one who is doing it is right

Make a deal with your spouse so that each of you can really have a place in the education of your children and in the manner to manage the family logistics.  This way each person will feel free to be themselves and to be respected. Often what makes us complain is the different way ( different from our way) that your spouse handles the situations.  The truth is that each person reacts with his values and his past, which is of course different. What seems normal to one can appear unacceptable  to the other. Accept the fact that even with their  differences and imperfections, the other is as legitimate  in the education of the children. This is a step towards more serenity and well-being. In the end, what is more important in our lives? The way, your spouse let your child go to school with uncombed hair or your relationship with each other?  Agree to disagree and follow the principle that the one who is doing it  is right. If your spouse is truly doing something that is incompatible with your values and routines , take the time to discuss it the two of you later calmly.

So there you are ….these are the 10 best tips! and there’s more…what do you do and please feel free to share your best tips!

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“How a Password Changed His Life!”

password

A friend of mine recently sent me this article from Mauricio Estrella which I just had to reblog here!

“How a Password Changed My Life!” 

“How could she do something like this to me?” said a voice in my head. All the time. Every day.

Back in 2011, when everything had gradients, iOS icons made sense, and people used deodorants, I was stuck in middle of a pretty bad depression due to my divorce.

ThankfullyI think I was smart enough (and had great people around me) so I found ways to stay afloat.


One day I walk into the office, and my day begins at my computer screen. It was all great, until I saw this message:

Your password has expired.
Click ‘Change password’ to change your password.

No shit. I thought clicking ‘Change password’ was gonna do something else.

I read this dumb message in my mind with angry grandpa voice: The damn password has expired.

At my workplace, the Microsoft Exchange server is configured to ask thousands of employees around the planet to change their passwords. Every 30 days.

Here is the horse-shit: The server forces us to use at least one UPPERCASEcharacter, at least one lowercase alphabetic character, at least one symboland at least one number. Oh, and the whole damn thing can’t be less than 8 characters. And I can’t use any of the same passwords I’ve used in the last 3 months.

I was furious that morning. Tuesday, 9:40 a.m. -It was so hot that my torso was already sweaty even though I just got to work. I was late. I was still wearing my helmet. I think I forgot breakfast. Something tastes like cigarette in my mouth. I need to get shit done before my 10 a.m. meeting and all I have in front of me is a huge waste of my time.


So there it was… This input field with a pulsating cursor, waiting for me to type a password that I’ll have to re-enter for the next 30 days. Many times during the day.

Then, letting all the frustration go, I remembered a tip I heard from my former boss, Rasmus. Somehow he combined to-do lists with passwords, and I thought to use an augmented variation of that.

I’m gonna use a password to change my life.

It was obvious that I couldn’t focus on getting things done with my current lifestyle and mood. Of course, there were clear indicators of what I needed to do -or what I had to achieve- in order to regain control of my life, but we often don’t pay attention to these clues.

My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn’t let myself be victim of my recent break up, and that I’m strong enough to do something about it.

My password became: Forgive@h3r

During my meeting I kept thinking on what I just did. Something drew a smirk on my face.

During the rest of week, I had to type this password several times a day. Each time my computer would lock. Each time my screen saver with her photo would appear. Each time I would come back from eating lunch alone.

In my mind, I went with the mantra that I didn’t type a password. In my mind,I was reminding myself to “Forgive her”.


That simple action changed the way I looked at my ex-wife. That constant reminder that I should forgive her, led me to accept the way things happened at the end of my marriage, and embrace a new way of dealing with the depression that I was drowning into.

In the following days, my mood improved drastically. By the end of the 2nd week, I noticed that this password became less powerful, and it started to lose its effect. A quick refresh of this ‘mantra’ helped me. I thought to myself I forgive her as I typed it, every time. The healing effect of it came back almost immediately.


One month later, my dear exchange server asked me again to renew my password. I thought about the next thing I had to get done.

My password became Quit@smoking4ever

And guess what happened. I shit you not. I quit smoking overnight. I have a ton of witnesses who could not believe how I did it. I had tried books, e-cigarettes, patches, etc. Nothing worked, but this one trick did.

This password was a painful one to type during that month, but doing it helped me to yell at myself in my mind, as I typed that statement. It motivated me to follow my monthly goal.

One month later, my password became Save4trip@thailand

Guess where I went 3 months later. Thailand.

With savings.

Thank you, password.

Seeing how these positive affirmations and reminders helped me to materialize my monthly goals kept me motivated and exited. I’ll admit this: It is difficult to come up with your next goal. Sometimes it’s hard to identify what we need to change, or where we need to walk towards to.

In its simplest form, a password enables you to get somewhere, in your digital world. Say, to copy a file, to unlock a computer, to email somebody. This feeling of micro achievements, this thought of ‘my mantra helps me to get things done’ can build up a momentum that motivates you to stay focused on achieving your monthly goals. It’s a tiny habit that transformed me.


So, I learned that I can truly change my life if I play it right. I kept doing this repeatedly month after month, with great results.

Here is an extract of what some of my passwords have been in the last 2 years, so you get an idea of how my life has changed, thanks to this method:

  • Forgive@her ← to my ex-wife, who started it all.
  • Quit@smoking4ever ← it worked.
  • Save4trip@thailand ← it worked.
  • Eat2times@day ← it never worked, still fat.
  • Sleep@before12 ← it worked.
  • Ask@her4date ← it worked. I fell in love again.
  • No@drinking2months ← it worked. It felt great!
  • MovE@togeth3r ← it worked.
  • Get@c4t! ← it worked. We have a beautiful cat.
  • Facetime2mom@sunday ← it worked. I talk with my mom every week.

And the one for last month:

  • Save4@ring ← Yep. Life is gonna change again, soon.

I still await very anxiously each month so I can change my password into a phrase that motivates me to focus on something that I need to get done.

This method has consistently worked for me for the last 2 years, and I have shared it with a few close friends and relatives. I didn’t think it was a breakthrough in tiny-habits but it did have a great impact in my life, so I thought to share it with you all.

Give it a try! Write these statements with the right mindset and attitude, and you’ll change your life. Let me know how it works for you!

Remember, for added security, try to be more complex with the words. Add symbols or numbers, make it longer, and scramble a bit the beginning or the ending of your password string. S4f3ty_f1rst!

Pass the tip to those who might need it.”

Thank you for this inspired real life story  Mauricio! For more visit this website!

The Donkey in the Well

Life is a story

 

One of the biggest lessons for me during my I Stop Complaining challenge was to become aware of all the times in my life when I considered myself like a victim.

When my children’s school changes the schedule last-minute and upsets my own personal agenda, when my hotel messes-up my reservation, when my kids wake me up in the middle of the night, when I am late for a meeting because of road construction or traffic, when economy is bad and my personal finances suffer, when my electricity is cut off  because I paid the bill a few days  late, when my internet connection is bad, when my prospective client forgets to cancel our meeting and I end up losing precious time…

All these annoying and pesky moments felt like sharp arrows attacking me and often time I just wanted to give-up, telling myself: ” What a sh..ty day!” , “This only happens to me!” or “Another headache!”

This story “The Donkey in the Well”  really puts things in perspective:

The Donkey in the Well 

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously 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 and help him. they all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly.
Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well, and was astonished at what he saw.With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!

Each of our problems can be considered  like a stepping stone that allows us to  make a step  forward.

We can get out of the deepest holes by never stopping. Never giving up! Shake ourselves off and forge ahead!

If the donkey had decided to act like a victim he would have continued to cry and complain, and he would still be at the bottom of the well!  Instead, he chose to fight and to be creative. Often when I feel I am at the bottom of a well, I  remember this donkey.

Victims cannot win and we must choose who we want to be at every instant.

In the end, Life is a story, make yours a best seller!

Interview with Lilou Mace: I Stop Complaining and {Bitching!}

Throwback Thursday, I don’t think I shared this video with you yet… I had the pleasure to meet Lilou Mace in Los Angeles a little while back for an interview about my French bestseller “J’arrête de râler!” – I Stop Complaining!

The conversation was so juicy we decided to do a little segment in English for my US audience. Here it is!

 

Please leave your comments!