If you were to really stop and notice your behavior, would you say you are a doer or a complainer? When things don’t go your way, do you reflect, consider and move forward, or vent, complain and gripe? What would others who know you well say?
Complainers vent more than they act. For them, when something doesn’t go their way, it is someone else’s fault – the weather, the politics, the economy, a teacher, a boss, a spouse, the holidays… fill in the guilty party.
Doers, however, take action. They see that no matter what comes their way, they can step up, focus on moving forward and make things happen.
I am reminded of the lyrics in the Frank Sinatra song, That’s Life:
“Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race.”
He didn’t sing, “Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face, I find 10 people and go complain about this place.”
So, how do you move from complainer to doer?
You start by noticing your behaviors. Sure, there is a complainer in all of us, and sometimes, the human response is more than acceptable. But pay attention to your responses when something is aggravating, frustrating or irritating. Do you lead with and dwell on complaining, venting and griping? Or can you move on toward a productive next moment? Not sure? Your friends will tell you.
If you know or now realize you are a complainer, go buy yourself an egg-timer. Find a small hourglass timer or buy one with a dial you can set. When you notice yourself in venting and complaining mode, turn the hourglass timer over or set the twist timer to 2 minutes. When time is up, so is the complaining. Then, focus on solving and taking action. I have seen this approach work well with some of my Corporate Coaching clients as a more effective way to manage their teams: vent for a few moments then shift to solving. Limitless venting is unproductive.
If you find complaining is your way at the moment, make a commitment to take action, to be aware that sometimes, that’s life. Learn to openly, gladly and wisely use what life sends to choose the best outcome. And when it doesn’t go your way, as the song reminds us, get back up and get back in the race.
By Jay Forte
Consider reading Acknowledging Emotions