Day 29 of 30 – No Complaining – Listen to Your Fear

You and I are constantly having to make adjustments at work. There are probably some nights when you don’t get a lot of sleep. We’ve all been through tough sleeping cycles. I’ll bet you’ve lost count of how many times you’ve heard, “I’m tired,” in a “drag the nails along a chalk board” voice by a fellow co-worker. Why do people complain about stuff they can’t change?

Many of us complain because we don’t feel like adjusting to something new. Monday mornings are a tough adjustment for 9-5’ers because they’ve been able to unwind and enjoy relaxed feelings for two days. We don’t want to go back to work and deal with the stress. We love the weekends and we’ll complain about it until we… well, until something comes along to make us happy again. The problem with complaining is that we stay focused on the negative. I talked about this concept in my post, Day 8 of 30 – No Complaining. When we stay attached to our expectations of what we think life should be, we can’t enjoy the positive within the changing moment.

We all know that there are thousands of books written about the “how to’s” of encouraging employees to embrace change. They were created and popular because we need to make it easy for people to understand the importance of change. If a company refuses to change (improve) its competitors will eat into their market share.

The series has covered all the good, bad, and beautiful parts of complaining. Here they are:

External Complaining

Changes are happening at my job, and I suspect a lot of you are dealing with the same thing. People getting laid off means more work for the rest of the company. So that means 10 or maybe even 12 hour days for some of you. I have a friend who is being taken advantage of by his company. They know he can’t go anywhere because no one is hiring. They work him hard. He is working from 8am to 10pm on some nights.

The funny thing is this doesn’t help me curb my complaining. A lot of people say to think about someone who has it worse so you feel better about yourself. His complaining just encourages my complaining.

The hardest part about not complaining has been not joining in when other people are doing it. Of course I use empathy, but it’s not the same. The connection between me and the other person isn’t as strong. When I’ve tried to spin their problems into a more positive light they feel rejected. This is probably all in my head, but I’m going to keep an eye on this over the next few months.


Internal Complaining

I feel I’ve made the most progress with my internal complaining. When I’m thumped with an unexpected change I often get down, which is a part of my process that I explain in Day 23 of 30. As the days have gone by in this thirty day challenge, I’ve encountered an unexpected learning curve.

When I was faced with a problem halfway through this month, the old Karl would get down and out for days. I would hate life and avoid dealing with problems; instead I would watch a lot of TV, surf the Internet and call friends.

This time I vented to my wife, mom, father, and brother and that was it. Maybe a total venting time of a few hours. I started feeling better the next day. I saw positives. I appreciated my job for everything it taught me and began to look at my options – trying to see the hopeful aspects in my new job duties. I was able to turn around a difficulty in a matter of 24 hours.

It’s been almost a week and I still feel residual effects. I’ll have a thought about how I’ll miss my co-workers at the old office. Suddenly my body temperature begins to rise, and a small bit of panic sets in before I settle myself and think about my options.

Even if this restructuring doesn’t work for me, I’m a resourceful man and I can find a job in this rough economy.

When we know the worst that can happen then it makes the outcome easier to deal with.


Embracing Change

This thirty day challenge has taught me about embracing my thoughts and then using them to spur action. I’ve already started making plans for 2009. I will be so good at my new job duties that it will send shock waves throughout the organization.

Okay before I go on with my chest thumping of how great I’ll be, I must admit one thing…

I’m afraid.

I have a new boss and I’m not sure how well we will communicate. I’m also going to be more accountable for how many new accounts we bring in. What happens if… Why should… 

The fear just loves to take over and try to incite panic, but action is best taken when calm. I just listen to the cranky old man who doesn’t want things to change. After he is done and before he starts repeating his worries, I put my arms around him and squeeze with all the love I can muster. I tell him “Thanks, so what should we do about this?”

It’s about embracing your fear; giving it a big old hug and saying, “Are you ready to teach me more stuff so I can improve my life?” Fear is such a strong emotion that we often don’t want to get too close for fear of getting burned.

You have to listen to that fear, understand why it’s scared. When you know why these thoughts and feelings occur, you’ll have a better understanding of how to create positive action from them. 

It’s why I blog and you should too. Havi of the Fluent Self has written a series about the benefits of blogging. It’s helped me get my complaining under control and believe me, it was a large task. Blogging about work happiness has forced me to optimize my own career. It has also shown me that I’m meant to help people Work Happy Now.

What is the hardest change you’ve ever had to embrace at your job? How did you do it?

Day 23 of 30 – Change Spurs Complaining
Day 18 of 30 – No Complaining

3 thoughts on “Day 29 of 30 – No Complaining – Listen to Your Fear”

  1. Hi Karl,
    I’ve been in my current job for several years, at the same location, same boss. So, for me – the hardest change was at a previous employer. I worked at a company that moved me to a new office (in a different part of the midwest each time) about once a year. The hardest part of this all was really adjusting to new people at each location. I think it came down to expectations, and not knowing – what the expectations at the new location, with new coworkers, would be. That seems like one, even today, in my very stable employment – that I need to be aware of. The expectations of those around me – and personalities, and how to best manage that.

    I wish you well, Karl, in the upcoming changes you’re faced with. Your attitude going into this, I think, is excellent. And that’s a great way to start – seeing the positive, even in the midst of internal fears.

    I also want you to know that your blog is living out it’s purpose – your writing does help. I am a changed person by reading here. You are doing good work with this blog, Karl. I’m sure the new year will usher in even more opportunities for you to continue on this journey you’re on! It’s great to be here…

    Lance’s last blog post..This Challenged Me – Part 2

  2. Hi Lance, I’m glad my blog is helping other people find deeper meaning in their work and understanding themselves better. I plan on improving this resource so it’s one of the best of it’s kind. It’s comments like your’s that really keep a blogger working happy. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: The Wisdom of No Complaint—a 30-Day Challenge « Sky Writer

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