I am a positive person, an eternal optimist. I look at the glass as full, even when it’s really only half full. I love my life and (most of) the people in it. I have absolutely nothing to complain about. And I still catch myself complaining ALL THE TIME.
I want to quit complaining.
Have you ever stopped to think about all the things you complain about? I have found that most of the negative words that come out of my mouth are about topics that don’t really matter. Or about events or situations I can’t control. Or people. Ugh…I hate to admit that. Of all the things I complain about the most, people top the list. And almost never is complaining useful, helpful, or productive. It’s usually focused on venting (which can be healthy if done properly) rather than finding solutions. And since words like helpful, positive, productive, and solution-focused describe behaviors I want to always exhibit, I’ve decided that I am going to challenge myself to change.
Starting January 1st, I am going on complaining cleanse. For the entire month of January (yes, all 31 days) I am going to stop myself from complaining and keep a daily journal, logging my progress and documenting the journey on my new 31 Day "Stop Complaining" Challenge Facebook page. I have no doubt that complaints will escape my lips and when they do, I want to understand why. What causes me to complain? Do I tend to commiserate with the same people? Is there a time of day when I am more likely to complain? If it’s something that deserves to be complained about, am I focused on finding a solution rather than just venting? I am on a mission to understand it, change it, and in return, I expect that it will have a profound effect on my life…in ways that I probably can’t imagine. I’ll share what I’ve learned in a February blog post.
We could all use more positivity and support in our lives and there is no better place than to look within ourselves to find what we need to live happier, more joyful lives. And it starts with what comes out when we open our mouths. I invite you to join me in this challenge and you can share your experiences with me on this Facebook page...just click like to join. If you need some inspiration, please read my blog on choosing your attitude here.
Wishing you a fantastic, complaint-free (wouldn’t that be amazing?) 2016,
Please like and share to spread the word! Thank you!
Do you know how to ask good questions? Really good questions? The kind of questions that get straight to the heart of the matter, that unravel the true meaning behind vague statements, that get people to share their fears and vulnerabilities, and that help you paint a truer picture of a story?
Asking good questions is the best way to gain powerful insight…the kind of insight that helps you understand yourself and others better, get more out of your relationships, improve your decision making, and have a more open mind. Knowing how to ask good questions is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your toolbox.
Sadly, most of us are terrible at asking questions and we don’t even know it. We ask easy questions when we should be asking hard ones. We keep it superficial when we should be going deeper. We stop asking questions way too soon…just when the answers are about to get interesting. We get tongue-tied, chicken out, make up excuses, give up, and don’t ask.
Asking good questions will improve your life, relationships, career, and business. They allow you to get the most out of every interaction. Better questions equals more insight, information, and knowledge. Who doesn’t want all of that?
Want to improve your question asking skills? Here are some of my tips.
I have found asking good questions has made me a better leader and person. They allow me to get past superficial answers and surface-level relationships and truly connect with those around me. These deeper connections have enriched my life and world. I have built the strongest of relationships through being curious about others. I have met amazing people in unassuming places because I am not afraid to make a personal inquiry. I have been able to help people in times of need and pain because I can ask questions that help them get to the root of the problem. I have increased self-awareness because I am not fearful of asking for feedback that gives me deeper insight into myself and my effect on those around me. And I have gained valuable knowledge about my world that helps me make better business and life decisions.
“Ask and thou shalt receive.” I couldn’t agree more.
Thank you for reading and as always I appreciate comments, likes and shares.
The idea of permanency is comforting but false. There is nothing that exists today that is truly permanent. No person, species, system, technology, company, job, building, highway…nothing.
Nothing is permanent.
So why are we caught up in believing that so many things are?
Because we tell ourselves that they are.
Unfortunate things can happen when you are attached to permanency. Wanting things to stay as they are creates a strong resistance to change. It makes you defensive and territorial. It causes you to dig in your heels, argue your viewpoints, and overlook or minimize growth opportunities. Another form of attachment to permanency…believing that things will never change…compels you to stay in an unhealthy relationship, remain in a job you dislike, excuse yourself from taking action, and generally creates complacency. Hanging on for dear life to a thought, a situation, or a person constrains your potential. It impedes your growth. Even when those thoughts, situations and people are positive. As French author François de la Rochefoucauld said so accurately and eloquently, “The only constant in life is change.” No matter the situation, it will change, for better or worse. How you handle the change will dictate how you move through it (see my blog post on choosing your attitude here for some encouragement).
The sooner you let go of (ok, reduce…that’s more realistic) your attachment to permanency (otherwise known as being resistant to change), the sooner you can see any situation for what it truly is (changeable and ever-changing) and be able to better go with the flow, accept change, and make things happen.
So what can you do? Please note, I am not an expert, psychologist, or psychiatrist. These are things that help me when I find myself being certain of permanency and resisting or getting caught off guard by change. By no means do I think my techniques work for everyone but I’d like to share just in case a few of them can help you.
None of this work is easy nor is it comfortable. But the truth of any situation is that it is not permanent and it will always change. The goal isn’t to hopelessly give in when you feel that the right thing to do is resist or give up when you think something shouldn’t change. It’s about being able to recognize that attachment to permanency can lead to stress and unhappiness. Rather than let it take you down an unhealthy path, frame your thoughts and feelings from a place of wanting to be part of a solution and finding a positive outcome. Sometimes that means letting go, sometimes that means finding a different way. But always it means that it will change.
I’ll leave you with this quote from author, Ursula K. Le Guin, as food for thought: “The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.”
Thank you for reading,
Please feel free to comment, like, and share. It’s always appreciated.
I recently had a conversation with a bright young woman about her deep need to realize her own potential. Her current job was a fit for her skills, talents and needs in some ways, but she felt underutilized in others and that several of the job requirements weren’t a good match. She loved the company she worked for but she believed that her immediate career path was limited because there wasn’t a clear role for her to move into. It was hard for her to see the possibilities of what didn’t yet exist. No job description, no open position, no job, right?
But the fact is that new jobs are created every day. At companies across the globe, jobs are being established as leaders implement new strategies, enter new markets, create new business models, and develop new technology. And forward thinking companies are creating new roles that are designed specifically for highly capable people, fully utilizing their talents and helping them reach new potentials.
Early in my management career, I was inspired by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman’s book “First Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers do Differently.” In their book, Buckingham and Coffman explain how the best managers select an employee for talent rather than for skills or experience and motivate him or her by building on strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses. This leads to high performance, deep engagement, and what I like to call “rock star” employees.
This message resonated deeply with me. There was nothing I wanted more than to be a great manager and create an environment where “rock stars” could invent themselves and thrive. To do this, I had to learn more about my employees. What motivated each of them? What parts of their job did love? Hate? What were their personality styles? What caused them to step up and take on new challenges or the opposite, retreat? At what did they excel and when did they underperform? What would be the perfect role? Over the last 9 years, I have been able to train myself to see the talents of others and ask the right questions to reveal fears, desires, talents, capabilities, motivations, and weaknesses.
With this knowledge I can then either tweak or create new roles that fit their unique set of talents and better guide them as they grow in their careers. This has not only led to new opportunities within the organization, but we have happier, more engaged employees who enjoy their jobs because they get to do what they are good at every day. Engaged employees help to cultivate positive culture and it’s well known that great workplace cultures lead to higher productivity and retention. Here’s a great HBR article with a lot of data on the subject.
I am a big believer in designing roles for my employees, especially those who have high potential and demonstrate the desire to grow personally and professionally. I have seen how powerful it can be when a person who is highly capable but under performing due to a talent-job mismatch is moved into the right position. Over and over, it has made a profound impact on the company’s performance and the employee is happier because he or she is thriving, motivated, engaged, and doing tasks that are enjoyable….well on the way to rock stardom.
All of this sounds great, right? But how do you do it? How do you deeply understand your employees and position them in the right roles? Here are some of the things I do:
It takes time, commitment, and some trial and error to really get to know your employees, especially in the context of true strengths. I’ve had great success in developing employees by modifying and creating roles…but also some failures. I have become too emotionally invested in helping struggling employees find the right roles within the organization. It’s painful on both sides when it’s time to admit that there just isn’t a fit that mutually works. But the time, energy, and emotion spent is worth it. Having engaged and happy employees in roles that play off their strengths and talents makes the employee, organization, and you better. I believe there is no worthier use of my time than spending it to sincerely understand and appreciate the strengths and talents of my team, helping them to become rock stars.
Thank you for reading and comments, likes (you can click on the buttons below) and shares are always appreciated.
A Quick Blurb on what this blog is about.
Welcome to my blog! My name is Kerry Siggins and plain speaking, honest leadership is my mantra. My intention is to help those who lead (or want to lead) become better at saying and doing what needs to be said and done in a way that it can be heard and seen, one person at a time.