When something really good happens, are you quick to talk about it? What about when something bad happens? When someone is kind and helpful, do you acknowledge it? What about when someone is critical and negative? It’s so easy to see the negative and to complain about what is wrong. And when we start complaining, it is as if we keep seeing more things that are wrong and people who have let us down.
When we work together with others, we are going to have people who disappoint us. We are going to have situations that are overwhelming and team members who may be negative and critical. While it’s important to acknowledge the difficulty, if we are going to ultimately be successful and achieve our common goals, we have to find a way out.
Here are 3 ideas to try when you find yourself stuck in a place where there are so many reasons to complain but you are tired of being in a place of discouragement.
- Take a break. If you are in a spiral of negativity and everyone around you seems to be letting you down, it’s time to take a break from what you are doing. Step away from your desk, take a walk, go to a yoga class, ride your bike, visit a friend, spend time with a child, ride your horse, get outside in nature, dance, sing, read a book or do whatever can help you step away from your current situation.
- Focus on thankfulness. Even though it’s no longer thanksgiving, focusing on reasons to be thankful can be very powerful. At the beginning of April, I started writing down something I am thankful for each day. Some days, it’s easy to come up with many reasons to be thankful and other days I have to sort through the challenges of my day to find that one thing. It has already been transformative. Being thankful helps us become more hopeful and gain new perspectives in areas of life that may have previously been the source of tremendous frustration.
- Genuinely compliment others. When you start becoming thankful, you also become appreciative. For me, I realized that a project that has been incredibly difficult, challenging and frustrating has also been one of the most learning, rewarding and valuable experiences of my career. I had been spending so much time focused on the negative that I didn’t remember all the good things. I also realized that one of the reasons I was part of this project was because of the leadership and mentorship of a good friend. I decided to take just a few moments to say thank you and genuinely compliment him, which helped him find hope and encouragement too!
So what about you? As you take a break from your struggles and focus on thankfulness, who comes to mind you would like to genuinely compliment today? I encourage you to take a few moments right now and let him or her know.
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