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Are you addicted to complaining?

I’ve been there 🙋🏼‍♀️

Sometimes you just have to let it rip.

Traffic sucked.

The kids cried all morning.

That certain family member is making you crazy.

Systems keep letting you down.

The list goes on.

And it can feel good to let it out.

But then you might notice that MOST of your conversations are about problems and irritations.

Here’s what I think happened.

Many of us grew up in a wildly emotionally illiterate time and then collectively realized that how we feel is not something to be dismissed or corrected but, in fact, an essential part to being human.

It’s good to cry. To rage. To feel.

But complaining without a clear intention isn’t good for us. 


In fact, it reinforces our brain's negativity bias.  It keeps us in a loop of thinking about and then paying attention to the negative things in our environment.

We have to train our brains to notice the good.

And we have to become disciplined complainers.

Complaining or venting is only good for us when it’s paired with accountability.  

  • What now?  

  • What has this problem taught me?  

  • How am I grateful for what’s occurred?  

  • Where is my power to take action on a solution?

Pairing a complaint with accountability reinforces to us that we are powerful and have agency.

Two essential aspects of leadership.

Powers and agency also keep us connected to possibility.  The possibility that our work matters, that a creative third way is available, that we don’t have to suffer as leaders.  And so much more.

Want an easy practice that allows you to vent and train your brain to notice the good?

Here it is:

  1. Each morning aim for 15 minutes to journal your complaints.  From the small to the significant.  Get them all out.

  2. After you’ve gotten all your complaints on paper, write about three very specific things you are grateful for.  Do your best to immerse yourself in the pleasure and enjoyment of those three things.

  3. Finally, write your intention for the day.  What do you intend to focus on?  Who do you intend to be? 

Try it and let me know how it goes.

Cheering you on in life and leadership,


PS- I’m taking a group of leaders on retreat in June.  It’s the antidote to complaining.  It’s a powerful action you can take as a leader who is committed to well-being and possibility of your work. Coming on retreat is a way to be a stand for yourself.  I’ve decided to keep the price at $1,950 so if you’re worried you missed the early bird window, fear not.  All the details are HERE.


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