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Quit complaining! I think you'll appreciate these tips...

Quit complaining! I think you'll appreciate these tips...

July 07, 2011

(Second in a 2-Part Series)

Remember I was telling you last week about my quest to not complain for 21 days?

Well, that same day I blew it! I complained about one of the members on our team and I had to start all over again at Day One.

But what a journey it's been.

It's really forced me to stop and practice ' and I mean consciously practice ' being grateful for the things we have.

I'll share with you a few things I'm doing that have made a difference in my life and I hope it makes a difference in yours as well.

First, a little background. My quest was inspired by Will Bowen, author of the best-selling book, A Complaint Free World. Speaking at our local athletic club, Will Phillips, who is a friend and CEO of Rex Roundtables, shared with us the author's vision for more people to speak about what they desire things to be rather than complaining about how things are.

The goal: Don’t utter one complaint for 21 straight days. He sells some purple wrist bands to serve as a reminder but I have an old-fashioned blue rubber band that does the job too. When you catch yourself complaining, you have to switch the rubber band to your other wrist and start over. I’ve heard it takes 4-6 months for people to do it. (For more, check out Part 1 in this series.) I’ve been at it for a month and still haven’t reached the goal but I’ve also added no criticizing and no gossiping to my goal.

Has it made a difference? I think so and so does my family.

One of the biggest changes I’ve made is to switch my attention from work to my family before I walk through the front door of my home.

 
 

A tree like this one serves as a great "worry tree." Before walking through the front door of your home every evening lay all your worries on the tree so you can give more attention to those who need it most -- your family. The worries will still be there in the morning.

I make sure if I’m on the cell phone when I pull in the driveway that I finish the call in the car and don’t continue talking while walking through the front door. I’ve named the tree outside our house my “worry tree.” Before I walk into the house, I stop by the tree and I lay all my worries and issues from the day on the tree. They’ll be there again tomorrow when I leave for work. But in the meantime, I want to give my family my full attention.

At the dinner table, everyone in the family is asked to talk about one thing that happened that day for which they’re grateful.

When we’re together as a family, I put the cell phone away. Ever heard of the “in a minute mom’s?” These are moms (dads too!) who are checking email, texting or playing with their cell phone while telling their children “in a minute.” It’s also telling them they're not so important.

Instead of coming home hungry and irritable, I’ll grab a bite to eat first. On nice days, I ride my bike home and as I pull up to the house I ring my little bike bell (yes, I still have one!). As soon as my son hears it I hear him yell, “Abba’s (father) home!” And he comes running out to play catch.

Ironically, it’s my wife who takes care of the children every day and she's the one who feeds them, keeps them clean and works around the house – yet I get the “heroes welcome” when I return home. But it’s my wife who deserves the credit as the hero.

We just celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. When we go out to dinner – just the two of us – we’ll pretend we’re on a date and says things such as, “I have five kids.”

“Oh, really. Me too … I like to live simply … Me too.” We fall back in love again.

In fact, for our anniversary, I hand wrote a 3-page letter to my wife telling her all the things that I appreciate about her. She really appreciated me doing it but more importantly it reminded me about all the things that I’m grateful for in our relationship.

By the way, my friend Mort Fertel has dozens of great tips like these to help you in his book, 43 Ways to Make a Good Marriage Great . I highly recommend it.

These are just a few things that have worked for me these last several weeks. I’d love to hear about things you do that have helped you appreciate what you have and not complain as much. Share them below.

Always taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon

Jon Goldman, President & CEO 
Brand Launcher 
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