As many of you know I am in my certification process through the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and as such last week I was working on some of my coaching homework for the program when I had a true “aha moment”. Those of you who know me know that witnessing (or even better yet helping to create) an “aha moment” is my professional adrenaline. I’m addicted to it. I sit down at my desk each day with one primary goal in mind: to ask someone, somewhere, a powerful question that will open them up to a new way of thinking, living or showing up in their life. In short, to help someone somewhere experience an “aha moment”.
It’s a big task, and frankly not one I meet each day. Yesterday, however, it happened. Only this time I was the client.
Do you want to hear what it was? Are you ready for it? Brace yourself, it’s possible this aha might be as big for you as it was for me (and if so it might just change everything)…
“Complaints are often uncommunicated requests.”
~ Co-Active Coaching , Changing Business Transforming Lives
Sounds simple, right? At times I find the simplest concepts can have the most paramount impact on our lives. When I read this statement I literally stopped in my tracks.
Reason being…I complain. It’s not the best part of me or who I am, but it’s a habit I have gotten into over the years and some days (without really noticing) I lose myself in a swirl of complaints.
“I didn’t sleep well last night and I’m so tired.”
“I have nothing to wear.”
“I hate grocery shopping.”
“I don’t want to do laundry.”
“I don’t want to work on this project.”
“I don’t know what to eat for dinner and I hate cooking.”
“How does my toddler make such a mess when I JUST cleaned up this place?”
“I don’t really feel like working out today.”
Sadly, this list could go on and on.
Look…I’ve tried almost everything to complain less. I’ve tried noticing how often I complain, reflecting on the impact it has on me when I do, dialing up my gratitude (I even purchased a gratitude journal to help me document the 5 things I’m grateful for each day), but none of them have worked. In fact the journal actually turned into anotherdaily complaint to add to my list “I haven’t written in that journal in weeks…I should be doing it….I suck at life for not…”
But, once I read the reframe that a complaint is just an unexpressed request, it suddenly seemed manageable. Instead of thinking about my complaints as a negative part of my day (and something that bog me down and make me feel bad about myself) what if I thought of them as ways my body and mind are signaling my needs to me?
That mental place is so much more productive for me for two main reasons: (1) it is a much gentler, self-care oriented headspace (2) it frames the need in terms of action (and I am really good at “doing”). If I could really tune in to my complaints, and listen to them deeply, identify the un-communicated request and then make a plan to communicate the request I might actually be able to make my way through these unmet needs and land in a happier place overall.
So, now it’s your turn.
Make a list of the last 5 complaints you have made today. Yes, write them down. Ask yourself the following questions:
1. What is the uncommunicated request buried in your complaint?
2. Who do you need to direct the request to?
3. How will you communicate this request?
4. By when will
Would you give it a try?
I’d love to hear how it goes.
*Co-Active Coaching; Changing Business Transforming Lives
-Henry Kimsey-House, Karen Kimsey-House, Phillip Sandahl & Laura Whitworth
Turn your complaints into opportunities for self-care. Live the life you've always imagined!