It’s part of human nature to complain. We all do it. But what if we could use those complaints and revise them just a little? Just enough to create new opportunities!
Here are three revisions that will work for anyone who puts them to work. I can make that statement because our team leaders have used them effectively for over a year. They might only be in the 14-24 age group, but age is no accurate measure of leadership ability.
1.) Turn every situation that causes complaining around by adding one short word with new focus.
Example: “I hate slogging through this snow to get to the store, “but” I’m grateful to have a car and the money to get what my family needs.”
In the case of our team, “We’re disappointed with the roadblocks placed in front of our work in serving as God’s Hands and Feet on earth, “but” what if we create an organic messaging network to spread the word so we can help more people in need.?”
2.) Change self-talk from “Have to” to “Get To.”
Example: On our donation weekends we stand outside in blazing heat, bone-chilling cold, and incessant rain to collect things urgently needed by our organizational partners. We don’t “have to do it,” we “get to do it.”
One of our 7th grade leaders was told by someone who unfortunately doesn’t get it yet, that it was “too bad you have to stand out there in the cold.” Her response was immediate, but still humble. “We’re helping people who need help.” She knows what he didn’t. We “get to” do this work.
As Jon Gordon writes, “Focus on what you get to do. Focus on feeling blessed instead of stressed. Focus on gratitude.”
3.) Be solution-minded.
We aren’t suggesting that all complaining should be eliminated. We when we see dishonesty, when we recognize injustice, we must call them out. To ignore such things only allows them to become entrenched and systemic.
Strive to eliminate ineffective complaining. Intent is key. If our intent is to bring about a positive solution, the complaining is justified. Turn every complaint into an opportunity to do something good.
If you aren’t sure how to put these steps into action, know that all are welcome to join our team. Our young leaders will show you by their example how to turn negative into positive. They’ve chosen to keep their focus on the goal of serving as God’s Hands and Feet on earth.
The obstacles are just minor inconveniences, not worth any lost effort through ineffective complaining.
Advisor to the Pewamo Protect Life Team