Complaining can be Cool

Last year a friend of mine Hannah was having a tough time at work.

The organisation she worked in had changed dramatically in the last couple of years, as had she and her personal circumstances.

Go back five years Hannah was single, ambitious, loved the culture of the successful family owned business and was excited to lead a team of 20 people.

Over the next couple of years, the founders sold the business and were replaced with a new leadership team who did things differently.

In the meantime Hannah got married had a little girl and became a Mum.

The offices were 60 miles from home which could mean anything from a one or two-hour commute – not knowing how the traffic was going to be or if she’d make it home in time to collect her daughter from nursery became a daily stressful run of the gauntlet.

Business was tough, the commute was tough and Hannah was exhausted.
The strain began impacting her relationship and her health because when you’re constantly tired …it does!

Whenever I spoke to her she was tired and often seemed flat, talking of falling asleep early on the sofa most nights, although what surprised me the most was that Hannah never complained…

I was fascinated by this lack of moaning as could see she was struggling.
When I pointed this out Hannah’s words … There’s no point in complaining because it is as it is.

In other words, the situation isn’t changing so why waste even more energy complaining about it.

I took this to mean Hannah knew there was a choice but was choosing at that time not to do anything about it.

This is both passive and powerful.

I agree there seems no point at all in complaining about a situation which you know is not about to change.
At the same time, there is that magic moment when you hear yourself complaining when it dawns on us, ah I’m not happy that means there is an opportunity here.

As soon as you hear that moan it’s a powerful moment, because if you add some inspiration to that complaining then you will be able to work out what you want instead.

It can be that simple, with the question, what would you want instead?

Complaining + Inspiration = Opportunity
Complaining can become your best friend in helping you work out that you are ready for something new.

Our lives change around us, there is constant change, we change, our circumstances change, the organisations we work for subtly change around us, different work colleagues, family arrangements, partners, bosses it’s all changing all the time.
Sometimes the things we once wanted to say yes to we now want to say no to.
Are we as hungry in our careers today as we were five years ago? Would we benefit from a four-day week? Or are we now a little bored and ready for a new challenge?
Did the business change around you without you noticing?

In Hannah’s world her values, priorities and goals had all changed at the same time the organisation and people around her had changed too.

When you’re working flat out in your career you’re often saying yes to work and travel and work events, and you love it, you don’t mind saying no to exercise and sleep.
Then you have a family and now want to say yes to bedtime with the kids, a full nights sleep and no to travel and career goals for a while.

I often work with women faced with redundancy and do you know what, this, without doubt, becomes a life-enhancing and defining moment for people.

It can be stressful of course if it comes from out of the blue, but actually, this is a moment when suddenly the clarity kicks in that there is now a choice. A chance to review life, work, what you really want what you definitely don’t want, a moment to decide.

Hannah did once say to me it would be great to be made redundant, as it would force a change.

Sometimes it takes something like this a major event in life, redundancy, a breakup, a bereavement to make changes.  It doesn’t need to be that way.

Knowing that you have full control over everything right now leads to my personal and favourite mantra – lead your life by choice not chance.

It’s more common for us to use the ‘what would we do if we won the lottery’ scenario then what would we do if we were made redundant.

The idea that money in the bank would provide freedom helps everyone think differently.
There are some people though that wouldn’t change a thing if they won the lottery, I’d be one of those, they love their jobs, love the way their life and routine flows, this is what we all want isn’t it? Feeling like we have won the lottery because life is so good?

If there are things in your life you find yourself complaining about, great have a damn good moan, if we’re moaning it means we know there is something better out there for us, complain your heart out then add some inspiration and before you know it you have a new direction.

Do a life review, what was happening five years ago in your world, how different is it now, are there different priorities things to say yes to, things to say no to, you will have changed in the last five years, are you still saying yes to situations that suited you then but not now?

Hannah did, in fact, give up that job, it was the right thing to do, the playing field was no longer the same, the work had changed and her circumstances had changed, change needed to happen so she could say yes to her health, happiness and relationships. In doing this, for a time at least, she may be saying no to a high salary, but last time I saw her I have to tell you she had never looked healthier or happier.

Remember you are in full control, check in with your current circumstances do they suit who you are today? What are you saying yes to and what are you saying no to?


If you’re thinking about things you might like to change and you hear yourself saying the words I can’t,  try replacing that word with I won’t.  I won’t places you in control, knowing that you won’t and not that you can’t means you remain powerful and in control of your choices.
I can’t change my job = I won’t change my job
I can’t make time for the gym = I won’t make time for the gym
I can’t take time off = I won’t take time off

So long as you know you are in full control


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