September is for many not the best month of the year, back to work, the tan is fading, and holidays are a distant memory. It usually starts to feel colder here in Amsterdam, it is still dark when you get up, and the sun (if any) is nearly down when you leave the office. The next holiday is nowhere in sight. Enough reason to complain, one would say. Or not? Isabelle Gonissen, creative mother of the very successful action 30-Day-No-Complaining in Belgium, tells that on average, we complain 30 times a day. ‘That is twice every hour.” According to Cy Wakeman, author of the amazing book No Ego, an average person spends more than 2 hours per day at work in ‘drama’: gossiping, moaning, whining and so on. If we do so, we do not take accountability for our own situation but victimize ourselves, which is not a good starting point for a happy day at work.
Of course, we all complain once in a while and it can be useful. It is out of our system and we can go on. No harm done you would say. But 30 times a day?! Too much. And what we often forget, is that complaining is contagious. It has a negative effect on other people. Did you ever feel any better after a venting session with your colleague? Nah, I thought so. Plus, if everyone does it regularly, it unconsciously becomes ‘normal behaviour’. Before you know it, you have a workplace culture of venting, judging, complaining… And then we can start complaining about our culture… 😉 That does not make us happy at work, does it?
Isabelle wanted something else and started with the 30-Days-No-Complaining Challenge two years ago. We support this idea, especially in the workplace. So, do you join us? To help you we created a worksheet, to keep track of your progress. Mark every successful day, then give yourself a pat on the back. Oops, you did complain? No problem. Just start over again. And even better: do the challenge with your whole team!
Isabelle and the Belgian team of the International Week of Happiness at Work, Griet Deca, and Kim Hilgert, created a poster that you can print and hang next to the coffee machine. This reminds you that the coffee machine can be a great place for a positive conversation.
Start today! Who knows how many hours of sunshine September can bring?