Are You In? or Out?

I read a post by Ben Arment this week the made me think back to a post I wrote a few weeks ago.  I related my struggle with being too critical and easily turning into The Jerk!  My encouragement to myself and others like me was to “jump in anyway and try to make a difference.  Get on board.”  The gist of Ben’s post – What Complaining Says About You – is that if you’re a leader, instead of complaining you should lead through the problem.  This line towards the end really caught my attention:

History in the Making: What Complaining Says About You via kwout

In the next sentence he says about complaining, “It’s admitting that you’re a follower and not a leader.”  While I’m not sure I agree with this statement.  I definitely agree with the previous sentence.  Complaining is a sign of giving up.  Sure, you may not have quit yet and you may not leave your job, organization, leadership post, et. al. for months or even years; but, if you find yourself spending more time complaining about a situation or relationship or system than you do investing time in solutions – you’ve probably already given up.  Even if you would never say you’ve given up yet – you probably have. 

Here’s the good news – there are two choices.  One is to quit.  If possible, stop investing time in something that you’ve already given up on.  Use your resources elsewhere.  You’ll be happier and it’s quite possible that everyone else will be as well.  The second choice is to re-engage.  It’s possible that you’re still needed to transform and lead through the situation – you’ve just become soft or lazy or distracted.  In fact, you may be one of the only people that can lead your organization, family, volunteer team up, around, through or out of this situation.

I’m still working through what both of these options look like for me.  Either way – I agree with Ben – stop complaining and start doing something.  What do you need to quit?  Where do you need to re-engage? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts…


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