Challenge Day 30: Score!

I swear I have the 30-day challenge blues.  After pushing day after day, I’m pretty sad that there is no more challenge left and that sucks the wind out of my sails.  Funny since I expected Day 30 to be the day to end all days where I would stand atop the mountain of my achievement and look out with puffed chest congratulating myself for daring the impossible.

I’m sure that I have the blues.  Now that there is no challenge each day, what will I do with myself?  Haha!  Anything and everything. The interesting thing about challenges is that they beget challenges–a sort of challenge-addiction.  Tomorrow or later this week, I’ll ruminate about lessons learned.  In the meantime, let’s get on with our last challenge!

Today’s challenge: Take stock of the last 30 days.  How did you do?  What did you do well?  What did you not do well?  What would you like to continue to work on?  How did it go?  What did you learn?
I’ll be sorting through the lessons learned on this journey for days to come but in the meantime, here are the stats of what I attempted this month:

My closest friends can attest to the wonderful peace I gained in these 30 days as well as the struggle it was to complete these last few days.  I know I couldn’t have done it without them or you.  I also know that I’m not quite done yet.

While I was able to challenge myself to different things each day, I haven’t gained mastery over anything new.  I have an experience of what it is like to live a revolutionary life but I still have work to do.  Each day of these 30 days of challenges revealed so much about myself to me.

The greatest revelation is that this month was a buffet of challenges for me to choose from and work on extensively in the near future.  All the challenges have been interrelated.  They are all pulling for the same transformed, galvanized life.  The next step for me is mastery.

Gratitude: I am grateful for that I could complete this month of challenges when I’ve done nothing like this ever before

On the horizon: More results, lessons and mastery…the journey – to be continued.

This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper.1

Challenge Day 3: Complaining’s Nature

There is no day more perfect than the day after midterm elections to examine complaining one more time. Yesterday was Super Tuesday (or is that only for presidential elections?) and today is Complainer Wednesday. The grumbling, whining, kvetching can be heard as far as Alaska. On a day where bemoaning results whether your people won or not, let’s look at yesterday’s challenge and how it evolved into today’s.

Yesterday, I took on giving up complaining and making requests instead. For me, that challenge heavy enough to warrant a second go-round today.

Today’s challenge: Give up complaining and really ask for what you want.

As you can see from all the post-election rhetoric, complaining is an intrinsic part of American–if not human–society. No complaining these last two days gives me a deeper sense into the nature of complaining and the role it plays in my (and maybe your) life.

Complaining is a smokescreen

I noticed today that complaining is one of the ways we Jedi mind-trick ourselves into believing we’re in action when we’re doing absolutely nothing to affect the situation. We give an unfavorable weather report with no intention of putting up an umbrella.

When we complain, we seem to get away with not liking a thing, doing absolutely nothing about and pretending that the complaining changed something. Even a basic “complaint letter” to an airline works best when, after outlining the offense, you request they take actions to amend said transgression. Focusing on what’s not working gets you more not working. A request will move you past it regardless of whether the request is fulfilled. The request breaks the cycle of illusory inaction.

Not complaining makes me listen

When I’m not constantly looking for what’s wrong, I have to listen. Listening, especially when I have an opinion about something can be scary. When I listen I am frightened that I will forget my position & won’t get what I want.

You know how you have to fight for everything, right? Wrong. Fighting begets more fighting. Giving up the fight goes against the skilled verbal pugilist who can eviscerate with a few precise words that I have trained myself to be. I no longer can take pleasure in hurting when I feel hurts. Listening negates the fight and for some reason, I win.

No complaining is peaceful

When you give up complaining, you’re left with finding a solution or just being bothered less. If you’re committed to not complaining, you can’t latch on to things in the same way. Things become less annoying…Interesting.

No complaining may affect your relationships

When you stop complaining, you may realize there are some friends that you now have nothing to say to. Your only connection was the trauma share. Now that you’ve committed to patching up your usual oozings, you have no relationship. At least not that way anymore. Create a new one.

So…giving up complaining has me be more forgiving and compassionate and a better listener. I’ll take 2 scoops of that!

Today’s victory: I was able to listen to a distressed friend and instead of fixing her or telling her not to complain, I was able to ask her the questions she needed to hear so she could save herself.

Gratitude: I am thankful for the people who believe in me when I do not and remind me of my greatness.

On the horizon: A no complaining bracelet and my adventures in NaNoWriMo!

How’s your challenge going?

Challenge Day 2: Bye Bye Complaints

Today’s challenge caught me a bit off guard.  While I don’t consider myself a big complainer, I do get swept away when a solid offense comes my way.  Given a truly sore subject, I will dissect and lament it until the end of time.

Often, when I do complain, it’s usually to people that cannot do a thing to address my problem.  I may tweet about it cryptically or interrupt my bestie’s workday to air it out, yet those people/forums do very little to change my predicament.  Sometimes I spark a conversation that opens up something new for me, but often, that conversation is usually with the wrong person.

On the occasion that I do speak to the involved party, I may whine my way out of being heard or it’s a totally bust and I end up with more to complain about.  Complain to “the internets” or friends or the offender and end up with more to complain about.  Not working.

If complaining isn’t working, what’s there to do?

A seminar leader once suggested “Instead of complaining, make requests”.  Huh?  Ask for things from the very people that won’t give me what I want?  How now?

Then I thought about it: I tolerate the people who complain to me.  Regardless of whether it’s about me, I want to ignore them or figure out how to fix it.

Today’s challenge: Give up complaining and make requests instead.

That’s a tough one.  Looking at complaining’s role in my life forces me to notice how often I’d rather be unfulfilled if it spares me uncomfortable action.   I pride myself in being a great communicator and will talk myself hypoxic to gain and give understanding but I keep finding that it makes no difference.  Talking louder and longer works as well in my life as yelling at someone who doesn’t understand English.

So I’m committing to asking for what I want and need instead of belly-aching for the rest of the month (if not my life–whoa!).  On the flipside, I will be listening to people who complain to me with an ear out for “What are they requesting? What do they need?”.  I may become a better communicator and listener to boot!   I’ll let you know how it goes.

Great Resource: The Seven Challenges Workbook: A Guide to Cooperative Communication Skills for Success at Home and at Work, http://www.newconversations.net/w7chal4_pff.htm

Today’s victory: By giving up complaints today, I’ve had the opportunity to focus on what I’m grateful for and how good life is.   Today’s victory is simply a greater sense of peace and ease in all that I do and experience.  I like!

Gratitude: I am thankful for the wonderful people I know and continue to meet.  Relationships are the spice of life and mine is well-seasoned!  Ha!

On the horizon: NaNoWriMo!

How are you doing?