Shifting from Complaint to Commitment

JT - Commitment is what transforms a promise into a reality. - Abraham Lincoln

In the book, How the Way we Talk Can Change the Way We Work, Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, discuss how many workplaces are dominated by NBC (nagging, bitching and complaining) or BMW (bitching, moaning or whining).

As you know these behaviours can be quite draining on our energy, however they can also be quite liberating.


Because, complaining tells us what people cannot stand and gives us clues in to what people are passionate about, what they care for and what they value. For example –

  • a person complaining that people in the workplace rarely talk to each other and instead talk behind each other’s back, values the importance of open and direct communication;
  • a person who is feeling overwhelmed and has too much to handle, can see the importance of delegating work and building the capacity of other team members; and
  • a person complaining about other people not doing their work, values the importance of initiative and recognition.

How Can You Start to Shift from Complaint to Commitment?

A key question to to help with shifting from complaint to commitment is to ask is what is the commitment behind the complaint?

Remember that a complaint is what people cannot stand and a commitment is what people stand for and value. By reflecting on this question, you can start to create a shift in perspective and behaviour and move from complaint to commitment.

And Remember…

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” 

~ William H. Murray.

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you a little insight in to how to start to shift from complaint to commitment.

If you are ready to take yourself on the adventure of getting to know yourself (your true Self), why not join the Toolkit? A place where I share tools, inspiration and ideas to live a courageous and openhearted life.

Reference –

Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. L. (2001). How the way we talk can change the way we work: Seven languages for transformation. USA: Jossey-Bass.

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