Do you know a “venter”? They tell you their industry is in a lull, their market isn’t a good place right now, and management can’t get their stuff together so it makes it impossible to do their job. They unload all of their issues on you time and again, simply to get it off their chest. Do you ever feel the need to vent? Why?
Some people feel they need to ‘talk things out’ in order to understand how to deal with things. Do we ever trick ourselves into thinking venting is productive? How can we tell whether or not we are addressing a situation with an analytical eye or just complaining about it? If you assessed what you’ve gained from venting your frustrations, what would you be left with? Most people would admit: nothing.
How do we have a productive conversation about our issues instead of simply being negative?
Try these four steps:
1. Assess the facts of the situation free of emotion. Look at only the reality of the situation, and focus only on the things that you can control. No: “but she does this” or “he never does that”. Avoid placing blame, instead look for areas where you can take self-responsibility.
2. Brainstorm your ideal situation. What would the scenario look like if you were happy and comfortable with it? Explore the positive potential of the issue.
3. Identify the gaps. What are you responsible for in your current reality that is keeping you from your ideal situation? What are the things that need to change in order to remove roadblocks from getting there?
4. Use your understanding of the gaps and make a plan. How can you take action to move out of your current situation and into the ideal situation? How can you affect positive change in the environment?
Above all: execute the plan. We can’t move forward venting about the same problems over and over again. Sometimes we have to go above and beyond the call of duty to make positive changes. If you are waiting around for other people to change, you may be waiting a long time. Sandler always said: “You must be a willing participant in your own rescue”.
When you find yourself needing to vent or unload a negative situation on someone – stop. Assess analytically, and act. Addressing the reality of a situation doesn’t have to be a negative conversation. That’s a choice you have to make.
By Anneli Thomson, MD of Sandler in Oxford. Anneli is an expert in sales force development and hiring sales A players. In her spare time, she is also a keen champagne drinker and extreme sports fan.