How can we vent with success?

I’ve just finished reading Adam Grant’s bestseller; Originals. It focuses on what it takes to move an idea into change. It was super inspiring and so many takeaways. One that landed loudly for me was the power of venting.

Did you know that when ‘venting’ became a thing it was about using your physical energy to blow off steam. If you were feeling frustrated experts would suggest punching a bag or screaming into a pillow.

We have now morphed this term to become a form of verbal venting. An opportunity to air out all our frustrations with little, if any, resolution. Hey I get it. I do it. But what I’ve learned from this book and the studies is that:

‘Venting doesn’t distinguish the fire of anger; it feeds it’.

One of the problems with venting is that it focuses our attention on the person who wronged you or the injustice and we just…get…stuck here. Anger is a powerful emotion. It’s just making sure we are using it to incite change for the good rather than create a negative groundswell.

My good mate, Adam Voigt shared an amazing post a couple of weeks ago about how hard it is for teachers right now and the frustration many parents have and aim it at them. The point that really landed for me was when he said;

‘Now is not the time to be right. It’s the time to be supportive’.

To channel our frustrations productively, instead of focusing on the harm caused by the person or circumstance (and we are not short locally or overseas of things to be angry about right now) it‘s better to focus on the victims who are suffering by it.

Yes that could be you, your colleagues, your family or groups of people you don’t even know. Send them your love, your time, your money and your attention. Then watch your own suffering decrease and those around you.

Venting IS powerful. But not in the way that helps our communities and each other grow. Yes be in pain. Let’s just pause and consider if we are fueling it.

PS: Want to talk about our ‘Working as One’ program? How to create high performance teams and workplaces (and give your team the tools I talked about in this blog). Just message and say “lets chat” and we’ll reach out and set up a time to talk.