Posted by: susanrmeyer | February 25, 2008

To Whine or Not to Whine

Pretty much every coach, consultant, motivational speaker, entrepreneur I know believes in the power of the positive. And so do I. Most of the time. Almost always.  

Whole books have been written on happiness. Fields of practice – Positive Psychology, Appreciative Inquiry – have grown around taking and maintaining a positive stance.  And these are a big part of my work. And yet, I often wonder, is there a place for whining, yenching, moaning? Is there some constructive place we can get to from that unconstructive place? 

Ann Fry and I are toying with hosting a series of calls entitled I Don’t Wanna! This will be an experiment in constructive whining. Anyone can call in and have a little whining space, but they don’t get to leave in the same place.

Why create a whining space? Because there is information in the shadow – in the negative. Because only by verbalizing our supposed roadblocks (I think) can we see them for the houses of straw they actually are. Because the exaggerated whine can only end in laughter.

Now, I’m not talking about real pain and misery here. I’m talking about that I just don’t want to turn off the TV and buckle down and get to work. I’m proposing a five-minute whine party. And a clearly marked exit path.Whine – laugh – plan action. What do you think?



  1. Hi Susan

    I think you and Ann are on to something.

    When things are going sideways instead of forward, one of my habits (I’d love to call it a “strategy” but it’s not that deliberate) is to say, “Let’s have five minutes of moaning about this before we move to the solution.”

    That usually gets people laughing. Lightening up is often the first step in getting somewhere.

    Have fun with this.

    Cheers – Sue

  2. Hello girlfriends, nice to meet you all. Stunningly great post. Give space to the shadow and get on with your day!

    When my son is in his pity party mode, I often ask him, “How long do you want to suffer?…How about five minutes? GO!”

    Thanks for another great post.

  3. Yes, whine therapy! So excruciating you can’t even stand yourself for long, you just have to shift! Excellent idea.

  4. Hi there,

    Loved seeing the Shadow appreciated here (originally coach-trained by Debbie Ford)!

    And I agree with Sue – you’re absolutely on to something.

    My husband, partner and fellow coach and I play – and share – a game we call ‘Going Ludicrous’ where we take our complaints/worries/doubts and ludicrously exagerate them. Inspired by SpaceBalls (Mel Brooks is king of ludicrous), it makes a farce of the whine while putting the wisdom in it on the table along with the ability to see it clearly.

    Nothing like moving forward with a bounce in your step and a smile on your face, huh?

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