Express Gratitude… and When That Doesn’t Cut it, Try a Five Minute Pity Party!
Written by Lisa Montanaro | November 30, 2020

It’s no secret that expressing gratitude is good for us. According to Harvard Health, gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

The way we verbally frame our experiences strongly shapes our mindset. Navy Seal, Jocko Willink, author of Extreme Ownership, suggests using this strategy to combat unfavorable news: when something less than ideal happens, practice saying “good” and looking for the silver lining or a possible solution. If ever there was a year to challenge us to try this reframe tactic, 2020 is it!

On the professional side, gratitude can increase innovation, quality, productivity, employee engagement and retention, customer satisfaction, and profitability according to professor Kim S. Cameron from the University of Michigan Center for Positive Organizations.

five minute pity partyWhat if gratitude just doesn’t cut it in a particular moment and you need to vent? Try a Five Minute Pity Party!

Yes, you read that right. I’m encouraging you to vent it out! That may seem like a strange tactic for an eternal optimist like me who geeks out on positive psychology and teaches Growth Mindset workshops. But sometimes it’s what you need in order to move forward.

Venting can manifest in many forms: we vent about our careers, relationships, and the state of the world. We vent about things we can control and those we can’t.

The key to the Five Minute Pity Party is timing it and honoring the commitment to move past it once it’s finished. There is something magical in knowing you have a designated amount of time to be free to let it out. Use that time to dump your mind and heart of what’s irking you. When the five minutes are up, commit yourself to moving into action mode. Brainstorm creative solutions to try to change the situation or if you can’t, find the silver lining and change your mindset.

You can use the Five Minute Pity Party yourself and share it with friends, family, colleagues and direct reports. It helps put a framework around the complaining and venting, which if allowed unchecked, can cause more harm than help.

I put together a short (3 minute) video for you on the Five Minute Pity Party to help you understand it more. Give it a watch/listen and then try it out. Feel free to share the video with those who you think could benefit.

And remember, when gratitude doesn’t cut it, you can always do a Five Minute Pity Party if you need to! 🙂

Meet the Author

Helping others be the best versions of themselves gets me jazzed!

I’ve worn many hats in my lifetime—often at the same time—while enjoying fulfilling careers. I’ve been a performer, teacher, sign language instructor, lawyer, career counselor, law professor, coach, consultant, mediator, entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, writer, and author. 

I’m an eternal optimist and life-long learner, constantly researching ways to improve personal and professional effectiveness. And it brings me great joy to then pass on the results of that persistent curiosity to my clients and audiences. 

Of all the career hats I’ve been privileged to wear, my favorite is owner of this business since 2002. Why? Because it provides me the opportunity to work with wonderful organizational and individual clients. On any given day, I get to connect deeply with audiences, work with dedicated teams, improve workplaces, watch clients have a-ha moments, and know I’ve made a difference in their lives and careers. And that is very satisfying.