Complaining: the 3 bitch rule

Recreational complaining can be a fun way of bonding with people, but it’s a destructive habit and can turn frustrating situations into a full-on way of life. Some people even believe that focusing on negative aspects of your life create more of that negative aspect in your life, so complaining about your unreasonable and controlling boss will cause her to be even more unreasonable and controlling.

Like I said, I’m a skeptic, so I don’t know about that. But I think we can all agree that chronic complaining is really annoying and unpleasant.

My friend Jenn has a rule called “The 3 Bitch Rule.”

Not only is it a great way of preserving friendships (by not being that insufferably annoying person always complaining), it also can help you propel your life forward beyond the thing you’re complaining about.

3 Bitch Rule DinosaurHere’s the rule: If you complain about something three times, and you haven’t taken proactive action to resolve the issue, then you aren’t allowed to complain about it anymore. You must accept the situation as your own choice, and move on from complaining.

Trust me, friends love this rule, and they love to work on solutions with you.

If we take responsibility for where we are, and accept the reality of a situation, it’s essential that we stop complaining and start solving.


Action Steps

  1. Write down three things you have complained about recently.
  2. Come up with at least three possible solution to those items — and I mean things you can do, not anyone else.
  3. If you have complained to anyone else about these things (you know, the friend you always share these things with), go over the solutions with them and see what they think, and if they can think of any more.
  4. Start putting into action the best solutions.


My Action Steps (so you understand that I do this too)

Things I have complained about recently:

  1. Being overwhelmed
  2. Not having enough adventure in my life
  3. Lack of financial security
  4. Persistent checking of Facebook
  5. (I’m an overachiever) Lack of follow-through on projects I start / starting lots of projects without finishing them
  6. Not “having time to” meditate daily
  7. Not prioritizing exercise / my health


Three solutions to these items:

Being Overwhelmed

  • Meditating at least once daily, probably more
  • Starting and stopping at a consistent time every day / not having “freelancer” hours
  • Monotasking
  • Handing off projects that don’t have to be handled by me

Not having enough adventure in my life

  • Take up an adventure sport
  • Go on road trips / plan trips
  • Watch shows and read books about adventure (vicarious experience)

Lack of financial security

  • Making a big enough savings account that I don’t care / we would be ok no matter what
  • Creating diverse sources of income so no one source of income can go away and cause catastrophe
  • Not caring about financial security


I went to my friends asking for help working on the overwhelm part, and they said:

“I always try to ask myself – is anything really going to be different if this person has to wait 1 hour for my attention?” – Suzanne

“Either lightening the load with an assistant’s help or scaling back on of the two job’s scope to make one the ‘full time real job’ and the other an enjoyable side project as opposed to two full time real jobs.” – Roo

“Setting clear boundaries is difficult in practice but if it’s important to you, *you can rock anything*. If you are like me, your toughest customer is you. Sure, it may shift priorities in your goal timelines. But I assume no one’s going to die if you move most of your goals out to be a little nicer to yourself?” – Andrea

The bizarre and and somewhat sideways launch of the 2017 Goal Workshop – or – the rocky road to goal mountain

It was so simple. It was so simple: I teach a free workshop on a thing I have done twenty some-odd times, just before the new year, when everyone’s ready to set some goals, and people will be able to use this awesome goal-setting technique and HECK YEAH! LET’S ALL BE FRICKEN’ AWESOME!

And I went through this time-honored practice, noting down each step so I could capture my own way of doing it… but then I thought, “You know, I should research what other experts teach about goal-setting…” and “You know, I should also build something that calculates priorities, kind of like my project prioritizer, but for goals…” and then my mom reminded me of this great exercise we used to do to calculate the pros and cons, weighted by values, and I thought “oh my gosh! I should include that!”

My notes grew and grew.

I got more and more worried about the class.

And the timing that seemed so perfect turned into a massive nightmare as our Outlaw Soaps Ships were smashed against holiday atoll after holiday atoll.

Side note: typing “holiday atoll” led me to wonder what a holiday atoll would really look like. And I found these amazing photos. I want to go there.

Holidays at atolls aside, we had a magnificent great Outlaw Soaps holiday season – certainly nothing to complain about at all, except that I had foolishly scheduled this goal workshop, which was turning into something that was more suited to 5 months than 5 days.

Just look at all those individually wrapped items going to Amazon to be fulfilled! Tremendous!!!

And the date of the course kept sneaking closer, and I kept wondering exactly how I was going to pull this off, since now I was venturing into territories where I’d have to study how to make printables, and maybe not everyone would have Excel, and people would complain on Twitter… wait, did I remember to queue my Tweets and Instagram and Facebook posts? Did I literally launch a social media course and get so swamped I couldn’t spend the hour it takes to stack my Tweets? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, DANIELLE.

It was about that time when I had a come-to-Jesus with my friend and recorded that video about being overwhelmed.

His advice was to regroup and figure out what could be cut, but in my mind, nothing could be cut. Mozilla was important. Outlaw was critical. The courses are already scheduled, and plus, how often do you get to actually fulfill your life purpose? Don’t ever cut those projects. Ever.

I went back to meditating daily, a practice which had fallen off since I got swept up in the season.

And somewhere in there, probably shortly after I realized I couldn’t do anything about Amazon or Christmas orders anymore, I realized people weren’t signed up for the goal course to get some other person’s goal-setting methods, people signed up for my goal class.


I regrouped. I went back to basics.

It was surprisingly easy, almost like going back to muscle memory.

I started putting together the modules and making the handouts on Friday and recorded all the videos on Saturday.

The course came together, and when I called it a day on Christmas Eve, I felt proud of what I had done: I had created a system for the method that had worked for me for most of my life. I had somehow summarized years of experience into this tiny little goal course.

After I called it a wrap, I kept thinking of things to add. I kept thinking of things that I could have recorded better, or said more clearly, or defined in a different way.

At the end of the day (that day being yesterday, Christmas), I decided to just re-record the intro and affirmation #2, which were giving me the most trouble, and leave the rest.

People have liked it.

There have been some notes, but for the most part, response has been positive.

Most importantly, one of my long distance friends, Belinda HellYeah!, booked a flight to come all the way from Australia to (among other things) meet me in person! And if that’s all that comes out of the whole course, that will have been enough.

I really have no idea what else will come out of the workshop, but my sincere hope is that people are inspired to take steps toward their own goals, to define them, and to put them to use. Even just for a little while, because progress is always progress.

When it comes down to it, I really am just doing this because I believe in people. I believe in my friends. I believe that they — more than most other people in the world — are capable and worthy of MASSIVE GOOD, both for themselves, and for anything or anyone one they touch.

If I can do anything at all to facilitate that, it doesn’t matter how scared I am or how weird I feel, I have to stand up and do it.

So, anyways, that’s the goal course.

If you have signed up for it, I hope you use it to take over the world. If you haven’t, hey, give it a try. It’s free and kind of a big deal to me.


Lots of people supported me and said they loved my product, but where’s the $$?

“I don’t get it! All my friends said they thought my idea was great, but I launched and I’ve had basically no sales. WTF?” – Countless discouraged entrepreneurs

Any new venture is terrifying, and those of us who have the blessings of supportive friends and family often make the mistake of believing friends and family will become paying customers.

Sometimes friends and family do become customers, and that’s great (because birds of a feather flock together, and people want to be supportive, God bless ’em), but it puts incredible strain on friendships if you expect (and maybe even kind of demand) that your friends support your venture.

I have seen it, and it isn’t pretty.

That’s why things like marketing, press, and search engine optimization are so critically important to start right away

If you hope to have a business, you absolutely can’t lean on your friends and family to be your customers. You can make it available to them, but availability and pressure are very different energy.

The key is to cultivate a relationship with customers

If you’ve done your market research and you know the customers are out there, you have to set your business up in a way that will reach your (future) customers. You have to find people who love your product not just because they love you, but because they truly just love your product.

In fact, Facebook even penalizes businesses whose posts don’t get a lot of click-throughs and comments, so if you just beg your friends for a ton of page “likes” without any strategy, that can actually hinder your marketing efforts.

The world is mindblowingly vast, and millions upon millions of people are searching for products, services, and experiences that resonate with them. Is yours one of them? You have to get in front of those people so they can find you!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” – Chinese Proverb

All these things take time, money, or both. But you have to start somewhere, and sometime.

If you’re a new business just getting started, you may not have yet traversed the muddy bog of getting strangers to buy your products. It isn’t as difficult as you might think. Stay tuned for my small business marketing tips.