Toleration is a term coined by the late Thomas Leonard, a founding father of the coaching industry. Defined as things that “bug us,” tolerations are a major drain on our energy. In fact, did you know that as much as 80% of one’s life is built around tolerations? Yikes! That’s a lot of wasted energy that could be invested in more constructive activities to move you forward.
Tolerations are like sand in the machinery of life. Although seemingly small and insignificant, they easily wear you down, make you tired, cloud your judgment, and fog your focus. That’s no way to spend your day.
Tolerations occur in all areas of our lives. We put up with things around our house. Think of that cracked paint on the trellis or the chip in the kitchen window from the kids playing kickball in the backyard several years ago. Not enough to warrant an emergency but just enough to capture your energy each time you pass by and say to yourself, “I need to get that fixed.” Like open files on your computer, each requires energy to remain open and slows down the speed of other programs currently in use.
Tolerations crop up at the office with cluttered desks, messy files, and mediocre performance. They arise with automobiles low on gas crammed with empty fast-food bags. They show up in our health when we eat at our desks, on the run, or from that fast-food bag in the car. Tolerations surround us.
If tolerations are such a drain on our energy, why do we tolerate them? Part of our willingness to tolerate comes from how we’re raised. Do you remember your parents saying “don’t rock the boat”? Other tolerations come from compromises we’ve talked ourselves into. And, some of our tolerations exist because there’s a payoff.
Are you ready to stop the tolerations keeping you from your potential? If so, here are a few steps to get you started:
- Tune in to all the things that “bug you.” As the antennae go up on your awareness, you’ll be amazed at just how much you’ve invested in toleration.
- Keep a running list of your tolerations over the next several days.
- Identify the hard and soft costs of your tolerations. Hard costs are those known and measurable (i.e., the cost to replace the kitchen window). Soft costs are those less easy to identify (i.e., energy tied up in projects not related to your goals).
- Select the “costliest” toleration and eliminate it. But don’t stop there! Eliminating the cause of the toleration ensures it won’t return.
- Continue through your list until you’ve eliminated all your tolerations and their causes.
Once you start saying goodbye to those things that bug you, you’ll be happier, more fun to be around, and have much more energy to invest in moving your business forward. And isn’t that something to look forward to?