Thursday, June 1, 2000

Improve your life by tackling tolerations


By Kimberly Bryant

As a business and personal success coach, one of the first exercises I often assign new coaching clients involves cleaning up "tolerations." Tolerations is the name I've given those subtle energy drains and time suckers, the things you tolerate on a daily basis. They are typically relatively minor inconveniences, like the blown light bulb in your bedroom or a personality conflict with a coworker. However, the time and energy you spend in tolerating these things builds up, slowly draining you and limiting your effectiveness and overall happiness.

"Your goal is to put up with less and less."

Once you get these tolerations handled, you will be amazed at the new time and energy that will become available to you. You'll discover that you're better able to draw and maintain healthier boundaries. I assure you that doing this is well worth whatever time and effort it takes.

A little healthy intolerance

Quitting my corporate job, for example, did not happen overnight. Leaving this particular stress-filled environment became possible once I became unwilling to tolerate the lack of inspirational leadership, conflicting values, and unresolvable work issues. Over the course of two years, I went from being the next-most-likely-person-to-have-a-heart-attack-at-her-desk to having the life I once only dared dream about. Today I live--and happily work--in rural southern Colorado. I started down this rewarding path by becoming clear about what I was tolerating, and then doing something about it.

Your goal is to put up with less and less. As you experience the joyful benefits of a toleration-free lifestyle, you'll begin eliminating tolerations automatically, handling them immediately when they start to emerge.

I'm going to start by taking you through the steps of this exercise, and later I'll show you how you can use your Palm device to manage your progress.

The list

To begin on your path towards your new, toleration-free lifestyle, make a list of the 60 people, problems, and situations you are currently tolerating in your work or home environment. Include the very tangible, like the annoying broken strap on your cell phone, to the more elusive, like relationships that irritate you to no end.

Your list should include ongoing complaints, especially the stuff you've put up with for so long that you barely even notice. You keep "forgetting" to reorder office supplies? Your email is so junked up you don't know what to do? Processing speed intolerable? Do you have a so-called friend who never returns phone calls? Nothing is too trivial for your list. In reality, it's the small, seemingly inconsequential things that suck away time that could be spent more productively.