Published monthly by Sharon Eakes, Hope Unlimited, LLC
FOCUS: Tolerations
Disciplines: Personal Mastery, Systems Thinking

"We humans sure have learned how to tolerate a lot!"
Siobhan Murphy

Siobhan goes on to say, "We put up with, accept, take on and are dragged down by situations, other people's behavior, unmet needs, crossed boundaries, incompletions, frustrations, problems and even our own behavior."


The coaching concept of "tolerations" refers to those things that bug us, and we put up with them. Most of us can find them in every area of our lives: in our environment, our relationships, ourselves. The funny thing is that we usually don't notice them, because we get used to them. It's just the way things are. You know the old frog in boiling water story? Put a frog in boiling water and he'll jump right out. But put him in a pot of lukewarm water, turn the heat up gradually, and he'll just get cooked.

Some examples of tolerations are:
--> A drawer whose handle has fallen off
--> A friend who is always negative
--> Having trouble finding things because your desk is a mess

Tolerations matter because they sap our energy. Even when we are ignoring them, they take up our time and emotional space. We only know how draining a toleration has been when we eliminate it.

I don't usually focus on what's negative, but in this case I think it's useful, because once tolerations become visible they can be dealt with. Often just beginning to look for tolerations in our life raises our awareness and we naturally start handling, eliminating, fixing and resolving them. And the good news is that when we stop tolerating things, we become happier and more fun to be around and we have renewed energy.

There are many different ways to "zap" a toleration. The most conventional way is to move it to the top of the priority list and DO something about it. I recently had my living room, dining room and kitchen painted for the first time in 12 years.

Another acceptable way to deal with a toleration is to decide it is not a toleration but a choice, a price we choose to pay for spending time on a more important option. This option moves us from being a "victim" to being in a position of choice and empowerment.

A third way to deal with a toleration is to rethink a situation and determine that it is okay, even if it's not the way most people do it. This is essentially deciding not to accept an externally imposed (or deeply internalized) SHOULD. So, you might decide that although your desk is messy, there are many highly productive people in the world with messy desks and it works fine for you. This way it ceases to be a toleration.

Make a list of tolerations, organizing them in this way:
--> Write out 3 things you are tolerating in your work life. Examples are inadequate pay, unpredictable future, wrong field, boss doesn't appreciate you.
--> Write out 3 things you are tolerating in your family/community/relationships. Examples are spark missing with spouse, parents/children expect too much of me.
--> Write out 3 things you are tolerating in your home. Examples are dirty carpet, unfinished improvement project, closets overcrowded, geographic location.
--> Choose 1 toleration from each category and commit to making the necessary requests and/or taking the actions needed to eliminate these tolerations once and for all.


E-mail to let me know how you eliminated a toleration. There will be no telegathering this month because we're going on holiday!
Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone.

Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

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