The other day I was telling a friend that I had ordered a new computer. She was surprised, commenting that my existing one was pretty much state-of-the-art. I explained that while it functioned well on the whole, it was slow at doing some crucial tasks and the delays were a steady source of irritation. In other words, my computer had become a toleration.
What is a toleration? A toleration is anything that you put up with in your life - the bathroom tap that drips, the shoes that fit but are uncomfortable, the printer with frequent paper jams, the CD that skips on one song, the friend who's always complaining about how bad things are. Any time you endure someone or something's idiosyncrasies, you are tolerating.
Is this such a big deal? Isn't it better to overlook the things that don't matter and focus on bigger concerns like earning a living, raising a family or promoting world peace? In my experience, the answer is no. I have found that eliminating these pesky little annoyances can make a huge difference to your quality of life and to your ultimate success.
One reason is that putting up with these irritations requires you to desensitize yourself, which makes you less present in the moment. This dulls your experience of aliveness and diminishes your creativity. Not only that, but putting up with inconvenience affects your self-esteem. When you tolerate something, at a subconscious level you are sending the message: "I do not deserve better; I don't matter." The more you tolerate, the more resigned you become to accepting whatever life sends you. People who are "just getting by" tend to be living with a long list of tolerations.
This is why one of the first things we ask our new members to do is to make a comprehensive list of the tolerations in their personal and professional lives. This simple exercise makes them aware of annoyances and energy drains they have been overlooking. Next, we coach them to eliminate their tolerations, beginning with the easy ones like lubricating a sticking lock or replacing a chipped coffee mug. They can then move on to those tolerations that are slightly more challenging like asking the neighbours to pick up after their dog that regularly poops on the lawn, or repainting the bedroom in a colour they find more pleasing.
Many tolerations cost little or no money to resolve, and yet the payoff in satisfaction, pride and energy can be considerable. Even when it's a stretch financially, eliminating a toleration is money well spent. Years ago when I hired my first coach, I had one of those fax machines that curled the paper and was a continual source of frustration. My coach challenged me to replace the machine with a plain paper fax within a week. At that time I had to dig deep for the $300 it cost for the new machine, but I never regretted that decision. Getting rid of the aggravation made me feel great about myself and raised my standards for my business.
Of course some tolerations are beyond your control, like having to sit in the middle seat in a crowded passenger plane because all the other seats in the economy section have already been sold. What then? Well, you could always ask for an upgrade to first class. Even if the answer is no, at least you will have valued yourself by making the request.
Some tolerations, like difficult family members, are more persistent. If you really don't enjoy someone's company it makes sense to avoid them where possible. Or you can choose to intentionally reframe your attitude toward them. An elderly relative may try your patience and demand a lot of your time and attention. When you find yourself feeling annoyed, reflect on the difficult life they have had or the things they have done for you in the past. When you come from a place of appreciation, compassion or gratitude for your own good fortune your need to tolerate them will evaporate.
Addressing the tolerations in your life is not about entitlement, exerting your power over others, or demanding your own way. It's about affirming your value. It's about creating a life that is extraordinary as opposed to mediocre. It's about choosing to celebrate yourself and make the most of the opportunity you've been given. When you treat yourself to the best wherever possible, you attract the best.
Start now. Make a list of the tolerations in your life, and set to work on them. Each time you eliminate one you will experience a sense of freedom, an increase in satisfaction and a boost in your energy. Each step you take in this direction will advance you towards all the wonderful things you want to achieve and to attract into your life. Don't you think you're worth it?
To your success!
Master Certified Coach
Alberta - The Return of the "7 Success Accelerators"
We all know that the economy in Alberta is red hot, but are you maximizing the current opportunity and building a business that will take you where you want to go in the long term? The highly acclaimed "7 Success Accelerators" seminar will reveal the seven most important strategies for growing your business. These free evening seminars, presented by long-time ProCoach member James Downie, will leave you focused and inspired. James is a successful self-employed entrepreneur, respected coach and highly entertaining speaker.
Edmonton - Wednesday, September 26 at the Mayfield Inn
Calgary - Thursday, September 27 at the Greenwood Inn
Red Deer - Wednesday, October 24 (location TBA)
Seminar time: 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
BC and Washington State - NEW! "The Success Blueprint Workshop"
Master Certified Coach Andrew Barber-Starkey will be facilitating his newest workshop in the Vancouver and Seattle areas. This two and a half hour workshop begins with breakfast and networking. After breakfast Andrew will walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a clear and compelling vision for your business and ideal life. He will then guide you through a structured process you can use to consistently achieve your goals, no matter how daunting they may be. Andrew has developed this proprietary material through coaching over 4,000 small business people over the past 14 years.
Bellevue, WA - Thursday, September 20 at the Coast Bellevue
Burnaby, BC - Thursday, September 27 at the Executive Hotel
Seminar time: 7:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Admission: $29 includes full breakfast
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Andrew Barber-Starkey is a Master Certified Coach residing in Vancouver, Canada. His coaching program, the ProCoach Success System, is designed for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, self-employed and commissioned sales people who want to double their income while simultaneously doubling their time off within 3 years.
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