Thomas Leonard, the founder of the coach training program “Coach U,” coined the word “tolerations” to describe the little things that occur in life that drain our energy. In putting up with tolerations, we are distracted from more important things. The insidious thing about tolerations is how they connect to each other, and accumulate. Tolerations adhere to and block you from succeeding in getting where you want to go. Think about trying to run in tar…or a garden of beautiful flowers being choked by weeds instead of thriving…or the drag on a once sleek boat, because it has become covered in barnacles.
When not addressed, tolerations collect and morph. What initially may seem negligible can grow in scope: first annoying, then inconvenient, and voila, suddenly there is a full fledged problem!
Here is an illustration of how a few tolerations become, well, intolerable:
You’re driving to work and know you’ll be late, because you had forgotten to write on your calendar that your garbage pick-up day had changed. Instead of leaving on time, you had to scramble around the house to empty the cans and get the barrel out to the curb. When you were at the end of the driveway, your dog ran out, because the latch on the door (which broke two weeks ago) still hasn’t been fixed. Chasing the pup back up from the dewy lawn did a number on your new shoes, too. (Yes, these are the shoes you bought for the presentation you’re making this morning!)
As you drive away, you realize that in your haste, you hadn’t secured the cabinet the kitchen pail was in…you know, the cabinet that also has the dog chow bag. You don’t dare imagine what the kitchen will be like when you return. You reach for your cell phone to call to say you’re running late, and it is out of charge. Then, the gas gauge light (which first lit up yesterday) is demanding that you get to the gas station NOW.
Perhaps the scenario is all too familiar?
Notice how just one of the above tolerations was, well, trivial. But added all together, they became very stressful. Compounded by the presentation at work, and the literal go/no go of a car low on gas, this situation now has set into crisis-mode.
You might be thinking, “here she goes, the next step she’ll propose is that I identify my tolerations. That seems too basic for a capable person like me.” You are correct! Why? Remember how the post began: Tolerations are insidious, and left unattended, proliferate like weeds in a garden. I’m not just going to ask you to identify your tolerations, I want you to address them, fully. This activity is so important to your better living that I’ve dedicated two posts to the topic!
This week, please consider the following:
• Tolerations don’t discriminate. EVERYONE, from the highly successful to the barely making it, can accumulate tolerations.
• Many keep their tolerations because, well, they don’t know how to get rid of them!
• Fully addressing tolerations will increase your energy, and the quality of your better living rises instantly.
Go to the post on tolerations, part two, to see how to eliminate your tolerations.
Mary Ellen Sailer, Ed.D.