Please recall the activities I requested that you do to clean up your past, unresolved issues (the “clean it up” post from August 21.) By completely addressing those issues, your immediate benefit was that you got rid of lugging around those numerous 5 lb bags of flour—metaphorically, of course! That, naturally, was the obvious reason I asked you to get these issues thoroughly done. But I had a second motive: I wanted you to completely handle the stuff so you can bring your focus out of the past and into the present, where better living occurs!
Having accepted and completing the “clean it up” challenge, you also benefited in the following ways:
- You grew confidence because of the extra work you did to attain thoroughness and permanence. This confidence can be expanded into better living now.
- You have a new appreciation for time. Time can be wasted, used, or saved. Completely handling past issues has shown you that planful work may take more time initially, but it saves time over the long term.
- Handling something thoroughly means you don’t have to waste time and energy doing it again! It also means that you are free to create new opportunities. Imagine!
With your focus in the present, let’s take your freshly hewn confidence and newly reclaimed time to see what the heck you are tolerating. Grab a pad of paper, and make one sheet per area, and start listing what you’re tolerating, devoting one sheet per area. Areas to review include your home, your relationships, your workplace, your transportation, your wardrobe….you get the idea.
Here are some examples:
• Not enough room for weather gear
• Leaky sink
• Broken window shade
• Dirty floors
• People who take you for granted
• Sibling who is always late and doesn’t call or apologize
• Partner who is constantly critical
• Folks who make promises but don’t honor them.
OK, you get the idea. Keep writing—you may find you list 10, 20, even 50 items per sheet.
What to do with the lists? Madeleine Homan and Scott Blanchard created a creative way to triage tolerations in their book: Leverage your best and ditch the rest. They advise:
1. Put an E next to the tolerations you can simply eliminate.
2. Put a D next to the ones you can delegate.
3. Put a P next to the ones you can pay someone to do for you.
4. Put an NS next to the tolerations which seem to have no solution.
Questions to answer regarding the tolerations to Delegate include:
• Who might you ask to help you with this?
• How will you inspire them to help you?
• How will you be sure it gets done?
• How will you follow up?
• By what date will you have this handled?
Re-examine the “pay someone” list in a similar manner…
• Identify who
• However, if money is too tight, whom might you know who has the expertise to help you? Can you barter?
• Can you ask relatives to give you the gift of that “toleration elimination” for a gift?
• Begin a tolerations fund to slowly save up the necessary finances.
Finally, for the “no solutions” category. Ask yourself:
• What assumptions have I made that lead me to believe that this situation is unchangeable?
• If a friend were in this situation, what would I advise her or him to do?
• How do I see it differently when it’s “my” toleration, versus my friends?
By examining the things you are tolerating, and completely eliminating them, you STOP being distracted, and will access time and energy to devote to better living.
Mary Ellen Sailer, Ed.D.