Why You Should Pay Attention to All The Stuff That Bugs You
It's heating up.
This morning, as it became clear that we were in for another baking hot day, I started getting irritable.
The house hadn’t cooled off much during the night.
Gnats had invaded the bathroom because we still hadn't gotten around to buying a new window screen.
My sunflowers in front of the house desperately need watering.
I was stressing – and it wasn’t even 9 o'clock.
It was a perfect example of what happens when “tolerations” build up.
Tolerations are anything in life that you’re putting up with, big or small.
Thomas Leonard, a founder of professional coaching, defined tolerations as “things that bug us, sap our energy, and could be eliminated.”
He encouraged people to become a “toleration-free zone” in his book the 28 Laws of Attraction.
Primarily because there’s a cost to everything you tolerate in life. Annoyances drain you of energy. As does the knowledge that you could take care of them but you aren’t.
So this morning I took a extra 30 minutes before work to water the flowers, turn on a fan and tidy up so the house felt more fresh and airy.
I also committed to going to the hardware store for a window screen this week.
Why energy is so important
Have you ever known you needed to make a change in your life, yet you felt too exhausted to take it on? It felt too big, especially when your day-to-day obligations already took everything out of you.
This is why I talk a lot about energy in my coaching.
We need enough energy to successfully get through our day.
We also need enough energy so we can reach toward the bigger things we want in life.
There are two key elements to “energy management.” They're essentially two sides of the same coin. The yin and yang.
On one side, we need to be sure we do things every day that renew our energy.
These are basics like getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating well. We also have spiritual or emotional sources of renewal, like spending quality time with a loved one, listening to music, or enjoying nature.
On the other side, we need to eliminate the things that drain our energy, i.e. our tolerations.
Get rid of tolerations
Here’s a simple exercise to help you start reducing your energy drains.
1. Write down 50 things you’re tolerating. Yes, you do have 50, or more! Take 15-20 minutes to list them all. They can be minor, or even seemingly impossible to resolve.
Look for tolerations in your relationships, finances, home and living environment, personal health and appearance, habits and behaviors, work and office, car, computer and other possessions.
2. Take a deep breath. There’s a chance here that your list will feel overwhelming. That's okay. Maybe you can’t take care of everything right away, but there is a lot you can get started on.
3. Eliminate at least one toleration a day this week. If it is as simple as oiling a squeaky door hinge, that’s fine! Do it.
You essentially have four options with each toleration:
- Assign a Due Date. Get it done.
- Delegate it. Maybe it’s better done by someone else.
- Discard it. Do you need it anymore? Can you just get rid of it?
- Detach from it. Maybe you can't change it. Time to accept things for how they are and let go of struggling with them.
4. Check in after one week. How do you feel? What do you notice about your energy levels?
5. Do this for 30, 60 or 90 days. If you need support to stay on track, find a friend, coach or accountability partner to help you.
Something important to remember about not taking care of tolerations is that there is a cost.
They’re dragging you down.
How successful can you be if you’re worn down?
How focused can you be when you know you have a ton of loose ends?
This is why it's so important to invest a little extra effort in taking care of this seemingly small (or even too big) stuff.
Take 30 minutes a day to address your tolerations. You can do it!
You’ll feel so much more energetic and free.
What toleration will you take care of this week?