We talk about tolerations a lot in coaching. Tolerations start when we don’t address things that weigh on us. Typically, it’s a task we need to complete and continually find reasons not to do it. At some point finding reasons and excuses ends up taking up more time and precious brain space than just doing the task. Or, deciding you don’t need or ever want to complete the task. Sometimes making the decision to not do something can bring instant relief. Understanding tolerations helps clients make faster decisions and clears the way for them to do only the things that matter most.
The following is a conversation I had with my Cousin Emily. Emily is a busy single mom of 2 teenage boys. She works full-time at a demanding job and lives at an ultra-high speed.
Emily: I finally listened to you and handled my basement.
Coach Jen: Wait, what did I say about your basement?
Emily: No, what you said about tolerations, I finally listened. You talk a lot about tolerations and after months of thinking and thinking and agonizing about my growing basement clutter, I finally saw the link. My basement had become a toleration and I finally said, ENOUGH! I spent all weekend working on it and now it’s done.
Coach Jen: Done? Totally clean and organized.
Emily: YES! I’m not gonna lie … I’m exhausted! I lost a whole weekend working on it but I understand tolerations now. If I would have just done this 10 months ago, I wouldn’t have wasted all that time thinking about the stupid basement.
Coach Jen: I love it! This coaching stuff isn’t half bad, right?
Emily: Totally! I just kept adding clutter to the piles and closing the door. I told myself not to worry because no one goes in the basement and I always had the door closed. Only … every time I opened the door, it drove me crazy and I wasted 15 minutes or more worrying about it. And, more times than I care to count, I would walk by the basement door and beat myself up for not taking time to get organized. I feel physically lighter after this weekend.
Coach Jen: Yay! I love that you get tolerations and I’m glad you dealt with the basement, now I won’t have to hear you complain about it anymore. <laugh> Just kidding.
Can you think of anything you might be tolerating? Do you ever think about how much time you waste thinking about not doing something? Could you use that time to complete the task? See if you can clean up one toleration this week.