Being tolerant is usually seen as a virtue as it helps you live and work with others peacefully. Tolerance shows strength as you can accept others’ opinions and perspectives even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
But putting up with things – being tolerant – of things that limit you or your business growth serves no purpose. And to be clear, a toleration is an unnecessary irritation that drains you of energy, time, and focus, leaving you feeling tired, frustrated, and annoyed.
Maybe you tolerate things in your office because you haven’t been bothered to change them. For example, your desk chair is uncomfortable and never stays in the exact position you want. Every day, you continue to sit in that chair, annoyed and frustrated. The armrest collapses again as you reach for the ringing phone. You swear in frustration, pick up the phone, and a potential customer’s first impression is far less than ideal.
What tolerations are limiting you?
It could be something as small as a missing button. Every time you put on your favourite shirt, you realize you can’t wear it because a button is missing. Ugh…now what to wear? It would take only a couple of minutes to fix, but you let it go to be frustrated another day.
When it comes to your tolerations, consider these questions:
- What am I tolerating or putting up with? (Make a list. Name them.)
- Where am I blindly following a routine that no longer works?
- What is frustrating me?
- What is broken and needs to be fixed?
- Who is draining me?
- What am I avoiding?
- Where am I stalled or stuck?
On a larger scale, perhaps you’re tolerating clients who are not an ideal fit. Imagine getting up in the morning and knowing you’ll meet two very different clients that day—one meeting with Jenny and one with Anne.
How do you feel when you think about the meeting with Jenny? Is it a good feeling, or do you feel like you’ve taken a punch to the gut? Then think about Anne. If you feel light, happy, and looking forward to seeing her, you know it will be a positive part of your day.
This quick exercise can help you determine whom you want to work with—and stop tolerating working with those who don’t fit your ideal client profile, which drags you down. You know as well as I do that working with someone who is not a fit is draining.
Pick out one or two tolerations from your list. Write them down. Then consider how they have impacted you in your life and your business. Be as specific as possible—quantify it with numbers, dollars, hours, etc. Then consider what you would be able to accomplish if this issue did not exist. How would your life and/or business change?
Take action. What step can you take to move forward on this issue now? And when will you take it?
Some tolerations may be outside your control, but you can look for ways to minimize their effect. Perhaps setting boundaries may help. A few small changes today can have a significant impact on your life.