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Last night I was thinking about the number of people (or companies or teams) that I’ve heard say, “I’m tolerating way too much.” The reality is that there are probably a handful of things that we should all carefully monitor and evaluate. An example might help clarify why I intended this article.
What the employee and person with whom I’m working came to me with a request for my help is not what they are actually tolerating, but what they believe is being tolerated by me. They believe I’m being in the way of doing an efficient and effective job. They see me ignoring some of the requests that are coming up. They want to see themitting of a letter with a specific request they’re requesting. As a professional, the end result of this small request for help will probably take me weeks to explain, but like this series of articles, the process required is not nearly as critical as the understanding of the three types of tolerations.
Tolerations are the things we deal with that are either mostly or simply ignored. They can be things such as an outdated computer, a lousy cup of coffee, a burping dog, a stack of paperwork piled on top of you (I don’t matter how neat it is), not having something that you need. For the professional there can even be the occasional, or constant, sense of unease that interferes with doing some activity.
A toleration can actually be an unsightly problem. Rarely does it cause any real trouble, but it usually makes life difficult for others. Whether or not we should tolerate it, the point is that it should be avoided. There are three primary tolerations that are most likely to be on the list.
So which of these are yours? Take your time before you go any further. They’re not listed in any particular order. We’ll examine why they fall into one category, two others, and one last category before making our final judgment.
The first category we’ll look at is those things that you’re simply tolerating and that cause you either unhappiness or conflict. This is a fairly broad category. For some of you it will be more specific. For others, it will be a less defined list. Perhaps you have or have had a variety of items in this category for some time.
Tolerations are the things that make you miserable. They range anywhere from the mundane to the significant. They can create stress, anxiety, frustration, and a lack of enjoyment in your life.
The second list that we’ll examine is those things that have an unfair impact on you. This is an important category. Things like somebody coming up to you and giving you unsolicited criticism or getting a visit from someone when you don’t want one and a lack of proper space for any event or function. These are things that can seriously make you feel upset.
As these things are examined you are making a serious effort to make the situation better and minimize the sensitivity to it.
The third category is those things that you have little or no control over. This is not a bad category. Life happens. There are many people who don’t work for us. There are some that we have no influence over. Some of these are just things that happen. You have no control over them and they are not going to be fixed by you unless you change them because they do not get better simply by your doing your part.
The final category that we’ll examine is the event itself. If you are able to include this event in your list of tolerations, then fantastic. If it’s not, and you’re going to deal with it anyway, then the result is the least you are going to care about. These are things that you won’t be able to stand around and complain, and so you tend to either leave them be or you don’t have the incentive to change something about it might.
There are many things in these two lists that you can get through quickly; however, there are many more things that might not fit. You are then making a general list that the majority of people will agree with.
The reality is that there may be business matters, or even some issue of loss of life or limb that might come along to advise you to do something about one of these things before you go any further.
The easy way around these things, the way that is recommended to avoid big tolerations, is to focus on the things you can change at a moment’s notice. Back to theEmployee Invitation to corruptionfor a simpler discussion on this topic.
Now that you’ve hopefully already heard about the three categories of tolerations, you are seeking to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Perhaps you will seek to improve just one or a few categories of your life. One useful technique for doing so, is to look at some of the