To increase self-awareness and inspire change, I often ask my clients “What are you tolerating?” Since we can’t lead others to places we haven’t been, we must be willing to confront our own demons. Therefore, after pondering this emotionally-charged question, I’m ready to admit that one of the things I’ve been tolerating for months is procrastination.
Time and again, I’ve promised myself that I would reignite my passion for reflective journaling to promote greater self-awareness and understanding. However, I have repeatedly broken this promise by using my demanding schedule as an excuse for not taking action. As a result, I’m feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and unfocused.
Now that I’ve come clean and shared with you one of my life’s major frustrations, I’m going to get personal and ask, “What are YOU tolerating?” Is it self-limiting beliefs? Unproductive attitudes? Unmet needs? Other people’s bad behaviors? Your own bad behaviors? Ongoing frustrations? Violated boundaries? Paralyzing fear? Poor performance? Unfinished business? If you’re honest with yourself, you can probably name at least five tolerations that are robbing you of personal power by depleting your time, energy, enthusiasm and spirit.
Each time we choose to tolerate an unfavorable situation in our lives, we sacrifice a piece of our soul. Over time, it chips away at our self-esteem, joy, and inner peace which can lead to denial, depression, stagnation, and even irrelevance. To anesthetize or block our feelings, we may resort to unproductive behaviors such as procastination, lying, cheating, self-deprecation, or overindulgence — all of which ultimately render us powerless and ineffective. Whenever we are tolerating any situation that impedes our progress and well-being, our mind, body and spirit respond in kind.
To make a positive shift and reclaim our power, we must honestly confront those hindering forces that chain us to mediocrity. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired of draining life forces, here’s a reflective exercise to help raise your consciousness, remove self-imposed limitations, and propel you to new levels of performance and satisfaction:
1. What am I tolerating? (Make a list of those things that you are tolerating.)
2. What am I doing to help sustain the things that I am tolerating? (Make a list of your behaviors that help sustain the things that you are tolerating and sabotage your success.)
3. How does this make me feel? (Write down how what you are tolerating makes you feel. To really expand your awareness of feelings, you can find a comprehensive list of “feeling” words at http://eqi.org/fw.htm.)
4. What are these tolerations costing me on a mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, social and professional level? (Make an honest assessment of the high price you are paying in every aspect of your life for the things you are tolerating.)
5. What can I do differently to let go of the things that I am tolerating? (Write a positive statement of change for each of the things that you are tolerating and what it means to achieve this goal. Identify the beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, knowledge and skills that will better serve you in making this change.)
6. How can I model my new behaviors? (List the ways in which you begin to model your new behaviors to become the best of who you are meant to be — then do it!)
Change is a step-by-step process that requires awareness, commitment, action and perseverance; so be patient with yourself. However, don’t use the fear of change or a temporary relapse as an excuse for not taking control of your circumstances and your life.
Some tolerations are much easier to release than others. Sometimes, we have endured situations for so long that we unconsciously accept them as normal or think “that’s just the way life is.” In such instances, we may need to seek professional assistance from a therapist, counselor, coach or mentor to help us get unstuck. Regardless of what helping resource(s) you choose, know that taking direct action — sooner rather than later — to eliminate tolerations from your life will help you reduce stress, access your hidden potential, seize new opportunities, and produce breakthrough results. If that’s not enough, it will redirect your focus and give you a better sense of control by releasing time and energy, so you can fully enjoy more of the things that bring you pleasure.
In closing, I am making a personal (and now public) commitment to create change in my own life by carving out at least 10 minutes each day for personal reflection, refocus and renewal around the things I want to accomplish in myself, my career and my life.
What personal commitment are you making to free yourself and move forward on purpose?
Until next time,