Dr Peggy Marshall

Mental Spring Cleaning

Last month we officially moved into Spring.  When I think of Spring-I think of Spring Cleaning.  It’s a time to get rid of cobwebs, dust bunnies and the accumulations from winter.  This month we are going to focus on a different type of Spring Cleaning and that is letting go of behaviors or issues that are in our way to being our best self.  In the coaching world, these behaviors or issues are referred to as toleration’s.

Toleration’s are a coaching term for things that irritate us/nag at us because they need to be done, removed, or changed, yet we ignore them.  Toleration’s left unchecked can drain us of the vital energy we need to be at our best.  When these drainers accumulate in our lives they create a level of exhaustion that wears us down.  A great question is to ask yourself why you are allowing them in your life. We often believe the effort to clean them out takes too much energy yet allowing them space takes energy as well.  We also may not be able to clean them out completely so we just ignore them.   Not every toleration can be removed yet with a plan we can find a smaller space for it in our lives.

What are common toleration’s?  Relationships or people who drain us; having low energy that is created by our diets or lack of exercise; repairs to houses or cars; deadlines/personal goals that we continue to miss; phone calls that we need to return; etc.  In digging into the common “whys”, the list includes: lack of time, lack of supplies, avoidance of something we don’t enjoy; solutions seem too complex; we don’t like the alternatives; and/or we believe that circumstances are too hard or cannot be changed.

If you believe that you do not have time to focus on a given toleration, then you might need to make it a priority for a short time so that you can give it the attention it needs.  Some toleration’s can be eliminated in a matter of minutes-repairs on houses or cars, returning phone calls, etc. while others may take longer.  For toleration’s that take more time, break them down time into chunks and focus on the smaller parts to eliminate the issue/problem.  Chunking tasks will also help you if you feel the toleration is too complex to address.

In coaching clients to do something they don’t enjoy, I ask them to determine when they have the most energy and work the task into their calendar to accomplish it.  For example, some clients can let organizational tasks pile up.  Once my clients determine when they have the most energy, they dedicate time each day during peak energy times to make progress on the task.  The key here is to ensure that you can focus for a specific time on the task and then put it aside to resume daily activities.

When we believe that something cannot be changed we lose our ability to have an impact on our lives. While there are some things that just cannot be changed, we can change what we say about it, we can change our attitude about it, and we can change our contribution to the circumstance.  I always encourage clients to maintain even the slightest ownership of a given situation in order to be able to change it.  If we give ownership totally away, we cannot change it and can sink into a victim consciousness that fences us into the situation.

As you move forward with your Spring Cleaning-your mental Spring Cleaning, think about what is nagging at you for completion or for letting go. Then determine if there is anything in your way to removing it.  If there is- make a plan for addressing the obstacle and then moving the toleration out of your life.  Remember if you can own it you can change it.

To your Success!

Dr. Peggy