Dr Peggy Marshall
Dr Peggy

Dr Peggy

Spring into Cleaning
By Dr Peggy

During the month of March we move 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.  However for the blog 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 tolerations.

Toleration is a coaching term for things that irritate us/nag at us because
they need to be done, removed, or changed, yet we have not
done anything about them.  We have talked about energizers and drainers before and tolerations are things that drain us.  When these drainers accumulate in our lives they create a level of exhaustion that wears us down.  The issue is to determine why we are not addressing them-or cleaning them out of our lives.  And if cleaning them out is not possible-we might have to change what we say about them or find a smaller space for them in our lives.

What are common tolerations?  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.  What are yours?  The more important question is why you tolerate them.

Common “whys” include: 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 so that you can give it the time it needs.  Some tolerations can be eliminated in a matter of minutes-repairs on houses or cars, returning phone calls, etc. while others may take longer.  For tolerations 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.

When I have to do something I don’t enjoy, I determine when I have the most energy and work it into my calendar to accomplish it.  For example, I can let reports pile up.  I also have tons of energy in the morning.  So if I have to complete a report and/or newsletter article, I get my coffee and go to work.  If you have more energy at night, that’s when you want to move these less enjoyable tasks into your life.

When we believe that something cannot be changed we lose our ability to have an impact on our lives.  There are many things that can change about a given circumstance.  However, 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 piece of a given situation in order to be able to change it.  If we give ownership totally away, we cannot change it.

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.

Happy Cleaning!