When I read the statement “Tolerate Nothing” in Thomas Leonard’s article: The Models of the Attraction, I thought how could it be possible to tolerate nothing – no thing. To tolerate nothing seemed to be a tall order. The tolerations referred to by Thomas are those things that you are enduring, not paying attention to or allowing to sap your energy in a non-productive way.
I decided to make a list of my tolerations. I didn’t expect to have a long list. When I reached for a second sheet of paper, I thought there must be something to this tolerate nothing thing. I sorted my list into what could be handled and crossed off quickly and longer term items. For instance, I could clean out the trunk of my car in about 1/2 hour or sort a pile of correspondence in 15 minutes. I made it a priority to eliminate as many tolerations from my list as possible. It felt great when I could cross something off my list and I did this exercise nearly every day for a month.
Then I asked myself if I was tolerating anything in my business. Again, I made a list. Did I forget to mention that I am a relentless list maker? Lists help me to focus and stay on track.
I realized that the tolerations in my business would need the same sort of attention that I paid to the ones in my personal life. You may be asking what was on that list of tolerations? One toleration was meetings that start late because attendees don’t arrive on time. Another was last minute cancellations or rescheduling of meetings. And another toleration was the non-return of borrowed books by my clients and friends. So, how did I eliminate these tolerations?
For the late meetings: I asked the attendees if it was ok with them for meetings to start late and how they felt about late comers. The discussion was quite revealing and each attendee renewed their commitment to being present and prepared to start at the appointed time. We also agreed to start on time even if everyone was not there. Our agreement created a new respect for each other’s time and a much more professional awareness of how timeliness or the lack of it affects everyone.
For cancellation or rescheduling of meetings: I re-read my coaching agreement and tightened up the language so that a notice of 24 hours is appreciated for a change of appointment times. No notice or a no show incurs a payment for my time. The clarification of expectations has been very helpful.
For the non-return of borrowed books: I now put my name and contact information in the books that I allow people borrow and I keep a list just like a library.
Tolerations are costly. When I took inventory of the real and potential costs of my tolerations, it was not insignificant. How much are your tolerations costing you and your business?