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7 Steps to Quit Tolerating What Keeps You Playing Small

The things we put up with, no matter how big or small they may seem – from desktop clutter and inadequate tools to an unattended home or car repair to a distractingly chatty co-worker or a troublesome working relationship - can deplete our energy in extraordinary ways that affect our leadership ability and, if left unchecked, our entire trajectory towards our goals.

Every time we tolerate something, we deplete the energy we could be using to develop ourselves, grow our business or career, or simply experience joy and ease in our work and life. It’s like living with a low-grade fever or pain that dampens our experience and full vitality.

Typically, at the root of what we tolerate are limiting beliefs that immobilize us, such as: “I can’t take the time.”, “That’s just the way it is.”, “I should play it safe, not rock the boat”, “I shouldn’t complain or be too demanding.”, “It’s not that important.”, or “I have no control.” Any of these limiting beliefs can keep us playing small and prevent us from fulfilling our dreams, or worse – keep us from even dreaming at all.

Any of these limiting beliefs can keep us playing small and prevent us from fulfilling our dreams, or worse – keep us from even dreaming at all.

Whether you are committed to creating balance in your work and personal life, want to fully express your unique gifts and contribute in bigger ways, or dream of pursuing a deep personal desire or goal, it is necessary to consciously evaluate and eliminate the tolerations standing in your way.

Here are seven steps you can take to quit tolerating the things that keep you playing small:

  1. Appraise. Make an honest appraisal of what you are tolerating in each area of your life: environment, health, work, money, relationship, and so on. Write down everything that annoys you or that you feel you are putting up with. You will likely come up with many more than you expect!

  2. Choose. Based on your values and goals, choose what you will no longer tolerate and commit to change. If you get overwhelmed, pick one or two things to tackle first – making progress on quick wins can be a huge motivator to work on more later!

  3. Believe. Examine each underlying limiting belief that has kept you putting up with these things and create a new belief that supports what you really want. Getting support from someone like a coach who can help you break through long-held beliefs can be helpful, especially if you are so close to them that you can’t fully recognize them.

  4. Appreciate. Take an honest look at what you are getting out of keeping things as they are. There is always some kind of payoff for whatever is going on in your life, even if it’s as simple as avoiding outcomes that you fear. What might you lose or risk if things do change and you get what you want? Who in your life—or what part of you—does not want things to change? Appreciate that person or part and, with gratitude, look for ways to create a win-win and/or let go of whatever is holding you back.

  5. Plan. Develop a strategy and timeline for eliminating tolerations. Start with one or two measurable and feasible goals to complete by a certain date and time and continue to create specific, measurable goals as you complete each one.

  6. Confirm. Determine how you will stay accountable and confirm your progress. You don’t have to do it alone—in fact, a coach or accountability partner can be a huge support to help you follow through. If you must do it alone, you can use technology to remind you, track your progress regularly, and create a reward system for yourself when you reach certain goals.

  7. Ask. Remember that complaints are often unspoken requests. What can you request? Who can you ask for help? If you are someone who has a spiritual practice, in what ways can you use your practice to ask for divine support or ask your higher self for inspiration?

Eliminating tolerations through the power of choice and action can increase your vitality and open up more time and space for joy and meaning. Taking the steps above can help you get into the driver's seat and enjoy the ride!

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Andrea MacKenzie, Founder of Lead With Harmony, is an MBA, multi-certified coach, Kolbe-Certified consultant, and leadership and team-building expert with over 20 years of combined experience in corporate roles and business consulting. Andrea enjoys working with growth-oriented business owners and executives who advocate for the advancement and well-being of the people they serve, hire, and inspire.

Author’s content is edited and used under license, © Claire Communications

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