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Blog: Simplify Your Life
What Are You Tolerating At Work

A friend of mine had a major epiphany this weekend while I was talking with her on the phone. She's an accountant, and was complaining about a client who drives her up the wall. As she outlined all her grievances and complaints, she came to a realization that she didn't have to keep putting up with his nonsense. I wanted to share this with you, because you might see some similarities to a situation in your life.

Why Didn't I Think Of That Sooner?

This guy is always late getting her his financial records, his books are a mess, and he blames her for mistakes he makes. He's apparently a generally unpleasant person to be around -- never a good word, always whining about something, and he makes her life a living hell. She dreads going to see him because she knows he's going to put her into a foul mood and send her whole day into a tailspin.

As we were talking, she said, "God, I wish I just didn't have to work with him anymore." I said, "Well, that's the nice thing about being self-employed isn't it -- you can choose who to work with. Fire him if he makes you that unhappy." She said, "Oh, I couldn't do that!"

I asked why not. She said, "Well, I live off of referrals -- and if I dump him, he wouldn't refer any of his friends to me." I asked if he had referred any clients to her before -- she said no. I suggested that anyone who could tolerate this guy was probably just like him -- negative, annoying, and hard to deal with -- and did she really want a whole gaggle of clients like that? She said no. I asked if she had any other CPA friends she could refer him off to -- just tell him she was trimming down her client load and give him a few names of other people he could work with. She said yes. Then she just sat there for a few minutes, letting the idea sink in -- she didn't have to work with this client any more.

Sometimes It's Easier To Stay Stuck

You see, most of us put up with a lot of annoyances in life -- things that drain our energy, make us angry, or frustrate us. But the real irony is that, in many instances, we actually have the power to choose whether or not we continue to tolerate that situation. We have more control than we imagine. Life isn't just some cosmic pinball game (although God sure plays a mean pinball), where we get bounced around with no say over where we go. To continue with a really dorky metaphor, we put in the quarters, we're in charge of the flipper buttons -- and if we get tired of playing the same old game with someone, we can just let the damned ball go in the hole and walk away!

The reason we get caught in the trap of tolerations is that we never question our situation and what can be done about it -- we just assume that this is the way things are and we have no choice. But I've got news for you. You can change absolutely anything about your life if you don't like it. This transition might not be pleasant, and you may have to go through a lot of pain to get to the other side -- but it is SO worth it!

Unfortunately, though, change is scary -- and most people just want to be comfortable (even if it means being not very happy most of the time). It's often easier to put up with a "known evil" it is than to break out and do something new and challenging to change your life for the better. You can spot "tolerators" from a mile away. They may be listless, angry, bitter, whiny, sick all the time, or seemingly rude and insensitive to others -- but it's just a manifestation of how unhappy they are with their own lives.

What do you need to do differently in your work life?  What would you like to stop tolerating? Whatever it is, you can have it -- you just have to be willing to make a change. Tired of the way your boss and co-workers treat you? It's up to you to teach others how you want to be treated, and to let them know when they've crossed a line. Sick of being asked to work evenings and weekends? Then explain why you can no longer work late and start going home on time -- or be willing to find another employer that doesn't take advantage of you. Don't like your job anymore? You can go back to school, get a different degree, and switch to a brand new career. Or start your own company and go into business for yourself. Just ask yourself how unhappy you are in your current situation and whether years of continuing down that path would be any worse than jumping the track.

Your Homework

So back to my friend and her client. Needless to say, she rushed off Monday AM and called the client to end their business relationship. The good news is that she is free of him -- the better news is that it ended quite amicably. Because she followed her heart and did what she had to do to be happy --  while treating him with respect and giving him another option to get his needs met -- he was very receptive. He told her he had enjoyed working with her, and even said he would refer others to her in the future (a mixed blessing, at best!) I know my friend will be a lot more inclined to draw a healthy boundary sooner in the future (especially when this guy's friends start calling to hire her!)

What are you tolerating in your work life? For each annoyance, think about what you could do differently to make that frustration go away (or at least keep it from bothering you so badly). It could be as small a change as leaving the house 30 minutes earlier for work so you miss rush hour -- to moving across the country because you hate the weather where you live -- to selling everything you own and hitting the road in an Airstream (like we've done!) Just remember, you may not have control over the world around you, but you do have control over how you react to it. And you have control over the kinds of situations you allow yourself to be put in. You just have to figure out where your line is and start drawing it.

read the original post of this blog

posted on: 12/20/2011 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Simplify Your Life

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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