Column: Growing tolerant


This past week I learned from my optometrist that I needed “progressive” lenses.

This, in addition to gray hairs sprouting up in my bald head and goatee, is one of the many signs that I am getting older.

Another clear indicator I am getting closer to receiving my AARP intro letter in the mail is a growing intolerance to certain behaviors.

I put the following list together and noticed something interesting.

There is a clear correlation between successful professionals and the absence of these practices. Hmmm … who knew?

  • Running Late – Showing up late to anything is a clear indication of one of two things – you can’t manage your calendar or you don’t respect the person you are meeting with.
  • Not Finding the Time – You find time to do things that are important. If you can’t figure out a way to get to the gym, it’s because you aren’t committed to exercise – period. I stink at golf. For at least 10 years I blamed being “too busy” to get to the course – now I just admit that I don’t care about golf enough to improve.
  • Keeping Bad Employees – If you have more than seven employees, there’s a good chance at least one of them needs to go and you’re holding on because you despise confrontation.
  • Blaming the Prospect – It is never, ever the prospect’s fault that you lose a deal – no matter how much they just don’t “get it”. Either you didn’t qualify them properly or screwed up your sales process.
  • Blaming the Customer – It is a scientific fact (not really) that approximately 13 percent of your clients are idiots, unreasonable and dishonest. Get used to it or get rid of them.
  • Staying Inside Your Comfort Zone – If you aren’t trying something new that makes you a little nervous, then you are certainly following behind your competition because they are taking risks.
  • Checking Your Phone – Not being able to have a conversation without checking your phone every time it vibrates is a clear indicator that you have a problem with discipline. I often leave my phone in my briefcase for this reason.
  • Deflecting Criticism – You make mistakes every single day – some minor and some major. Your goal isn’t to be perfect – rather, it’s to avoid making the same mistake over and over again. That’s impossible if you don’t first admit your faults.
  • Delay – In most tricky situations there’s rarely a crystal clear answer and waiting forever to pull the trigger rarely makes the decision clearer.
  • Working Too Much – It’s not 1957. You can’t win by simply outworking everyone else.

Over my professional career, I have worked very hard to eliminate these behaviors from my daily routine. Some weeks I do a great job and others, I struggle. I am certain the same is for you. Be patient and resist the urge to be perfect.