5 Steps to Manage What Irks You

Apr 3, 2024 | Quick Takes

Do you want more time, energy, happiness, money, and control over your life? If yes, you’re in good company.

But something eats at you. Steals your energy. Sparks anger. Unleashes irritation.

Why is this happening?!

You’re tolerating too much. Tolerations weigh us down. 😞

Decades ago, Rob Berkeley and Debbie Phillips coached our agency leadership teams and taught us the concept of “tolerations.” Tolerations irritate us, yet we are conditioned to accept or ignore them to be polite or get along. Doing so unnecessarily burdens us—unless we have strategies to combat them.

Tolerations can be little things…

👉 Your partner/roommate leaves the toilet seat up
👉 The sound of someone chewing ice
👉 Group texts with nonsense replies
👉 Being interrupted when telling a story
👉 A flashing light on your car dashboard

Or big…

👉 Living in a gloomy climate that fuels lethargy and depression
👉 Dealing with crippling credit card debt
👉 Feeling unhealthy and unfit
👉 Being underpaid relative to co-workers in similar roles
👉 Your partner assuming their career ambition is more important

Tolerations don’t have to weigh you down. Instead, you can take charge by eliminating, investing, reframing, and moving on from them. Here’s how:

5 Steps to Manage What Irks You (Free Worksheet)

  1. Make a list. ✍️ For one week (or more), make a list of anything that irritates you. Put it in the “little” category if it’s a minor irritant. If it’s significant, put it in the “big” one. Don’t filter yourself. Capture as many as possible.
  2. Eliminate little stuff in your control. ❌ Get the dashboard light fixed. Talk to your partner about why the toilet seat left up grosses you out. Raise your hand and declare, “Allow me to finish, and then I’d love to hear your perspective.”
  3. Invest in the big stuff in your control. 💰Plan a sunny getaway or a strategy to relocate. Hire a financial planner to help consolidate your debt and create a monthly spending plan (or try our Budget Genius tool). Find a workout buddy or trainer to help you get on a fitness regimen that works with your lifestyle. Learn to self-advocate for what you’re worth – use this FREE code CONFIDENCE100 to access our Compensation Confidence course (valid until May 1st!)
  4. Reframe things out of your control. 🔁 The social repercussions may not be worth leaving that group text. Instead, focus on the fact that your friends care about you and want to include you. Use rainy days as a great way to catch up on novels, phone a friend, or make a pot of soup.
  5. Move on. 🧘‍♀️ Once you’ve eliminated, invested, and reframed, what’s left? Accept a toleration and move on. For real. Stop ruminating and replaying it to make yourself right. Move on. (Maybe that toilet seat being left up isn’t so annoying after all.)

Tolerations vary by person. Something that irks you may go unnoticed by others. Declare your tolerations and attack them one by one. Doing so will help you become lighter, happier, empowered, and wealthier.

You are more equipt to tackle tolerations.


This month, we’re giving away a copy of the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” In this book, Stephen R. Covey outlines the core principles that have shaped the lives of millions of people for over 30 years.

To enter: 🌟

  1. Subscribe to our newsletter
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