How tolerant are you of others?






Just the other day I was thinking about my tolerance levels and there is definitely room for improvement. Living and working with people we need a level of tolerance to maintain peace and harmony. Of course people grate on us in various ways but whenever thoughts and feelings come to me I quickly remind myself that I too irritate others.  Often we only see what others do and say forgetting that we too get it wrong and that we can be equally annoying. Choosing to accept others breaks down barriers and even allows us to accept ourselves.

Ever since a child I have been particular about tidiness. I recall lining up my toiletries on my dresser as well as my shoes and clothes in my wardrobe. I grew up in a small home but it was always orderly and tidy thanks to my mother. After marrying and having children I had to reluctantly let go of my ideal of a showroom house otherwise I would have spent the whole day tidying up. I maintain a level of tidiness but give the children room to play with their toys and do arts and crafts. Paints are left for the summer months when they can do art in the garden or I pile on layers of newspaper and plastic to protect our dining table.

Our choice of having two children was down to me knowing how much I could tolerate. Initially my husband had ideas of having four children and I had to lay out the realities of life to him; childcare fees, minimal free time, finances and did I say minimal free time? Here in the UK it is completely different to Nigeria where he was born and grew up. There are not multiple aunties and female cousins available to care for your children whilst you go out to work.  When the children are testing our patience I remind him that he wanted four.  He chuckles at the thought of two more. Our children are energetic, assertive and talkative – believe me they are more than enough!

We must learn to be flexible in order to get along with others otherwise our working relationships and personal relationships will be greatly impacted upon.  Being tolerant will mean at times laying aside what you would like, not working to your own agenda and acknowledging others have different opinions. When we are in our own environment we can decide how we would like life to flow but when we step into others, we need to be willing to be tolerant.

How tolerant are you?
Has this improved with age?
What life lessons can you share?




Making the most of your working life









I watched a recent Youtube video of a speaker encouraging us not to waste our lives in jobs we do not enjoy. At the start of the video I admit to having the following thoughts;

“Here we go again”

“How do you suggest we pay our mortgage if we stop working?”

I was surprised that he actually hit on some home truths and he gave me much food for thought. He did not touch on anything that I did not already know but it was the way in which he presented the information.

Assuming we live to 70 (which I certainly plan on doing as a minimum) we will spend the best part of 50 years working. Mothers will take a year’s maternity leave for each child and possibly some additional years whilst they are aged under five. We spend a lot of “awake” hours at work. Far too many to be doing tasks/projects that we have no interest in.  The career we choose should therefore be something we have a passion for or at least care for at the very minimum. We may want to work in a field completely different to what we would have chosen 20 years ago. Life changes, we change. What motivates us today possibly did not motivate us years ago.

The challenge is we can often feel stuck and unable to move for a number of reasons;

1. Family commitment
2. Financial commitment
3. Lack of confidence
4. Lack of skills/experience/qualifications in the field
5.  Lack of support from family and friends
6. Fear of the unknown

If you are considering moving to a new career path you will need to weigh up the pros and cons. It is a big change but one you may well need.  We can feel tied to our commitments and that our window of opportunity has come and gone.  Options exist but sometimes they are not always obvious particularly if we are not open minded or optimistic about our future.

Consider the following;

1. Could it be you need a change of environment?
2. Can you take a drop in salary? If so, how much?
3. Are there any luxuries you can drop in order to fund a course/training?
4. What impact would this change have on your family?

Have you made a recent career change? What gave you the push?
Have you always known which field you wanted to work within?
What advice would you give to others?


Do you actively listen or do you hear?








Giving your full attention is important but how often do we do it? The temptation to tail off mid conversation is all too easy. In order to improve our relationships we must be willing to listen and repeat back some of what we have been told. This illustrates our core listening skills.

The majority of us enjoy being listened to as it makes us feel relevant and that we matter to others. It is disingenuine asking others how they are yet not being willing to stop and listen as they share their experience.  Asking others how they are has become a formality, something we say but do we truly mean it? Are we prepared to listen to their response or are we hoping they say they are fine and we can continue with our day? I guarantee you have found yourself in such situations and I doubt it left you with a good impression of the person.

We need to be real with ourselves and others. It does us good to check our motives as they are not always right.  I remember studying for my counselling diploma 12 years ago; I was not as good a listener as I thought. The practical person that I was (and still am), felt the need to find an answer, a solution, anything to improve the situation for the counsellee. I had to fight against being ‘a rescuer’ and simply listen.

We lead busy lives compared to 15 to 20 years ago. Apparently technology has contributed to making our lives easier but it has also opened us up to many social media platforms, many of which can consume our time if we allow it.  Our busyness can hinder us from investing “real” time in others.  Yes, Skype, Zoom and other video conferencing can be a good alternative when people are unable to physically meet but it should not replace human contact as a long term measure.

We need healthy relationships where we can discuss, debate and be real with one another. We need to be feel loved and cared for, knowing our concerns are of some importance to others.

How can we improve on our listening skills?

1. Resist the temptation to look at your mobile phone, watch television or do anything remotely distracting when being spoken to.

2. Do not try to find solutions for the person unless asked. Allow them to use you as a sounding board.

3. Allow enough time to listen so the person does not feel you have squeezed them in.

4. Refrain from bringing in your own experiences, particularly at the beginning of the conversation. This is about the other person and not you.

How would you rate your listening skills?
Is this an area you need to improve on?

How do you channel your anger?








I am sure you can recall the last time you were angry – it may have been justifiable or not but feelings of anger came either way.

Life is challenging and we are tested each and every day by the person who jumps the queue, the person who does not say thank you, the husband/wife who sometimes takes us for granted, the children who always take us for granted!

A situation springs to mind of when I felt annoyed.   My children were arguing over who should go into the shower first. This is a delay tactic in order to stay up later – to them every minute clearly helps! I was tired and had a nice day with them at the park. It was after 8pm and  in my books time for their bed. I become quite protective of my evening as this is when I can truly relax and focus on myself. Yes, I shouted and felt bad soon after.

When you act out in anger you are more likely to say and do what you really do not want to. You are acting out in haste and giving little thought to how you come across to others. Your tone and body language will reveal your anger and the recipient will have their back up. By this stage you have lost.  Though you can apologise, you cannot take back what you say or do.

There are many benefits to remaining cool and refraining from being hot headed. You remain in control and therefore more stable.  If one lives off of their emotions they will become ‘the colleague’, ‘the friend’, ‘the family member’ who is like a loose cannon – you do not know what you are going to face at any given time.

Taking time out to think about your situation means you will look at it from several angles, you are more likely to be reasonable.

How can you stop acting out in anger?

1. Whenever you feel anger coming – walk away from the situation if possible.  If your child or another person is slowly winding you up – step away.

2. As tempting as it may be to ‘say your piece’, try not to engage in arguments.

3. Ensure you have all the facts.

4. Identify the triggers and put mechanisms in place.

How do you curb anger?
How do you remain calm in challenging situations?