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Tolerating The Intolerable

“When we tolerate the intolerable we become emotionally ill.” Jewel

I recently heard singer-songwriter Jewel talk about her realisation that attempting to “tolerate the intolerable” makes us sick.

It have been thinking a lot about this.

I looked up the definition of the words “tolerate” and “intolerable”.

The Collins dictionary says “If you can tolerate something unpleasant or painful, you are able to bear it.” And that something that is “intolerable” it is “so bad or extreme that no one can bear it or tolerate it.”

Our workplaces have the potential to activate, align and harness our most positively powerful virtues - to liberate our highest potential.

Our workplaces also have the potential to dull, diminish and corrupt us - to push and pull us away from our true nature.

All jobs requires a certain amount of grit and resilience.

However, when we continue to tolerate aspects of work that are incompatible with our true nature, are dehumanising or that get in the way of our core need being met, we can find ourselves in real trouble.

My work is driven by a deep desire to contribute to the co-creation of workplaces activate our true brilliance.

So, I am always very curious about what gets in the way of this.

I recently invited people to complete an anonymous survey that asked three questions:

What are you tolerating at work? Why? At what cost?

Here is some of the things people were brave enough to share.

What are you tolerating?

  • Toxic culture - the old adage that the fish rots from the head is very true.
  • Working in an environment and fulfilling a role that often required me to think and behave in ways that did not align with my core values. 
  • A manager who does not seem to care about me as a person - our conversations are only ever about my work output.
  • Sexist jokes.
  • Being asked to work even when I am unwell.
  • Disrespectful behaviours.


  • I love my team, I love the industry. I feel a sense of guilt from leaving as I am the cushion between the owner and the rest of the team.
  • Money.
  • Job security.
  • Lack of confidence and self belief to leave.
  • Ego and status attached to the job.
  • Perception of others. 
  • I am afraid to rock the boat. 

At What Cost?

  • High level of stress, frustration, low self-esteem, anxiety.
  • My health is suffering terribly.
  •  I feel naive for my loyalty.
  • Terrible psychological health.
  • Destruction of family and personal life.
  • Diminished job and life satisfaction.
  • Loss of identity.
  • Poor sleep.
  • Loss of self esteem. 


By reconnecting to our deepest selves we liberate our highest potential and serve the greatest good. I’m a trusted guide for curious big-hearted leaders who want to honour the truth of who they are. I offer coaching, plus a range of programs, workshops and keynotes. 

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