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Archived Weekly Features
The Big Picture
Rebecca "Becky" Coates Nee, a veteran TV news anchor/reporter, is a professional life/career coach. Check out her website at to take the coachability test, subscribe to her free "Beyond the Box" newsletter and to find out if you're an adrenaline junkie.

How to Lighten Up for Fall
By Rebecca Coates Nee

Ahh, the joys of August. Unless you're covering fires in the West or on the
lookout for tropical waves in the Southeast, this news cycle can be about as exciting as the lull between the Macy's Parade and the Rose Bowl.

Everyone, it seems, is on vacation but you. Certainly most of the viewers
are. So how can you spice up the summer doldrums until the Sept. 11 memorials and new fall line up begin? Take a cue from that wise sage, Sheryl Crow. Soak up the sun. Tell everyone to lighten up.

If it were only that easy, you say. Lightening up is not something we
broadcasters tend to do well. Indeed, we thrive on variety and friction. If
we're not getting enough drama - even in our personal lives, we'll find a way to create it. Being late, being angry, being unorganized gives us a charge that helps push us through the day.

For the month of August, try the opposite approach - lighten up, clean your plate, get rid of your aggravations. How?

When I first start coaching someone, I have them make a list of all their
"tolerations" - all the stuff, big and small, that they're putting up with on
a regular basis. Why? Because it's those tolerations that zap our energy,
bring us down and create the need to be late, angry or unorganized.

Once you start tackling your tolerations, you'll find you have more natural
energy and drive and less of a need to get revved up again from manufactured sources.

Start by making a list of the top five things - big or small - you are
putting up with about your home environment. Do your closets resemble a
trailer park after a bad storm? Does the futon need a new cover? Do you
constantly misplace your keys? Do you have too many clothes from the 80s?

Now list the five things you are most tolerating about your family, friends
and community - even if you don't see a solution to them. Who's dragging you down on a regular basis and why?

Next, repeat the process with your work life. Are you tolerating an icy
relationship with a co-worker or boss? Are you putting up with inadequate
pay? An unpredictable future or schedule?

Even if you can't solve all your tolerations immediately, just the act of
writing them down helps identify the energy zappers in your life. Now, pick
one small toleration and one pivotal toleration - something that when it's
handled, five other tolerations will disappear. Take care of the small
toleration within the next three days and devise a strategy for handling the pivotal toleration.

Figure out why you have that pivotal toleration in the first place - and go
after the source of the problem, not just the symptom. If you don't, it will
be at the top of your toleration list again next August - in one form or