How old do you think a person has to be before he or she is considered an adult? Eighteen? Twenty- one? Thirty? What is it that certain “it factor” that separates childish from adult behavior? If you were to name a characteristic or a mind-set that defines maturity, what would you say it is?

Is it accountability? Integrity? A well-defined work ethic? Self discipline? All these traits certainly contribute to the description of an adult that has reached genuine maturity but I would suggest to you it all comes down to the understanding and acceptance of one basic thing.

Are you ready for this? You can’t blame your behavior on anyone else. You are 100% responsible no matter how bad you are feeling or what’s going on in your life. Period.

There is no room for “waaah” or “she made me” or “he did it to me” or “I didn’t think” or “it’s the economy” or any other phrases  that seek to place the reason for your bad behavior on anything or anyone that does not stand in your shoes or look back at you from the mirror.

Does that seem harsh? Maybe so but the sooner we accept and internalize this truth, the faster all excuses vanish and we realize whatever it is we want to become is up to us. This is the moment when we “put on our big girl panties” and get on with it. Right now is a great time to take the first step.

We can all think of examples of people who have been dealt a horrible hand in the game of life. Blind, handicapped, poor, tortured, imprisoned or abandoned. And for every circumstance like that we can find examples of men and women that survived unspeakable situations and triumphed. Victors not victims. Famous examples like Helen Keller, Viktor Frankl, Immaculee Ilibagiza, or the hero of the recently released movie Unbroken, Louis Zamperini. And, if we look closely, we all meet countless ordinary heroes on a daily basis if we just open our eyes to see them.

Let’s turn it around and think about the kind of people we hold in high esteem. Who are your role models? Who stands out from the herd? It is the man or woman you know you can count on, the person you can trust to follow up, to deliver, to keep their word and come through no matter what obstacles they encounter along the way. That person becomes your rock, your anchor, your fortress.

No one on earth is infallible, no one is without flaws, and all of us will fall short of perfection. If we will persevere in accepting responsibility for all our decisions and start to become intentional and deliberate in all our choices; along the path to becoming our best self we will reach moments of excellence. Step by step. It is a process that begins with simple steps and becomes the most worthy journey of a lifetime.

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.