Last week marked the anniversary of another trip around the sun for me. It was one of the better birthdays I’ve had lately. I was amazed at the number of folks who took a minute to text, email, send me a card or a Facebook message. (The best day of the year on Facebook is your birthday)! That great feeling of being special probably has more to do with the sheer volume of users and the simplicity of sending a greeting but still, I thoroughly enjoyed the illusion of the limelight for a day when I read all the posts. I’m grateful for each and every one.

You might think that after this many trips around the sun, I’d lose some of my naivete and I would stop being surprised every time life washes the sugar off my cereal. But guess what? I probably never will lose my naivete and life won’t quit throwing any of us curve balls and sinkers.

Here are three things that are good to remember and might help you sail over the rough waters you’ll encounter along the way.

  1. Things always take longer than you imagine. This is directly proportional to the type of person you are. Some of us overreach constantly, always trying to get just one more thing fit in, done, promised. Here’s a news flash. There are only 1440 minutes in a day, ever. There’s not even a single “Leap Day” with one extra hour. Everyone should stretch a bit but when you load your  to-do list, perform a reality check as well. While under construction a good to-do list must have built-in priorities. There is no such thing as time management, only self-management.
  2. People will disappoint you. Sometimes promises aren’t kept. (See #1) It is not personal. They are dealing with the same issues of too much list at the end of the hours available. If there are items on your to-do list that hinge directly to what someone else does, be sure the critical nature of those priorities are communicated clearly and synced in advance. It is almost impossible to over communicate.
  3. You will not please everyone, ever. (See #2) No matter how hard you try, you will disappoint someone else along the way by what you say, do or fail to do. We all make decisions utilizing what we know at any given time and most of us do the best we can. The remedy? Admit mistakes, take a look at things from a different perspective, apologize when necessary and do a mental and emotional control-alt-delete. Move on. There are things in life that must be released. My favorite saying? ”This too shall pass”.

Being a grown-up is hard work but it’s important to remember that we are all human, fallible, and we live in a chaotic world. Maybe the best advice of all is to stop taking ourselves so seriously and lighten up. The key to riding the waves is learning to stay above of them. The best traits to cultivate are flexibility, balance and buoyancy because in life, the waters will be rough from time to time. Stay light, and before you know it you’ll be sailing smooth again.

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.