She lied right to your face, he didn’t take responsibility for the screw-up at work, and the project manager blames everyone else when she’s the one who can’t seem to, well… manage. If only people weren’t so unreliable! Or, as I now like to call it—messy. What can we do when we have to deal with the obvious shortcomings of those around us?

During my European trip this month I was thrown back into long-standing family issues. You know the kind I am talking about. That thing with Mom, and that other thing between the brother and the sister. All families have these “things” and I’m sure we can agree they are emotionally draining.

I had several conversations during my trip with the man in my life to get the support I needed while under duress! He listened (he is a very good listener) and after I recounted the scenarios and conversations for the third time, he very patiently said, “People are messy.”

A light bulb went on. Could this be the secret for dealing with all the difficult, unreliable, and ignorant people in our lives?

Here is how it helped me. For the first week of my trip, I was driving myself crazy trying to fix these issues that tear at the family bond. I somehow created a movie script in my head that starred me as the rescuer from a faraway land who could make all the problems go away. After a week of “talking it out” it finally it dawned on me that nobody has changed or will change. Things just are the way they are and even when we all do our best, people are still… messy.

How can this mindset help you? We need to stop hoping that other people will act in a particular way or perform a work task exactly how we would. By letting go of those notions, we liberate ourselves from their “imperfections” and our expectations of them. This ties in with the Three Pillars of The Women’s Code and provides us with two benefits:

  1. ) We operate on our highest energetic (and spiritual) level when we believe other people give 100% of what they can. This 100% idea was born as I was racking my brain trying to find the right things to say in my laudations to my mother at her 80th birthday party. It dawned on me—she did the best she could and most importantly she firmly believes it. I think most of us feel the same way about ourselves. Let’s honor that in each other.

  2. ) We shift the conversation from our disappointments to seeking ways to support other people. How can we give more so they can reach their full potential? And if a task wasn’t done correctly, is it possible the person didn’t receive—or we didn’t give—the right instructions?

Disappointments are a natural result when we believe people need to act a certain way and they don’t live up to our expectations. All we get is resistance because, let’s face it, nobody wants to be constantly critiqued. Instead, we want to see the situation from the other person’s perspective and respond with compassion. Yes, people are messy, including ourselves, so let’s take it easy on each other, ok?

Beate Chelette is a respected speaker, career coach, consummate entrepreneur, Author of Happy Woman Happy World, and founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to leadership, and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private and digital world. Determined to build a community of women helping each other, after selling one of her companies, BeateWorks, to Bill Gates for millions of dollars, Beate created The Women’s Code to share with women everywhere her strategies for success and leadership. Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.

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