I just completed a wonderful trip with my sister and niece, where we spent 5 quality days together for fun. We went to the spa together, saw the Grand Canyon, and hung out at the pool just talking. We really appreciated just spending time together. That’s what makes us family.

Some people think just because you share some DNA, you’re family. I don’t believe that. Somewhere I read an opinion that designated family as those who invest time, effort, and caring. I believe that’s true. Those things make you a family whether you are biologically related or not.

So my sister, niece, and I all agreed that we would ensure we remained family, and not allow ourselves to fall into a category of just being related. We’re willing to invest the time, effort, and caring necessary to fit that mold. We find the thought of only being related unacceptable.

The designation of being unacceptable came up during one of our excursions which included a monsoon rain. No kidding, it was coming down in torrents and we had one umbrella for the three of us. We ventured out, all trying to stay under the limited protection of the umbrella, but I knew I was receiving the least coverage. Now I’m not afraid of getting wet, but at that moment, I just knew this adventure was more than I was willing to do.

“This is unacceptable to me, you two go ahead and spend some time together without me,” I said and I quickly made a beeline back to the van to either wait out the storm, or wait for them to return. My niece is still laughing about it. My abrupt proclamation of it being unacceptable was hilarious in her eyes. I have no problem seeing the humor in it, but it did make me think about how we all make different decisions in our lives based on what we find acceptable, or not.

I think the key for me is that if I find it unacceptable, then I’ll take action to change it. I’ve found this to be much easier the older I get. Let’s face it, being acceptable is not an extremely high bar. It’s pretty middle of the road.  So for something to be unacceptable, it’s probably tipped me over the edge in some way. For me, the rain was just too uncomfortable that day. I didn’t want to do something just because I ‘should’, but only if I really wanted to. I want my niece to know that lesson now at the age of 18 instead of waiting until she’s over forty when many of us have that awakening.

What things are unacceptable for you? And if they are unacceptable, what will you do about it?

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Lynn Zettler is an Executive and Leadership Coach specializing in helping to create amazing leaders with excellent communication skills, exemplary accountability cultures, and impactful strategic plans.

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