My sister Emily’s glowing skin and bright eyes radiated joy. She had meticulously and lovingly crafted this day over the last 18 months, and was drinking in every exquisite moment. She seemed to float as we descended the stairs and walked toward the reception tent. I gasped in awe at the beauty that met my gaze—what a delight to the senses!  The harmonious and plentiful bouquets of flowers, elegant tablescapes, and sumptuously tantalizing champagne displays were straight out of a dream.

I turned toward Emily, the beautiful bride, and watched her shining eyes narrow into tiny slits. Her face transformed as she hissed through clenched teeth that the chandelier dripping in flowers was the wrong size, the tablecloths a horrid hue of blue, and the place settings a disaster. Shocked that she didn’t see the beauty I saw, I grabbed both of her perfectly manicured hands, and looked her directly in the eyes and pleaded, “Don’t fuss about trifles! No one but you can see a single flaw; and besides that, there is nothing you can do about it now; you will be walking down the aisle in an hour. Don’t let anything steal a second of your joy!”

Emily blinked and took a deep breath as she recognized the truth in my words. “You’re right,” she said. “What’s done is done. In less than an hour we will be celebrating!” Her bright eyes returned as she shifted her attention to the band warming up on the stage. Just like that, the bride had cooperated with the inevitable and refused to worry over little things—two of Dale Carnegie’s principles of stress management. And what a difference it made for her!

Every day, I consider and espouse Dale Carnegie principles for use in my business. But my sister made me think–how often am I missing the opportunity to use the same principles to my benefit in my personal life? After all, the stress in our personal lives have a way of spilling into our business lives.  My sweet sister, the beautiful bride, had done it so easily. Can I also better manage my stress in the personal realm to increase my joy, and experience more peace in the everyday?

As the bride and groom head to the airport for their honeymoon, I am sipping my coffee and packing for my own flight home. I expect that as my husband and I board the plane this afternoon with our eleven week old baby, we too will have the opportunity to practice “cooperating with the inevitable.” And maybe we should bring earplugs.

Posted by MaryAnn Means-Dufrene

As Market President for Dale Carnegie North Texas, MaryAnn partners with organizations and individuals to build leadership capacity necessary for breakthrough performance. Through strategic partnerships, she creates customized skill development plans to increase employee engagement, boost individual and team productivity, and develop the kind of leaders people actually want to follow. MaryAnn has tremendous experience in collaborating with organizations in Tarrant County, previously serving as Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth and as Deputy Chief of Staff to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in psychology and earned her Master of Public Administration and Master of Strategic Human Resource Management degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is board chair for Presbyterian Night Shelter, board vice president for Girls Inc of Tarrant County, and serves on the board of directors of Women's Policy Forum and the Central Area Council for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. MaryAnn lives with her husband Matt, son Hogan, and two dogs Deuce and Lovey in Fort Worth, Texas.

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