Day 124. If you find people perceive you as unapproachable you might want to try this technique.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 124. Thursday, July 28, 2011
My office phone rang this afternoon. I looked at the Caller ID. I decided to answer the phone in a very friendly way. Typically when I answer the phone—I’m very serious and perhaps a little too grave.

Finally! My childhood are being put to good use!

It was my boss calling in to check on how things were going at the office. He has been out of town all week for a business meeting and this is the first communication I’ve received from him all week.

Cole: “How are things going Smiling Daffodil?”

Typically I respond to these questions with a simple statement like, “things are fine.”
And usually the conversation crumbles at this point because Cole never knows how to follow up with my very short answer.

But today was different. I responded with my usual “things are fine” statement and then proceeded to give bullet point highlights from the week in an upbeat tone of voice. Cole responded favorably and even mentioned some emails that I sent him this week and thanked me for the updates.

Cole gave me an update on how his meeting was going and we wrapped up the conversation in a positive tone.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used in this very short story is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 13. Begin in a friendly way.

On the surface this story sounds very simple and hardly worth mentioning. But I really am a very quiet, serious individual. It’s not that I’m upset—it’s just that I’m not generally bubbly. Because of my serious demeanor I tend to have a reputation of being unapproachable—which is understandable given my very short responses to questions. So going out of my way to be friendly with my boss on the phone was indeed very important.

My lesson to you is similar to yesterday’s story. If you want people to be friendly to you—you have to be friendly to them. And to do this effectively you must be sincere in your approach—you cannot be fake or flatter the other person because they will see right through your behavior. When you take the sincere, friendly approach you’ll discover other people will have a more positive perception of you, they’ll be less critical and you’ll have fewer reasons to grumble about at the end of the day.

Housekeeping / Notes:
The Smiling Daffodil’s blog has moved into a bigger home!  This will be the last post on this blog hosted by WordPress.  Please visit this very same blog at the new location:

Day 123. Enthusiasm is not only contagious… it produces results.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 123. Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I was on my way to a 2 hour seminar at a community college this morning.

I followed the MapQuest directions—and I estimated I was going to arrive a half hour early. It’s great being prepared.

Except as I made my final turn—I discovered I was turning in to a residential area. I realized the college was nowhere in sight. Was MapQuest wrong?

I double checked the address. I missed a detail. “Preston Park” was the street name. Not “Preston Road”. Who knew there were two streets with the name “Preston” in them? I continued on my journey and probably made more U-turns in one morning than most people do in a week. I was stressed because now my half hour of being early was turning into 15 minutes and I felt the minutes quickly slipping away.

I almost gave up on finding this place and considered going to work. But I told myself I can’t give up. Besides I’ll miss out on learning something new.

Finally… I found my destination. It was an office building. Now where to park? I circled a few times and found the parking garage. I got lost walking in the garage…. and by this time I was 5 minutes late. I considered giving up. But then I thought—no. I’m here… I just have to figure out how to get out of this garage and into the office building.

I composed myself and realized the obvious—take the stairs down. I made it to the office building and found my class on the 4th floor. There were several of us who walked in late so I didn’t feel too horrible.

The class was on email marketing and using social media. My boss has been suggesting I take these courses for awhile now. But until now I had no interest. I do email blasts on a regular basis already. And I have so many tasks on my plate—I really can’t take on too much more without breaking. My workload at times leaves me tired and jaded.

It turned out this 2 hour class, despite being free, was one of the most informative classes I’ve had the opportunity to attend. I left the class with rejuvenated interest and a real enthusiasm to apply the new techniques at work.

Enthusiasm has many uses just like a Swiss Army knife.

When I arrived at work I invited a couple coworkers into my office and I shared what I learned. I was excited and I have a particular enthusiasm that is contagious—I know this because I could see my coworkers around me getting excited and interjecting their ideas. This quiet office was now aflutter with excitement and even more importantly, we were implementing the new ideas now. It wasn’t—“we should”… or “we could” do this… it was let’s do it now!

Before my assistant left for the day she mentioned that she had some additional marketing ideas that she’ll work on this week. This was music to my ears.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 30. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Oftentimes I am so busy with my own work that I don’t do a good enough job motivating those around me at work. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay focused on my own concerns. But today I found that by engaging with my associates—I set the tone for an environment that was more interested and livelier. Individuals wanted to take on new responsibilities and experiment with new ways of marketing—all because I went to a free seminar and came back bubbling with enthusiasm. (good thing I didn’t give up on finding the office building!)

Remember, if you want others to be motivated you have to be motivated yourself. You’ll also find that work is no longer drudgery but a great place to learn, implement new ideas and achieve success as a team.

Day 122. By listening respectfully, I won my associate over to my way of thinking.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 122. Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It was around 3 pm that Carl arrived at work. He walked into my office rather abruptly. “Here are the changes to my manuscript, Smiling Daffodil.”

I looked at Carl with friendliness hoping to get some positive feedback . Instead, Carl dashed out of my office.

I sat at my desk and thumbed through the manuscript. There were a handful of changes. I couldn’t decipher Carl’s handwritten changes that he wanted me to make.

I decided to race to the front door of the building hoping to catch Carl before he left. I hoped to sit down with him and review the changes.

As I was waiting I was thinking through my approach. Carl and I don’t necessarily get along too well. I have a reputation for lacking interpersonal skills….

I said a quick prayer—because I’m really anxious to see this manuscript go to print. The only way this can happen is if I understand the changes. The only way I can understand the changes is by having a friendly dialogue.

Carl approached the front of the building where I was waiting. I gave Carl a warm smile and said—“hi Carl! Do you have time to go over the changes together? I want to be sure I make the changes correctly.”

Carl’s demeanor was friendlier than when he was in my office.

We flipped through each page… I asked questions and made notes.

We reached one section in the manuscript and Carl said—“these images are pointless. I’m going to send new images.”

He proceeded to explain how much better his images would be.

I listened patiently.

You see—he was insulting images that I took great care in putting together. I even sought the advice of another coworker to make sure these particular images explained a technical concept correctly because the concept was over my head.

After listening to Carl’s explanation—I began, “Carl, understand I don’t know anything about the subject matter in this book…”

Carl interrupted—“nonsense, yes you do!”

I continued, “Well, I’m really not an expert in the least. But in putting the book together, this particular chapter was very technical. For someone who doesn’t understand the subject matter—I thought these images—although they conveyed a basic concept—might be helpful to beginners reading your book. I could be wrong—but it sounds like the images you are going to send are going to demonstrate an entirely different concept that comes up later in the chapter.”

Carl listened and said in a friendly tone, “yes you’re right. Go ahead and leave your images and I’ll send my images that will be used in a different section.”

We continued going through the manuscript and Carl even commented that I did a good job conveying a particular concept in another chapter. I thanked him and admitted it was hard to do but I was pleased with the outcome.

Don’t leave the outcome of meetings up to chance. Implement Dale Carnegie’s principles.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

My approach before taking the Dale Carnegie course is to argue or shut down when I disagree. But today I was able to see the value of letting the other person do most of the talking. I let Carl know I deferred to his judgment and insisted on writing down verbatim the text changes he wanted. I did all this sincerely and with a positive attitude. The outcome was a very cooperative author who felt important and was willing to do some work by providing new images in the next few days.

My lesson to you—you probably have similar “Carls” in your life—and in many ways we all behave this way. We all like to feel important. We like to be heard. Give these individuals an opportunity to do a great deal of the talking—even if you disagree with what they are saying or they are insulting your work. Listen to their words instead of thinking of what you are going to argue back. Then when you have an opportunity to speak—don’t attack. Ask more questions to clarify, then give your perspective. This approach will lead to a friendlier dialogue and in my case—progress on the manuscript.

Will this approach work with every Carl? Maybe not—but it’s worth trying instead of beginning a conversation by saying the other person is wrong.

Housekeeping / Notes
Thanks for reading my blog!

Day 121. By focusing on one blessing today… more came tumbling after.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 121. Monday, July 25, 2011
I was sitting in Mass on Sunday when the priest asked, “what do all of us seek?”

My first thought: fame. (I figured God knows my thoughts—why try to conceal them.)

The priest answered the rhetorical question—“we all want to matter to someone. We are all seeking love.

I smiled to myself – well, yes, in a roundabout way, I guess that’s what I really meant….

This morning I busted into my co-worker’s office with the biggest grin. Look! I have proof that a complete stranger is reading my blog!

Needle in haystack
It’s like finding a needle in a haystack

I immediately looked at my co-worker perplexed. How did this person find me? I’m just a piece of dust on the Internet. I’m nobody. Yet… this person is reading my blog. And this person chose to “Like” me on Facebook. She’s my second fan and I don’t even know her!

My co-worker looked at me and said—just accept it. You’re not invisible. I left his office grinning ear to ear—admiring my iPhone that was displaying my one “Like” on my Facebook page.

I chatted with my friend again. “You know… I’m a bit embarrassed. It’s like inviting everyone to a dinner party but not having any food ready. I don’t have appetizers to serve for my one guest! The curtains to my new Facebook home aren’t even up! Nothing is ready!”

It was around this time I started sifting through Monday morning email. That’s when the balance to my day happened. Three challenging individuals from the past resurfaced today… on a Monday no less! I was absolutely stunned. As I read the email I could feel my forehead wrinkling—my whole expression probably said disgust.

Before taking the Dale Carnegie course I would have let these three people drag me down for the rest of the day. I would have reflected on the past business relationships we had with these individuals and would have questioned why we are bothering with them again.

Thankfully, I had the opportunity to take the Dale Carnegie course and this blog also keeps me in check. I decided to dig my heels in deep and think of one good thing about today.

I began to grin ear to ear as I thought of my one Facebook Fan.

The day took a variety of twists and turns—with more stress at work. But I kept holding on to one good thing about today: my one Facebook fan.

I drove home today trying to figure out what I would write about in today’s blog. All I could think about was a strong wish to say thank you to the stranger who decided to “Like” my Facebook page. You were fan number 2… a very brave move considering there’s not much to see on my page. And what’s more—I want you to know how that one act absolutely made my day—and gave me something positive to focus on instead of the difficulties at work.

And… you also gave me the courage to reach out to my friends and ask them to “Like” my page. At the present moment… I’m at a stunning quantity… 9!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this story are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t worry about the past.
Count your blessings – not your troubles.

Without going into detail—I assure you—this day could have really been bad. Having these three business associates back in my life is a real challenge—and will really test my ability to use the Dale Carnegie principles. By focusing on my blessings—in this case—a bona fide fan on my Facebook page—I took control of my day. I was absolutely determined to have a good day and not let these individuals from the past drag me down.

So remember—the blessings in your life are just what you need to keep your outlook positive. Focus on them rather than the negative individuals and circumstances in your life. Today, I proved this technique works and I am confident it will work for you.

Thank you everyone who has chosen to “Like” my page.

Housekeeping / Notes:
I am so thrilled to tell you that a friend has volunteered to be a Guest Blogger!  More information is coming soon.

For those new to the blog—new blogs are usually posted between 10 pm…. 3 am every night/morning.  Depending on when I’m able to post—they may appear to be dated one day off.  I am always racing a clock.

Day 120. It only took 119 days for me to accept I need to read a manual.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 120. Sunday, July 24, 2011

After 119 days I decided to break down and read some online resources on how to manage a WordPress blog. Until now I have accepted some very tedious quirks when cutting and pasting my text from Microsoft Word into the WordPress blog.

I usually spend a few minutes “cleaning” the text—by removing extra mysterious spaces between paragraphs, correcting really bazaar fonts that are selected automatically and making certain text bold.

After the first few minutes of reading the blog tutorial I learned some time saving lessons. I learned the blog uses XHTML code—not HTML. If I had known this on Saturday, I would have saved myself several hours of trial and error when I was trying to set up a new page. It’s not that I know how to code in XHTML—but knowing this information would have prevented me from trying to place HTML code when it absolutely would not have produced the desired results.

And in the interest of full disclosure I don’t really know how to code in HTML either—but I know my way around FrontPage adequately so I pretend I know how to code.

After reading more on the tutorials—I learned the reason why my text wasn’t remaining bold or italicized when I cut and pasted. Apparently, proper coding means you have to open and close a tag.

Well, the next obvious question. What the heck is a tag and how do I open and close it?

This led to another HTML/XHTML website that gave endless pages of tutorials on everything you ever wanted to know about writing code.

I really have no intention of being an expert. I just want to write a blog and post it efficiently. But I decided to roll up my sleeves and try to code from scratch without the use of FrontPage.

Easy as pie

The outcome… an actual posting that I didn’t have to “clean up” after I cut and pasted.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.

Instead of wasting additional time by blindly guessing how to post a blog page efficiently with minimal “clean up” time—I decided the best option was to read tutorials. Once I did this—I’ll be honest—everything didn’t magically come together. But after more educated trial and error I was able to solve some problems that have plagued me for 119 days.

So remember, a hands-on approach is admirable—but it’s in your best interest to get as much information first before trying to put something together that you have limited experience in doing. Try doing that dreaded task of reading a manual or asking a willing friend for help. This way you won’t waste 119 days like I did. Now I know how to make text bold and create a paragraph properly using code. 🙂

Day 119. A trip to Walmart during the graveyard shift is a great opportunity to use a Dale Carnegie principle….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 119. Saturday, July 23, 2011
Before going to the gym this evening I stopped at Walmart to buy some toothpaste.

I was standing in line to pay—and I noticed the cashier was the usual young woman that works the late night shift. We’ve never spoken on familiar or friendly terms. I’m just another face among the customers that shop during the graveyard shift.

She rang me up, I paid and I asked her name. “Jennifer” she said. I replied—‘ah, Jennifer—I see you regularly, I figure I might as well learn your name!”

Favorite snack

I went to the gym—had a great workout and was quite hungry. All I could think about was how good Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal would taste. I made a second stop to Walmart to buy my cereal. I wondered if Jennifer would remember that I was just there about two hours ago.

Sure enough she did.

She looked at me and said “you’re back!”

I explained my strange night owl habit of going to the gym. Then I said—“and I remember your name is Jennifer!” This really made her smile.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

These Dale Carnegie principles get easier the more often you use them. I used to worry that asking a complete stranger’s name would seem a bit creepy and that the person would get the wrong impression. But now it’s pretty simple to do and the reward is a more human experience wherever I go—yes, even at a Walmart.

The lesson I hope you have gathered—no matter the station in life—we are all human and respond pretty much the same way. Ask a person his/her name and that person’s demeanor toward you will change for the better. It takes little effort for your part but yields positive results.


Day 118. I’m living la vida loca… I’m going to live in a day-tight compartment ALL weekend.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 118. Friday, July 21, 2011

All I could think about today was it’s Friday… I get to play on my new blog after work! Yay!

So this evening I fumbled through trying to figure out how to log in to my new blog.

Information Overload

I’m still not entirely sure which blog people are reading—the old or new. I’m loading content to both as a precaution. My techie friend tried to explain something about DNS and propagation… I dunno. All I know is that a friend clear across the planet effortlessly went to my new site—while I can’t seem to get on locally.

Everything is new. Everything has changed. I am completely, unutterably lost in cyberspace with widgets, templates, site analytics, RSS feeds, Face book links and who knows what else. I miss my old home—my trusty blog with very limited features. To make matters worse I made the mistake of updating my internet Explorer last night. I can’t even surf the Internet the same way—there are extra buttons and toolbars to weed out.

All I really want to do is write, photograph, post my work on a blog and hope someone reads it. Now I think I need a degree in Blog Management. As I told my friend Bellmont—I feel like a turtle that is spinning upside down.

I think there will be recurring Dale Carnegie themes used this weekend from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Live in day-tight compartments.
Cooperate with the inevitable.

I want EVERYTHING set up NOW. But clearly I’m going to have to sit tight and accept my blog will be under construction for awhile until I can figure out all the features. I have to minimize the frustration and information overload by taking my time in setting up the pages and learning the features.  And let’s be practical—this is all self-induced stressed. This is just a silly little blog.

So my lesson to you—take a deep breath when you feel like there’s information overload. Do your best to work through a task systematically rather than scatter your attention in a disorganized manner. By focusing your energy you’ll be able to see steady progress and this success will give you the motivation you need to continue to chip away at the task. Before you know it—the task will be complete and you will have gained new experience and knowledge in the process.

Day 117. Sometimes you must live in a day-tight compartment on a good day… who’d have thunk!

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 117. Thursday, July 21, 2011
I was like a kid in a candy store today. Or better yet, a child on Christmas morning ready to tear into the presents wrapped neatly under the Christmas tree.

Granted, I purchased my own gifts and I’m not entirely sure what I bought. I just told my expert techie friend to make it happen. And he did.

Hello World! I’m on a new server!

You see, I transferred my blog to a new server. It’s like moving out of my parents’ home and into my own home. This means my blog has independence, freedom and the potential for many new features. I can even have my own custom email address. I am bubbling with excitement as I type that last sentence.

The catch to all of this—there’s a learning curve. I can’t believe I’m going to say this—but I have to live in a day-tight compartment. I have to exercise self-control and not stay up all night trying to learn all the new features that come with being on a new server. And to compound the matter I’m not sure if my new website will automatically load when you click on my link or if you’ll be taken to my old page on WordPress. These are questions that really should be answered tonight—yet, I’m going to take a DEEP breath and let it go until Friday and the weekend.

The Dale Carnegie principle I am using is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Live in “day-tight compartments”.

I never realized that this principle would be necessary on a good day. But given my exuberance for a new server location, new features, new custom email addresses, etc—and very few hours left to this day—I’m going to have to contain my excitement until this weekend when I have more time. I have an important campaign to launch tomorrow at work and it’s in my best interest to rest.

So remember, although you may have the enthusiasm and the ability – remind yourself that Rome was not built in a day and you don’t have to prove it can be. By taking your time and doing things systematically you will avoid careless mistakes, rework and you get the benefit that comes with rest.

Day 116. Don’t let anyone rain on your parade of happiness.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 116.  Wednesday, July 20, 2011
This morning I reviewed work that my team put together.  I was giddy with excitement.  They did a wonderful job.  What amazed me most was their ability to make my humble product photos look professional.  My original photos were HORRIBLE.  I marvel at how they fix my lighting problems with Photoshop. 

I was so thrilled I had to show Harper, an associate from another department. 

Smiling Daffodil:  “Oh my gosh—look at the work that Bellmont did for us!  I wish I had his skill Harper!”

Harper:  “I could show you how he did it all day long.  You’d realize it’s not a magic wand he has—it’s skill.”

Smiling Daffodil:  “Wow!  Will you really show me Harper?  I would love to learn how Bellmont and his team crops and cleans the photos.  But don’t worry, I’ll just take a half day—not a whole day!”

Harper:  “Smiling Daffodil—people study years to learn what I do.  It’s not something you learn right away.”

Smiling Daffodil:  “Oh.”

I realized I stepped right into it.  I didn’t mean to.  I sincerely thought my associate would show me a few tips and tricks on how to use software that I’m not very familiar with.  I don’t expect to become an expert in graphic design—but I like to learn new things—especially from people that have the experience.  Even the simplest of functions in the software is amazing and new to me.

Protect yourself from people that rain on your parade of happiness.

Normally, I would have dug my heels in deep, rolled up my sleeves, put on my boxing gloves and argued back with this associate.  Instead I took a deep breath and realized it wasn’t worth it.  My morning began on a good note and I wasn’t going to let anyone rain on my parade of happiness.  Besides—just looking at the files that Bellmont and his team put together put a smile on my face.  I decided to show my boss the work.  She loved it!

The Dale Carnegie principle I used in this story are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living: 
Never try to get even with your enemies.
Do not imitate others.

From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 10.  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. 

I am a stubborn individual who will argue a point just out of principle.  But today I reminded myself that the end result would be frustration and my associate would still think I was wrong and I would still think he was wrong.  Time and energy would be wasted.  So I backed off, showed the finished project to my boss who really does matter—and continued merrily on with my day.  And I’m thinking of making lemonade from Harper’s words.  Maybe I should enroll in a course or two on graphic design. 

Remember, there are individuals in your workplace, home, school, etc that will never sincerely share in your happiness.  Be aware of them, be respectful of them and their perspectives and don’t let them squash the happiness out of your life.  When you take this approach you’ll control your happiness and you’ll continue your day in a productive, constructive manner.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Thank you for reading my blog.  You, my readers, motivate me to give you my best. Just don’t ask me to Photoshop anything.  Ha.