Day 95. My approach to dealing with a broken iPhone required using Dale Carnegie principles


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 95.  Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I was placing my iPhone in my purse this morning when it slipped and fell on my tile floor.  I quickly picked up my phone talking gently to it…. “you’re ok phone. You’re going to be alright…”

I looked at it and it seemed fine.  The screen wasn’t cracked.  I was able to turn it on, check my email, etc.  I drove into work happily.

As I pulled into the parking lot at work I noticed my phone indicated “No Service.”

I considered what I believed the logical explanations for this problem:
Did I forget to pay the bill?  No.  Besides… it’s 9:40am—I’m doubtful the phone company pulls the plug at such a random time. 

Then I considered the possibility of sunspots affecting the satellites.  (Yes, I’m that crazy)

Well, the sunspot theory went out the window once I heard the beeps and dings coming from everyone’s iPhones at work.  I looked down at my phone eagerly waiting for a sign of life—and all I got was dead silence.

This is the time to dust off Dale Carnegie’s “live in day-tight compartments” principle.  Taking this approach is the complete opposite of my personality but I did my best to apply it anyway.

I even decided to accept the inevitable.  What’s the worst that can happen?  My phone is broken and I have to get a new phone.  I’ve been wanting an excuse to upgrade phones anyway…

Then there’s the small issue of my 2000+ photos that I have on my phone.  I haven’t backed up recently.  This was a big test of my ability to live in a day-tight compartment.  I reminded myself that the resolution quality of the photos isn’t as good as the photos I take with my regular digital camera.  So what’s the big deal?

Well, soon enough I got distracted with the pleasures of work—of all things!  My associate wanted some advice on choosing colors for an upcoming project she was making.  She even invited me to make a project.  So I did.  I became so enthralled and focused on my work that I didn’t spend a moment thinking about my iPhone and my lost photos. 

By evening I had put in a full day of work and was still enthralled with my task of making a project that I chose to stay late.  (as opposed to getting on the tollway and racing home to try and fix my iPhone).  I ended up making TWO projects instead of one—which was quite satisfying. 

When I finally did leave the office—I had my iPhone next to me.  That’s when my day was taking a downturn. I would glance down and see its blackened screen.  Traffic became stressful.  It was also terribly hot—it was a warm 97 degrees at 9:30pm.    I was hungry.  I was tired.  I was upset because my iPhone would not wake up.

That’s when I appreciated the value of keeping busy to avoid worrying.  I had been so busy at work today that I didn’t have time to worry about my phone.  But the moment my mind was left free to wander my thoughts quickly turned to my broken phone and every other conceivable annoyance.

The Dale Carnegie principles I was being thrust into today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Live in “day-tight compartments”
Keep busy.

This was one of my last photos taken on my iPhone since the last backup. Got to love irony!

Today was not an easy day.  But I found that by keeping busy I was able to distract myself from my troubles and worries.  When you find yourself burdened by worry, fear or doubt—it helps to stay busy.  Put your worries in a “box” so to speak and engage in some activity.  In my case I had two projects that kept me busy.  When you take this approach you are able to use your time in a productive, healthy manner and you might gain some perspective in the process. You might even be able to find some humor in the day.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Today is your lucky day!  Guest blogger, “Tyrone” shares a story about his recent trip to the library and how he applied Dale Carnegie’s principles.  Click here to read his post.

Day 94. I was enthusiastic over a hotdog….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 94.  Tuesday, June 28, 2011
This morning my associate asked me to photograph a holiday table runner. (if you’re not in to decorating—a table runner is a linen you would place on a table for decoration).

My specialty is photographing butterflies, spiders, flowers—basically anything in nature.   Clearly a table runner is not any of these things.  And to make matters worse—the table runner needs props—like a nice table, maybe a plate of cookies, or perhaps props to suggest a picnic or 4th of July cookout… like a hamburger or hotdog….

My heart sank as I thought about having to do this task.  I don’t have any of these props—and this is not my area of expertise.  This is why we use a professional studio for these types of products—because we just aren’t equipped to do this ourselves.

I decided I couldn’t avoid the task even though I felt this was beyond my skill level. I started scouting the office building for a nice table and various other props I could use for this photograph.  It was a real stretch of the imagination—we have office furniture like filing cabinets, desks and shelves—not picnic tables, or side tables or 4th of July props. 

I managed to find a nice oak finish table but the shot looked pretty boring.  I needed a festive plate of cookies or something.  I went to the kitchen to see what I could “borrow”. 

That’s when I spotted them on the counter… hot dog buns from a recent company cookout.  Then I checked the refrigerator… yes!  I found an unopened package of Hebrew National Hotdogs!  But wait… it gets better.  Mustard!  Potato chips! 

My thoughts were racing as I grabbed all the food and took everything to my little photography studio.  I thought I could get away with just throwing all the props on the table runner and taking a photo.  But I really needed to set up a hotdog in a bun with potato chips on the side.  The scene I was creating had to look authentic. 

I tracked down the owner of the hotdogs for permission to use one for my photo shoot.  He looked at me with amusement and said—“that’s an unusual request.  Go for it Smiling Daffodil.” 

So I did.  I prepared my plate of food to use as a prop—a cold hotdog in a bun with mustard.  It was a thing of beauty.  I think everyone in the office thought this time I really lost my mind.  But I was having ridiculous fun. 

I set my plate of food on the table runner and snapped photos.  The scene was good considering I’ve had little experience or success with these types of scenes.

Oh, the perks of being a "photographer" today! After the photo shoot I got to eat the props. Tomorrow I'm hoping to photograph a steak!

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

Today I photographed a hotdog on a table runner with enthusiasm and it shows.  If I had thrown my hands up in the air in defeat before even starting I would have failed.  Instead I decided to do my best and make this task fun and creative. 

My lesson to you—if I can get excited over a hotdog—imagine what you can do!  Put enthusiasm into your work—and you might just discover success will come naturally. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
Mark your calendars for Guest Blog Wednesday!  (for new arrivals— all my blogs get posted sometime between 11 pm – 3 am.  Guest Blog Wednesday
theoretically happens on Thursday). 

Catch up on past blogs, reread your favorites or look at past blog photos by clicking here

Writers needed!  If I can write about a hotdog I am certain you have an even better story to share.  Just pick any of the Dale Carnegie principles (they are at the bottom of each of my blogs—and tell me how you have applied the principle.  That’s it!  If you are reading this blog—I am certain you know how to reach me.  Post a comment, email or send an instant message.  Or try the old fashioned way— talk to me face to face.  Ha.

Thank you for reading.  (Yes, the final photo with the actual table runner looks much better than the photo featured here…)

Day 93. A visit to Starbucks reminded me to dust off some Dale Carnegie principles….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 93.  Monday, June 27, 2011
This morning a friend of mine, “Melanie” announced she was engaged.  This piece of news threw me off—and not for the reasons you might suspect. 

I am a detail-oriented person.  I like to fit puzzle pieces together. 

Instead of jumping up and down or smiling ear to ear—I was struck by the irony.  I had just visited some friends two days ago.  They asked about Melanie and if she was engaged or married yet.  This is not a common topic of discussion so the timing of these events was fascinating to me.  But understand—all of these ponderings were going on in my head. 

On the bright side I did have the decency to smile and congratulate my friend. 

Somehow we got completely off topic and after ten minutes we had covered a variety of topics—none of which had to do with the engagement or the wedding. 

Later that morning I was standing in line at my favorite little coffee shop.  I was thinking about my friend’s engagement.  I realized I probably messed up with my low key reaction. I’m not the type to jump up and down with excitement – yet I felt bad that I didn’t for my friend’s sake.  I didn’t have 101 questions about the wedding—mainly because I was too focused on the irony that she was a recent topic of discussion.

Yummy cake pops from Starbucks.

I tried to see things from my friend’s perspective.  The fact that she told me immediately this morning indicated this was at the top of her list.  I wanted to find a way to make the day special for her. I decided to order a special pastry at Starbucks—something I order only on important occasions or when I really have a bad day….

I returned to the office with a cellophane bag with the special pastry.  My friend looked at me and asked, “what’s this?”

I replied, “this is a cake pop from Starbucks to celebrate your engagement.”

She smiled and thanked me. 

Later that afternoon Melanie said to me, “Wow! This pastry tastes great!”

I said—”so glad you liked it.  I joked with her saying I got the “Birthday Cake” version even though I know you prefer chocolate.  I just couldn’t bear to buy the “Rocky Road” cake pop to celebrate your engagement.  I wouldn’t want to jinx your marriage!”

Melanie smiled and said, “good thinking.”

The Dale Carnegie principles I usually forget to use is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 9.  Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people. 

When I realized my lack of enthusiasm and excitement for my friend I felt really bad.  I’m not a naturally boisterous, outspoken individual—nor am I the touchy, feely, hugging type.  I’m more the over-thinking, detail-oriented, stoic type.  But this engagement is a milestone for my friend and should be celebrated.  I did what I could in a sincere way to celebrate her day.  It wasn’t just a cake pop—it was the right cake pop for the occasion—a cake pop to celebrate my friend entering a new stage in her life—while also leaving rocky roads with challenging relationships where they belong… in the past. 

So my lesson to you—yes, there is one somewhere in this story…

There is a way to be yourself while also becoming interested in other people and making them feel important.  If you are anyone but yourself—neither of these two principles will work because your words and actions won’t be sincere.  When you take this approach you will find people will not only accept you, your quirks and imperfections—they will be drawn to you—because of your sincere interest in them. 

I hope this makes sense. 

Housekeeping / Notes
Mark your calendars!  This Wednesday is Guest Blogger Wednesday! 
If you missed last Wednesday’s guest blog post by Esteban, here’s your chance to catch up.  Click here.

If you’ve been busy or are new to the blog, I have a handy archives section set up for you to catch up on past blog posts.  Click here.

Day 92. Step one– get all the facts before jumping to conclusions. Step two– repeat step one….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 92.  Sunday, June 26, 2011
I woke up to the sound of a weed whacker.  Although I only had 4 ½ hours of sleep I was wide awake.  My neighbor must be using Dale Carnegie’s principle to subtly give me a hint that my backyard is a disaster. 

I decided I better get up and face the jungle that is my backyard.  I have a feeling my jungle is encroaching on my neighbor’s backyard.  A few years ago I decided to treat myself to the most amazing plant I’ve ever seen.  It’s called a Passion Flower vine—and it’s true to its name. 

Out of control

It grows with such passion and enthusiasm…. in the middle of my lawn…. in my neighbor’s backyard…. everywhere. 

Passion flower

The blooms, the fragrance and the butterflies are the tradeoff for the enthusiastic takeover of my backyard.  I just can’t bring myself to get rid of the vine.  But I must admit by the time it’s summer I give up on the vine and count the days for the first frost so that nature can destroy it for the season. 

I went outside to deal with the jungle.  Except now I didn’t hear any weed whackers, lawnmowers or any signs of life in the neighborhood.  I assumed the worst—that my neighbors were irritated with me.  But I was mistaken. 

I figured since I was up I might as well do my best to trim the vine.  By the time I was finished cutting it away I was drenched—it gets rather hot during the summers in Texas.  I was too late to attend church in the morning so I planned on going in the evening.

I got cleaned up and went to the nail salon.  I was getting my nails done—in my favorite deep dark purple color when I felt myself turning white as a ghost.  I was on the verge of passing out. 

My first thought, “Lord, is this punishment for not going to church in the morning?  I’m going to go in the evening.  I won’t skip Mass.  There have only been two documented cases of me not going to church—once when I was a sick as a kid and the other time when I was recovering from my wisdom teeth being removed.”

I hoped God believed my sincerity that I’d follow through and go in the evening.  First the rebellious dark nail polish, now church in the evening… what’s next? 

Well, the woman painting my nails must have noticed me turning white.  She offered me water and asked, “Smiling Daffodil, have you eaten?”

The thought had not occurred to me.  “No… I haven’t.  That’s probably it.”

I reviewed the facts: 
– Heavy yard work this morning in the very hot sun
– Lack of sleep
– An intense workout at the gym around midnight
– My last meal sometime around 9 pm the night before

Yes…odds are these factors were causing my light-headedness today.

She brought me water and I did my best to stay calm.  I think the smell of the nail polish kept me from passing out. 

My nails were complete and I drove home amused.  Clearly, for all my efforts to use the Dale Carnegie principles I continue to assume the worst and let the worst get the best of me.  I assumed my neighbors were up in arms with my jungle-style backyard.  I assumed God was punishing me for going to evening Mass instead of morning Mass.  Looking back, I am the cause of undo stress!

The principle I am slow to use is from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.

Learn from my mistakes.  When you are faced with worry, doubt or a decision you must make—get all the facts first.  When you take this approach you’re in a better position to face your troubles more objectively and with a sound mind. 

Addition
Within an hour of me writing this piece—I was texting an associate from work.  It was a positive conversation.  But then out of nowhere he sent a frowning emoticon 😦  I wondered why he did this.  Then my thoughts went back to a marketing campaign I did that bombed.  Oh man.  That sad emoticon he sent is the result of my failure on the campaign.  My thoughts then went to tomorrow—Monday…and the possibility of being called into a meeting to discuss the failure.  It was at this point I did my best to pull myself out of my spiraling downturn of thoughts.  I reminded myself I did my best on the campaign.  We all did our best. 

At this point it was time to go to evening Mass.  I checked my phone and there was a text message.  My associate responded back—“oops—I didn’t mean to send a frown emoticon.  I meant a smiley face.” 

That’s when I thought—geesh.  When will I learn!

Housekeeping / Notes:
Today is the perfect day to catch up on past blogs you have missed. Click here for the Archives section.

Day 91. He did not judge a book by its cover… and it paid off.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 91.  Saturday, June 25, 2011
What am I going to wear today?  I was frantically searching for something “professional” looking to wear.  I can’t wear jeans or shorts—I have to dress the part—I have to look like the title I have at work.

I had to be at a convention about 50 miles away.  The ever important question of why I volunteered to attend this event was lingering in the back of my mind.  The best I could come up with—I care too much.

I drove as fast as I could within the speed limit (give or take).  I was running terribly late.  I was worried the event would be closed by the time I arrived.

I pulled into the parking lot at the convention center at 3:15 and noticed a sign that said parking was 15 dollars.  What?  Are you out of your mind?  I rolled down my window ready to argue but the attendant said I arrived so late that parking was free.  Nice!

I raced into the convention center and noticed the ticket counter was closed.  I turned and looked at the two “guards” at the Expo door and I smiled.  They said I arrived so late that I could get in free.  Nice!

I passed all the booths in the Expo hall and made my way to the one booth I drove 50 miles to visit.  By this time I was out of breath and “glistening” (it was 100 degrees today) and I’m certain I hardly looked like the professional individual that my title implies I’m supposed to be.  What I did have going for me was a sincere smile. 

I smiled at Enrique.  Enrique was so relieved to see me.  He had been anxious and worried I would not arrive.  (I was there to pick up one of his products). 

We hugged and chatted for awhile.  Actually—we chatted until the event closed.  Enrique has a good reputation and some great products that I am enamored with.  His face lights up—and he’s incredulous that I have such high regard for his products.  I like to point out the specific reasons why I like his products—they are superior quality, they are unique, etc.  I’m always stunned by his reaction that my opinion means that much to him.  

As we wrapped up I told him I’d be interested in featuring at least two of his new products to our customers and I told him I’d be in touch in the coming weeks.  He loaded me down with free product samples and thanked me for stopping by. 

A blank journal I picked up in Spain and a Dale Carnegie book I won...

One of the aspects I like about my job is the opportunity to make someone’s day.  If you were to look at me and then look at my title you’d quickly recognize the mismatch. For those that can get past this—there is great opportunity. 

Enrique is one of these individuals. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 5.  Smile.

Enrique produces great products and appreciates the support I give him through my company.  I appreciate the fact that he recognizes and values what we do for him by giving us superior products that our customers love.  He does not give us mediocre products. He gives us his best so that we can give our customers our best. 

Everyone wins.

I hope you gather the following lesson from this story:  if you value, like or appreciate a person or something that a person has done for you—don’t be afraid to tell him or her.

Enrique’s surprised reaction made me realize that he probably doesn’t receive praise or recognition for his work enough from other individuals.  When I left him in his booth—he was walking on air—he was so happy with my words of praise and encouragement. 

When you take this approach you will build loyal, appreciative and understanding business partners and friends who will stick with you through the good, the bad and even those days where the temperature is 100 degrees and you look like the sun melted you.  

And if you ever show up late to an event, an appointment or work… try smiling!

Day 90. This story almost had an unhappy ending until I figured out how to make lemonade from lemons…


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 90.  Friday, June 24, 2011

Preface:
I had a story about letting someone save face on Thursday—but decided to post a different blog topic.  In retrospect the “saving face” story was meant to be told today….

——–
I was talking to an associate on Thursday.  His face looked green—he seemed absolutely sick.  It turns out he made an expensive, careless mistake. 

Before taking the Dale Carnegie course I would have let the person save face.  But in my mind I would have been thinking… you careless fool!  Hope you learned your lesson.

Fortunately, I have taken the Dale Carnegie course and I handled the circumstance differently.  I let my associate save face—and I didn’t think anything ill of him.  I empathized with him and tried to come up with solutions to this expensive blunder. 

Friday was going really well—by the afternoon I had finished my primary task for the day and I was really proud of the results. I was confident—perhaps a little bold in thinking I had done a profoundly good job.  What a great day… I might have to revisit Mcdonald’s for a strawberry lemonade to celebrate.  (You might remember last Friday was horrible)

By the end of the day I had a list of blog topics that I felt were pretty stellar—and they were all very positive.  I didn’t have to make lemonade from lemons today!

Before I went home I analyzed some reports and realized one of my marketing campaigns did not do well.  Let’s be honest—by my calculations the campaign bombed.  It crashed.  It burned. 

I felt dejected as I drove home.  I worked hard on the campaign.  This was my baby.  My heart was in this campaign. 

Since it was my campaign—I felt completely responsible.  I felt sick the entire drive home.

 I tried to remember 99 percent of this day was great—but that darn 1 percent.  It made the entire day sour.  And now I’m facing the weekend.  I know I will chew on this failure the entire weekend. 

I knew I had to take quick action against my thought process.  I tried.  But I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide for an extended period of time—perhaps a week…maybe a month…

I decided to review the facts.  Did I do my best?  Yes.  And I wasn’t trying to fool myself.  I really did. My team and I put extra effort into this campaign.  I went through each of the features we added to make this campaign something we were proud of.  I kept telling myself—I did my best.  I did my best.

Then I remembered Thursday’s events.  I did not point out, mock or criticize my associate for his expensive mistake.  Although he admitted he did not do his best—I did not participate in making him feel worse than he already did. 

Somehow I was able to piece together two isolated events to find my peace.

Whereas my associate was honestly able to admit he had not done his best—an honest analysis of my work does indicate my team and I really did do our best on the marketing campaign. 

Fight for your happiness. Work hard to gain a new perspective.

I smiled as I drove in to McDonald’s for dinner.  After all, today just wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t have my hard earned strawberry lemonade.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Live in “day-tight compartments.”
Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more.
Analyze your own mistakes and criticize yourself.
Do the very best you can.

I knew the potential disaster of me bearing the burden of a failure for the entire weekend.  I knew this was an occasion that I would have to fight for my happiness and not let circumstances beyond my control drag me down.  In the big picture—yes, it’s a shame the campaign did not do stellar.  But it doesn’t mean I have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders or spend an entire evening or weekend dwelling on the matter.  If we slapped this project together without any thought, care or effort—then yes I would have reason to be disappointed in myself—but even then it’s not worth an entire weekend of feeling regret or dejection.

So, my lesson to you—always do your best.  It is true your best might not produce the results you had expected.  But I assure you that doing your best and falling short of success is easier to deal with than doing a mediocre job and living with the regret that you were too disinterested, distracted, lazy, etc to put effort into a task that you can be proud of.

Day 89. It took 10 years for me to figure this out. Learn from my mistakes.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 89.  Thursday, June 23, 2011
You might remember the Day 81 entry where I sewed the most fabulous pillow because Seth and Stefano gave me the encouragement to try.  Well a lot has happened since then….

Feed the Fire of Enthusiasm

I am up to 6 finished pillows, 2 pillows-in-progress and a potential wall hanging….This does not include the projects in my mind that are just bursting for the opportunity to come to life….I guess you could say I am the mad scientist of sewing… or at least pillow making.  Even the other night I had a dream I sewed myself into a pillow….

My enthusiasm led me to approach my associate Roberta, who was buried with a pile of paperwork this afternoon. 

Smiling Daffodil:
“Excuse me Roberta, before today is over will you show me how to sew this fancy yarn and cording?”

Roberta:
“Oh my!  Yes I will!  Your grandmother would be so jealous of me, Smiling Daffodil!  I’ll be happy to show you.”

So this evening once our regular boring “office” work was complete, Roberta pulled out the special sewing machine foot for sewing yarns and other specialty fibers.  Roberta had a very long, stressful day yet she was eager to teach me this new sewing technique. 

She shared tips and invited me to use any of her specialty yarns and fibers.  (Her willingness to let me use any of her materials always stuns me.  She never says you can use this material but not that.  Or here, use this cheap, ugly material—the other material is too expensive for you to use.)

She was absolutely enthusiastic and excited to teach me.  As I listened to Roberta, I couldn’t help but think of Dale Carnegie’s principles.  I didn’t set out to use a principle but somehow I unlocked the magic of a particular principle:

From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people.

I had taken the time to become interested in sewing—and what really made the difference is that I involved Roberta in this process.  By taking interest and asking Roberta for help, advice and tips—both parties got what they wanted.  I wanted to learn some new techniques, feel creative and succeed in my sewing endeavors.  She got to share her expertise with me.  She got to feel important. 

The outcome is greater than meets the eye. 

I am happy because I get to create.  I am also happy because she sees I am happy.  (Actually, the entire building senses my explosion of happiness and benefits from it).

She is happy because she gets to teach an associate—she gets to feel important.  She is also happy because she sees me happy.  (Actually, the entire building benefits from this).

The bigger picture is a happier work environment, greater productivity and greater profitability.  

So remember, although you might be capable of learning something on your own through trial and error—sometimes it serves everyone’s interests if you ask for help from an expert.  More often than not—someone is willing to teach you—they derive their feeling of importance by being considered an expert.  You get the benefit of learning how to do something the right way.  The result is relationship building, discovering new opportunities for making money and more importantly your own happiness.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Don’t forget to read this week’s guest blog post by my buddy Esteban.  I think his blog demonstrates the great opportunity parents have to teach their children.  Click here to read.

Day 89: San Quentin, rotting fish and Dale Carnegie’s principle– “don’t fuss about trifles.”


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 89.  Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Last week I noticed one of my blog posts appeared when someone used a search engine.  This was not unusual.  But the phrase that the person used was unusual.  Someone typed the phrase:  “Why can’t you wear jeans at San Quentin?”  and my blog appeared in the results.  I have no idea how that happened.  It is true—sometimes it feels like I am in a prison—but I’ve never verbalized it.  (Oops!)

This morning I woke up and reached for my iPhone to review stats and search engine terms for my blog.  Sure enough—someone did a search and my blog post appeared in the results.  Although I was half asleep at the time—the phrase startled me completely awake:  “Dale Carnegie rot”.   

Rot?  

I thought—maybe someone can’t spell?  But I couldn’t think of an alternative word that was also positive… rotten, Rottweiler….

Since I was wide awake I got up and ready for the day.    

“Rot?”  I mean really?  I thought about the word way too much. 

I considered shutting down the lemonade stand—also known as my blog.  Someone thinks my stories are rot….

I struggled finding something to wear today.  I considered the fact that I have missed the gym for 5 days now.  I feel huge.  My blog and work are keeping me too busy to have time for the gym.  As it is I’m going to bed around 2 am.  I’m blissfully happy and productive but I’m also sleepy and I feel chunky. 

Maybe I should shut down the blog.  But then I remembered today is Guest Blog day.  I can’t let my friend down.  His blog proves the value of using the Dale Carnegie principles.  And if he was willing to be a guest blogger—surely then my blog isn’t “rot”. 

I considered the perspective of the person that typed “Dale Carnegie rot”.  Hmm… Yes… my stories can be a bit on the absurd, happy-go-lucky, pour on the extra sugar and syrup—sappy side. 

Yes, I can see how my writings might inspire the word “rot”. 

Hmm… I wonder which blog story came up in that search?  I concluded with sadness that all of them qualify for that description.

Well, I’m feeling fat, I have blemishes on my face, my hair is the wrong style, my house is a mess and my blog stories appear in search engines with the words “Dale Carnegie rot.”  Grumble.  This day doesn’t look so good.

So I decided to do the most logical thing.  I pulled out the Clorox and vacuum and I cleaned.  I amused myself thinking—it took the word “rot” to inspire me to clean.

Around this time I remembered some details I had forgotten about my own blog.  I had written a blog with the word “rot” in it.  My first blog was about a rotting fish.  It was the catalyst for me to begin this blog. 

It’s one of my favorite stories.  Instead of focusing on the malicious person who threw a large dead fish into my backyard to rot—I scooped it up, disposed of it and focused on making lemonade—by starting a blog.

Oddly, I have fond memories of the stench from that rotting fish.  The stench from that horribly rotten and fly infested fish—has become symbolic for me.  I take “rot” and other frustrations and try to find the positive and humor in them. 

So, a special thank you to whoever it was that searched “Dale Carnegie rot”.  I was inspired to clean the house and return to the gym.  (And I don’t think you were trying to imply my stories were bad.  I’m still trying to master the “get thicker skin” and “don’t assume the worst” principles by the way…)

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.
Keep busy.
Don’t fuss about trifles.

The lesson I hope you take from this story—you have the ability to control how you react to the day’s events.  Don’t jump to conclusions.  Don’t assume the worst about yourself or people’s opinions of you.  Simply don’t worry!

Do your best to look for the good, the humor—or my personal favorite—the irony of the day.  It makes the day more manageable and amusing.

As I type this blog and look back at how the rest of the day turned out—I had a really wonderful day!  To think I was going to let trifles get the best of me!

Housekeeping / Notes:
Be sure to read the post by my newest guest blogger, Esteban.  He not only makes lemonade but he demonstrates the qualities of a good father.  Click here to read his story.

Day 88. Let the other person save face.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 88.  Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Today I was reviewing the task list and noticed that “Bob” a contract employee had not submitted his work.  Although he has known about the assignment for at least a month and a half he missed the deadline.  He didn’t even contact me to let me know there was a problem or that the assignment would be turned in late.  Nothing! 

I knew this was an opportunity for a particular Dale Carnegie principle that I’m not very good at using.  So I decided to send Bob an email:

Hi Bob,
I wanted to check in with you and see how you are coming along on the XYZ project.  I can’t wait to see it.  Send me an email when you get a chance.   

Sincerely,
Smiling Daffodil. 

——
I heard from Bob right away:

“Dear Smiling Daffodil,
I am ashamed to say I didn’t complete the task.  I’ve been burdened trying to figure out how to complete it.  I feel really bad about it—it’s not my best work.  I have attached a preview of what I have done so far—tell me the truth—if you think I should throw it away and start over let me know.

Very sincerely,
Bob-who-didn’t-complete-his-task-and-feels-bad-about-being-the-difficult-contract-employee”

——
Well—how could I not smile with such a funny and overly dramatic email from Bob? 

He offered some other details about why he was having a hard time with the assignment.  Having this information served two purposes.  I was able to get all the facts before jumping to the wrong conclusion that Bob was just a careless, irresponsible employee.  And I was able to give Bob some encouragement and the opportunity to save face.

My response to Bob:
Dear Bob,
I am sorry you struggled with this assignment!  I reviewed what you sent and so far it looks great!  Yes, please go ahead and complete the assignment—but work at your own pace and once you are finished I will find make sure we use your work.

Sincerely,
Smiling Daffodil

I also volunteered some tips by pointing to my own challenges and struggles with similar projects. 

Bob responded and expressed great relief and appreciation for the tips.  He also told me he will finish the task and submit his work by the end of the week.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this story are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.
Let the other person save face.

Let the other person save face

I chose not to send a frustrated or angry email to Bob explaining how his delay has caused challenges for me.  Bob has his own concerns—he probably doesn’t care about mine.  So I decided to get all the facts before making assumptions.  When I did this—I was able to learn that Bob was discouraged with his work and I was able to give him the encouragement he needed to complete the assignment.

So remember, while it is easy to jump to conclusions—don’t.  Get all the facts first.  Treat individuals with respect and don’t belittle them as you get all the facts.  When you do this you will discover ways to give them the encouragement they need to willingly complete their work. 

Housekeeping / Notes:

  • In light of today’s blog topic I feel the need to confess.  My posts are technically a day off.  I’m a night owl—by the time I write my blog about the day’s events it’s technically the next morning—usually 1 or 2 am.  Let’s just continue to go with my delusions.  In my world I make my deadlines….
  • With that said, Wednesday marks an important day for a very special guest blogger.  I’m so excited to share the story and technically it’s ready to be posted…. but I’m going to make everyone wait until Wednesday evening.  So do your evening routine, have dinner, etc and then tune in for a very high quality story from a friend and role model.  I am certain his story will impact you. 

Thank you everyone!

Day 87. I didn’t have to work hard to make lemonade. The law of averages served me well.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 87.  Monday, June 20, 2011
I was a bit confused when I looked at the time this morning.  It was 7 am.  I either woke up too early for the weekend or maybe I’ll be on time for work.  I had to look at the calendar to see what day it was.  Oh, it’s Monday… I decided to get up anyway.

As I was pulling out of my driveway I noticed my neighbors hadn’t put their trash bin out by the curb for trash pick up day.  I also noticed their trash bin was very full.  I debated whether I should do them a favor and put their trash bin out or just mind my own business.

I got out of my car and rolled their trash bin by the curb.

As I continued on my drive to work a very strange sequence of events happened. 

I say strange—because it was Monday. 

I received a very touching email from Anthony—an old friend of mine.  He thanked me for my blog and mentioned he shared it with his family on Father’s Day.  On Father’s Day!  If you read my Father’s Day blog post about my macaroni art project you’ll understand what Anthony’s email meant to me.  I thanked God for Anthony’s thoughtfulness, empathy and really excellent timing.  His last words alluded to the fact that he hopes I have an unusually good Monday.  I read that and thought—oh I hope you are right Anthony.  So far we are on a good track but I haven’t arrived at work yet.

I was making good time in my commute to work so I decided to stop by the grocery store to buy some macaroni and other food items to donate for a local food drive at my Starbucks.  Despite holding up the line at the grocery store—everyone was friendly towards me and smiling.  It was really bazaar.  Why is everyone so nice to me? 

Next I arrived at work on time.  That in itself is a monumental accomplishment.  I hesitantly showed my newest heart pillow creations to an associate.  She LOVED them.  I walked back to my office and thanked God.  This is all I wanted from her last week and I got it today.  Perhaps Anthony was right about this day.

Next I heard from my two guest bloggers—who really didn’t realize, expect or believe I was serious when I said their stories would be perfect for my blog.  I was stunned that neither one of them could recognize the value of their stories.  After we talked—they both agreed and seemed to be excited.  I sat and relished the idea that my dinky lemonade stand is now recruiting “employees” and “business” seems to be good. 

Even a coworker whom I haven’t gotten along with for quite some time now was showing me appreciation, kindness and encouragement today.

The day continued in this fashion.  Little pieces of good moments kept falling in my lap.   At the end of the day, encouraged by my associate—I experimented with a couple more sewing techniques.  I started yet another sewing project that is going to be ridiculously cute by the time I’m finished with it.  I don’t know what the finished project will be yet but believe it or not—I might try something other than a pillow.

As I was driving home along the tollway I thanked God for making an unusually good Monday. 

Recognize blessings among the clutter

As I was doing this—I glanced over and noticed the sky.  Despite the cluttered landscape with water towers, electric towers, buildings, highways and overpasses being built, you could see the sky was a dark blue with shades of pink along the horizon.  It was so stunning it was ridiculous.  “Dear God—what were you thinking when you made that sunset?  I hope I’m not the only one driving home that notices your handiwork.”

I took all sorts of detours on the drive home just to get photos of the sky. 

Sometimes you have to look for the good hidden among the clutter, stress and chaos of a day.  If you don’t put effort into it—you will miss out on opportunities to find happiness and fulfillment in the everyday. 

I realize I have rambled quite a bit here.  And like you I’m wondering if there’s a purpose to today’s blog.  (ha)  Of course there is!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Don’t worry about the past.
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. 

It sure feels like a great deal of last week was crummy—or at least the last few days.  I had to do some mental acrobatics to apply the Dale Carnegie principles. 

Today was the complete opposite. 

When you have a bad day, bad week, bad month, bad year… consider the law of averages.  Things will balance out.  You will have a good day, a good week, a good month, a good year. 

One way to ensure this—do your best not to dwell on the past (I know this is hard)… and also count your blessings (this one is easy).  Look for all the large and small blessings that come your way.  Take the time to appreciate these blessings.  Look for the good.  Maybe it’s a sunset.  Maybe it’s an encouraging email from a friend or perhaps it’s a patient cashier at a grocery store.  Maybe it’s doing a random act of kindness like putting your neighbor’s trash bin by the curb on trash day.  Or donating food for a food pantry.  The blessings and opportunities are there—you just have to recognize them and act upon them.

When you take these measures—you pretty much guarantee a more positive outlook on the day. 

– Thank you Anthony for pushing me in the right direction.

Housekeeping / Notes:
– Mark your calendars! 
Wednesday will be the debut of a very special guest blogger and friend.  I can’t wait for you to meet him through his story. 
–  Stop by the Archive / Pictorial section
if you missed a story or want to reread a past blog.
– Feedback / Suggestions / Comments: 
If you have ideas on how to improve the daffodil garden of blog stories let me know.  Also feel free to spread the love and share a link or two with family, friends, coworkers, etc. 

I know your time is valuable.  Thank you for reading my blog.