Day 80. My interpretation of Dale Carnegie’s principle: “Do the very best you can”


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 80.  Monday, June 13, 2011
I went to bed early on Sunday night.  I had a big day ahead of me.  I couldn’t sleep—I prayed Monday would go well.  What am I getting myself into having dinner with a friend whom I haven’t seen in years?  She’s made a remarkable life for herself.  And me?  How will this reunion turn out? 

Then I woke up stressed this morning.  What do I wear?  My favorite jeans are too faded and I can’t find a decent pair of shoes. 

I reminded myself that I am who I am and odds are my friend is exactly as I remember her.  That’s the reason I agreed to meet with her after all these years anyway. 

I left work at 5 pm to make my 6:45 pm dinner.  I underestimated rush hour traffic.  I had hoped to go home and freshen up but realized there wasn’t time. 

It was 100 degrees today.  I was a hot, sticky, oily mess.  What is this friend of mine going to think of me?  After all these years… and I still look like this?  To save time I went to Target to pick up some makeup and a face wash.  I scrubbed my face so hard it was red and the blemishes were bleeding.  ARGH.

I applied the newly purchased makeup.  It was for someone with fairer skin than mine.  I looked white as a ghost when I applied the makeup.  ARGH.

I was running out of time and now look at me… and now I might be late for dinner. I should have just gone home to freshen up instead….

I made it to the restaurant, patted down my messy hairdo and consoled myself—this is as good as it gets.  I am who I am.  I carried my humble plastic container with homemade cookies into the restaurant—not really sure if cookies are appropriate. 

What caption could possibly fit this photo? Fresh out of dignity!

When my friend walked in—all my absurd fears and concerns vanished.  She was the same person I remembered from the 5th grade.  We looked at each other, gave each other big smiles—and marveled at how we looked like our mothers. 

Our meals were served and frankly we could have eaten cardboard or dirt and I would have been happy.  The hours passed as if they were minutes as we talked and listened to each other’s stories. 

I had planned at least 2 other blog topics today but when I sat down to write the blogs they just weren’t captivating enough.  That’s when I realized the only story appropriate for today is the one of me finding my childhood friend. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Do the very best you can.

You might think this is an odd principle to attach to this story.  Let me explain.  I decided that doing the very best I can means being myself.

I wasn’t going to pretend to be something beyond my current station in life.  I work hard, I have a lot of passion for what I do—but my world isn’t anything particularly glamorous or prestigious. 

I didn’t get dressed up—not out of disregard for her—but really—I hate getting dressed up.  I was myself:  blemishes, messy hair, jeans, t-shirt and sneakers.  Judging by how quickly time passed with smiles, genuine conversation and laughter—we both did our very best by being ourselves… and it worked. 

So remember, quit trying to be someone you are not.  Be comfortable and proud of who you are.  When you take this approach you’ll find life is more fulfilling, people around you are far more interesting than you could ever imagine and the people worth knowing see beyond the superficial. 

 – Thank you ‘Lucilla’.

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