365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 90. Friday, June 24, 2011
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.
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.