365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 115. Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This morning I woke up and prayed: “Lord, I can see myself putting the Dale Carnegie books far out of reach and battling it out today. Please help me.”
As I drove I did everything I could to convince myself that today’s meeting was not worth fighting over. I remembered Abraham Lincoln’s words—‘Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.’
I chewed on the fact that they have not had the luxury of taking a Dale Carnegie course. I can’t blame them if they don’t behave the way I want them to. I have taken the course and with that comes responsibility. I cannot bring disgrace to Dale Carnegie graduates or the organization. I must behave. I must remain calm under pressure.
I touched my necklace around my neck with tiny fish dangling from it. I wear the fish necklace to remind me of my first blog—the day I found a rotting fish on my lawn.
I amused myself that I profited from my losses that day. When life handed me lemons I made lemonade (or rather, life handed me a stinky, rotting fish and I made a blog).
I amused myself that this past weekend I fearlessly cleaned up a water heater closet that was full of gecko poop and I discovered I’m stronger than I think.
I don’t how these thoughts clicked in my head. I guess I figured if I could do those things I can handle this meeting. I resolved to be as professional, kind and accommodating as I could in today’s meeting. I would be sure that my eyes would not betray me. I will not shut down when they criticize and complain. I will expect ingratitude. I prepared for the absolute worst.
The meeting happened at the end of the day.
The meeting did not go as planned. The individuals in the meeting were quite pleased and more importantly—they were appreciative of the work I did. They indicated my work exceeded their expectations.
The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this scenario are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Do the very best you can.
How to face trouble:
A. Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”
B. Prepare to accept the worst.
C. Try to improve on the worst.
To be clear—I’ve been waiting for this day for almost a year. My workout at the gym last night was very intense. I did everything I could to mentally and physically prepare myself for today’s carelessness and ingratitude. I resolved that my best meant I had to be accommodating, patient and open-minded no matter what was thrown at me. I put my heart and being into a project and I fully expected and prepared to get trampled on. Instead I received a thank you.
The lesson I hope you take from this story—the only person you can change is yourself. Don’t expect others around you to change. Don’t blame them for not changing. Instead, figure out how you can adapt yourself to deal with the challenging people and circumstances around you. Figure out how you can profit from your losses. In my case—as I walked into the office I was fully prepared to leave at the end of the day with a story of how I made lemonade from the lemon of ingratitude I was handed. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised, grateful and relieved. And yes, I celebrated by having dinner at my favorite Chick-fil-A
Housekeeping / Notes:
Thank you for reading my blog.