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.

Day 26. Avoid egg on the face. Use Dale Carnegie’s Principles.

 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 26.  April 20, 2011 
Today officially marks 30 days.  Thirty days ago at precisely 10:05 am I sent an invoice to Charlene and I have not received payment for my work.  I was fuming this morning just thinking about Charlene-the-Deadbeat who clearly does not realize the very foolish decision she has made not to pay me.  I am considering my options of how best to burn the bridge.

I was discussing this matter with a friend over coffee—explaining that Charlene-the-Idiot does not realize who she’s dealing with. 

Granted, deep down inside, I am aware I’m not demonstrating very good Dale Carnegie-like behaviors.  It seems like all the Dale Carnegie principles have been put on a shelf somewhere—way out of reach.  This is a matter of money.  And I want what I earned.

Before calling Charlene-the-Deadbeat I was reasonable enough to take a deep breath.  I even said a prayer.  “Please God help me have a pleasant sounding voice on the phone.  Help me to talk in terms of Charlene’s interests.”  I flipped through Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book as a quick refresher of the principles I needed to find the strength to apply.

I picked up the phone and called Charlene-the-Person-Who-Will-Pay-Me-Now-Or-Else. 

I began in a friendly way.  (I was floored I was able to swing that!)  My confidence soared because I had this under calm control.  I didn’t open with “Where’s my money Charlene?”  or “What’s your problem Charlene?”  or “How do you sleep at night knowing you stiffed me?”

No.  I asked how she was doing.  We talked at length about what’s going on in her world—she told me about her husband and children.  I let her do most of the talking—asking a few questions here and there.  I was generous with my time and interest in her life.  We reached a point in the conversation where she asked why I was calling.  I delicately said that I hadn’t been paid—and was wondering if perhaps she didn’t get the invoice.

To my shock—she said—“oh no!  I sent check #789 two weeks ago.  You should have it by now!” 

She ended up calling the bank and confirmed the check hadn’t been cashed–so she reissued a check for payment in full. 

To top it all off she gave me some contacts that might also be interested in my services.

Get all the facts. Avoid egg on the face

The Dale Carnegie principles I was very SLOW to adopt but eventually did use:

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts. 

Never try to get even with your enemies.

Admittedly, I should have given Charlene the benefit of the doubt before assuming she was a deadbeat.  In all the years I have known Charlene—she’s a decent human being.  There was no reason to assume she was dishonest.  By taking a deep breath, remaining calm and getting all the facts directly from Charlene—I kept the dialogue positive and professional on the phone.  I learned more about my client in terms of her future needs for my services and I also gained some helpful business leads. 

So remember, before assuming the worst in a human being or a circumstance—take a deep breath and get all the facts before reacting.  This will save you from the unpleasant experience of eating crow, having egg on your face or even missing future business opportunities.  You will also prevent yourself from wasting energy on negativity or worry.