Day 74. I messed up by not using Dale Carnegie’s principles when talking with “Gasoline with Match Lady”

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 74.  Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Preface:  I was embarrassed to post this blog on Monday.  So I posted an alternate event that happened on the same day.  After consideration—I do want to share the originally planned story.  The Tuesday entry will follow.  (Just read the whole thing—it comes together nicely)

Today’s entry might not count. I didn’t use Carnegie principles well—if at all.

This woman we will call Gasoline with Match Lady—emailed me on (Monday) morning and copied my boss. She was complaining I hadn’t answered an email.  It’s true. I hadn’t. But the ball was not in my court— it was in management’s.

I decided to ignore Gasoline’s email until 4 pm. (Really smart, I know.)  The emails between us were turning tense fast.  I knew better— but I picked up the phone and called Gasoline. I figured it would be easier to talk to her in person. And it would have been. Except both of our tempers were—well… boiling.

We talked in circles. We were not communicating on the same level. Since we weren’t hearing each other our voices got higher and higher.  It was getting stupid.

At odds with each other

I tried to think through my words but I was at a loss. After she lectured me I replied I wasn’t put on this planet to serve so-and-so. It was at this point I think we both ran out of energy and talked more civilly.  I asked her to provide suggestions. I tried not to shoot them down immediately. I listened, asked questions and we both arrived at the same conclusion: sleep on it.

Frankly I think I did everything wrong when it comes to using the Dale Carnegie principles. I knew better than to approach Gasoline with Match Lady on a Monday.  I was irritated by her attempt at making me look bad with my boss. So learn from me:  When you criticize, condemn or complain—most people—even Smiling Daffodil, will do everything possible to dig their heels in, close down or fight back. What a waste of energy.

For my part, I should have used Dale Carnegie’s principle from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles. 

Because quite frankly the subject matter that Gasoline with Match Lady and I were arguing about was just that—a silly marketing trifle. 

Now read on!  I’m really proud of this!

Today I made the dreaded phone call to Gasoline with Match Lady.  I asked her if she had a chance to sleep on the marketing problem from yesterday and she said she did.  But she didn’t have a solution and she proceeded to state the problem that we were already very familiar with.

I made light of the matter by saying the solution was right under our nose.  I proceeded to spell out the details of the marketing program that would solve our problem.  I discussed the concept in a friendly way, pointing out that she had already done much of the work.

Once I was finished presenting the solution, she agreed enthusiastically.  We were both stunned by the contrast between today’s phone conversation and yesterday’s. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 13.  Begin in a friendly way.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Write out and answer the following questions:
a.      What is the problem?
b.      What are the causes of the problem?
c.       What are the possible solutions?
d.      What is the best possible solution?

My judgment was too clouded on Monday to list possible solutions to the problem.  In fact, I made it worse by talking to Gasoline with Match Lady.  So I decided to box up the problem, put it on a shelf in my head and revisit it in the morning with a clearer head.  When you take a similar approach, you will find the answer to your problem is very obvious. 

Housekeeping / Notes
Wednesday is the big day for the guest blogger!  I am certain you will enjoy his post.  So be sure to allocate enough time to read TWO blogs.  : )
Don’t forget—the Smiling Daffodil’s blog is big enough for a whole garden of guest bloggers.   Looking forward to hearing from you!

Day 42. I forgot my most prized possession in Michigan but Dale Carnegie helped me avoid crying over spilt milk


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 42.  Friday, May 6, 2011
I considered rewriting or substituting this entry but have decided to use Dale Carnegie’s principles from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  The principle used in this entry is the series of questions highlighted below.  (Don’t worry this entry is unconventional but it will make sense when you read on)



Write out and answer the following questions:
A.    What is (are) the problem(s)?  I was careless and forgot my new laptop at my friend’s home in Michigan today and I am now inTexas.  My laptop has my blog entries from Friday and Saturday.  I was unable to post the entries over the weekend because I didn’t have Internet access. 

B.     What are the causes of the problem(s)?  I was so distracted by the happiness and awe of holding my first godchild today that I forgot to pack my laptop for my flight home. 

C.    What are the possible solutions? 
1.  I will focus on the joy of holding a baby instead of the carelessness of forgetting my laptop.
2.  I will have my friend mail my laptop on Monday. 
3.  My memory is good—I will simply rewrite the blogs from Friday and Saturday and post on Sunday night.
4.  I will write entirely new blogs for Friday and Saturday and post on Sunday.  I will reserve the original blogs for the Breadcrumbs and Doggie Bags section.
5.  I will find a way to make lemonade.

D.    What is the best possible solution(s)?
1.  I reflected on the wonderful feeling of holding a tiny baby.  There’s nothing quite like it!
2.  My friend will mail my laptop.  I have an old laptop at home that still works quite well.  I can use it in the meantime.
4.  I will write entirely new blogs for Friday and Saturday.  There’s no use in producing the same work twice.  I worked hard on the original entries when I typed them on Friday and Saturday night.  Besides, I like to write and I’m sure I can remember other material I can write about.
5.  I will not make lemonade.  I will make lemon meringue pie, lemon tarts, and lemon poppy seed bread.  Granted, it took quite a bit of effort to embrace reality but I eventually arrived at the conclusion that there was no use crying over spilt milk and it’s best to just move forward.

Remember, when you encounter disappointment or problem it may take effort, creativity and a little ingenuity but you can indeed get past the emotions, analyze the problem and come up with a better outlook and a solution to the problem.

Guest blogger, “Bingham”, shares tips for dealing with a near meltdown of an entire business

Preface:  My friend Bingham rose to the challenge of being the first guest blogger to The Smiling Daffodil’s 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles.  Bing—though you’ve never taken the Dale Carnegie course—as long as I’ve known you—you live the principles.  I remember kicking and screaming all the way to the first Dale Carnegie class— but you calmly explained a bigger picture perspective that I might actually benefit from the course. 
Thank you for your example of living, for your encouragement and for stepping up to my challenge!
  – The Smiling Daffodil

Technically, it's a smile

Let’s get this out of the way…. Yes, I’m an idiot
By Bingham

I haven’t made a mistake of this magnitude since 1992.  You see—I was in the middle of making a software update to the server—and a well intentioned co-worker came in and interrupted me.  I answered the co-worker’s question—it wasn’t a complicated question—it was just one of those nagging interruptions that is standard operating procedure in my world.

But this day was different.  I pressed a button during the software update—and quickly realized the outcome wasn’t what I wanted.  Don’t ask me how I could have pressed “Yes—delete the entire database” but I did.  My heart sank to my stomach.

Imagine deleting your entire life’s work with a careless click of a button. 

I quickly went into recovery mode.  I called Jeff—he works for the company that hosts our servers and began with, “Jeff, let’s get this out of the way—yes—I’m an idiot.  I deleted the entire database.  Now let’s move on to quickly finding a solution.  Once we do this we can return to making jokes about my carelessness.  When was the last backup you made to our server?” 

Jeff, was taken aback by the magnitude of my error and how I fell on my sword quickly and asked for help to fix the problem. 

 A half hour later—everything was up and running again.  No one but me and Jeff noticed that the database we rely on for business vanished into thin air—not through the hands of some inexperienced employee – but by someone very qualified who should have known better.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 12.  If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

 From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
What is the problem?  What are the causes of the problem?  What are the possible solutions?  What is the best possible solution?

Remember, everyone makes mistakes—and sometimes these mistakes have serious consequences.  Rather than react emotionally by crying or going into fits of rage or panic—act swiftly with reason.  Get all the facts and determine the best possible solution.  When you do this—you not only solve the problem effectively—you demonstrate levelheadedness despite the stress and pressure filled circumstance.

Day 13. Get all the facts before you abandon all your houseplants

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 13.  April 7, 2011 
This week was a challenge at home.  I have had to vacuum my kitchen dining area every single night. 

You see, I have quite a collection of houseplants by a bay window in the dining room.  These plants have been with me for as long as I’ve had my home.  Sometimes I forget to water my plants but they faithfully hang on for dear life until I remember to give them something to drink.  I like them because it reminds me of being in a greenhouse. 

But this week, my entire tile floor has a new, ‘peppered’ look.  These little specks of ‘pepper’ are gnats.  I’m not talking one, two, or twenty.  It’s as if someone took a pepper mill and dusted my entire floor.  It’s a despicable, horrifying sight.  I cautiously enter my home every night wondering if my floor will be completely black. 

I’ve been coping with this problem as patiently as I can.  There was a time I would have decided to remove all houseplants and never permit another plant in my home again for the rest of my life.  But not this time.

I wasn’t sure what the source of the problem was.  Was it one plant?  All the plants?  It hardly seems right to get rid of all my plants.    

So I decided to get all the facts.  What was baffling was that none of the gnats were alive—and they were only on the tile floor. 

Last night I did some reading on the subject and tried some poisonous concoctions on the plants. 

I was eager to see the results this morning.  UGH.  No, this time these audacious creatures were alive and well all over the tile floor—particularly around one particular potted plant.  I examined the plant and the soil was moving. 

This plant has now been relegated to the great outdoors and I’m carefully examining the health of the rest of the plants.  So far they seem ok. 

Did I really apply Dale Carnegie principles in this instance?  Absolutely.
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.

How to face trouble—
What is the problem?  What are the causes of the problem?  What are the possible solutions?  What is the best possible solution?

Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more.

I didn’t enjoy the gnats one bit but I also didn’t want them to occupy my mind all day and night.   In order to solve the problem I needed to behave rationally and gather the facts and then take action.  Long term it wouldn’t do any good developing an unhealthy fear of houseplants!  Plantphobia?  Botanophobia?  No.  Not me.    

So remember, when you are facing a challenge, keep your composure, gather the facts then take action.  You’ll find this approach more effective than making rash decisions or going into panic mode.