Day 99. This is not the McDonald’s from your childhood….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 99.  Sunday, July 3, 2011
I was driving home from church this evening debating on whether I should pick up a quick meal to eat or eat my usual ‘gruel’ at home.  I decided since it was Sunday, I should treat myself to eating out.  If you haven’t figured me out yet—I’m cheap.  While I’d love to eat a big juicy steak for dinner every night—or even once a week—I choose not to.

I consider my fast food options.  Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. 

There is that new McDonald’s on the way home….

I end up at McDonald’s.  This McDonald’s is not typical.  It has sleek, modern décor that really upgrades the look, feel and status of this traditionally kid-centric restaurant.  The décor is captivating to look at—perhaps because it’s so unexpected for a McDonald’s and also because the colors and style are really nice for any setting. 


The moment I walked in this evening I was greeted by the cashier with a warm welcome.  I ordered my usual Chicken Selects and asked the cashier’s opinion on smoothies.  I go with her suggestion of the sweeter option—the Strawberry Banana smoothie. 

As I’m sitting enjoying my meal—especially the indulgent smoothie—I decide I need to let management know I appreciate their efforts.  In our company—sometimes it feels like we receive mostly complaints—from very loud individuals.  It’s a rare but happy day to receive that one comment from a satisfied customer.  It’s not that our company does a poor job.  It’s just easier to complain than to give praise.  I examine the receipt from my order—sure enough there’s a website address.

I returned home and didn’t permit myself to get distracted from the task at hand. I went online and sent an email to the McDonald’s I had just visited.  I spelled out the details of why I liked this particular McDonald’s pointing out the cleanliness, the courteous employees and the fabulous décor.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used in this scenario is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.

Admittedly, it sounds like a silly thing to do—sending an email to the manager of a fast food restaurant.  But why not take the time to let someone know you appreciate their efforts?  Like any business—it takes a lot of work—a lot of dedication—a lot of passion to be successful.  A good business does not run itself magically on its own.  Elbow grease goes into it.  You know what it feels like to receive praise for your efforts at work—why not acknowledge this in the businesses you receive goods and services from?  Let them know with a simple word of thanks.  It won’t cost you a dime and you might just brighten someone’s day.

Housekeeping / Notes:
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Day 91. He did not judge a book by its cover… and it paid off.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 91.  Saturday, June 25, 2011
What am I going to wear today?  I was frantically searching for something “professional” looking to wear.  I can’t wear jeans or shorts—I have to dress the part—I have to look like the title I have at work.

I had to be at a convention about 50 miles away.  The ever important question of why I volunteered to attend this event was lingering in the back of my mind.  The best I could come up with—I care too much.

I drove as fast as I could within the speed limit (give or take).  I was running terribly late.  I was worried the event would be closed by the time I arrived.

I pulled into the parking lot at the convention center at 3:15 and noticed a sign that said parking was 15 dollars.  What?  Are you out of your mind?  I rolled down my window ready to argue but the attendant said I arrived so late that parking was free.  Nice!

I raced into the convention center and noticed the ticket counter was closed.  I turned and looked at the two “guards” at the Expo door and I smiled.  They said I arrived so late that I could get in free.  Nice!

I passed all the booths in the Expo hall and made my way to the one booth I drove 50 miles to visit.  By this time I was out of breath and “glistening” (it was 100 degrees today) and I’m certain I hardly looked like the professional individual that my title implies I’m supposed to be.  What I did have going for me was a sincere smile. 

I smiled at Enrique.  Enrique was so relieved to see me.  He had been anxious and worried I would not arrive.  (I was there to pick up one of his products). 

We hugged and chatted for awhile.  Actually—we chatted until the event closed.  Enrique has a good reputation and some great products that I am enamored with.  His face lights up—and he’s incredulous that I have such high regard for his products.  I like to point out the specific reasons why I like his products—they are superior quality, they are unique, etc.  I’m always stunned by his reaction that my opinion means that much to him.  

As we wrapped up I told him I’d be interested in featuring at least two of his new products to our customers and I told him I’d be in touch in the coming weeks.  He loaded me down with free product samples and thanked me for stopping by. 

A blank journal I picked up in Spain and a Dale Carnegie book I won...

One of the aspects I like about my job is the opportunity to make someone’s day.  If you were to look at me and then look at my title you’d quickly recognize the mismatch. For those that can get past this—there is great opportunity. 

Enrique is one of these individuals. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 5.  Smile.

Enrique produces great products and appreciates the support I give him through my company.  I appreciate the fact that he recognizes and values what we do for him by giving us superior products that our customers love.  He does not give us mediocre products. He gives us his best so that we can give our customers our best. 

Everyone wins.

I hope you gather the following lesson from this story:  if you value, like or appreciate a person or something that a person has done for you—don’t be afraid to tell him or her.

Enrique’s surprised reaction made me realize that he probably doesn’t receive praise or recognition for his work enough from other individuals.  When I left him in his booth—he was walking on air—he was so happy with my words of praise and encouragement. 

When you take this approach you will build loyal, appreciative and understanding business partners and friends who will stick with you through the good, the bad and even those days where the temperature is 100 degrees and you look like the sun melted you.  

And if you ever show up late to an event, an appointment or work… try smiling!

Day 77. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes…

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 77.  Friday, June 10, 2011
It was almost 7 pm and I was still at the office trying to wrap up the final steps to a marketing campaign.  Several other associates were also working late.

One associate, Essie, sent me an instant message, “Smiling Daffodil—I’m overwhelmed with work.”

Despite being anxious about leaving the office—I decided to check on Essie. 

“What’s wrong Essie?” I ask. 

She proceeded to explain the very detailed reports she had to complete by Monday.

I gave her my full attention and asked a few questions to gain a better understanding of what she had to do.  We even brainstormed trying to figure out an easier way to finish the task.  In the end we concluded there wasn’t an easy way out of the work.  I felt bad not being able to help make the task easier. 

As I sat back at my desk I sent Essie an instant message:  “Essie—I would imagine management doesn’t tell you this enough—but know that I appreciate you!”

Essie responded, “Awww!  Thank you!”

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this story are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 17.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

As much as I tried—I wasn’t able to provide a quick and easy solution to make Essie’s work easier.  What I was able to do was provide a sympathetic ear as I listened to her concerns and frustrations.  I also let her know that she is appreciated.

It's all about perspective...

My lesson to you—instead of focusing on your own concerns do what you can to show appreciation to someone else by understanding what it is to walk in their shoes.  When you do this your own burdens don’t seem quite as heavy or unpleasant.

Housekeeping / Notes:
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Mark your calendar for some bonus material this weekend.  I’ve been holding on to one of my favorite stories for at least a month.  That’s not an easy thing to do!

Day 67. The Dale Carnegie principles backfired on me. I had a different blog planned for today….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 67.  Tuesday, May 31, 2011
This day did not turn out as expected.

In preparation for our video presentation on Tuesday, I worked on Monday (Memorial Day).  My boss had commented that one of our studios was a mess.  So I decided I’d clean it on Monday.  This studio has become a storage room for trash to be “recycled.”  I have no idea why we are recycling—and I don’t know why we are storing it in my studio. 

To be recycled...

As I was cleaning this room, I discovered the bags of trash were quite heavy, they stunk and they were leaking goo all over the floor.  This made me mad.  I starting writing a scathing email that I was going to send to management about this matter but then I deleted it.  I knew we needed to make a good impression on our guests so I did my best to focus on cleaning the mess. 

As I said, the bags were heavy—I could not lift them.  So I carefully dragged them through several rooms, then to the warehouse near the dumpster.  As I was dragging this very disgusting trash—I thought to myself—“why am I doing this?  No one will notice.  No one will say thanks.  Why do we store trash to be recycled in our offices?  Why am I working on Memorial Day?  I am a fool for caring.” 

I decided just to accept the inevitable.  Someone has to get the office ready for our guests.  And I will simply apply Dale Carnegie’s principle:  Expect ingratitude.

I completed this task and considered other details.  Our guests have a long day ahead of them on Tuesday.  What can I do to make the day easier?  I decided I’d pick up their favorites snacks.  I also bought a bouquet of flowers—this would be a great way to welcome our guests when they arrive. 

I worked busily getting all the details together.  I again decided to accept the inevitable.  No one will notice.  No one will care.  I will expect ingratitude.  And I could very well be a fool for caring.

When my boss and guests arrived to the office this morning… I heard a squeal of delight as they noticed the flowers.  I was stunned. 

Then we walked through the offices together—and I knew my boss was cringing as we were approaching the trash filled studio.  She looked at me and when our guests weren’t looking, she whispered, “you cleaned it?!” 

We continued walking through the offices into our filming studio.  My boss looked at me again and said—“you’ve prepared the room so well.  It looks great.”

As the day progressed everyone enjoyed their favorite snacks.  I offered them Dr. Pepper—their favorite soft drink.  They responded by saying—“wow—she thought of everything.” 

I brought water bottles for the individuals who were the “stars” of the presentation.  I had straws ready—(so they wouldn’t ruin their makeup).  This detail was commented on and appreciated.

The final blow happened at the end of the day.  My boss made a comment about me in front of everyone:  “we would be screwed without her.”

So… clearly, my day and blog did not turn out as anticipated.  I was fully expecting ingratitude.  Instead everyone seemed to use a Dale Carnegie principle on me:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.

I find myself at a loss for words with this blog.  I think you my readers would be better equipped to write the conclusion or life lesson you are to take away from this story.  I think I’m too close and too affected by this experience. 

In a nutshell—do your best, expect ingratitude and show appreciation towards others.  When you do these three things—you will reap what you sow.  And don’t forget to thank God for the harvest.

Housekeeping / Notes
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Day 66. Sincere appreciation is the spice of life. For best results, sprinkle it often and liberally.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 66 Monday, May 30, 2011
My associate and I had to work on Memorial Day.  It’s not something either one of us wanted to do but it was necessary. 

When I arrived at the office I greeted my associate.  He explained that he has been working the entire weekend—getting up at 6 am and working all day.  He said he wasn’t complaining but he just wasn’t happy.

I responded by telling him that it shows he worked all weekend.  I told him, “Look at all the progress you made. As a result of your effort we will be ready for our big presentation on Tuesday.  We are more prepared than we have been in the past for other presentations.”

Showing appreciation adds flavor

I admired the work he did, asked questions and showed interest. 

Once I did this—his demeanor changed.  He seemed to feel more at ease, less stressed.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 7.  Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Sometimes all a disgruntled, frustrated person needs is some appreciation for his/her efforts.  Everyone needs to be shown appreciation—and it must be sincere.  Flattery does not work—it’s empty, meaningless and most people recognize it.  (And if you’re like me—you resent it.)

Sincere appreciation requires empathy, thought and care.  When you show appreciation you’ll discover you have the power to affect a person’s behavior in a positive way.  This transformation benefits you by making you more aware that your actions towards other people really do matter.  You’ll start looking for more occasions to appreciate others.

Housekeeping / Notes:
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Day 56. How I let art supplies occupy too much of my time and what I did about it….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 56.  Friday, May 20, 2011
Last night I went to the store to buy some last minute supplies for the art classes I am taking in California.  The supply list indicated it would be helpful, though not required, to bring my own watercolor pencils.  To me this means I will have to share with people and I won’t enjoy that process so I better just bring my own supplies.

I browsed the very colorful and enchanting art aisle—full of colored pencils, chalk, pastels and various other intriguing artists’ tools.  I say I browsed.  I salivated.  I dreamed.  I stood in awe of the potential these tools could mean in the right hands.  Not that my hands are the right hands.  But I can dream. 

Reality came when I looked at the prices for all these artists’ tools.  I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on colored pencils.  But gosh, these metallic colored pencils are mesmerizing.  Oh if only I could have them.  I had a coupon.  But I just couldn’t bring myself to make the plunge.  I wanted those pencils.  I wanted them bad.  I just couldn’t justify it.  After probably 20 minutes of browsing I settled on an inexpensive set of 8 colored pencils. 

I went to pay but there was a long line of customers and only one cashier.  I decided it wasn’t worth the wait for the dumb pencils I had to “settle” for.  So I left.

This morning all I could think about were the watercolor pencils and the potential that could be unleashed in this art class I am taking.  I decided to go back to the store and purchase a set—any set—just so that I’d have something for this class.

While driving I grumbled thinking this is worse than the red pen incident last week.  I decided it was easy to justify the investment in these artists’ tools as R&D.  Given my past experience with using what has been invested (ie. A Dale Carnegie training course)—stupid pencils were a drop in the bucket.  Besides… I have some new product ideas that these pencils will help me to produce and hopefully help the company make money. 

I walked boldly to the aisle where the coveted art supplies are kept.  I did not hesitate. I grabbed two different sets of pencils and walked to Liz, the cashier without a second thought.

I handed Liz my tattered coupon I’ve been holding on to along with the company credit card.  She rang me up—I was pleased with my savings and told her so.  But then she told me today was buy one get one free day on colored pencils.  My order would be even cheaper.  I thanked Liz and went merrily on my way.

The Dale Carnegie principles I should have used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.

The Dale Carnegie principle I did use is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.  

When I think about the time I wasted thinking and worrying about the silly watercolor pencils I am embarrassed.  It wasn’t long ago the company told me I could purchase $150 markers on the company credit card.  So frankly, $20 watercolor pencils were not going to break the bank.

Also, be thankful for the unexpected courtesies of strangers.  In my case, the cashier, Liz, found a way to save me more money when frankly, she was not obligated to do so.  I was thrilled and I let her know it. 

So remember, there are plenty of instances when petty worries and stress come your way but you have the opportunity to turn them around.  When you do this—you’ll discover power in the ability to control your emotions and the circumstances you face.  And who knows, with a little practice, these trifles will become fewer and far between.

Day 55. A trip to a fabric store uncovered the perfect opportunity to use Dale Carnegie’s principles

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 55.  Thursday, May 19, 2011
I was walking aimlessly at a fabric store this evening.  I needed 1-2 yards of broadcloth fabric. 

I brought some fabric I found at the office thinking it might be broadcloth—I just needed someone at the fabric store to tell me if I was wrong or right.  I just needed a yes or no answer.  I didn’t necessarily need to buy fabric.  I did have a list of other items I needed at this store. 

The area where they were cutting fabric was very busy.  So I wandered the store—trying to find someone that might know the answer to my simple question. 

I ended up in a section of the store where they sell machines.  I asked the woman if she could tell me if the fabric I brought in was broadcloth.  She said yes it was—but she suggested I ask Cheryl in the multi-colored shirt.  So I went over to where Cheryl was standing with a customer.  I waited patiently. She looked at me and asked if I was just there to watch her demo the machine with the customer.  I said no.  I have a question.  She looked at me and said the clerks at the cutting table could help me.

To some of you—you might think of me as a meek, gentle, mild-mannered individual.  But that is not the full picture. 

My reaction to Cheryl was indignation—to say the least.  Yes, I was wearing jeans, a Johnny Cash, “San Quentin” t-shirt and my Doc Martins from many, many years ago.  But darn it.  There’s one thing that is sure to get my blood boiling… and that is making assumptions.

I wanted to put her in her place.  Here’s why.  I know people from the corporate office that employs this woman.  I help determine editorial coverage—including exposure for a variety of machines.  The last thing you really want to do—is underestimate me.  I said directly to her—sorry to bother you and I walked off—my heart pounding. 

I walked to the cutting table—but there was still an incredibly long line.  I didn’t need fabric cut.  I just needed to know if the fabric I had was broadcloth.

I circled back to the machine area—and I walked just close enough to make sure I got Cheryl’s name.  I didn’t say anything—my Dale Carnegie principles are drilled enough in my head that I knew better than to get into a fight.  I just wanted to be sure I knew her name.  (Principle 6 from How to Win Friends and Influence People:  Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important….”) Ha.

After verifying her name I walked back to the cutting table area and waited as patiently as I could in line.  The lady in front of me had a backorder but she told the clerk to help me first so that I didn’t have to wait.

Well—this jolted me.  Wait a minute—a considerate human being at a fabric store?

I smiled and insisted I was in no hurry. 

As the clerk, “Janet” went off to find the backorder—the customer said she was trying to make a jacket to wear with a dress.  But she wasn’t sure what type of fabric, what colors, etc.  She said she had the dress in her car.

I smiled and said—oooh go get the dress!  We’ll help you out!

So she did.  She came back, carrying a formal gown that she is planning to wear to her daughter’s debutant ball.  I made suggestions as did Janet.  I quickly scattered about the store looking for the perfect fabric for the dress.

Forget the fact that I was hungry, tired and ready to go home.  I let myself get caught up in the moment of helping this stranger.  Why?  Because she was considerate of my time when she had suggested Janet help me first.  I returned the favor by showing interest in her.  And given my disgust for Cheryl—this served as a pleasant way to diffuse my mood.

When we couldn’t find fabric—I told her of a fabric warehouse that would have plenty of options at more affordable prices.  I wrote the information down and we parted ways. 

Technically it wasn’t my “department” to care about this woman and her need for fabric to match her dress.  I don’t even work at this store.  I wasn’t getting anything in return.  But I did it anyway.  I point this out not to say look at me—I’m great.  I only point it out to contrast it with Cheryl’s behavior.  Cheryl the machine clerk only thought of what she wanted.

If I had spent the remainder of my time standing in line at the cutting table focusing on what I want—I would have spent that time in a grumpy, selfish mood.  I wanted to know about broadcloth fabric.  I wanted dinner.  I wanted rest.  I wanted to get out of that store.

Instead, I focused on someone else’s needs and interests. It made me happy to help her—and she seemed to appreciate having someone to bounce ideas off of and get reassurance from.  So in the end—I got what I wanted—a feeling of importance, respect, happiness in a human connection—and she got what she wanted—an attentive ear, respect, reassurance and happiness in a human connection.  Both of us won. 

(Side note, they messed up on her backorder… so odds are I probably diffused her mood too, thus keeping her from becoming an irate customer with Janet)

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people. 
Principle 9.  Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

Remember, it is inevitable that you will encounter foolish, inconsiderate people and annoying circumstances.  Sometimes you’ll feel your heart pounding and you’ll want to tell some fool exactly what you think of them.  Don’t.  Channel your energy into something positive.  When you do this—you are able to exercise self-control and you’ll derive far more pleasure in spending your energy in a positive way than in wasting it on someone’s thoughtless or careless behavior.

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Day 41. Someone used a Dale Carnegie principle on me… and it worked!

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 41.  May 5, 2011
As I walked into the office, I was very tempted to growl, grumble or at the very least mumble at anyone that dared talk to me first thing in the morning.  I have too much to do and not enough time. 

But as I walked to my desk I was thrown off.  There was a plate on my desk… with quiche! 

The way to my heart... or at least a happier morning

Apparently—the way to my heart is my stomach.  (Odds are nearly all of you are aware of this detail by now).  My mood lightened and I thanked my co-worker for generously making one of the world’s best quiches for me to enjoy. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I applied toward my co-worker is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.

The Dale Carnegie principle my co-worker employed on me is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Create happiness for others.

I sat down at my desk admiring the features of the delicious and very unexpected breakfast.  It was warm—which means my co-worker had to time things just right with my arrival.  It was homemade— not something that came out of a box from the freezer.  It had a flaky crust, fluffy eggs and ham.  Yummy!  Once I considered all these points—I was able to thank my co-worker in an appropriate, sincere way.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can ease the tension of a difficult or stressful day.  Look for opportunities to do this for your coworkers and you will create a happier more productive environment.  Also be aware and appreciative when people are considerate enough to do the same for you.

Day 36: How Dale Carnegie made today’s 5K run more interesting.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

 Day 36.  April 30, 2011
As I was driving this morning I was listening to the theme song from the “Rocky” movie.  I was feeling confident.  I was wearing my favorite running ensemble—black shorts, black shirt, black hair band.  I not only looked good.  I was ready to rumble.  Not that this was a boxing match. It was a 5K run. 

They sounded the buzzer and we were off and running.  I kept a steady pace—I didn’t want to burn out in the first half of the race.  I turned on my iPod and pretended I was at the gym running on my favorite treadmill.  I pretended so well, I got some runners turning around looking at me and smiling. 

You see—I sing when I run on the treadmill.  I don’t sing because I sing well.  I sing because it gives me something to focus on.  Lyrics in songs fuel my engine for running.  Not slow, sappy songs—we’re not strolling in the park.  I like songs with energy, gusto and passion—and if there’s some angst thrown in—that’s a bonus because that makes me run faster. 

To help me run I planned on focusing on a distinct bad day from last year.  I take particular delight in making lemonade out of rotten days.  But today was different.  I had a smile on my face as I ran and sang.  My fingers danced in the wind.  I pretended I was wearing a Superman cape and I was flying like the wind. 

There were bystanders along the way cheering us on.  They were holding signs and banners—with words of encouragement like “Keep going!”  I smiled and gave everyone a thumbs as I passed by.  Not sure how—but the encouragement of random strangers fueled me to continue. 

I decided I’d be a smiling, running ambassador for Dale Carnegie’s principle number 5 as I passed everyone by. 

The run is basically a circle—you end where you began.  When I was more than halfway through the race I crossed paths with a LONG line of people who were walking the race.  I was heading back as they were still progressing through the race.  I wasn’t sure how it was technically possible that they were that far behind.  I imagined what they were thinking—geesh—there are people that are almost finished? 

I did my best to make eye contact with them as I smiled and gave them a thumbs up.

As I neared the end, there was a couple—an older man and woman who were the very last ones in the race.  They were walking slowly.  The man was a bit overweight. 

I looked at them and said—“You can do it!” as I ran by them. 

I can put food away!

Now, you have to understand that at this point in the race—yesterday’s very large taco dinner was still settling in my stomach.  I wasn’t feeling my best.  But somehow focusing on other racers and the bystanders gave me strength to continue.  I kept telling myself—I’ve got this.  I’ve got this.  I’ve done this before—I will do this again.  Period.

When I could see the finish line—I went full speed.  I pretended I was stepping on a gas pedal in a car—I ran like I meant it.  As I did this I remembered what my friend Esteban-the-Gym-Rat told me the evening before:  “remember, they take your picture as you cross the finish line—so you want to finish big—with a smile and your game face.  Some people cross the finish line—crying and vomiting—that’s not the photo you want hanging over the mantle in your living room.”

A winning smile.

I crossed the finish line with a beaming smile. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 22. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Create happiness for others.

I focused my attention on other people as I ran.  I showed my appreciation for the bystanders who were cheering us on.  I encouraged other participants in the race as I passed them by.  When I did this—I was distracted from my own concerns of – will I finish this race?  Will I come in under 30 minutes?  Will my foot start hurting? And is my stomach going to explode from that very extensive taco dinner I had last night? 

So, remember, there’s a real benefit to creating happiness for others—your words and actions can affect them in a positive way at just the right time and you are able to distract yourself from your own troubles.  Everyone wins! 

Special thanks to “Esteban-the-Gym-Rat” for his coaching advice—including tips on focusing on the horizon, proper ways to tie the shoe laces and the importance of hydration.  You made me feel like an “official athlete”—I felt important. 

Thanks to my friend “Jewel” who reminded me a week ago I could take some time off from the gym to prepare for the big race without my gym routine crashing into disgraceful oblivion.

Thank you “Dr. House” my gym trainer who knows just the right things to say that click in my head—like—“Gym Rat, of course you’ll be ready for the run two months away.” 

Thank you to my buddy “Bell” who despite living clear across the planet—convinced me to go to bed early so that I’d be well rested for the race. Sometimes the obvious isn’t always so!

Be sure to read Friday’s blog post—the photo will bring you a smile.
Don’t forget about the open invitation to be a contributing writer to this 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie principles blog.  You will approach life with an improved perspective.  What a deal!

Day 29. It turns out the Dale Carnegie principles work in social settings where you don’t speak the language

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles 

Day 29.  April 23, 2011
I’m sitting in the second row of a church I don’t belong to and the entire service was in Spanish.  I’m not fluent in Spanish—I can understand roughly every third word—if it’s spoken slowly.

I wondered if there’d be a way to use the Dale Carnegie principles.  I wasn’t sure how I could—since I don’t speak the language.  I decided to turn on my other senses.  I observed with my eyes. 

There was a woman invited to speak—she had long dark hair—she was wearing a black blouse with a pretty turquoise skirt.  She approached the pulpit and from what I gathered—she said she was nervous about speaking in front of us.  She started out a bit soft spoken. 

I immediately connected with her—thinking she looks confident enough—I would never sense she was nervous.  From what I could piece together—she had been away from the church but having returned she found peace.  One of the parishioners turned on a CD with instrumental music—and this soft spoken woman who said she was nervous— began to sing.

And oh how she sang!  She belted it out with all her passion and might.  That spot right between the eyes above the bridge of the nose—wrinkled as she sang.  I could completely relate to that feeling and look—because I sing with all my heart too.  (granted, unlike her, I have ZERO singing skills).  

My interpretation of what woman sang...

It was a moving experience.  Despite being nervous she did what she set out to do and she gave it her best—which was a wonderful gift to the audience.

Afterwards there was a reception and I happened to be standing next to her.  I turned to her—not certain if she spoke English but I said—you sang beautifully!  She smiled and said, “thank you.”

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.

If you find yourself out of your element—use it as an opportunity to grow.  Open your eyes, your heart and your mind to learn from these experiences because that’s how they become more meaningful.  Even though I didn’t understand most of what was going on in the service I observed courage in another person and I had the opportunity to show her my appreciation.  It was a wonderful way to spend my evening!  When you are willing to take a chance and grow you will discover nothing will hold you back and life becomes more interesting.