Day 81. If what they say is true then I better live up to their expectations….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 81.  Tuesday, June 15, 2011
Preface: There are two separate scenarios that helped create one great day.

Part 1.
I walked in to my local coffee shop today and was greeted by “Stefano”. 

Stefano:  “Smiling Daffodil—you are creative and crafty—will you help me with this project?  There are some free Java Chip Frappuccinos in your future in exchange for your help.”

Surprisingly it wasn’t the free Java Chip Frappuccinos that caught my ear.  It was the perception Stefano had of me being creative and crafty.  Those adjectives aren’t normally used to describe me. 

“Of course I’ll help”, I replied.

Part 2.
This afternoon I sent an instant message to my coworker Seth.  

Smiling Daffodil:  “Seth, I realize there’s only one right answer to the question I’m going to ask you.  But I’m going to ask you anyway because I need the encouragement.  Should I try to make a project to help promote the new craft book?  The thing is—I doubt anyone will like what I create.  Is there any point in me trying?”

Seth:  “Smiling Daffodil—I think you should make the best “darn” pillow you can and not worry what anyone thinks.  I am certain our customers will like it.” 

So I stayed late at the office and I made the best pillow I could.  I doubted my sewing skills but I remembered Stefano from this morning who declared that I was crafty.  I remembered Seth who said our customers will like what I create.  I considered past successes I have had—from oddball photos for my blog to embroidered bibs to various marketing copy I have written. 

I am fully aware that when I put enthusiasm into a task—my heart goes into it and the outcome is generally good. So I continued to sew and piece together my project.

Blooming with confidence

The end result this evening—an original Smiling Daffodil creation:  a 3-dimensional floral lattice pillow.  This pillow will generate interest and create sales for a new book.  More importantly for me, it symbolizes a renewed confidence in my ability to create—to be crafty.  

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Do the very best you can.

I know what it is like to be discouraged and not receive the support you need from those that are in a position to give it to you.  But you must be true to yourself.  You must do the very best you can.  You have the choice to let people hold you back… or not. 

All I wanted for the last two months was to experiment with a new product—but I was waiting for an invitation that never came.  What I forgot was—I fuel my own enthusiasm.  I write my own invitations.  I determine my goals.  If I can envision a 3-d pillow then odds are I will figure out how to make it happen.  I needed Stefano and Seth to remind me of these things.

When you are true to yourself and you do the very best you can—you create your happiness and no one can diminish it.   

It is also worth noting that Stefano and Seth used one of Dale Carnegie’s principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 28.  Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. 

– Thank you Stefano and Seth. 

Day 28: Phone call from random woman turns into great opportunity


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 28.  April 22, 2011
This morning I heard some stressful phone conversations coming from our customer service center in our building.  Being a Carnegie graduate I was eager to help—but I didn’t know how to give any of the employees encouragement without coming off condescending or arrogant.  I can understand how the job can be stressful and thankless.  I wrung my hands and did nothing….

At 3:45 pm the phone rang in my office. 

I picked up the phone and said warmly, “good afternoon, XYZ company.  This is Susie Q.”

Woman on other end of phone:  “Hi Susie Q—how are you today?”

I replied with gusto—“I’m great!  How are you?”  (Note to the reader:  I have NO idea who this person is—she hasn’t identified herself.  I’m also anxious to find out if management will send us home early since it’s Good Friday.  Despite these personal concerns I decide to do my best by having a cheerful voice on the phone.) 

The woman on the phone replied with a heavy sigh, “I’m SO TIRED.  I’m hoping they send us home early today.”

SIGH… would you like to buy our services….

At this point—you can hear the sound of crickets.  I don’t know how to respond to this—so I stay silent. 

Woman on phone:  “I’m calling to sell you services in such and such we have the best services in town… are you the owner?”

I replied, “No I’m not the owner and our company is not interested.”

Woman on phone:  “Well, if you’re not the owner it’s not your place to tell me the company isn’t interested.”

I responded, “Just a note—it’s probably not a good idea to tell me that you are so tired before you try to sell me something.” 

Woman on phone:  “Well you were the one that asked how I was doing.  I was just answering your question with honesty.”

I replied to the woman, “I hope you have a good weekend—sounds like you need the rest.”

Woman on phone:  “Click.”

I set the phone back down after being hung up on and chuckle to myself.  I told my associate Henrietta the story.  (Henrietta spends a large portion of her day handling our customer service calls.  She has immense patience that I don’t have—but like all of us can use encouragement from time to time.) 

To dramatize the concept I said with enthusiasm, “Henrietta, can you imagine if you answered the phone and began with a low, unhappy voice like this:

     “Hi, this is Henrietta (sigh) what can I do for you (sigh).” 
     The customer on the line would respond, “hi Henrietta (sigh) I was calling to place an order (sigh) but now I’m too disinterested and tired (sigh).” 

Both Henrietta and I got a good laugh at my very exaggerated skit. 

I said to Henrietta, “that woman that called me is nothing like you Henrietta.  You do a good job.”

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 20.  Dramatize your ideas.
Principle 28.  Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. 

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

So remember, sometimes the best way to encourage, praise and motivate others is to give an exaggerated example of what not to do.  This method gets a good chuckle.  It also sends a message that you appreciate their work and you are giving them a fine reputation to live up to.  After all, no one would want to be the “dramatized” version of Henrietta that I played.