Day 101. I decided to grab the bull by the horns—I accepted responsibility and I lived in a day-tight compartment


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 101.  Tuesday, July 5, 2011
It was midnight and I was on a stairmaster at the gym.  I was wrapping up a workout while reflecting on how great Monday was.

That’s when it hit me.  I forgot to launch a marketing campaign on Monday!  It’s officially 12:01—Tuesday morning.  ARGH. I press the emergency stop button on the stairmaster and almost didn’t clean up the equipment…

I raced out of the gym and hurried home.  I decided to fall on my sword immediately and let the appropriate parties know I messed up. 

By the time I launched the campaign it was 12:35 am.  Technically— I was 35 minutes late— which isn’t too heinous. Besides Monday was the 4th of July. Most people are far away from being reached by my marketing campaigns.

I tried to console myself with reason but I was so disappointed with myself.  In the history of these campaigns I’ve never forgotten to launch one. 

I knew in my heart that it wasn’t life and death.  It would be ok.  The campaign wasn’t date sensitive.  I didn’t cause physical or mental harm to anyone.  This is a marketing campaign. 

I went to bed calm and without worry.

When I woke up I immediately thought of the marketing campaign.  I did my best to accept whatever consequences that would come my way.  I reminded myself that the affected individuals are reasonable human beings—and again, the delay of the campaign by one day might actually help in the long run. 

I got to work and no one complained. In fact, my associate said it was no big deal.  It was a non-issue.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this scenario are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Cooperate with the inevitable.
Live in “day-tight compartments.”
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. 

How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 12.  If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. 

By day 101 of this blog, I am starting to catch on to the reality that it’s not worth worrying about circumstances I cannot change.  When I realized I messed up I decided to grab the bull by the horns—I accepted responsibility.  I also considered the matter—and was able to look at the big picture—this matter was a bigger problem in my mind than in reality.  Given this conclusion I decided to live in a day-tight compartment and do my best not to give this matter any more worry.  I saved myself a lot of grief!

This is why living in day-tight compartment is worth it. You don’t waste valuable time worrying about trivial matters.  You can focus on moving forward and growing as a person rather than stunting your growth by fixating on a mistake.

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.