Day 75. I used Dale Carnegie’s principles by baking cookies….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 75.  Wednesday, June 8, 2011
It was 5pm and “Gasoline with Match Lady” emailed.  She was responding to my request for some information for a marketing campaign. 

It felt like Monday all over again.  Her email pretty much indicated I was wrong to ask for the information. 

This time, I did not pick up the phone for a fight with her.  Instead, I sent an email indicating I’d call her on Thursday morning.  By the time I call her tomorrow—we will both be well rested and with open minds.

Mmmm.... cookies

I proceeded to drive home, have dinner, write a blog, bake cookies, go to the gym, etc, etc.  The key here is that I did not dwell on the silly behavior of “Gasoline with Match Lady”.  I put the ordeal in a day-tight compartment—and I moved on to have a very pleasant evening.  A year ago—I would have let “Gasoline with Match Lady” or anyone else determine the outcome of my day.  Not anymore.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this story are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more.
Live in “day-tight compartments.”
Don’t fuss about trifles.

My lesson to you—remember that you determine the outcome of your day.  You might have a person in your life that drives you nuts.  The frustration the person causes is not worth your time, health or happiness.  The best way to change your perspective is to put the issue in a day-tight compartment.  Then work on protecting and creating your happiness by keeping busy.  By day’s end, you can look back with a sense of pride knowing you didn’t let a silly person’s behavior get the best of you.

Housekeeping / Notes
Today is your bonus day!  Guest Blogger Elijah found an opportunity to use a Dale Carnegie principle while at a stop sign.  Read now!

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 49. A head-on approach to dealing with stress using Dale Carnegie’s principles

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 49.  Friday, May 13, 2011
The moment I walked into the office it felt like a Monday.  I double checked the calendar… nope.  Today is Friday. 

A grenade was thrown at me first thing in the morning via email.  I was asked to change the scheduled marketing campaign that was launching TODAY to something else.  No problem,” I calmly responded.  “I have a backup campaign.”

Whew!  Look at me adjusting to change!  Before that Dale Carnegie course—I would have exploded.  Look at me now!

But then I realized changing the marketing campaign today would set off a chain reaction that meant a considerable amount of additional work.  I decided to hunker down at my desk and live in “day-tight compartments”.  I would tackle one task at a time, doing my best to prioritize.

But then another grenade was thrown at me via email:  “Smiling Daffodil—I haven’t been paid for my services for XYZ.”

And another grenade:  “Smiling Daffodil—have you invoiced for the ABC project?”

By this time, I pulled out my laptop and was playing my favorite song in a continuous loop in an effort to keep my focused and calm.  The entire building probably heard me whistling my heart out. 

I was REALLY trying.  But the grenades kept coming.

A coworker asked, “Would you like to proof this new packaging before we print thousands, Smiling Daffodil?”  “Of course,” I replied.

 Additional grenades:
“Smiling Daffodil, what do you think about this project?  Do you love it?”
“Smiling Daffodil, can you fix this typo on the website?”
“Smiling Daffodil, I need guidance on this project…now.”

I kept reminding myself of Dale Carnegie’s principle – “Live in day-tight compartments”.  I was really trying.  I was staying focused on work. I was not letting the countless, nagging requests get to me.  Everyone wants to be heard and feel important.   They each have their own perspective. 

I pondered what a “day-tight compartment” would look like.  After chewing on it a smile came to my face.  My eyes probably took on a devious, mischievous look. 

I quickly sent a text to my friend Tim to see if he happened to have what I was looking for in his arsenal of props. 

As the day progressed—or should I say worsened—I reached a point where it was either a second Java Chip Frappuccino or a trip to the store for the perfect prop for my blog today.

My eyes raced about as I glanced at all the amazing possibilities at the Military Surplus store.  A sailor hat!  Boots!  Army fatigues!

Then I found the prop I was looking for. It’s the image of me living in a day-tight compartment at my desk.  Do you think anyone would question me showing up to work with this on Monday?

The Dale Carnegie principles I tried very hard to use today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
–          Live in “day-tight compartments”
–          Expect ingratitude.
–          Learn to relax at your work.

Ok, ok.  I probably got the wiring crossed in my mind—“day-tight” versus the very literal “air-tight” concept—but it certainly did provide an amusing distraction for me today in the midst of utter chaos.  Besides… what I REALLY wanted was a copper diving helmet. 

The lessons– yes, there are several hidden here…. When you find you are experiencing a chaotic day do your best to live in “day-tight compartments”.  Deal with each task, each ‘crisis’ in the order of importance.  Expect ingratitude—this way you won’t get worked up or irritated when people expect you to quickly accommodate their every whim.  And last—when you can—by all means—find a way to have fun.  You’ll find this will help relieve you of pressure and you’ll be able to pursue your work with a clearer mind.  And if nothing else—you’ll have all your coworkers very confused as you face chaos with humor.

Day 24: Use humor as your weapon of choice when the day greets you with disappointment

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 24.  April 18, 2011 
I was invited to go to a very exclusive educational trip next month.  I was not merely happy to go, I was leaping with excitement.  At last, my hard work has paid off—I am being recognized for my skills and my potential to expand my skills even more.  I was telling everyone about this “big fancy trip”.

Well, today I decided to register for the classes, secure the hotel and airfare.  That’s when I saw the fine print to this invitation.  Basically I am only going for two days—not the entire week.  I am only taking one class.  If I want to take more than one class—I will have to pay for the hotel and the fees for the additional classes. 

No problem.  I am willing to pay.  That is, until I saw the costs.  I can’t afford it.

Imagine being a kid in a candy store and not having any money to purchase candy. Or imagine being in the best steakhouse on a Friday during Lent.  (You aren’t permitted to eat meat on Fridays during Lent).

To say I was devastated is an understatement.  I tried to remember the Dale Carnegie principles.  But I was mad.  I was disappointed.  I was in tears.  I was the full range of emotions.  Why bother making this trip just for one silly class? 

I drove home from work trying desperately to understand Dale Carnegie’s principle of “Live in day-tight compartments” while listening to the radio play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones.

Suddenly the car in front of me caught my attention.  It jolted me enough for me to make a split second decision to follow it as it turned left into a shopping center. I had to get a picture of this car.  It had the coolest vanity license plate I have ever seen. 

I felt a bit absurd on my mission to follow it instead of going directly home but I couldn’t help myself.  I discreetly tracked down the car in the parking lot.  I looked around for witnesses as I pulled out the camera and took a picture. 

By this time I’m smiling, quite pleased my mission was accomplished.  On this random evening on my drive home from work, I managed to notice a car with a nickname that friends at the gym call me:  

I drove home with a smile on my face—realizing I got to experience firsthand what living in day-tight compartments is like.  Yes, I was disappointed and irked 10 minutes prior but somehow I managed to live in the present moment and find pleasure and simple humor in my surroundings. 

Let’s be clear.  Dale Carnegie principles don’t make your problems magically go away.  Sometimes there is pain, disappointment, frustration and all the other emotions that come with life.  But the Dale Carnegie principles are tools you can use to help get yourself past the negative emotions.  You just have to be willing to work for it.

The Dale Carnegie principles I applied:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5. Smile.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
– Live in day-tight compartments

So next time you find yourself a ball of emotions like me—step away from the moment.  Put effort into seeing the big picture—or even noticing the details in your surroundings that will bring you humor.  You will find immense satisfaction controlling your focus and emotions.  And it’s during this process you will discover what living in day-tight compartments feels like.

Day 17. Starbucks on NW Highway in Dallas uses Dale Carnegie principles

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 17.  April 11, 2011 
It was 11:30 am on a typical busy Monday.  I had a number of emails to go through—some were pleasant and some were not.  Various tasks I left from Friday were still left undone.  I was working hard to stick to the Dale Carnegie principles of not worrying and living in day tight compartments as individuals seemed to get under my skin.  I just kept smiling and repeating the name, ‘Dale Carnegie.’  ‘Dale Carnegie’. 

Eager for a break, I escaped to my favorite place—the Starbucks on Northwest Highway in Dallas.  As I walked in, I was greeted not by one but by all four of the employees—David, Robyn, Dominic and Sam. 

By greeted—I don’t mean a casual ‘Hello Ma’am’—or ‘Hello Miss.’  They don’t ask what I want to order. 

Each one of them greeted me by name with a friendly smile.  They also know my drink—my beloved Java Chip Frappuccino—and they know the particular way I like it prepared… with extra chocolate.

The sound of a person's name is even sweeter than a Java Chip Frappuccino...

It is these details that keep me coming back every single day.  I am valued and appreciated by my Starbucks on Northwest Highway. 

The Dale Carnegie Principles David, Robyn, Dominic and Sam practiced today are from the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:

Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 6.  Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Thank you David, Robyn, Dominic and Sam for turning my Monday into a better day by using Dale Carnegie’s principles on me!

Remember, no matter how mundane your daily activities might be– look for opportunities to use the Dale Carnegie principles wherever you go.  It will give your day greater value and purpose.  And don’t forget to recognize when individuals you encounter throughout the day are also using the Dale Carnegie principles.

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.

Day 4. Live in “day-tight” compartments

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 4.  March 29, 2011 

Tuesday can be summed up with one word:  Taxing.

I had a busy day.  I scheduled a special Coffee Celebration at Starbucks.  Then an associate wanted to have lunch.  Then I had a dental appointment in the afternoon—followed by a photoshoot for a friend.  Then I had art club.  And last, ice skating lessons.

Did I mention, I work full time?  And it happens to be print week… the busiest time of the month? 

 I knocked out the first two items on my task list, managed to squeeze in some work then stormed out to go to the dentist.  I was so irritated because the dental appointment really interrupted my schedule.  I was feeling the stress of the day.  How am I supposed to finish all my work?  This day is such a waste. 

I made it to the dentist, still crabby because I left a pile of work at the office.  As I sat down in the waiting room I took a deep breath.  I might as well accept the circumstances.  It does no good to take out my frustration on the dentist or the receptionist.  It’s not their fault I can’t keep my teeth clean. Besides, I always manage to get my work done.  Today will be no different. 

As I was sitting, taking a deep breath…my cell phone rang.  My ice skating instructor was calling to reschedule my skating lesson.  I was thrilled because this meant my evening opened up and I could catch up on work. 

Today’s entry will be different.  I will tell you the principle I should have implemented immediately.  It’s from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

The principle is:
1. Live in ‘day-tight compartments.’

You see, I spent the day stressing and worrying about all the work and commitments I had to get done today when I didn’t have to.  I got my work and commitments completed and my schedule even opened up when my ice skating instructor rescheduled my appointment out of the blue.   I worried and stressed for nothing!

So, when you live in ‘day-tight compartments’ you can focus on one specific task or moment and not waste time or energy worrying about things that may or may not happen.