Day 111. I was wrong about the talkative account representative who visited today….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 111.  Friday, July 15, 2011
I heard the ding of the bell from the other end of the hallway.  We had a guest in the building.   

This guest was Susan, our account representative from the U.S. Postal Service. 

She was here to meet with Marcy who is in charge of our shipping department.

I heard the two women talking in the other office as I worked on a marketing campaign.

I was struck by the account representative.  She was very perky and talkative.  The conversation between the two women was just small talk at first.  But then Marcy began discussing details.  Details like the best method for shipping products to Canada and the challenges of shipping overseas, etc.

Susan, the account representative listened to Marcy’s woes, offered suggestions and was absolutely perky during the entire process.  There was even an in-depth explanation of why delivery takes a little longer to Hawaii.  Susan actually made the business of shipping interesting.   

See! There's opportunity to apply Dale Carnegie's principles just about anywhere!

I was also struck by Marcy.  Marcy does more than run the shipping department.  She handles the customer service department—she’s the main point of contact with our customers via phone and email.  I was so impressed that despite her workload, Marcy cared about the details of shipping. 

While I’m detail-oriented in certain areas, shipping products is something I consider myself the least qualified to do.  I cringe when I have to exert energy by mailing an envelope. 

I imagined myself in Marcy’s shoes meeting with Susan.  I’d be horrible in that meeting.  I’d be short and to the point.  Marcy put enthusiasm and cheerfulness into her work. I imagined how the meeting would be different if Susan wasn’t talkative and perky—what a dry and boring meeting that would be!  Susan clearly puts enthusiasm into her work. 

Their meeting ended.  I continued working on my marketing campaign with enthusiasm by setting up the html code, the links and various other details.  Broken links have not happened on my watch and I do my best to make sure it never happens. 

The Dale Carnegie principles demonstrated in this story are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.
Do the very best you can.

Today I was able to witness other people putting enthusiasm and care into their work.  It was inspiring and a marvel to observe.  I don’t care about shipping boxes.  But I do have the tedious responsibility of testing links in html code a couple times a week—so I can appreciate the work involved in shipping boxes.  To ship boxes successfully someone has to care—and it’s even better when they put enthusiasm into it by finding the most economical methods to save the company money. 

My initial reaction to hearing a talkative account representative in our building was uh-oh… another chatty Cathy in our building.  But then I realized she did her job well—she was interested in learning more about our needs and her chatty style was actually effective.  She put enthusiasm into her work. 

For my part—my personality is the complete opposite—I’m not so chatty—but I do get my job done and with enthusiasm. 

We all have our strengths.  When we apply our strengths with enthusiasm toward achieving a goal—we are able to achieve success.  It doesn’t matter if the task is shipping boxes, testing html code, running a corporation or performing surgery.  No matter the task or your station in life—do your best, put enthusiasm into it and success will come.

Day 90. This story almost had an unhappy ending until I figured out how to make lemonade from lemons…


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 90.  Friday, June 24, 2011

Preface:
I had a story about letting someone save face on Thursday—but decided to post a different blog topic.  In retrospect the “saving face” story was meant to be told today….

——–
I was talking to an associate on Thursday.  His face looked green—he seemed absolutely sick.  It turns out he made an expensive, careless mistake. 

Before taking the Dale Carnegie course I would have let the person save face.  But in my mind I would have been thinking… you careless fool!  Hope you learned your lesson.

Fortunately, I have taken the Dale Carnegie course and I handled the circumstance differently.  I let my associate save face—and I didn’t think anything ill of him.  I empathized with him and tried to come up with solutions to this expensive blunder. 

Friday was going really well—by the afternoon I had finished my primary task for the day and I was really proud of the results. I was confident—perhaps a little bold in thinking I had done a profoundly good job.  What a great day… I might have to revisit Mcdonald’s for a strawberry lemonade to celebrate.  (You might remember last Friday was horrible)

By the end of the day I had a list of blog topics that I felt were pretty stellar—and they were all very positive.  I didn’t have to make lemonade from lemons today!

Before I went home I analyzed some reports and realized one of my marketing campaigns did not do well.  Let’s be honest—by my calculations the campaign bombed.  It crashed.  It burned. 

I felt dejected as I drove home.  I worked hard on the campaign.  This was my baby.  My heart was in this campaign. 

Since it was my campaign—I felt completely responsible.  I felt sick the entire drive home.

 I tried to remember 99 percent of this day was great—but that darn 1 percent.  It made the entire day sour.  And now I’m facing the weekend.  I know I will chew on this failure the entire weekend. 

I knew I had to take quick action against my thought process.  I tried.  But I just wanted to crawl in a hole and hide for an extended period of time—perhaps a week…maybe a month…

I decided to review the facts.  Did I do my best?  Yes.  And I wasn’t trying to fool myself.  I really did. My team and I put extra effort into this campaign.  I went through each of the features we added to make this campaign something we were proud of.  I kept telling myself—I did my best.  I did my best.

Then I remembered Thursday’s events.  I did not point out, mock or criticize my associate for his expensive mistake.  Although he admitted he did not do his best—I did not participate in making him feel worse than he already did. 

Somehow I was able to piece together two isolated events to find my peace.

Whereas my associate was honestly able to admit he had not done his best—an honest analysis of my work does indicate my team and I really did do our best on the marketing campaign. 

Fight for your happiness. Work hard to gain a new perspective.

I smiled as I drove in to McDonald’s for dinner.  After all, today just wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t have my hard earned strawberry lemonade.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Live in “day-tight compartments.”
Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more.
Analyze your own mistakes and criticize yourself.
Do the very best you can.

I knew the potential disaster of me bearing the burden of a failure for the entire weekend.  I knew this was an occasion that I would have to fight for my happiness and not let circumstances beyond my control drag me down.  In the big picture—yes, it’s a shame the campaign did not do stellar.  But it doesn’t mean I have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders or spend an entire evening or weekend dwelling on the matter.  If we slapped this project together without any thought, care or effort—then yes I would have reason to be disappointed in myself—but even then it’s not worth an entire weekend of feeling regret or dejection.

So, my lesson to you—always do your best.  It is true your best might not produce the results you had expected.  But I assure you that doing your best and falling short of success is easier to deal with than doing a mediocre job and living with the regret that you were too disinterested, distracted, lazy, etc to put effort into a task that you can be proud of.

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 80. My interpretation of Dale Carnegie’s principle: “Do the very best you can”


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 80.  Monday, June 13, 2011
I went to bed early on Sunday night.  I had a big day ahead of me.  I couldn’t sleep—I prayed Monday would go well.  What am I getting myself into having dinner with a friend whom I haven’t seen in years?  She’s made a remarkable life for herself.  And me?  How will this reunion turn out? 

Then I woke up stressed this morning.  What do I wear?  My favorite jeans are too faded and I can’t find a decent pair of shoes. 

I reminded myself that I am who I am and odds are my friend is exactly as I remember her.  That’s the reason I agreed to meet with her after all these years anyway. 

I left work at 5 pm to make my 6:45 pm dinner.  I underestimated rush hour traffic.  I had hoped to go home and freshen up but realized there wasn’t time. 

It was 100 degrees today.  I was a hot, sticky, oily mess.  What is this friend of mine going to think of me?  After all these years… and I still look like this?  To save time I went to Target to pick up some makeup and a face wash.  I scrubbed my face so hard it was red and the blemishes were bleeding.  ARGH.

I applied the newly purchased makeup.  It was for someone with fairer skin than mine.  I looked white as a ghost when I applied the makeup.  ARGH.

I was running out of time and now look at me… and now I might be late for dinner. I should have just gone home to freshen up instead….

I made it to the restaurant, patted down my messy hairdo and consoled myself—this is as good as it gets.  I am who I am.  I carried my humble plastic container with homemade cookies into the restaurant—not really sure if cookies are appropriate. 

What caption could possibly fit this photo? Fresh out of dignity!

When my friend walked in—all my absurd fears and concerns vanished.  She was the same person I remembered from the 5th grade.  We looked at each other, gave each other big smiles—and marveled at how we looked like our mothers. 

Our meals were served and frankly we could have eaten cardboard or dirt and I would have been happy.  The hours passed as if they were minutes as we talked and listened to each other’s stories. 

I had planned at least 2 other blog topics today but when I sat down to write the blogs they just weren’t captivating enough.  That’s when I realized the only story appropriate for today is the one of me finding my childhood friend. 

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

You might think this is an odd principle to attach to this story.  Let me explain.  I decided that doing the very best I can means being myself.

I wasn’t going to pretend to be something beyond my current station in life.  I work hard, I have a lot of passion for what I do—but my world isn’t anything particularly glamorous or prestigious. 

I didn’t get dressed up—not out of disregard for her—but really—I hate getting dressed up.  I was myself:  blemishes, messy hair, jeans, t-shirt and sneakers.  Judging by how quickly time passed with smiles, genuine conversation and laughter—we both did our very best by being ourselves… and it worked. 

So remember, quit trying to be someone you are not.  Be comfortable and proud of who you are.  When you take this approach you’ll find life is more fulfilling, people around you are far more interesting than you could ever imagine and the people worth knowing see beyond the superficial. 

 – Thank you ‘Lucilla’.