Day 109. Take the time to notice someone’s absence and you will gain their loyalty.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 109.  Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I drove home on Tuesday evening, praying in a very direct way to God.

“Lord.  Please fix me.  I’m not in a good place.

I feel portly.  I’m eating like a horse.  I haven’t been to the gym in awhile.  My clothes aren’t fitting.  And there is chaos at work.  I’m doing my best Lord—but things aren’t working.  I feel like eating my way into oblivion.  I know the answer is the gym.  But I won’t go.” 

The next morning I checked my Facebook and noticed a wall post.  “Smiling Daffodil, I haven’t seen you in awhile at the gym…”

I didn’t expect a quick response from God—well, in this case, one of God’s tools—named Dr. House, my trainer. 

I decided to look at the facts:

  • I haven’t been going to the gym—so yes, I am out of shape. 
  • I had been working hard on a fitness program but most likely I have regressed.
  • I have also been entertaining quite a bit of sugary foods.  And then there are those trips to McDonalds I’ve been blogging about….

I wondered if Dr. House would believe that I had been working out faithfully but then I got distracted with my blog.  On the other hand—I’m just giving excuses.  That’s probably all he hears as a trainer—excuses.  But surely I’m different?  My excuse is valid!  Ha.

I decided to just accept the inevitable.  I told Dr. House that I am fully prepared to fail the fitness test since I haven’t been faithful to the gym.

As is the custom—he looked at me and said—“you’re not going to fail the test.  You don’t fail at anything you do.”

Clearly I could not accept this statement—so I insisted, “no, no Doc—this time I really am going to fail.”

Dr. House wasn’t buying it.  And I had no idea why.  But I appreciated his confidence in me. 

I took the fitness test on the treadmill—and not only did I pass—I improved from my last test in March.  He also had scientific proof of why I’ve been eating a lot of sugary foods.  My body has been craving sugar.

My trainer pulled me out!

I left the gym feeling 2 feet taller, 10 pounds lighter, with a spring in my step and a big stupid grin on my face.

I bet you’re wondering what Dale Carnegie principles I used in this story?
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.

It turns out that I was doing so well on my fitness program that taking some time off didn’t cause me to regress back to my fitness level in March.  I assumed I was very weak and had no self-control when it comes to sugar—but my system was craving it as a result of the intense workout program I had been on.  I assumed I was in poor condition.  My trainer said my heart was stronger than it has ever been. 

I bet you're thinking I'm Winnie the Pooh. Actually, I'm the Viking.

I didn’t have all my facts before today.  I just had a jumble of fears and concerns floating in my head that were discouraging me and stunting any chance for progress.  And these feelings were seeping into my daily outlook. 

When I got all the facts from my trainer—you can imagine my relief! 

So remember, don’t jump to conclusions.  Getting all the facts is the best way to correct a situation.  Once you have the facts, you are able to come up with a sound plan of action.  Can you imagine coming up with a plan with no facts?  Or with incorrect information?  This is not a good practice for home, work or anywhere. 

If I had continued with my original intense fitness program—I would not see improvement.  Based on my test results my program has to completely change in order to see progress.  Now I have a new program and I should see results in a matter of time. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
Dr. House—thank you for stepping up to the challenge of pulling me out of my box and setting new goals.
Mustafa—thank you for conspiring with Dr. House for the “intervention.”

Day 26. Avoid egg on the face. Use Dale Carnegie’s Principles.

 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 26.  April 20, 2011 
Today officially marks 30 days.  Thirty days ago at precisely 10:05 am I sent an invoice to Charlene and I have not received payment for my work.  I was fuming this morning just thinking about Charlene-the-Deadbeat who clearly does not realize the very foolish decision she has made not to pay me.  I am considering my options of how best to burn the bridge.

I was discussing this matter with a friend over coffee—explaining that Charlene-the-Idiot does not realize who she’s dealing with. 

Granted, deep down inside, I am aware I’m not demonstrating very good Dale Carnegie-like behaviors.  It seems like all the Dale Carnegie principles have been put on a shelf somewhere—way out of reach.  This is a matter of money.  And I want what I earned.

Before calling Charlene-the-Deadbeat I was reasonable enough to take a deep breath.  I even said a prayer.  “Please God help me have a pleasant sounding voice on the phone.  Help me to talk in terms of Charlene’s interests.”  I flipped through Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book as a quick refresher of the principles I needed to find the strength to apply.

I picked up the phone and called Charlene-the-Person-Who-Will-Pay-Me-Now-Or-Else. 

I began in a friendly way.  (I was floored I was able to swing that!)  My confidence soared because I had this under calm control.  I didn’t open with “Where’s my money Charlene?”  or “What’s your problem Charlene?”  or “How do you sleep at night knowing you stiffed me?”

No.  I asked how she was doing.  We talked at length about what’s going on in her world—she told me about her husband and children.  I let her do most of the talking—asking a few questions here and there.  I was generous with my time and interest in her life.  We reached a point in the conversation where she asked why I was calling.  I delicately said that I hadn’t been paid—and was wondering if perhaps she didn’t get the invoice.

To my shock—she said—“oh no!  I sent check #789 two weeks ago.  You should have it by now!” 

She ended up calling the bank and confirmed the check hadn’t been cashed–so she reissued a check for payment in full. 

To top it all off she gave me some contacts that might also be interested in my services.

Get all the facts. Avoid egg on the face

The Dale Carnegie principles I was very SLOW to adopt but eventually did use:

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts. 

Never try to get even with your enemies.

Admittedly, I should have given Charlene the benefit of the doubt before assuming she was a deadbeat.  In all the years I have known Charlene—she’s a decent human being.  There was no reason to assume she was dishonest.  By taking a deep breath, remaining calm and getting all the facts directly from Charlene—I kept the dialogue positive and professional on the phone.  I learned more about my client in terms of her future needs for my services and I also gained some helpful business leads. 

So remember, before assuming the worst in a human being or a circumstance—take a deep breath and get all the facts before reacting.  This will save you from the unpleasant experience of eating crow, having egg on your face or even missing future business opportunities.  You will also prevent yourself from wasting energy on negativity or worry.