Day 89. It took 10 years for me to figure this out. Learn from my mistakes.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 89.  Thursday, June 23, 2011
You might remember the Day 81 entry where I sewed the most fabulous pillow because Seth and Stefano gave me the encouragement to try.  Well a lot has happened since then….

Feed the Fire of Enthusiasm

I am up to 6 finished pillows, 2 pillows-in-progress and a potential wall hanging….This does not include the projects in my mind that are just bursting for the opportunity to come to life….I guess you could say I am the mad scientist of sewing… or at least pillow making.  Even the other night I had a dream I sewed myself into a pillow….

My enthusiasm led me to approach my associate Roberta, who was buried with a pile of paperwork this afternoon. 

Smiling Daffodil:
“Excuse me Roberta, before today is over will you show me how to sew this fancy yarn and cording?”

“Oh my!  Yes I will!  Your grandmother would be so jealous of me, Smiling Daffodil!  I’ll be happy to show you.”

So this evening once our regular boring “office” work was complete, Roberta pulled out the special sewing machine foot for sewing yarns and other specialty fibers.  Roberta had a very long, stressful day yet she was eager to teach me this new sewing technique. 

She shared tips and invited me to use any of her specialty yarns and fibers.  (Her willingness to let me use any of her materials always stuns me.  She never says you can use this material but not that.  Or here, use this cheap, ugly material—the other material is too expensive for you to use.)

She was absolutely enthusiastic and excited to teach me.  As I listened to Roberta, I couldn’t help but think of Dale Carnegie’s principles.  I didn’t set out to use a principle but somehow I unlocked the magic of a particular principle:

From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people.

I had taken the time to become interested in sewing—and what really made the difference is that I involved Roberta in this process.  By taking interest and asking Roberta for help, advice and tips—both parties got what they wanted.  I wanted to learn some new techniques, feel creative and succeed in my sewing endeavors.  She got to share her expertise with me.  She got to feel important. 

The outcome is greater than meets the eye. 

I am happy because I get to create.  I am also happy because she sees I am happy.  (Actually, the entire building senses my explosion of happiness and benefits from it).

She is happy because she gets to teach an associate—she gets to feel important.  She is also happy because she sees me happy.  (Actually, the entire building benefits from this).

The bigger picture is a happier work environment, greater productivity and greater profitability.  

So remember, although you might be capable of learning something on your own through trial and error—sometimes it serves everyone’s interests if you ask for help from an expert.  More often than not—someone is willing to teach you—they derive their feeling of importance by being considered an expert.  You get the benefit of learning how to do something the right way.  The result is relationship building, discovering new opportunities for making money and more importantly your own happiness.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Don’t forget to read this week’s guest blog post by my buddy Esteban.  I think his blog demonstrates the great opportunity parents have to teach their children.  Click here to read.

Day 85. Put your heart into a task and you’ll benefit from the outcome

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 85.  Saturday, June 18, 2011
I was listening to the radio on Friday and heard the forecast for Saturday was 104 degrees.  Yikes.  I decided the best thing to do was take cover from the heat. So I ended up at the office. 

You might remember my blog earlier this week about a pillow

The outcome of that pillow: 
Seth, Stefano and many other individuals loved the pillow.  I was truly touched. 

At the very end of the day I received “acknowledgement” for the pillow I made by the one person I desperately wanted attention from.  It hurt. 

In my heart I knew the moral of the story was simply to live Dale Carnegie’s principle:  “expect ingratitude.”  I do my best for myself and no one else. 

So today… my plan was to make another pillow—something entirely different.  It’s a bit ironic because I fled this office on Friday to have lunch just to get away from the building.  Now I was voluntarily going to spend my Saturday afternoon at this office to sew. 

Well—I made a mess of the entire sewing studio.  When I do a task I’m very…enthusiastic.  I put my heart into it.

Love what you do

The outcome of my afternoon… this heart pillow I made for my dad for Father’s Day.  (Granted being the marketer that I am—I will give it to him and take it back so I can use it for some marketing pieces.  Dear old dad will get the pillow back eventually….)

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.
Do the very best you can.

I created a pillow today not for the purpose of gaining approval, recognition or appreciation from the one person that denied it to me last time.  Instead I made it because I know I am capable and I loved making it.

My advice to you—pursue your interests whole-heartedly and don’t worry what other people think.  When you take these measures, you are true to yourself and the results of your effort will shine.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Daffodils fade but fortunately for you my blog posts don’t!  Be sure to check the archives / pictorial gallery for your favorite blog post or to catch up on what you missed.  Click to view.

Day 48. Dale Carnegie’s principles can be applied on good days too! Wow!

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 48.  Thursday, May 12, 2011
It was 3:03 pm CST.  I was in my coworker’s office when it happened.  The bell rang in the warehouse.  Fortunately, I dressed appropriately for work today—jeans, a t-shirt, and some good running shoes. 

I made a mad dash to my office to grab my camera.  I’ve been especially trigger happy and today of all days must be documented. 

With camera safely around my neck, I raced into the warehouse… just in time to meet the UPS man. 

Behold…. my box!  Not just any box.  The box I’ve been longing for all week long.  The box that contains my precious laptop that I carelessly forgot in Michigan. 

Happiness delivered by the UPS man

I greeted the UPS man with a big stupid grin.  I snapped a quick photo of my box.  Then raced back to my coworker’s office where we safely unwrapped the precious cargo.

After reacquainting myself with my laptop I gave my coworker a puzzled look.  “What am I going to write about in today’s blog?  I’ve had a good day.” 

We both looked at each other—then at my laptop. 

Then my next concern became—“what photo would capture the relief and happiness of this moment?”

I left work a little earlier than usual and headed for home still pondering the perfect photo for my blog. What captures the essence of my happiness today?

Take the time to appreciate the little things

It didn’t take long before I noticed the sky.  The sky looked the way I felt.  It looked like it was rejoicing with me.  My long lost laptop reunited at last.

There were rays of light peering through the unusual arrangement of clouds—with shades of pink and blue scattered about.  It was so beautiful it was ridiculous. 

What normally takes an hour to get home probably took two hours.  I kept driving but then I’d notice the sky. I’d take a detour to get a better glimpse then I’d have to find a safe place to park to snap photos.  By the time I got home it was dark—but what a great way to spend an evening.  Me, my laptop and a beautiful sunset.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings – not your troubles.
Put enthusiasm into your work.

You see—I could have spent my day worrying about all the work I have to complete by next week and the fact that half the company will be out of town and unavailable to help me.  Instead I focused on the blessings of this day—the return of my laptop.  I am certain I will get all my work complete – I’m just not going to spend all my time worrying about it.  Instead I will focus on being enthusiastic and positive about the simple things in life. 

So remember—look for the blessings that come your way each day.  Blessings might come in unexpected forms—like the safe return of something lost or the beauty of a sunset.  Taking this approach changes your outlook in a positive way.  You are able to spend your time more productively and you’ll be amazed by how much energy you have.

Read Day 42 where I discuss the reason I forgot my laptop.

Day 5. Enthusiasm

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 5.  March 30, 2011 
I can’t decide which Carnegie story to share today so I’m sharing two today.  To the two people that read my blog (ha) feel free to let me know which you like best.



Story 1. 
I have suggested an idea on at least 3 different occasions to “Carlos”.  Each and every time the idea was shot down.  I understand Carlos’s hesitation to adopt my idea so I don’t really argue the point.  Well today Carlos came to me with a brilliant idea he was so excited to share. 

Put enthusiasm in your work. It makes the process easier.


You know where I’m going with this story. 

Carlos shared his idea—which of course was my idea. I can probably reference the exact days I suggested the idea.  I listened to Carlos telling me his brilliant idea and kept  repeating in my head… “Dale Carnegie.  Dale Carnegie.”  I took a deep breath.  I struggled internally because I thought Carlos was proving yet again that he’s nuts.  I sat there struggling and then thought… who cares whose idea it is… all I know is that the idea is a good one and I finally get approval to carry it out.  I smiled and told Carlos it’s a great idea. 

The principle I used is from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:

Principle 16.  Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. 

When you let the other person feel the idea is his or hers—both of you can focus your energy toward following through on the idea.  Progress is made. 


Story 2. 
I had a photoshoot today that I was not especially enthused about.  I had a horrible time trying to prepare the studio.  The fabric I was using as a prop was wrinkled and all my efforts to iron and steam the wrinkles out failed.  I set the shot up—took a dozen photos.  Didn’t really like any of them.  I was completely frustrated that I had to do this task.  In my mind this task really wasn’t my responsibility… etc, etc.  The day just seemed to drag on forever.  I was concluding it was a crummy day.     

Before leaving I reviewed my to-do list and noticed I didn’t finish an article I had written.   I needed some photos to really make the article come alive.  I started gathering props and samples.  I went into the studio, removed the previous items I had photographed about two hours earlier.  I left the wrinkled fabric in place—mainly because I liked the color and didn’t want to try ironing other fabric. 

Well, after an hour and a half into this second photoshoot of the day, I had to pull myself away from my work.  I was completely engulfed in the work—I was not merely photographing pins, needles and flower samples—no—no—I was creating art.  I was immersed in my work—changing angles and lighting as I photographed.  I probably could have stayed well into the night photographing pins, needles and flowers. 

As I drove home trying to think of what Carnegie principles I exercised today I realized I was my own case study—my own lab rat.  The first photoshoot was miserable—because I didn’t approach it with enthusiasm.  The second photoshoot was creative, fun and a success (even with the same wrinkled fabric) because I approached it with giddy enthusiasm.  My perspective of the task I had to do changed.  It was the same work– just a different outlook. 

The principle I used in this example is from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Put enthusiasm into your work.

When you put enthusiasm in your work the output is better quality because you put your heart into it.  You might even find that the work doesn’t feel like labor at all.  And let’s be clear– it doesn’t matter what type of work– doing the dishes, mopping the floor, performing brain surgery– if you approach it with enthusiasm you are guaranteed to feel more productive and fulfilled. 

So, to the couple of people that read my blog… which story do you like best?