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 86. In retrospect, my gift was more like a macaroni art project….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 86.  Sunday, June 19, 2011
I was up late on Saturday.  I was frantic because I wasn’t certain I had a sewing needle in the house.  I can’t give an unfinished pillow as a gift with the stuffing falling out….

I painstakingly stitched the pillow closed—hoping no one would notice the imperfections with the crooked stitches.  I wrapped the finished pillow in tissue paper and was actually glad I took the time to make a gift instead of buy a gift card.

The colors for the pillow were chosen for a reason.  They had an Asian flair to them. 

I pride myself in my marketing skills.  But I failed at this task completely.  I presented the gift to the recipient and I think he was either embarrassed, puzzled or didn’t like it.  He thanked me.  I replied, “I made it.”  “Yes, I can see that.”

Some see food, others see art project. It's all about perspective....

In retrospect I should have thought about what is important to this person.  His likes, his preferences, his interests—instead of thinking he’d like a homemade pillow.  I felt dejected—thinking my pillow was the equivalent of a child’s macaroni art project. 

I was at a very important crossroad in my mind.  I decided to take a very sharp turn and create happiness for others instead of dwelling on everything that went wrong with this day. 

I remembered Walter—he’s divorced, his kids are grown and odds are he’s alone today.  I sent him a text message wishing him a Happy Father’s Day.  To my surprise, he immediately texted me back thanking me.

This was balm for my wounds.  So I sent another text—this time to Alejandro.  Alejandro has a stepson.  Every year that he’s been married I have wished him a Happy Father’s Day.  I am the only one in his life that wishes him a Happy Father’s Day.  He too responded back immediately—thanking me and pointing out yet again that I never fail at remembering year after year.

Last, I sent a text to another friend—Mustafa.  He’s divorced and has a little girl.  I’m always touched by his Facebook wall posts about his weekends with his daughter.  You can really see that he loves his daughter.  He also responded immediately.

For my final mental trick—I was leaving my home when I noticed my neighbors were packing their suburban.  The last time I saw my neighbor she was pregnant.  (You might remember the “Ode to the Rotting Fish story”)   Well, she has since had her baby—and I could see the baby seat in the car.  I rolled down my window and smiled.  Then I got out of my car and excitedly went to see the new baby.  I wished her husband a Happy Father’s Day. 

I’d like to say this day was a piece of cake.  I’d like to say that it’s easy to implement the Dale Carnegie principles every single day.  Some days are a real challenge.  However, through the entire process I was aware I had the tools I needed to get through the day.  I also have black and white proof—85 days to be exact—of implementing the principles. 

It is true I should have been more aware of the person’s interests when choosing a gift—and perhaps I could have marketed the homemade pillow better—pointing out the features and why it should be of interest or value. 

 On the bright side—as the day unfolded not as I planned—I knew I had potential for a good blog.  It was just up to me to figure out how to make lemonade from this day.  I knew I had to choose to make lemonade otherwise I’d have an unhappy day.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Create happiness for others.
Profit from your losses.
Keep busy.

From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 17.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

I hope you find value to this story for the right reasons.  My main objective in sharing it is not for sympathy.  Understand that people are who they are—and they don’t always realize the effects of their actions.  I’m among those people more often than not.  Knowing what disappointment feels like—I realize the need to be more appreciative of others for what they do for me.  Remember this the next time you are met with disappointment and learn to change your own behavior before pointing the blame at everyone else. The only person you can change is yourself and how you deal with situations. 

Incidentally, I made two more heart pillows today for no other reason than to keep my mind busy for my own sake.  And let me tell you…. they are stunning.  I might have to go into the pillow business if my lemonade stand doesn’t last. 

Housekeeping / Notes

  • Coming soon!  Two guest blog posts!  Two of my favorite gentlemen have stepped up to the challenge.  More information coming soon.
  • Don’t forget—mi casa es su casa (my home is your home).  There is always room for a guest blogger at the Smiling Daffodil’s blog home.  All are welcome.  You don’t even need skills at writing.  Click for more information.
  • It was a busy weekend.  In case you missed a post, click on the Pictorial/Archive section. Thank you for reading my blog. 

Day 83. My eyes betrayed me….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 83.  Thursday, June 16, 2011
I was working with some associates on a big presentation today. My role was minimal—I was the director / team leader / advisor, of sorts.  I describe my role as minimal because the bulk of the preparation and work for the presentation was technically impossible for me to handle.   Instead the work was the responsibility of one individual—named “Evelyn.”

Evelyn was stressed today.  In fact, she was stressed all day yesterday trying to prepare for today.  Evelyn and I didn’t talk much yesterday.  My perception of things—it wasn’t my role to be involved—there was technically no “work” that I could help her with.  It was her vision that she had to bring to life. 

When Evelyn and I met this morning I did my best to break the ice and begin in a friendly way.  Understand that I am not exactly a perky individual in the morning.  And I could feel tension and stress between us—even though I felt there was no logical reason for it. 

Evelyn began to go through each step in the presentation.  She was nervous and stressed—and as a result she didn’t seem quite as polished or prepared as she would have liked to have been.

My eyes have been betraying me for years....

It was at this point I learned something about myself.  I can intimidate.  For those of you who know me, surely this surprises you!  I think I’m a lovable, soft spoken, kind hearted individual.  But today I realized I inadvertently come off as a bear who is never happy and I can make people feel inadequate. 

Realizing I was causing Evelyn to be stressed and intimidated… I softened my approach.  I listened to her presentation with interest.  I gave encouragement.  I gave gentle guidance and suggestions.  Once I did this—it was as if the weight of the world was lifted from Evelyn.  Instead, this became more of a team effort.  She looked at me for guidance and help and in fact, it was at this point that she became her normal self.  Her words flowed a lot better because she was at ease. 

I guess the best way to describe what happened is that the burden—the yoke of responsibility that was absolutely all hers—now was being shared.  I helped to carry her burden. 

I recognized the value of praising her here and there—with words of encouragement like “that was good”. Or “this was a good choice of colors for this project.”  “Maybe you should also mention the following key points.”

It was an exhausting day for Evelyn but she seemed to really become enthusiastic.  She even suggested doing extra work to make the presentation better.  I encouraged her to go for it—and she did. 

The filming of this project took the entire day and by the time we finished the entire team was ready to go home. 

I said to Evelyn, “while this was a lot of work—I think the extra effort paid off.”

Evelyn:  “I completely agree.  This was one of our best.”

The Dale Carnegie principles that I used today were subtle yet very challenging for me.   From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 1.  Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
Principle 18.  Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
Principle 26. Let the other person save face.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Analyze your own mistakes and criticize yourself.

I work very hard and the standards I place on myself are very high.  I think others see this and they get intimidated because they think they don’t measure up in my eyes.  One problem is—I think my eyes were betraying me.  I was criticizing and condemning Evelyn with the look in my eyes.  My eyes were sending the message:  this is not my responsibility so I’m going to let you carry the burden Evelyn.  While technically it was a fact that this wasn’t my burden, Evelyn also needed encouragement.  Encouragement really is a very sweet nectar that absolutely everyone craves more than the finest foods.  Everyone is capable of serving it up in a sincere way.

The method I took to encourage—I listened with interest while being sympathetic to Evelyn’s feelings and ideas.  I helped carry the burden of this task so that it was more of a team effort.  Once I did this—the presentation and workflow went a lot smoother.  There was no longer tension between Evelyn and me.

I learned a humbling lesson today about my eyes and I got to see firsthand the positive effects of softening my approach.  So remember, if there is tension between you and someone else that you cannot explain—stop and consider that your eyes may be criticizing and condemning the other person.  Soften your approach with some encouragement and you’ll discover the positive effect it will have on the other person.

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 77. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes…

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 77.  Friday, June 10, 2011
It was almost 7 pm and I was still at the office trying to wrap up the final steps to a marketing campaign.  Several other associates were also working late.

One associate, Essie, sent me an instant message, “Smiling Daffodil—I’m overwhelmed with work.”

Despite being anxious about leaving the office—I decided to check on Essie. 

“What’s wrong Essie?” I ask. 

She proceeded to explain the very detailed reports she had to complete by Monday.

I gave her my full attention and asked a few questions to gain a better understanding of what she had to do.  We even brainstormed trying to figure out an easier way to finish the task.  In the end we concluded there wasn’t an easy way out of the work.  I felt bad not being able to help make the task easier. 

As I sat back at my desk I sent Essie an instant message:  “Essie—I would imagine management doesn’t tell you this enough—but know that I appreciate you!”

Essie responded, “Awww!  Thank you!”

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this story are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 17.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

As much as I tried—I wasn’t able to provide a quick and easy solution to make Essie’s work easier.  What I was able to do was provide a sympathetic ear as I listened to her concerns and frustrations.  I also let her know that she is appreciated.

It's all about perspective...

My lesson to you—instead of focusing on your own concerns do what you can to show appreciation to someone else by understanding what it is to walk in their shoes.  When you do this your own burdens don’t seem quite as heavy or unpleasant.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Thank you for reading the blog!  Don’t forget to rate your favorites.  All it takes is a click of a button!
Mark your calendar for some bonus material this weekend.  I’ve been holding on to one of my favorite stories for at least a month.  That’s not an easy thing to do!

Day 76. How to transform a day from crummy to yummy.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

 Day 76.  Thursday, June 9, 2011
As I finished placing my order for a #1 combo meal at Chick-fil-A, Karen the cashier, asked me for my name.  I told her “Smiling Daffodil”. 

While she was filling my cup with sweet tea, I told her that this Chick-fil-A restaurant is the only one I have encountered that asks for customers’ names.

She replied, “thank you for the feedback—we continue to do it—hoping we don’t frustrate customers as we try to learn their names.  I think it’s nice to take the time to learn names.”

I replied, “It’s such a nice touch.  It makes the transaction human.”

Karen smiled at me. 

As she handed me my meal, she said, “here’s your meal “Smiling Daffodil.”

I replied, “Thank you Karen!”

What other fast food restaurant takes the time to learn your name?

Karen gave me a big smile.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 6.  Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. 

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Create happiness for others.

Most of my day was stressful.  I went to Chick-fil-A for dinner hoping I could create happiness for someone else. 

As the story shows—I had a simple, quick conversation with Karen but it brought a smile to our faces because it was sincere. 

My lesson to you—don’t go through life oblivious of other people.  Take the time to learn people’s names and make them feel important.  Do what you can to create happiness for others.  When you get into this habit you will enjoy a richer life and these small moments have a way of transforming your outlook on an entire day. 

Housekeeping / Notes
Don’t forget to read this week’s guest blog post:  Guest Blogger Elijah found an opportunity to use a Dale Carnegie principle while at a stop sign.

Step up to the plate!  All are invited to become an official guest blogger.  The first Dale Carnegie principle in How to Win Friends and Influence People  is “don’t criticize, condemn or complain”.  This means this is a very friendly, safe, non-critical blog where even non-writers are welcome!  No criticism is allowed by design!

Catch up on blogs you’ve missed.  All blogs are available on a fun pictorial page.

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 73. Wow! My friend “Batman” used Dale Carnegie’s principles to help the Smiling Daffodil

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 73.  Monday, June 6, 2011
I chatted with my friend “Batman” today.  I told him that I was frustrated with myself because I got to work so incredibly late today.  I explained that although no one at work complains—it still bothers me. 

Owl paperweight....(A metaphor for night owl with needless weight on shoulders)

I work 8-10 hours a day and I don’t take lunches.  It was just last week that management was thrilled with a marketing campaign I put together. 

Batman listened attentively and asked an interesting question. “Do you think it’s society’s pressures that you work certain hours?  It sounds like the job you have is flexible enough that it doesn’t matter.”

I can’t explain it—but somehow those words were like a rope to pull me out of my box.   I felt better.  I place very high standards upon myself—that are not always level headed, reasonable or balanced.  Batman reminded me that I put in the same hours—just at a different time than most.  No one complains at work—in fact they continue to tell me they are pleased—which is far more than I received a year ago when I was putting in far more time into work and playing far less.  Back then a blog was the furthest thing from the Smiling Daffodil’s mind.

The Dale Carnegie principle used in this story is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.

The Dale Carnegie principle my friend Batman used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 7.  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.

I am blessed to have a job that is extremely flexible—I earned this privilege because I have put in many hours.  There’s no sense in worrying about “being late” when everyone knows I’ll stay until the cows come home, will work weekends, etc. 

The lesson I want you to take from this story—sometimes standards you place upon yourself are unreasonable and defy logic.  I am well aware it’s difficult to break these patterns of behavior—but do your best and try.  Don’t worry so much about trifles—just focus on doing your best. 

Also—take “Batman’s” approach in this story to reach out to friends, family, customers and associates.  Sometimes all a person needs is a ready and sympathetic ear. 

Thank you Batman!

Housekeeping / Notes:
Mark your calendars!  Wednesday is the big day for my guest blogger!  His story rivals my blog posts!
A special thanks to “Scrapbooking Queen” for reading all my blogs in what appeared to be one sitting!  You made my day ; )  I loved that you “got” my red pen story
Share the love!  Forward your favorite blog posts to family and friends.  I’ll make it easy. Here’s the link:

Day 68. Learning how to make lemonade can help you become a better leader.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 68.  Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I distinctly remember Tuesday September 27, 2010.  Dale Carnegie’s first principle “don’t criticize, condemn or complain” was smashed on my head.

Make lemonade

Fast forward to today.  I had a meeting with an individual named Pablo.  I prepared for this meeting carefully.  Part of me dreaded it.  I didn’t want to put Pablo through the experience I went through in September.  Our circumstances surrounding the meetings are entirely different but if there’s one thing I have learned—criticizing, condemning and complaining does not motivate anyone to work harder.  It creates resentment.  It hurts a person’s pride.  It does not create a positive environment.  Making lemonade from such a sour event is possible—but it doesn’t happen easily or immediately. 

Before walking into the meeting with Pablo I reviewed Dale Carnegie principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  I even said a prayer before entering the conference room.  I want Pablo to succeed.  I do not want to beat him down.  I do want to encourage, help him grow and reach his potential because he is a good employee.  People are all wired differently and need to be managed accordingly.  I cannot expect Pablo to change—so knowing his work habits I can adapt my management skills to bring out the best in him. 

We went through some plans for the next quarter.  I outlined some new ideas and opportunities where I think his talents will flourish.  I gave him specific directions, deadlines and encouragement.  I invited questions and called attention to some concerns indirectly.  The meeting last a half hour and ended on a good note.

There are multiple principles used in this scenario but the main one I’d like to focus on is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 17.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

Another way of stating Principle 17—practice empathy.  Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Acknowledge a person is human and has feelings.  Once you do that—you can implement the other principles.  Point out mistakes indirectly.  Set reasonable goals and give the person a good reputation to live up to.  The goal is not to beat a person down with a stick especially when he/she has demonstrated in the past that he/she is a good employee.  When you do this—the results are employees/friends/family members/etc that are willing to apply themselves toward achieving a goal because you have indicated you have confidence in their ability.  This is far better than beating a person with a stick and scratching your head wondering why they still aren’t performing well. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
The Smiling Daffodil is always looking for a guest blogger!  What a great way to spend your time!  Think of the positive impact you can have on someone’s life.  It sure beats watching tv.    Click here for more information
If you missed a blog post, check out the handy page that shows a pictorial of all the blogs to date. 
Your opinion matters!  Rate the blog posts.  The Smiling Daffodil’s plant food is feedback and comments.

Day 67. The Dale Carnegie principles backfired on me. I had a different blog planned for today….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 67.  Tuesday, May 31, 2011
This day did not turn out as expected.

In preparation for our video presentation on Tuesday, I worked on Monday (Memorial Day).  My boss had commented that one of our studios was a mess.  So I decided I’d clean it on Monday.  This studio has become a storage room for trash to be “recycled.”  I have no idea why we are recycling—and I don’t know why we are storing it in my studio. 

To be recycled...

As I was cleaning this room, I discovered the bags of trash were quite heavy, they stunk and they were leaking goo all over the floor.  This made me mad.  I starting writing a scathing email that I was going to send to management about this matter but then I deleted it.  I knew we needed to make a good impression on our guests so I did my best to focus on cleaning the mess. 

As I said, the bags were heavy—I could not lift them.  So I carefully dragged them through several rooms, then to the warehouse near the dumpster.  As I was dragging this very disgusting trash—I thought to myself—“why am I doing this?  No one will notice.  No one will say thanks.  Why do we store trash to be recycled in our offices?  Why am I working on Memorial Day?  I am a fool for caring.” 

I decided just to accept the inevitable.  Someone has to get the office ready for our guests.  And I will simply apply Dale Carnegie’s principle:  Expect ingratitude.

I completed this task and considered other details.  Our guests have a long day ahead of them on Tuesday.  What can I do to make the day easier?  I decided I’d pick up their favorites snacks.  I also bought a bouquet of flowers—this would be a great way to welcome our guests when they arrive. 

I worked busily getting all the details together.  I again decided to accept the inevitable.  No one will notice.  No one will care.  I will expect ingratitude.  And I could very well be a fool for caring.

When my boss and guests arrived to the office this morning… I heard a squeal of delight as they noticed the flowers.  I was stunned. 

Then we walked through the offices together—and I knew my boss was cringing as we were approaching the trash filled studio.  She looked at me and when our guests weren’t looking, she whispered, “you cleaned it?!” 

We continued walking through the offices into our filming studio.  My boss looked at me again and said—“you’ve prepared the room so well.  It looks great.”

As the day progressed everyone enjoyed their favorite snacks.  I offered them Dr. Pepper—their favorite soft drink.  They responded by saying—“wow—she thought of everything.” 

I brought water bottles for the individuals who were the “stars” of the presentation.  I had straws ready—(so they wouldn’t ruin their makeup).  This detail was commented on and appreciated.

The final blow happened at the end of the day.  My boss made a comment about me in front of everyone:  “we would be screwed without her.”

So… clearly, my day and blog did not turn out as anticipated.  I was fully expecting ingratitude.  Instead everyone seemed to use a Dale Carnegie principle on me:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.

I find myself at a loss for words with this blog.  I think you my readers would be better equipped to write the conclusion or life lesson you are to take away from this story.  I think I’m too close and too affected by this experience. 

In a nutshell—do your best, expect ingratitude and show appreciation towards others.  When you do these three things—you will reap what you sow.  And don’t forget to thank God for the harvest.

Housekeeping / Notes
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