Day 33. Part 2. Use Dale Carnegie Principles to recover from feeling like an idiot.


Despite my best efforts sometimes I can sleep through just about anything

As I mentioned in the Day 33 blog entry, I woke up late. I woke up so late—I nearly slept half the day away.  I got up at 11:40 am.  (Despite two alarm clocks and two text messages)

I was disgusted with myself.  This is not the first time I’ve done this. It’s not that I get in trouble at work.  Everyone finds it funny.  I guess people like to see flaws.  The perception of me is that I’m a hard worker—a workaholic. 

I made it to the office at 12:32.  I was frantic but glad to have made it in.

After realizing my lunch plans were cancelled with my friend I sat down at my desk. I realized it was lunch time.  I’m late for my Starbucks visit for my Java Chip Frappuccino.

I quietly snuck out of the office—I felt like such a loser.  Here I am—I slept half the day away, I waltz into the office super late—and then after a few minutes of being at the office I leave to get my Java Chip Frappuccino.  Talk about shame and guilt.

I left anyway because I know there’s no use in fighting it.  My routine is important.  I will be thinking of my Starbucks Frappuccino all day. 

I return to the office—Frappuccino in hand and feeling much better.  I ease into the day with enthusiasm.  Yes, I was super late.  But now I will recover with style—with enthusiasm.  I whizzed through several projects I had to work on.  I tackled some editing with gusto.  I whistled while I worked.  There was a general feeling of happiness coming from my office.

What I realized is that no one really cares that I was late.  It’s not that there aren’t standards or rules at the office.  But I have a reputation of working very hard—despite my occasional disasters of oversleeping.  The key to today—I approached the day with enthusiasm.  This distracted me from thinking I was an irresponsible adult for oversleeping.  And by the end of the day—I had gotten quite a lot of work complete!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this scenario:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.
Cooperate with the inevitable. 
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries.
Try to profit from your losses.

Remember, sometimes stupid mistakes or silly accidents happen.  Rather than dwell on feeling like a fool or an idiot—profit from the experience.  Turn the circumstance into something positive.  See if you can get more work done in less time.  See if you can distract everyone by your productivity that they forget you came in late.  Remind yourself that you have a reputation for being reliable, a good worker, etc etc.  When you take this approach—you focus your energy in a more positive, forward thinking direction that is more beneficial to you than wallowing in your mistakes.

Day 33. The only reason I woke up today…my boss called me….Guess what Dale Carnegie principles I managed to use today!


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 33.  April 27, 2011
I woke up this morning to the sound of my cell phone ringing right beside my pillow.

Startled, I look at the phone.  It’s my boss calling.  I look at the time… It’s 11:40 am on Wednesday. 

I leap out of bed—frantic—and irritated that I overslept.  I called my boss back—and try my best to muster a voice that doesn’t sound groggy like I just woke up.

“Oh hi—I um—had a rough night.  Apparently I was super tired—and I overslept…” 

My boss responded in her usual generous way—”oh no!  Well, why don’t you just take the day off and rest up.”

I respond, “oh thank you—but I have a lunch meeting with Kelley today at noon… which is in 20 minutes….”   

My boss and I both laugh at the absurdity of my circumstance.  “I’m not sure how, but I will be there one way or another….”

So I race through my morning ritual of getting ready.  I said a few frantic prayers—please God, help me.  Please Guardian Angel—help me get ready.  This is not how I planned the day.”

Despite running late—I quickly check my email.  I see a couple of my friends posted comments on my blog… that was enough to lift my spirits.  Well, I guess it was worth staying up super late the night before to post the blog. 

I throw on fresh clean clothes—do my best to get the hairdo in decent shape and I run out of the house into my car. 

 “Please God… make me fly through the streets.  Please clear traffic.  Hurry.”

I decide my goal is to get there by 12:30—which is late but not too late. 

I race through the tollway—the speed limit is 70mph—which ordinarily seems way too fast—but today…. I’m pushing 75mph. 

New world record!

I manage to get to the office which is over 30 miles away… in 32 minutes!  Typically it takes 1 hour – 1:15 minutes to get to work.  If there’s rain…two hours. In snow or ice… three or more hours….

I’m so grateful I made it in record time.  I’m still pretty frantic—I literally just woke up—and my head is still groggy… and mildly aching. 

I walk in to the office looking for my poor friend Kelley who must be patiently waiting to have lunch with me.

No Kelley in sight.  I ask around—“has anyone seen Kelley?”

I sit down and check all my email.  That’s when I saw an email from Kelley… she woke up this morning feeling ill—so she had to cancel.  (She emailed 3 hours ago)

It was at this point I felt like a deflated balloon.  I took a deep breath.  I did my best to smile.  I decided to find humor in the rich irony.

I was so exhausted I felt like I melted...

You see—on Sunday I kept writing an email to send to my boss—but I just couldn’t hit send.  The email was to request a day off on Easter Monday.  (We had to work on Good Friday).  I not only wanted a day off—I needed a day off.  I have been exhausted.  My boss would gladly give me a day off but I just can’t bring myself to ask.  And there’s this pesky Dale Carnegie principle that keeps nagging me “Rest before you get tired”.  In talking to the UPS service rep yesterday she told me she spent the entire Sunday resting. I joked—yes, I’ve heard about that concept—what’s that like?  I just can’t seem to do it!  I’ve been chewing on the idea of a day off all week…

The Dale Carnegie principle I should have used today:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.

Instead of springing out of bed in a crazed panic—I should have paused… and reviewed all my emails. If I had—I could have agreed to my boss’s suggestion of taking a day off!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Cooperate with the inevitable.
Try to profit from your losses.
Pray.

I accepted I would be late this morning and just focused on minimizing how late.  Plus I knew Kelley would understand.  Once I realized the lunch plans were cancelled—I did my utmost to profit from my losses by trying to find humor in the irony of the circumstance.

So remember, before going into a crazed panic– slow down.  Take a deep breath.  Get all the facts.  Review the facts.  Then proceed calmly.  Otherwise you might miss an opportunity like I did of having a day off.  Also– before getting irritated when you receive ingratitude, lemons or a heap of something I cannot repeat… do your best to turn it into something positive.  Profit from your losses.  The easiest way to do this is to find humor — to find some silly irony in the moment.

Day 15. Try this approach when your hair gets bushwacked by enormous scissors


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 15.  April 9, 2011 
It was Saturday, January 8, 2011.  My hairdresser wasn’t available—but another stylist was willing to cut my hair.  I didn’t think it was a big deal—it’s just a short haircut—surely anyone can cut my hair.  I showed the stylist a photo of my last haircut and explained I like it short but feminine.

This woman began cutting mercilessly, with what appeared to be trimmers that are meant for yard work.  (Yes, I mildly exaggerate, but these were some large scissors my hairdresser would never use on me). 

It looked like someone trimmed my hair with hedge shears...

At this time I was still enrolled in the Dale Carnegie course.  I reviewed the principles in my head and decided I’d trust this woman to cut my hair.  She’s a professional.  But halfway into this I did remind her politely—please be sure it’s still feminine….

When she was finished—I had super short, spiked hair.  She put gel in it to make sure those spikes would stick up.  I wanted to cry.  I clung to my Carnegie principles as best I could but the look on my face gave me away. 

I kept reminding myself it’s just hair and that I will have to be patient as it grows back.  The worst that can happen is that someone mistakes me for a boy.  So I solved this problem by wearing earrings, necklaces, mascara and a headband.  I also decided that if I smile maybe people will be distracted by the smile they won’t notice the horrible haircut. 

Fast forward to Saturday April 9, 2011.   My hair is finally long enough to get it cut by my trusted hairdresser.  As I watched my hairdresser cutting with focus and precision with her small scissors I reflected on the last three months.

Ironically, the last three months have been among the best:

  • I graduated the Dale Carnegie course. 
  • I had an incredibly successful business trip where I was able to use my new skills from the Dale Carnegie course.
  • I’ve made some new contacts and new friends.
  • New opportunities have opened up for me.
  • I smiled far more than usual.

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

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:

  • Keep busy.
  • Don’t fuss about trifles.
  • Cooperate with the inevitable.
  • Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more.
  • Try to profit from your losses.

By applying the principles I accepted the reality of my bad haircut and focused on other activities and other people.  By doing this the bad haircut became a trivial matter. 

So remember, if you are faced with a disappointment figure out how to use it to your advantage.  Your life will be more fulfilling because you won’t waste your time and energy blaming circumstances or people for your unhappiness.

Day 1 of 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles


As a recent graduate from the Dale Carnegie course, I have been putting effort into living the Dale Carnegie principles.  To take the process one step further—I have decided to make myself accountable by starting a daily blog to document exactly what principles I have lived for the next 365 days. 

My hope is to grow as a person and invite others to grow with me in this process.  I am certain if you put any one of the principles into practice you too will benefit from the results.

Day 1.  March 26, 2011

How I turned rotting fish into lemonade using the Dale Carnegie approach.

It was a beautiful Spring morning—warm and sunny with the promise of a great day.  I was approaching the gate on the side of my house to enter the backyard.  I stopped in my tracks… I noticed a very foul stench and looked around for the cause.  I opened the gate and there was the source of the foul stench:  a Wal-Mart bag with a huge dead fish. 

At this juncture I’d like to say that I handled the moment in a civilized fashion—but I’m human.  I was just plain livid—spouting out a colorful bouquet of choice words for the prankster(s).  My instinct was to go to the neighbors and politely accuse them of throwing a rotting fish in my backyard.  But I didn’t.  I grabbed my shovel, a trash can and bag and scooped the rotting fish, mush and all.  In all it took minutes—I did what needed to be done—as an adult, a homeowner and as a Carnegie graduate. 

As I did this task—I racked my brain trying to make sense of things.  What human being would throw a fish into someone’s yard?  What does this say about the person?  I’ve been listening to Jim Rohn and the Art of Exceptional Living.  As Jim Rohn describes it—a person who says he doesn’t do his best in just one area of his life—is fooling himself.  A behavior—good or bad—trickles into all areas of a person’s life.

So today I decided to turn a rotting fish into lemonade by creating a blog.  The principle I used is from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Part 4:  Try to profit from your losses.

When you try to profit from your losses– you will grow as a person, discover new opportunities and find happiness even in the most unpleasant of circumstances.