Day 93. A visit to Starbucks reminded me to dust off some Dale Carnegie principles….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 93.  Monday, June 27, 2011
This morning a friend of mine, “Melanie” announced she was engaged.  This piece of news threw me off—and not for the reasons you might suspect. 

I am a detail-oriented person.  I like to fit puzzle pieces together. 

Instead of jumping up and down or smiling ear to ear—I was struck by the irony.  I had just visited some friends two days ago.  They asked about Melanie and if she was engaged or married yet.  This is not a common topic of discussion so the timing of these events was fascinating to me.  But understand—all of these ponderings were going on in my head. 

On the bright side I did have the decency to smile and congratulate my friend. 

Somehow we got completely off topic and after ten minutes we had covered a variety of topics—none of which had to do with the engagement or the wedding. 

Later that morning I was standing in line at my favorite little coffee shop.  I was thinking about my friend’s engagement.  I realized I probably messed up with my low key reaction. I’m not the type to jump up and down with excitement – yet I felt bad that I didn’t for my friend’s sake.  I didn’t have 101 questions about the wedding—mainly because I was too focused on the irony that she was a recent topic of discussion.

Yummy cake pops from Starbucks.

I tried to see things from my friend’s perspective.  The fact that she told me immediately this morning indicated this was at the top of her list.  I wanted to find a way to make the day special for her. I decided to order a special pastry at Starbucks—something I order only on important occasions or when I really have a bad day….

I returned to the office with a cellophane bag with the special pastry.  My friend looked at me and asked, “what’s this?”

I replied, “this is a cake pop from Starbucks to celebrate your engagement.”

She smiled and thanked me. 

Later that afternoon Melanie said to me, “Wow! This pastry tastes great!”

I said—”so glad you liked it.  I joked with her saying I got the “Birthday Cake” version even though I know you prefer chocolate.  I just couldn’t bear to buy the “Rocky Road” cake pop to celebrate your engagement.  I wouldn’t want to jinx your marriage!”

Melanie smiled and said, “good thinking.”

The Dale Carnegie principles I usually forget to use is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 9.  Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people. 

When I realized my lack of enthusiasm and excitement for my friend I felt really bad.  I’m not a naturally boisterous, outspoken individual—nor am I the touchy, feely, hugging type.  I’m more the over-thinking, detail-oriented, stoic type.  But this engagement is a milestone for my friend and should be celebrated.  I did what I could in a sincere way to celebrate her day.  It wasn’t just a cake pop—it was the right cake pop for the occasion—a cake pop to celebrate my friend entering a new stage in her life—while also leaving rocky roads with challenging relationships where they belong… in the past. 

So my lesson to you—yes, there is one somewhere in this story…

There is a way to be yourself while also becoming interested in other people and making them feel important.  If you are anyone but yourself—neither of these two principles will work because your words and actions won’t be sincere.  When you take this approach you will find people will not only accept you, your quirks and imperfections—they will be drawn to you—because of your sincere interest in them. 

I hope this makes sense. 

Housekeeping / Notes
Mark your calendars!  This Wednesday is Guest Blogger Wednesday! 
If you missed last Wednesday’s guest blog post by Esteban, here’s your chance to catch up.  Click here.

If you’ve been busy or are new to the blog, I have a handy archives section set up for you to catch up on past blog posts.  Click here.

Day 17. Starbucks on NW Highway in Dallas uses Dale Carnegie principles


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 17.  April 11, 2011 
It was 11:30 am on a typical busy Monday.  I had a number of emails to go through—some were pleasant and some were not.  Various tasks I left from Friday were still left undone.  I was working hard to stick to the Dale Carnegie principles of not worrying and living in day tight compartments as individuals seemed to get under my skin.  I just kept smiling and repeating the name, ‘Dale Carnegie.’  ‘Dale Carnegie’. 

Eager for a break, I escaped to my favorite place—the Starbucks on Northwest Highway in Dallas.  As I walked in, I was greeted not by one but by all four of the employees—David, Robyn, Dominic and Sam. 

By greeted—I don’t mean a casual ‘Hello Ma’am’—or ‘Hello Miss.’  They don’t ask what I want to order. 

Each one of them greeted me by name with a friendly smile.  They also know my drink—my beloved Java Chip Frappuccino—and they know the particular way I like it prepared… with extra chocolate.

The sound of a person's name is even sweeter than a Java Chip Frappuccino...

It is these details that keep me coming back every single day.  I am valued and appreciated by my Starbucks on Northwest Highway. 

The Dale Carnegie Principles David, Robyn, Dominic and Sam practiced today are from the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:

Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 6.  Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Thank you David, Robyn, Dominic and Sam for turning my Monday into a better day by using Dale Carnegie’s principles on me!

Remember, no matter how mundane your daily activities might be– look for opportunities to use the Dale Carnegie principles wherever you go.  It will give your day greater value and purpose.  And don’t forget to recognize when individuals you encounter throughout the day are also using the Dale Carnegie principles.

Day 8. Ode to the rotting fish and my name sure sounds sweet to the ear…


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 8.  April 2, 2011 
Preface:  I was concerned I wouldn’t find an opportunity to exercise the principles.  By the day’s end I have two stories to share.

Story 1.
I was at Chick-fil-A, ordering a chicken sandwich combo meal.  The cashier asked my name which I thought was odd—because they serve the food immediately after you pay.  I handed her the money and she said, “’Smiling Daffodil’, here’s your meal.  Thank you.” 

Admittedly, they are trained to add this personal touch, but I have to say, I was reminded of Dale Carnegie’s principle 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.

The effect of calling someone by their name humanizes the relationship—no matter how brief or seemingly insignificant the moment.  Yes, this was just a meal at a fast food restaurant.  But as I sat eating, I was also observing the manager:  Cody Northern, working hard—talking to the customers, cleaning the tables, asking customers if they want refills on their drinks.  I heard him gently advising a young employee to train his eye to make sure the tables are in order… etc, etc.  You could really see that the manager takes great pride in his restaurant—as he should.  He was creating a very friendly atmosphere with a focus on serving his customers. 

I would never have bothered to observe any of this had the cashier not called me by name to humanize my visit to Chick-fil-A. 

So, next time you meet a stranger—take the time to learn their name. It makes the person feel important and it indicates to that person that you value human relationships. 

In my case—odds are very high I will be loyal to this particular Chick-fil-A restaurant by visiting again and again—because they proved they value my business.

Story 2.
Preface:  I remember with strange fondness the foul odor of a rotting fish in my backyard a week ago today.  That rotting fish was the inspiration for me to begin this blog.  Thank goodness for that fish. 

Swedish Fish to celebrate 1 week anniversary of this blog

I was returning home, about to drive up my driveway into the garage.  Except I couldn’t because there was a car parked horizontally, blocking most of my driveway. 

This was the last straw for me.  First the mysterious rotting fish in my backyard last week.  Now this?  I got out of the car, refused to take a deep breath and approached the neighbor’s house, pretty steamed.  I thought about Dale Carnegie’s Principle 10:  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.  (From How to Win Friends and Influence People) But that principle went out the window—because I was knocking at the neighbor’s door and I wasn’t leaving until I confronted the neighbors.

I had no idea what I was going to say and despite being steamed I knew I needed to use the Dale Carnegie principles.  Somehow I managed to come up with:

Hi—I’m your neighbor next door.  I’m afraid I’m not a very good driver and I don’t want to hit your car as I try to squeeze through up my driveway.  Is there anyway you could move the car?

They apologized profusely.  I said—oh no problem.  And I’m sorry to interrupt your Saturday night movie.  We ended up talking for a few minutes—catching up on each other’s lives—it turned out to be a very pleasant experience. 

There are multiple principles I used from Dale Carnegie. 

From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 8.  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. 
Principle 13.  Begin in a friendly way.
Principle 20.  Dramatize your ideas.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t worry about the past.

I began in a friendly way, dramatizing the idea that given my poor driving skills I will likely hit their car—so they probably want to move it out of harm’s way.  By having a friendly conversation—the moment was humanized—these are people just like me.  They have faces and names.  There was no need to worry about last week’s mysterious rotting fish that was at the side of my house.  It could have been anyone that tossed it into my yard.

So remember—if you find yourself in a position that you need to confront someone—take a deep breath, remember they are human and approach them in the same courteous way you would like to be treated.  Most people will respond in a reasonable way with this approach and you will avoid an unnecessary battle or feud.

Day 7. Perspective


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 7.  April 1, 2011 

I was talking to a friend named Harold.  Harold is very experienced and skilled in his career.  While we were both taking a break, Harold felt it was important to give me advice on how to do my job.  The thing is—our job responsibilities couldn’t be more different. 

I didn’t ask for the advice and frankly I wouldn’t seek it from Harold.  He doesn’t have the experience to give me the advice. 

I’ve often been told my eyes give me away—that you can tell what I think of a person just by looking at my eyes. 

Well today being Day 7 of my 365 day challenge of living the Dale Carnegie principles, I wasn’t going to go down without a fight (a different sort of fight).  So, instead of calling Harold a misguided fool or an idiot (with my eyes of course)… I decided to take a different approach. I took a deep breath.  I focused on the prize.  The prize is changing my behaviors and attitudes. 

I remembered a passage from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.  The passage is about Abraham Lincoln:
“And when Mrs. Lincoln and others spoke harshly of the southern people, Lincoln replied:  ‘Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.’”  (Part I, Chapter 1)

Harold is behaving the way he knows how to behave.  I tried to put myself in Harold’s shoes.   Harold likes to feel important – and in fact, all of us do.  I took another deep breath before responding to Harold.

I thanked Harold for his kindness in giving me advice.  Harold went back to work happily and ironically… I did too. 

There are multiple principles I used in this situation.  Among them are:

From Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.

From Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 9.  Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. 
Principle 10.  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Principle 17.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

The next time someone frustrates you—take a deep breath and think about Abraham Lincoln’s words:  “they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”

When you do this, you will be reminded that this frustrating individual is human, makes mistakes just like you and me and craves the need to feel important—just like you and me.  If you can sincerely find a way to make the individual feel important—you will grow as a person and you’ll be much happier.