Day 111. I was wrong about the talkative account representative who visited today….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 111.  Friday, July 15, 2011
I heard the ding of the bell from the other end of the hallway.  We had a guest in the building.   

This guest was Susan, our account representative from the U.S. Postal Service. 

She was here to meet with Marcy who is in charge of our shipping department.

I heard the two women talking in the other office as I worked on a marketing campaign.

I was struck by the account representative.  She was very perky and talkative.  The conversation between the two women was just small talk at first.  But then Marcy began discussing details.  Details like the best method for shipping products to Canada and the challenges of shipping overseas, etc.

Susan, the account representative listened to Marcy’s woes, offered suggestions and was absolutely perky during the entire process.  There was even an in-depth explanation of why delivery takes a little longer to Hawaii.  Susan actually made the business of shipping interesting.   

See! There's opportunity to apply Dale Carnegie's principles just about anywhere!

I was also struck by Marcy.  Marcy does more than run the shipping department.  She handles the customer service department—she’s the main point of contact with our customers via phone and email.  I was so impressed that despite her workload, Marcy cared about the details of shipping. 

While I’m detail-oriented in certain areas, shipping products is something I consider myself the least qualified to do.  I cringe when I have to exert energy by mailing an envelope. 

I imagined myself in Marcy’s shoes meeting with Susan.  I’d be horrible in that meeting.  I’d be short and to the point.  Marcy put enthusiasm and cheerfulness into her work. I imagined how the meeting would be different if Susan wasn’t talkative and perky—what a dry and boring meeting that would be!  Susan clearly puts enthusiasm into her work. 

Their meeting ended.  I continued working on my marketing campaign with enthusiasm by setting up the html code, the links and various other details.  Broken links have not happened on my watch and I do my best to make sure it never happens. 

The Dale Carnegie principles demonstrated in this story are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.
Do the very best you can.

Today I was able to witness other people putting enthusiasm and care into their work.  It was inspiring and a marvel to observe.  I don’t care about shipping boxes.  But I do have the tedious responsibility of testing links in html code a couple times a week—so I can appreciate the work involved in shipping boxes.  To ship boxes successfully someone has to care—and it’s even better when they put enthusiasm into it by finding the most economical methods to save the company money. 

My initial reaction to hearing a talkative account representative in our building was uh-oh… another chatty Cathy in our building.  But then I realized she did her job well—she was interested in learning more about our needs and her chatty style was actually effective.  She put enthusiasm into her work. 

For my part—my personality is the complete opposite—I’m not so chatty—but I do get my job done and with enthusiasm. 

We all have our strengths.  When we apply our strengths with enthusiasm toward achieving a goal—we are able to achieve success.  It doesn’t matter if the task is shipping boxes, testing html code, running a corporation or performing surgery.  No matter the task or your station in life—do your best, put enthusiasm into it and success will come.

Day 94. I was enthusiastic over a hotdog….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 94.  Tuesday, June 28, 2011
This morning my associate asked me to photograph a holiday table runner. (if you’re not in to decorating—a table runner is a linen you would place on a table for decoration).

My specialty is photographing butterflies, spiders, flowers—basically anything in nature.   Clearly a table runner is not any of these things.  And to make matters worse—the table runner needs props—like a nice table, maybe a plate of cookies, or perhaps props to suggest a picnic or 4th of July cookout… like a hamburger or hotdog….

My heart sank as I thought about having to do this task.  I don’t have any of these props—and this is not my area of expertise.  This is why we use a professional studio for these types of products—because we just aren’t equipped to do this ourselves.

I decided I couldn’t avoid the task even though I felt this was beyond my skill level. I started scouting the office building for a nice table and various other props I could use for this photograph.  It was a real stretch of the imagination—we have office furniture like filing cabinets, desks and shelves—not picnic tables, or side tables or 4th of July props. 

I managed to find a nice oak finish table but the shot looked pretty boring.  I needed a festive plate of cookies or something.  I went to the kitchen to see what I could “borrow”. 

That’s when I spotted them on the counter… hot dog buns from a recent company cookout.  Then I checked the refrigerator… yes!  I found an unopened package of Hebrew National Hotdogs!  But wait… it gets better.  Mustard!  Potato chips! 

My thoughts were racing as I grabbed all the food and took everything to my little photography studio.  I thought I could get away with just throwing all the props on the table runner and taking a photo.  But I really needed to set up a hotdog in a bun with potato chips on the side.  The scene I was creating had to look authentic. 

I tracked down the owner of the hotdogs for permission to use one for my photo shoot.  He looked at me with amusement and said—“that’s an unusual request.  Go for it Smiling Daffodil.” 

So I did.  I prepared my plate of food to use as a prop—a cold hotdog in a bun with mustard.  It was a thing of beauty.  I think everyone in the office thought this time I really lost my mind.  But I was having ridiculous fun. 

I set my plate of food on the table runner and snapped photos.  The scene was good considering I’ve had little experience or success with these types of scenes.

Oh, the perks of being a "photographer" today! After the photo shoot I got to eat the props. Tomorrow I'm hoping to photograph a steak!

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

Today I photographed a hotdog on a table runner with enthusiasm and it shows.  If I had thrown my hands up in the air in defeat before even starting I would have failed.  Instead I decided to do my best and make this task fun and creative. 

My lesson to you—if I can get excited over a hotdog—imagine what you can do!  Put enthusiasm into your work—and you might just discover success will come naturally. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
Mark your calendars for Guest Blog Wednesday!  (for new arrivals— all my blogs get posted sometime between 11 pm – 3 am.  Guest Blog Wednesday
theoretically happens on Thursday). 

Catch up on past blogs, reread your favorites or look at past blog photos by clicking here

Writers needed!  If I can write about a hotdog I am certain you have an even better story to share.  Just pick any of the Dale Carnegie principles (they are at the bottom of each of my blogs—and tell me how you have applied the principle.  That’s it!  If you are reading this blog—I am certain you know how to reach me.  Post a comment, email or send an instant message.  Or try the old fashioned way— talk to me face to face.  Ha.

Thank you for reading.  (Yes, the final photo with the actual table runner looks much better than the photo featured here…)

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 78. Baby bibs brought me a smile!


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 78.  Saturday, June 11, 2011
A month ago I purchased a set of baby bibs I had planned to embroider and give to my friend Marcella who recently had a baby. 

I only got around to embroidering one.  Various other interests happened plus I got busy with work and the six bibs have been untouched on my desk. 

Today I was thumbing through some photos from my recent trip visiting Marcella.  I came upon a photo of the bib that I gave her.  I remembered her reaction when she received it.  She loved it. 

I decided to hit the sewing room and finish the project I started. But I wasn’t feeling very creative as I was designing the bibs.  The task felt more like an obligation than something fun.  The first couple of bibs turned out “ok”.  But as I got more involved in the task I felt more confident and more creative. 

Put enthusiasm into your work!

I started experimenting with interesting fonts, embroidery designs, fabrics and thread colors.  Before I knew it—the bibs were finished—and they look great. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

Remember to approach a task with enthusiasm.  You will find that taking a positive approach to your work will yield better results.

Housekeeping / Notes
Be sure to check out bonus material in the Day Old Bread and Doggie Bag series!  My name is Daffodil…Smiling Daffodil.  

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.