Day 91. He did not judge a book by its cover… and it paid off.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 91.  Saturday, June 25, 2011
What am I going to wear today?  I was frantically searching for something “professional” looking to wear.  I can’t wear jeans or shorts—I have to dress the part—I have to look like the title I have at work.

I had to be at a convention about 50 miles away.  The ever important question of why I volunteered to attend this event was lingering in the back of my mind.  The best I could come up with—I care too much.

I drove as fast as I could within the speed limit (give or take).  I was running terribly late.  I was worried the event would be closed by the time I arrived.

I pulled into the parking lot at the convention center at 3:15 and noticed a sign that said parking was 15 dollars.  What?  Are you out of your mind?  I rolled down my window ready to argue but the attendant said I arrived so late that parking was free.  Nice!

I raced into the convention center and noticed the ticket counter was closed.  I turned and looked at the two “guards” at the Expo door and I smiled.  They said I arrived so late that I could get in free.  Nice!

I passed all the booths in the Expo hall and made my way to the one booth I drove 50 miles to visit.  By this time I was out of breath and “glistening” (it was 100 degrees today) and I’m certain I hardly looked like the professional individual that my title implies I’m supposed to be.  What I did have going for me was a sincere smile. 

I smiled at Enrique.  Enrique was so relieved to see me.  He had been anxious and worried I would not arrive.  (I was there to pick up one of his products). 

We hugged and chatted for awhile.  Actually—we chatted until the event closed.  Enrique has a good reputation and some great products that I am enamored with.  His face lights up—and he’s incredulous that I have such high regard for his products.  I like to point out the specific reasons why I like his products—they are superior quality, they are unique, etc.  I’m always stunned by his reaction that my opinion means that much to him.  

As we wrapped up I told him I’d be interested in featuring at least two of his new products to our customers and I told him I’d be in touch in the coming weeks.  He loaded me down with free product samples and thanked me for stopping by. 

A blank journal I picked up in Spain and a Dale Carnegie book I won...

One of the aspects I like about my job is the opportunity to make someone’s day.  If you were to look at me and then look at my title you’d quickly recognize the mismatch. For those that can get past this—there is great opportunity. 

Enrique is one of these individuals. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 5.  Smile.

Enrique produces great products and appreciates the support I give him through my company.  I appreciate the fact that he recognizes and values what we do for him by giving us superior products that our customers love.  He does not give us mediocre products. He gives us his best so that we can give our customers our best. 

Everyone wins.

I hope you gather the following lesson from this story:  if you value, like or appreciate a person or something that a person has done for you—don’t be afraid to tell him or her.

Enrique’s surprised reaction made me realize that he probably doesn’t receive praise or recognition for his work enough from other individuals.  When I left him in his booth—he was walking on air—he was so happy with my words of praise and encouragement. 

When you take this approach you will build loyal, appreciative and understanding business partners and friends who will stick with you through the good, the bad and even those days where the temperature is 100 degrees and you look like the sun melted you.  

And if you ever show up late to an event, an appointment or work… try smiling!

Day 56. How I let art supplies occupy too much of my time and what I did about it….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 56.  Friday, May 20, 2011
Last night I went to the store to buy some last minute supplies for the art classes I am taking in California.  The supply list indicated it would be helpful, though not required, to bring my own watercolor pencils.  To me this means I will have to share with people and I won’t enjoy that process so I better just bring my own supplies.

I browsed the very colorful and enchanting art aisle—full of colored pencils, chalk, pastels and various other intriguing artists’ tools.  I say I browsed.  I salivated.  I dreamed.  I stood in awe of the potential these tools could mean in the right hands.  Not that my hands are the right hands.  But I can dream. 

Reality came when I looked at the prices for all these artists’ tools.  I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on colored pencils.  But gosh, these metallic colored pencils are mesmerizing.  Oh if only I could have them.  I had a coupon.  But I just couldn’t bring myself to make the plunge.  I wanted those pencils.  I wanted them bad.  I just couldn’t justify it.  After probably 20 minutes of browsing I settled on an inexpensive set of 8 colored pencils. 

I went to pay but there was a long line of customers and only one cashier.  I decided it wasn’t worth the wait for the dumb pencils I had to “settle” for.  So I left.

This morning all I could think about were the watercolor pencils and the potential that could be unleashed in this art class I am taking.  I decided to go back to the store and purchase a set—any set—just so that I’d have something for this class.

While driving I grumbled thinking this is worse than the red pen incident last week.  I decided it was easy to justify the investment in these artists’ tools as R&D.  Given my past experience with using what has been invested (ie. A Dale Carnegie training course)—stupid pencils were a drop in the bucket.  Besides… I have some new product ideas that these pencils will help me to produce and hopefully help the company make money. 

I walked boldly to the aisle where the coveted art supplies are kept.  I did not hesitate. I grabbed two different sets of pencils and walked to Liz, the cashier without a second thought.

I handed Liz my tattered coupon I’ve been holding on to along with the company credit card.  She rang me up—I was pleased with my savings and told her so.  But then she told me today was buy one get one free day on colored pencils.  My order would be even cheaper.  I thanked Liz and went merrily on my way.

The Dale Carnegie principles I should have used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.

The Dale Carnegie principle I did use is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.  

When I think about the time I wasted thinking and worrying about the silly watercolor pencils I am embarrassed.  It wasn’t long ago the company told me I could purchase $150 markers on the company credit card.  So frankly, $20 watercolor pencils were not going to break the bank.

Also, be thankful for the unexpected courtesies of strangers.  In my case, the cashier, Liz, found a way to save me more money when frankly, she was not obligated to do so.  I was thrilled and I let her know it. 

So remember, there are plenty of instances when petty worries and stress come your way but you have the opportunity to turn them around.  When you do this—you’ll discover power in the ability to control your emotions and the circumstances you face.  And who knows, with a little practice, these trifles will become fewer and far between.