Dale Carnegie Reflections from Week 2

Dale Carnegie CourseAs I stated in a previous post, I am taking a Dale Carnegie course this summer. I’ve decided to take a sabbatical from teaching and start my own business. Therefore, I am taking the Dale Carnegie class to help me as I begin that process. Hence, I want to capture my learning here.

The second week of the class continued the introduction of memory skills with an emphasis on enhancing relationships and focused on each member of the class sharing about a defining moment. The assigned readings for the session were chapters 1-3 of How to Win Friends and Influence People, chapters 1-3 of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, and chapters 1-3 and 12 of The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking. Unfortunately, I waited late to start on the readings and read a large chunk of the material in a single sitting. I wish I hadn’t because the stories gave me much consider, and I needed more time to process it before class.

Dale Carnegie: “Give honest, sincere appreciation.”

First of all, possibly the most convicting takeaway from the first few chapters of How to Win Friends and Influence People was Carnegie’s admonition to show sincere appreciation for people. Everyone wants to feel important and appreciated, and I have done a poor job over the past few years at letting the people around me know how much appreciate them.  Similarly, I have done a lousy job at consistently writing thank-you notes, telling colleagues I value their contributions, and expressing gratitude for family and friends. So, I need to work on this. I wonder how much better my relationships will be if I intentionally take time to recognize others for how much they add to my life. How would that make them feel? In what ways might it strengthen our bonds? How much happier will I be?

The Power of Stories

Another essential reminder from week 2 of the Dale Carnegie course was the power of individuals’ stories. For part of the session, my classmates and I took turns standing in front of the room to share about a “defining moment” from our lives. Consequently, I was struck by how eloquent each person was as he or she told stories from their personal histories. What each person had to share was powerful. Their stories were unique, and no one else could tell the anecdote quite as they could. It was inspiring, and I wrote down in my notes “we should all speak, teach, and lead from our own experience.”

So What?

As a result, I’ve drawn two conclusions about things I need to do. First, I need to “slow and show.” I have to slow down and notice all the incredible things other people are doing around me. Seems like too often I’m guilty of having tunnel vision for my to-do list and too focused on myself.  I must take time and pay attention to other people and what they do. Then, I must show them my sincere gratitude. I should write a few more notes of appreciation. I should tell people how much their efforts mean to me. Second, I need to use my own story–my experiences–to teach and lead from there. I should spend more time thinking and reflecting on my backstory and what I’ve learned. Then, I can better use that story to do good work in the world.

Does any of this make sense? How do you intentionally and consistently show appreciation to your family, friends, and colleagues? How have you found telling your won story to be empowering?

What do you think and what makes you say that?

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