How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

TogetherIt’s been a long long time since I have read this book. I’ve seen it pop up more than once recently and I think it’s great. If you are in need of a book that will change your life and the way you see the world this is for you. There is a joke that I am the cranky German, especially before I have my coffee 🙂 but really, I love life. With all its ups and downs, with its challenges and happy moments. Because in the end, we can learn from even the worst of days, even if we learn how to avoid another day like that! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I am a big proponent of finding the good in life, seeing the beauty, learning how to grow as a person, a mother, a wife. Never stop learning, living and smiling. Tough sometimes and that’s okay. It’s okay to say, I had a bad day or man, I screwed up.

The book talks about how to make people like you. In a way, you’d think that it’s obvious, like SMILE. But we become busy with life, stress and overstuffed schedules all contribute to the lack of smiling people. We are too consumed with ourselves to give another person the time of day. STOP. Stop and smile. Do it, I promise you, you’ll receive a smile from the next person, you’ll receive a friendly hello, you might even make someones day!

You know what is also important? Please and thank you. Pay attention throughout your day, you’ll find it lacking. I make a point to say both, always. Even a short “Thanks!” will do, but it acknowledges your appreciation for the other person. They’ll recognize your gratitude and will be grateful in return.

Matt the Waiter

Which reminds me of Matt – who is a waiter at Longhorn Steakhouse in Austin. He has been our waiter 3 times now and if I could request him and get his schedule, I totally would. Matt – this is my shoutout to you! He is the best waiter I have had in years. He naturally employs the tactics described by Dale Carnegie. He smiles, appears to be genuinely interested, he is extremely attentive and complimentary (our kids knew and ordered a medium rare steak), he always asks how our day was, our food, if there is anything he could do for us, he is on point and shows curiosity about the food and the way we order it (makes it about us) and if you watch him, you’d think he is only there for us. In the end, he even took the time to look at our name and when the bill came he said, “Whenever you’re ready Mr. Ayres, I hope you have a great day.” then he brought me a coffee to go!
Some of you may say that Matt is just doing his job and that’s how it should be, but he is exceptional. He goes above and beyond, always has a smile and a happy go lucky attitude! It is beyond refreshing, he makes me smile, my kids smile and it’s sincere. Which is why we return over and over. The food is good, but the service kills it, in a good way.

If you take that approach to life, you’ll be on your way to many friends and happiness. Let’s look at some core values of successful and happy people.

5 Values to implement today!

  • Honesty
    Honesty or transparency is an important trait to success. People will value honesty over deception any day. Admitting mistakes honestly will earn higher respect than concealment. The same goes for honest praise, people love to get it. You should practice it and give out one honest compliment a day to someone in your life for a week and see what happens.
  • Being helpful vs criticizing
    I think that’s a big one. I always take the helpful approach with my team. Yes, sure, sometimes you want to say, hey- we went over this twice already, but in my mind, I may have not fully explained it, or in a way that your learning style learns best. My role as supervisor is to set you up for success, to help and guide you and answer your questions. Not to breathe fire down your neck and ruin the love for your job.
  • Empathy
    Too many people don’t know what empathy is. If you have some time read up on emotional intelligence and learn why you should take time to grow the EQ. Empathy is what allows you to understand what another person is going through emotionally and even physically and helps you respond appropriately and uplifting. It’s not the Merriam Webster definition but easy to understand. It goes hand in hand with compassion. Sometimes you need to put yourself and your ego aside for the greater good. Once we had a terrible waiter, I mean downright terrible. But after watching him for a while, smiling, chatting with him, I came to the conclusion that he was going through a rough patch in life. I wrote an uplifting note, and left a $30 tip and hoped it made a difference in his life. I don’t know if it did, but that’s not why I did it – to know if I made a change. I did it because I felt it was the right thing in that moment. I didn’t instagram it, or tweet it. I just did and smiled, wished him a wonderful evening and went about my way. Try it.
  • Encouragement
    Instead of tearing the house down, build it. I am guilty of sometimes tearing it down before building it but I am aware of that and I am working on that. Btw, understanding yourself and recognizing flaws – also trait successful and happy people have. As far as my team goes, I always try to encourage, including wild ideas. You won’t know if you don’t try. I am sometimes tearing my own house down because I have super high expectations for myself. I don’t like or accept failure but sometimes it isn’t as easy as it seems.
  • Healthy work – life balance
    That my friends, I am still struggling with. But as I grow as a person, I am learning how to prioritize better, how to schedule more efficiently and how to walk away. I understand that sometimes the job calls for longer hours and that sometimes I can go for a walk. Sleep and rest is important for a healthy mind and soul, so is family time. Make sure you have both. Balance the two, life is too short to miss out on your family. Read a book – maybe even this one ;). I will re-read it, it’s time for a refresher.

You may not want to influence people or need a lot of friends, but taking these values and incorporating them into your everyday life, can greatly increase your personal happiness. Think of it like a ripple effect, you smile at the cashier who looks super tired, compliment her on something and say please and thank you. 9 out of 10 times, that will boost her mood and she will carry that to the next customer. That customer may have not expected a happy greeting and is now in turn happy as well. It doesn’t always work, but even if it only works once, you made a difference. It’s the same concept people use with pay it forward, where they pay the next persons coffee at Starbucks for example. Small gestures will go a long way, they will be noticed, and you will make a difference. Maybe small, maybe huge, you’ll never know if you don’t try.

Take this for example, I write because I have something to say, to share with you and whoever comes across my blog. But I always have hope, that at least one person is touched by my thoughts and wants to make a difference in someone elses life or even their own. If I can inspire one person to greatness or love, then every word I have ever written was worth it.

If you are interested in the book that inspired this post: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Arthur R. Pell (Editor), Dorothy Carnegie 

I’d love to hear your stories, thoughts, ideas!

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