12 weeks ago, I started a Dale Carnegie course on effective human relations. I had always assumed that I had trouble communicating with people. Way back in college when I took Social Psychology I first learned how different I was from others. It seems that when people walk past others and start to say "hello", they instinctively stop walking or at least slow down. One experimenter noted the dismay of others as he quickly walked by while talking. Apparently I had been noting that dismay my whole life, because that is exactly how I would say "hi" to folks as I sped past them. It seemed to me that developing relationships and winning the confidence of others was an uphill battle (which, apparently is a bad way to battle). I know that I do have family, friends, and the most wonderful wife in the world who all love me, but I have had time to grow on them.
The last 12 weeks have taught me that I am not alone in my struggles to relate to others. For some, just getting up the courage to talk to coworkers is a challenge. For others, talking with authority and confidence seems impossible. Most everyone feels that they cannot truly influence others. Even the people who I would consider social butterflies felt the need to work on their people skills. Each Tuesday night I was in a supportive environment of people that had more in common with me than I would have ever dreamed, and not just because my dreams usually involve me ending up at work in my underwear.
I have such respect for my Dale Carnegie classmates and instructors, that I was truly honored to be selected the top honor in the class, the award for the class member who best epitomizes the Dale Carnegie principles. I was stunned. Most of my classmates assumed that I knew I would win. While I always like the idea of winning, there were class members who I thought were truly stellar people who really grew during the last 12 weeks to become truly outstanding. So I am double honored to be chosen over may very deserving people.
So now I know that I can relate to others, influence them (for good, never evil), and perhaps be a leader. And I have the plaque to prove it.
Huzaa to my Dale Carnegie classmates!
Tagged: personal stories