Every successful person in life has had someone who helped make them that way. Coaches, teachers or mentors who have helped shape their lives and guide them to being the people who make the hard choices and do what is required to be successful. These are the people who inspire, motivate and educate us as we develop and help make us who we are. Like anyone who has ever achieved anything worthwhile, I credit several of these people for making me who I am today. I have great parents, was taught by some fantastic people and have worked for some really inspiring bosses, but I credit one man more than any other as my greatest mentor; Dale Carnegie.
It’s understandable that you would doubt that someone who died more than thirty years before I was born could be my mentor, but it’s important to keep in mind that one doesn’t have to be alive for their impact to be felt. We are after all more than 2000 years since the death of Christ and we’re still learning his teachings. Dale Carnegie might not have ever been with me in person, but his words and life story have shifted and formed my worldview to the point where he has been my biggest influence. From his classic work, How To Win Friends And Influence People, to his lesser known works The Quick And Easy Way To Effective Public Speaking and Lincoln The Unknown, his success has left the clues that I’ve followed. Here are three of my favorites:
There’s Only One Way Under High Heaven To Get Anyone To Do Anything – Make Them Want To Do It
Its the overriding theme of How To Win Friends And Influence People and it’s entirely true. If we want anyone to do anything, we have to make them want to do it and the best way, without question, is to make them feel important. When we make others feel important, they’ll bend over backward to live up to the feeling we’ve given them. It’s the secret to getting the best out of anyone.
There Are Three E’s To Effective Public Speaking: Earn The Right, Enthusiastic and Eager to Share
Most people fear public speaking. They fear it because they’re afraid they ‘ll look foolish in front of their peers. It’s typically what happens when we speak about something we’re unfamiliar with. I give speeches, talks, and workshops for a living and I get scared just like everyone else. This is why the Three E’s are so critical. To earn the right, I have to prepare. I have to know my audience, my material and myself. To be enthusiastic, I have to demonstrate the kind of passion that keeps me from being boring. To be eager to share, I have to present my ideas with the urgency that inspires others to act. The Three E’s are the ticket to being successful in front of the room.
Anyone Can Criticize and Most Fools Do
This is a Benjamin Franklin quote made famous by Carnegie has saved every relationship I’ve ever had. I have pretty high standards and it’s really easy for others to let me down. It’s one thing for me to be critical of myself but something different entirely when dealing with others. I believe in being constructive and I believe in giving the feedback that others need to learn and grow, but I avoid criticizing others as much as I possibly can because people don’t believe it anyway and it’s the best way in the world to lose friends and alienate people.
Dale Carnegie, raised on a farm in Missouri, chased his dream all the way to New York where he failed to make it as a stage actor but found fulfillment as a speaker and trainer inspiring millions through time with his message. It’s this biography that I related to first as an Ohio farm kid who has chased greatness across the country, I’m doing my best to find it as a speaker, trainer, and coach. I’ve had a lot of great teachers along the way, but none greater than Dale Carnegie. His message has helped millions improve their work, save their relationships and get past their fear of public speaking. He may have passed decades before I was born, but he has certainly influenced me.