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A Most Meaningful Graduation

“It’s at 5:59 on Monday evening”
“What happens?”
“Oh, there will be short presentations from everyone in the class…”
“How many?”
“About 20”
“When will it end?”
“Around 10”

Not arousing my most keen anticipation. But OK, I’ll show up with Elaine. We’ll sit through it, for the sake of my son, the Graduate … …again. Well, put the cynic in the trunk and go.
It started on time. And with an eager large group, introductions all round.
But right to the presentations.
A high energy facilitator – lots of hyperbole. After her say-so, I half expected Oprah to come to the head of the room. Instead we got a young Asian woman, about 5′ all in, dressed in black dress with a purple and red scarf.

“Thanks for those kind words, Maria. I’d like to focus on Greater Self Confidence. Sometimes I get a little nervous and almost forget my example. But, here it is….”

What follows is an uplifting story from an ordinary soul about overcoming her mortal fear of meeting strangers and how she followed the principles when she was to be taken to a reception by a friend. The friend texted “I’ll be late, by an hour. ”
“Should I go anyway? I’ll tell you, before the course, I wouldn’t have. But a Dale angel came down just then and said ‘Go! – What’s the worst that could happen?'”
“So I drove to the hotel. I almost went in once, but I had to work up my courage. So I walked around the block. Someone watching would’ve thought I was crazy. Then I went in. And walked right up to the first person I saw and introduced myself. And from there it was great.”

If you haven’t guessed by now, Dale Carnegie was the focus; 5 drivers, 29 principles, and a guiding scheme emphasizing that you can be more effective as a person just by teaching yourself some new behaviors and practicing them every week for 12 weeks.

And what unfolded at the Grad was a testament to the irrepressible drive to growth and the majesty of the human spirit. There was story after story of people of wide ranging ages and ability going beyond their limitations because they chose not to be confined by them. Dentist who wanted to be a better employer, a receptionist determined to overcome her awkward shyness. An Energy Services Executive who wants improved results from presentations. In Carnegie, they all found a resource to fire them up, encourage and teach them and hold them to their highest potential.
Now Evan – my son – is hardly a wallflower. He is a confident, intelligent performer, used to being at the head of the class. But he – and others of his ilk – got a lot out of the course.
Evan talked to me about the handling of a negotiation at work using the approach he’d learned there. It turned out better for that.
And that’s the essence: you can do better if you don’t just follow your first instinct. Learn some stronger ways to win friends and influence people. Overcome your so-called limits and get beyond yourself.
The Dale Carnegie course has a 100 year history of producing successful grads who do just that. Last Monday, I got to bear witness to the latest proud crop.

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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