A few years ago after I finished several months of career coaching, I received a gift. It's a notebook filled with blank pages. The front of the notebook has a big gold star on it, and then in large, block letters it simply says, "I kick ass."
I also have a folder in my email called, "keep me." In this folder are messages from others that are compliments, positive reactions to things I've done, or congratulations for awards or recognition I've received.
I also have a notebook in which I keep track of my accomplishments - big and small. I originally started this notebook for use when working on resumes and job applications but it has since turned into a much greater tool.
Why do I hang on to these things?
Because there are days when I feel like locking the door of my office and unplugging my phone so I don't have to listen to one more gossip-fueled complaint (I don't mind the educated complaints). There are days I am so frustrated with nasty things people say that I consider examining my bank account to see if I could walk out and still pay bills until I found something new. There are days that nothing seems to go right, even though I feel like I'm working harder than ever. So I keep these positive things close to me to remind me that even on those bad days, there are plenty of good days and it is the good that makes it worth moving onward and upward, amidst what might be extreme negativity at times.
During the Golden Globe Awards one year, Anne Hathaway said in her acceptance speech (in reference to the physical award she was holding), "Thank you for this blunt object that I will use as a weapon against self-doubt." I absolutely love her statement. Not because it is witty and creative, but because it is a great reminder that sometimes we need something to remind us about the positive things in our lives.
Anne Hathaway has self-doubts. I have self-doubts. Most (all?) of you reading this have had self-doubts. I don't think a person exists who never has self-doubts. So we all need our own version of a Golden Globe award to help us get past them. If we have self-doubts, is there such a thing as community self-doubts? Or doubts we have about the potential in our community? I'm sure of it. But, like we as individuals have shields against self-doubts, as a community, we also have Golden Globes to help against doubts.
There is no reason our community has to succumb to our doubts. Because we have our Golden Globes to push us forward past those doubts. Next time you wait at just one red light before going through, recognize that as a Golden Globe. Next time you take a bike ride along our many miles of paved bike path, know that most communities don't have that amenity and see it as a Golden Globe of ours. When you see an ad for enrollment in Alpena Community College's respected Concrete Technology program, see that as another Golden Globe. When you hear about the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, it should be a reminder of another of our many Golden Globes.
This community has so many Golden Globes that remind us that even when we get frustrated by things going on in the community, or not going on, we have so much to be proud of and so much to continue to build on. Anne Hathaway has her Golden Globe to use as a weapon against her self-doubts. What other weapons do we have against any doubts we have regarding the future of the community? I promise you, we have more Golden Globes than you may realize.
Jackie Krawczak is the executive director of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column runs bi-weekly on Tuesdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.