Written to inspire positive change in small regional communities ...
Something a little different ... I wrote a recent article for a local, small regional community newspaper ... a place where I am currently living and working from. Why here? My partner accepted a work contract here ... simply another chapter for us.
You see, we've both moved around a bit; lived and worked in various states, cities and small communities. We embrace change as opportunity for adventure, new experiences, and personal growth. Yes, that means we often view surrounding things through different lenses than long-term locals.
My analytical thinking and inquisitive mind feeds an avid need to explore ‘WHY it is so’. I absolutely love that life is full of choices, chances and changes. So, the intent of sharing my thoughts in the 'local rag' is to provide an alternative view, encourage positive thinking, challenge the status quo, and maybe influence a change of approach.
I'm sharing it here on my BlogSpot ... as a helpful reminder to my readers to check in on the message YOU portray to others.
Wherever I go, live and work, the purpose of my life is to make a positive difference.
Do you know the purpose of YOUR life? … Or are you living the life of a robot; shuffling slowly without much thought, mindlessly going about life with the same old routines, doing the same old stuff; days blending into weeks and years slipping by.
Do you have a ‘woe is me’ … ‘whinge and whine’ … ‘can’t change it’ … ‘that’ll do’, approach to life and your community?
Maybe you ARE passionate and mindful about what you do each day, where you live, and why you choose to live where you do. Great stuff! Do your thoughts, words and actions positively showcase your enthusiasm to others? Are you purposely contributing to the growth and positive spirit of your community, or just focused on your own personal goals?
Ok, so I ask a lot of questions … perhaps a tad challenging for some people. I ask with genuine interest to find out WHY?
For 7 months now I have been reading the stories and columns in my local paper [yes, every word … my partner thinks I’m mad taking so long to read a thin newspaper]. As a Life Coach, I am a strong believer in the impact words, phrases and tone has on influencing the perception of others. I try to read it with several hats on: a local’s response … a new resident’s thoughts … and a visiting tourist or perspective investor’s impression. Needless to say, I'm often shaking my head with a 'what the ...?' look on my face.
Now, I’m not saying that community culture is totally reflected in its local newspaper … but, it does provide some of the painted images, good and questionable, that make up one’s overall picture of a place ... especially if you are actively searching for connections or a reason to stay.
Imagine this … a positive and creative community spirit that is immediately, visually evident as one enters the town; a bright, happy, place-making theme that is echoed everywhere … in parks, entrance gardens, street plantings, main streets and business frontages … on information brochures, websites, Facebook pages, event promotions, local newspapers - everywhere. A branding that the community helps design and proudly owns; that represents the positive things about why you choose to live here, and showcases why others should take a look and consider staying longer.
A great step for attracting more visitors to stop and check it out.
OK ... so what about those new residents already here, or potential investors sniffing around?
Imagine this … a central business area that is buzzing with vibrant, interesting, uniquely different shops – you know, not just the same old stuff that’s in every town. Café’s that showcase local produce, great coffee, inviting décor, local art works, and welcoming outdoor circle seating to stop, rest and chat to a friendly local.
Aaahh … now I’m interested in leaving my home office for a curious wander. Exploring just became more interesting …
Imagine this … Anybody and everybody who walks into each shop in your local business area is greeted with positive enthusiasm; with curious interest in who they are; and genuine intent to help make their experience in this community, enjoyable and memorable … for the right reasons … so that they keep coming back, support local businesses, and stay longer.
Imagine this … new residents and potential investors are given welcome packs with details of all businesses and services in the local area, key events, invites to community group meetings, and vouchers to use at local businesses. Let’s take it up a notch – what if businesses and locals actively collected contact details of new residents to pass onto community leaders, so that key, positive ‘movers and shakers’ in the community contacted them personally to ensure they feel welcome.
Now that’s how to WOW them; involve them and embrace the skills and potential positive growth they bring to your community.
On recent travels, I drove through and visited many rural and regional towns ... and it was immediately obvious which ones showcased positive vitality, pride and a welcoming feel ... and which ones were struggling to attract and retain businesses and residents. Yes, it sure helps if positive culture and attitude is led by enthusiastic, pro-active leaders ... not just 'seat-warmers'.
However, the great thing about vibrant, small communities is that positive change is often driven by small groups of passionate people who have a vision of what it could be … and a purpose to make it happen. Are you a leader of positive change? If not, are you actively involved in supporting those in your community who are … regardless of how long they’ve lived there, or where they come from?
Be mindful of the way you communicate with others.