It’s officially my favorite time of year — summer! There is nothing like summertime in Michigan. It amazes me when I travel how unaware people are about the wonders of our amazing state! We have an image problem here in the Great Lakes state and it’s time for us to tackle it. Not only is it important for us as citizens to feel a sense of pride for the state in which we live, but it’s important for business prosperity. The awesome Pure Michigan campaign is just a piece of the puzzle — we each have to be ambassadors for our community. I’ve been in Michigan my entire life; admittedly I have not seen the entire state, yet the spectacular beauty of what I have seen awes and inspires me. Before you book your next trip, consider staycationing in our very own state. There is plenty to do and see and it will give you something to brag about when you do travel outside of our borders. The Water We’re not called the Great Lakes state for nothing. If you haven’t enjoyed the majestic beauty of our lakes, put it on your must-see list for this summer. Several years ago I joined a group from our own Lansing Community College and biked up Michigan’s west coast. It was the perfect weekend adventure and the weather was gorgeous. We started in New Era and made our way to Ludington. Pedaling along with Lake Michigan in sight, people enjoying the sand dunes at Silver Lake and the pure Michigan air are memories I still look back on fondly. The Island Have you journeyed back in time on Mackinac Island? That is another gem that our state and its residents should be proud of. I confess to being a bit biased about Mackinac — my husband and I got married there eight years ago this month. Nonetheless, it is the ideal place to go and relax. You can visit the fort and learn about its history, bike around the island, splash in the water or take a horse-drawn carriage ride. Don’t forget to get your fill of Mackinac Island fudge while you’re there! The beauty and simplicity of a trip to the island is just what you may need to recalibrate. The Entertainment No matter your particular idea of fun, you can find it in Michigan. From the Croswell Opera House to the Wharton Center for Performing Arts and everything in between — there is live entertainment to suit everyone’s taste. Are you a sports fan? Our state hosts two Big Ten schools, several baseball teams (minor and major league) and many other avenues to view or participate in sports. Our golf courses are some of the finest around and we have the renowned MIS here for the race fans amongst us. For those especially hot summer days (another thing outsiders don’t realize that we have), there are several indoor activities to participate in such as visiting some of our extraordinary museums. The People There is nothing like a warm mid-western hello to brighten someone’s day. Michiganians (or Michiganders — whichever you prefer) are kind and friendly, perhaps the greatest assets we have. As an ambassador for our state and an integral player in our image campaign, this is your secret weapon. When you get the look of surprise and dismay that so often comes after you tell someone where you are from, pull this ace out from your sleeve. Give them a great smile, and tell them in earnest what they are missing if they’ve never traveled to the greatest state in America.
Shelley Davis Mielock
Shelley Davis Mielock is a certified business image coach and the founder of Mieshel Image Consulting, a Lansing-based firm that specializes in image development for individuals and businesses. She is also a co-host of In Her Shoes, a a weekly women’s talk radio show. To ask Shelley an image question, please e-mail her.