Is it just me or does everyone start to reflect on what they’ve accomplished for the year in November? I think I do this in month 11 because there’s still time to tick off a few of those lingering to-dos in month 12. I hope you’re less like me and have all of your to dos completed and you’re prepared to celebrate the holidays in style without worry or guilt. Now, I personally gave up guilt a long time ago. I know that there is certainly a reason for that particular emotion, but from what I could tell it didn’t help me – in fact, it just slowed my progress. I guess I believe that if I’ve given a decision a lot of thought and moved forward with the best of intentions then even if it was a bad call in the end, feeling guilty won’t help anything. I need to learn from it and move on. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get disappointed with my time management (no matter how hard I try I am always running five minutes behind), my tendency to over commit (I like to do so many things – it’s hard to pick) and my inability to be domestic (cooking? Forget about it!). Dwelling on my shortfalls isn’t productive either. November not only stands for crisp mornings, fallen leaves and chilly football games, it’s about being thankful. Sometimes, it’s so hard to be thankful. Counting your blessings among the many tragedies and tough times surrounding us can be tough. While I want to believe that something good can come out of something awful, it can be really difficult to decipher. This community recently lost a young girl after her battle with cancer. Although I didn’t personally know her, it was clear to me that she impacted so many people with her personality, strength, courage and love. No parent should ever have to go through the unspeakable pain of losing a child and I can’t imagine how hard it would be to count blessings or be thankful in the moments following that family trauma. However, what you may not know, is that when faced with grief, her family chose to ask others to provide a random act of kindness and show love to someone else in lieu of flowers or gifts for the family. Frankly, I’m in awe of such selfless behavior. I’m thankful that they are a part of our community and that they allowed their beautiful daughter to make an impact on the Greater Lansing area. Her beautiful spirit will be a permanent part of our community. I truly try to keep a positive, healthily thankful perspective. I often tell people that I’m more blessed than I have any right to be and I do believe that. Because of this, I really try to get involved with charities where I can make a difference. Just like our cover girl Diontrae Hayes, it’s really important for me to give back as much as possible. She is an inspiration to me and I hope she will be to you as well. She believes in her convictions, follows her dreams and donates her time to others. For the last two years, I have chaired the March of Dimes Signature Chef’s Auction. I was blessed to have two healthy babies, even after I was told early in one of my pregnancies that it appeared that he would have some challenges. I’ll never forget the four weeks of fear and helplessness that I felt. My baby was healthy and full-term, but there are so many children born prematurely impacting their young lives. That’s why I support this event and help raise much-needed funds. If you’re interested in supporting this local initiative, the event is held 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7 at the Kellogg Center. Although there isn’t any possible way to have completed all that I wanted to during 2011, I’m thankful for so many things in my life. I appreciate the love of my family and their tolerance of my crazy work schedule, my friends who keep me grounded and laughing, my team here at M3 and CAWLM, who work hard everyday to accomplish our combined goals and for the Greater Lansing community – the biggest small town that I love. Happy Thanksgiving – be thankful for the little things.
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.