I’m certainly not the type of person who would encourage any individual to stop reading or watching the news, but sometimes the information is so negative that I believe you have to put on a filtering cloak of optimism to make it through each day’s news cycle. I need a balance of unbiased, solid-reported, real news (and I’m aware that sometimes it is heart-wrenching), and a dose of positive stories too. Frankly, that’s why this publication exists. Right now times are tough and it wouldn’t be appropriate to act like people aren’t dealing with a lot of obstacles. Our economy, like so many areas of our lives, works as a cycle. Although it may not seem like it, history shows us that times and trends shift, but we are resilient and always bounce back. There is no reason to think that won’t happen again — in my opinion. I’ve learned over the years that change is inevitable, but happiness is optional. As we go through challenges, sometimes the only thing we can control is how we respond or deal with it. Attitude and happiness are well within our purview. I’m certainly not saying that we can or should be happy all the time, but the more positivity you add to your life — it comes back to you. It’s like pixie dust without sneezes — just smiles. The New Year always makes me feel like starting anew. I love that. I’m a huge fan of change … Do you ever get that antsy feeling when you’ve been sitting in one place too long? I know … me too. That’s why it’s always important to assess the situation you’re in on a continual basis and now is as good a time as any. You don’t need to wait for a new year, of course, but as long as we have one upon us … why not? Whether you’re evaluating for your job or your personal life, taking stock of where things are and making positive choices about how to move it forward can happen now. If you’re always in a constant state of sadness, depression or anger regarding your situation, it does nothing to move you from it. It really is like the old saying that no matter what happens, your life is 10 percent how you make and 90 percent how you take it. Think about it … it’s true. I believe our cover story, Neeshan Mehretu, is a prime example of positivity and happiness. When I met her in October last year, I was taken aback by the feeling that my life was somehow better by just chatting with her for ten minutes. Her whole aura was positive and with the contagious smile — I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to introduce her to all of you. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I did. As always, I’m interested in creating fun while doing my work day to day. Without it, what’s the point? I really believe in going above and beyond when it comes to having a good time in all aspects of my life. Hey, if you’re going to excel at something, fun is as good a thing as any. So, to keep my fun meter high, we are holding the 80s Flashback party this March. This event is going to be a tribute to an era that produced great music, interesting language (fer sure), bright fashions and of course, helped to influence me. We are also going to launch our CAWL Award (Caring About Women Locally) at the event and I’m super excited about the nominations we’ve already received for potential winners. Keep them coming! Our community is chock full of wonderful women working hard to make a big difference. In addition, if you think you can belt out an 80s tune, then you might want to enter the 80s Idol Contest that night. You will be performing along side Lansing’s premier 80s cover band, Starfarm. If you haven’t heard (or seen) them, you are in for a treat. They definitely have a big following in this area and for good reason. If you’re interested in tickets or tables to the event, want to nominate someone for the award or can’t wait to sing a tune, go to our website at cawlm.com and check it out. When you’re contemplating how to face this brand new year, consider this: change is inevitable but your happiness or how you decide to apply yourself to this year is optional. Have a fabulous 2011. Can you feel it? Something great is going happen.
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.