I hope you’re proud of where you live.
When I’m on the road speaking about my career, which is public speaking, people invariably ask, “Where are you from, Michael?”
I say, “I’m from Michigan,” and that’s when the person almost always says something negative.
These strangers don’t mean to be off-putting. It just comes out that way.
When I say, “Michigan,” the other person usually says, “It’s really cold there, isn’t it?”
I used to say, “Yeah, it sure is cold there,” which resulted in a longer discussion about how undesirable my city is. I meet a lot of people on the road so I would end up having this type of conversation many times a day.
Finally, I came to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what others say.
As I got more gigs and delivered more keynotes across the country, all these disparaging remarks began to affect my attitude.
I became defensive and desperately wanted to stop people from saying bad things about the cold weather in Michigan, or the desperate situation in our state’s largest city.
Finally, I realized that I had no control over what they said to me.
In fact, what other people say or think isn’t even the issue. What matters is how I respond.
Now, when people say things like, “Ooh, it’s cold there, isn’t it?” I smile and say, “Actually, I love living in Michigan. We have four unique and distinct seasons and it’s really beautiful there.”
You know what people say to that? Nothing. They change the subject!
Be proud of where you live. It doesn’t matter if you live in a one-bedroom flat, a new neighborhood, or one of the northern states. Everything is temporary, so be proud of yourself even as you look to improve.
Michael Angelo Caruso is president of Edison House, a Michigan-based consulting company. His blog appears regularly on dbusiness.com.