Make optimism a way of life

I am a glass half-full person and enjoy being around other optimists. I had the pleasure of starting this past gloomy Thursday in a room full of optimists and it was invigorating! The event was called “thrive: celebrating the impact of our small business community” put on by Interise, a fabulous organization that I am proud to be affiliated with as a PSN member, private sector network, aka an advisor to entrepreneurs going through their street-wise MBA program.

The room was full of small business owners; entrepreneurs who despite the challenging economic times have persevered to not only build businesses, but to “thrive” by hiring AND giving back to the community.

Speakers included Scott Harshbarger, former Attorney General of the state of MA, and our current state treasurer, Steve Grossman. Mr. Harshbarger’s brief comments were excellent citing the importance of small business to our economic health. Mr. Grossman’s message was from the heart and had some great nuggets including my favorite analogy of the importance of a strong ‘foundation’. He not only recognized the important role that small business owners have in our economy, but articulated a level of community involvement that I hadn’t recognized until this morning.  Specifically, Mr. Grossman recognized small business owners for their economic impact AND for the important role we play in the community. He asked each of us to raise our hands if we are involved in more than one charitable organization. Nearly the entire room of over 100 people raised their hands! Wow!

What does that tell us? it tells me that optimistic people, people who have taken the risk to venture out on their own and who have continued to persevere despite recent challenges including limited access to capital, high health care costs, and rising gas prices, are not only optimistic, but are committed to giving back.

The audience this morning was not just about their business.  We as a group are striving for a better world; a better community and in doing so give back our time and talents to help others, not for the sake of directly impacting our own business, but because that sense of community is part of our who we are.  The thrive award recipients were an impressive group of business owners who have truly made an impact with their business and in the greater community.  I applaud all who were recognized and was glad I made the time to attend.

Steve Grossman concluded his remarks with a message passed onto him from his father: Make optimism a way of life.

As an American, as a small business owner, as a mom, I do make optimism a way of my life and Steve Grossman reminded me this morning of the power of optimism as I joined a group of fellow small business owners to celebrate the impact of small business on our community!  Here’s to optimism, thriving and an ongoing commitment to help others do the same!

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