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Change often begins at the edges. It starts with just one voice — one idea that makes a difference. “Penny on the Edge” champions those who are willing to go first and challenges readers to think differently about how we grow our economies. This means understanding the intersection of entrepreneurship and economic development, along with the need to balance grow-from-within and traditional recruiting strategies. My intention is to provide ideas and support, make you laugh, and sometimes even annoy you as together we drive change from the edges.

The importance of community celebrations

Seth Godin once wrote a blog that addressed how often we want just the good parts in life. That when the tough parts come along — the rejection, the slog and the unfair bad breaks —  it makes sense to welcome and embrace them.

I agree. I also believe there are times when the communities we serve need just the good parts — those times when we celebrate the joy of what we are and the hope of what we will become. Celebrations have the power to override the negative — the rejection, the slog and the unfair bad breaks.

It reminds me of an “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode when Ray’s brother gets married. The day is a disaster and during his toast, Ray suggests the best way to deal with it is editing.  Editing out the bad parts and keeping the good ones. He says, “Another thing about the editing.  I think you’re going to remember from this day what you want to remember.  Our brains are good like that.”

Yes, our brains are good like that. We remember what we want — positive or negative.

One of the best examples of this was during the 2009 Michigan Celebrates Small Business awards, an event recognizing Michigan’s best and brightest growth companies. It was a tough time in our state, and the governor announced from the stage that Chrysler had just declared bankruptcy. For many, this was traumatic news. But surprisingly enough, it didn’t the affect the mood in the room. The excitement was still there.  Employees still cheered when they heard their company name. The buzz was still fully alive. And it wasn’t because they didn’t care or respect the news. They were simply there to tell a different story. In their world, Michigan was changing — one company at a time. That’s what they came to remember.

And they were right. Twelve years and 600 companies later, this event has become a symbol of the new Michigan — a place that lives and breathes innovation and growth.

Entrepreneurs support organizations that understand the power of editing are seldom at a loss for something to celebrate. They know spreading joy can be accomplished at big events or in simple acknowledgements. Loyalty runs deep when we celebrate the company that got a new contract, broke through the barrier towards a great innovation, did something amazing for their community or found a way to honor their employees.

So party on my friends. Deploy that editing function and remember the good parts. Your community deserves it and so do you!


Copyright © 2017 by Edward Lowe Foundation


Penny Lewandowski
A thought leader in entrepreneurship and building an entrepreneurial culture, Penny Lewandowski is senior consultant of external relations at the Edward Lowe Foundation. She is a frequent speaker on new ways to think about economic development – especially how a grow-from-within strategy leads to thriving and sustainable economies. To send Penny comments,   click here.

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