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JoAnn Ryan: Optimism must prevail in times of pressure

by JoAnn Ryan, president and CEO of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce

Who doesn’t think about Walt Disney? He was rejected by at least ten people who didn’t believe that Mickey Mouse had a life. Today,  long after his creation, Mickey is alive and well and a character many of us remember from our childhood.

Optimist or pessimist?

Winston Churchill perhaps personified the attitude of optimism over pessimism. He suffered numerous political defeats and yet became Great Britain’s prime minister and was recognized as a world leader during World War II. During an address to a graduating class at Oxford University, he simply said, “Never, never, never give up.”

Optimist or pessimist?

You must have heard about the record of Abraham Lincoln. Throughout his lifetime, he suffered defeats in business, congress, and a run for vice president, only to be elected president of the United States.

There is no question; he had to be an optimist.

Now, perhaps more than ever, we need optimism if we are going to succeed. There is no question we must be realistic in addressing the issues, but every challenge creates an opportunity.

Some friends of the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce have some advice:

From C. Wayne Mitchell, founder of ProdComm, a company that assists organizations with public relations, strategic planning and communication: “Stay relevant and innovative … the landscape is changing dramatically … determine the best way to deliver your message and do this constantly … refocus on your core business but shape your message differently to meet these challenging times … make note of the differences in communication, technology and generational preferences … increase those valuable partnerships … do an audit of happiness and hope at the end of each day.”

From Tom Collamore, senior vice president of communications and strategy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “Get back to basics … don’t ever forget those personal relationships … create your message so that it is meaningful on a local level … highlight your successes and use them to sell your organization … keep up with the social networking through blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter … all of your messages should be a call to action.”

Considering the roller-coaster economy, a highly competitive global marketplace and the pressures of dealing with professional and personal challenges, optimism must prevail.

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