Here’s to all who do it right

When classes graduate from Institute of Organizational Management, they choose a song that plays as they walk into graduation. The song my class chose was Halestorm’s, “Here’s to Us.” We could have picked a traditional graduation song like Bruno Mars’ “Today My Life Begins,” or Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever).”

We chose, “Here’s to Us,” because it fit our class well, but also because sometimes you just need to cheer for yourself. Sometimes you need to say, “Here’s to ME.” It seems that we often appreciate the people who do extraordinary things, or we focus on the people who make the news for good or bad. But what about the people who live their lives in a responsible way, and stay under the radar? The people who some might describe as plain or boring, but are far from it. This is for those people.

In a time when media shares new sexual harassment accusations every day, it’s time we recognize people who treat all others with kindness. This column is for people who are genuinely kind and respectful to all.

This article is for the people who maintain a positive credit score and have never had a delinquent payment. It’s for the people who never get to use a company’s incentives designed for new customers because they have been a long-term customer who pays their bill on time, every time. Wouldn’t a nice note of appreciation from the company, with a little surprise thank you discount be nice?

This column is for the people who live their lives in a way that others might describe as old fashioned. You know what I’m talking about. The people who graduate from high school, go on to college, graduate college, get a job, get married, have children and live happily ever after. OK, so happily ever after might be a stretch because everyone has good and bad, but these are the people who work through it, take steps to improve, learn from it, and move past it. That life is no easy feat these days. The cards are stacked against it. Those are the people who reality television shows should be made about. That way of life is now the minority and I suspect some people would find that concept so foreign they would be very intrigued by a reality show about it.

Here’s to the people who consistently prefer to give compliments than offer complaints. Complaints are necessary (preferable in the form of constructive criticism), but if that’s all you ever do, then your complaint doesn’t hold much weight. The people who are consistently kind don’t receive much recognition, but here’s to them!

This column is for those of you who show up when you’re committed to something. I don’t mean literally show up as a warm body. That’s easy. I’m talking about showing up with your talents, ready to give. The people who take responsibility seriously.

Here’s to the people who respect others’ property. The ones who aren’t littering. Who aren’t throwing cigarette butts on the street or spitting gum on the sidewalk. Here’s to the people who pick up after their pets when on public property, and leave a note on a vehicle if they accidently bump it with their door or shopping cart.

Cheers to these people who aren’t thought of often enough. Cheers to the people who fly under the radar because they aren’t doing anything to draw attention to themselves. They deserve appreciation because they aren’t the ones consuming our public resources for ridiculous reasons. They deserve a whole lot more than thanks in this simple article.

When I read back through this column, I feel like I should read it with the voice from the old Bud Light Real Men of Genius commercials. Here’s to you, Mr. Pay Your Bills on Time. And to you, Mrs. Gives Five Compliments for Every One Criticism.

Read it with whatever voice you want, but in the end, the message is this: There are people who go unnoticed every single day because we are putting so much attention on, and energy into, the people who cause a scene, create chaos, and bring drama. Let’s give appreciation for those who don’t fit that description. If you are one of those people, don’t forget to tell yourself regularly, “Here’s to ME.” Because you matter in a big way.

Jackie Krawczak is president/CEO of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce. Her column runs bi-weekly on Thursdays. Follow Jackie on Twitter @jkrawczak.