February 29, 2016

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Steve Siler is a song writer, and founder and director of Music for the Soul, a non-profit music ministry. He is writing this column on behalf of Downtown Frankfort, Inc., a Kentucky Main Street program.


Attitude is Everything

When it comes to Frankfort, what do Rodney Dangerfield, Daniel Boone, and Kevin Bacon have in common?

This is just one of the intriguing questions that can be answered by taking a look at the PowerPoint presentation created by North Star Destination Strategies, a branding firm that’s been doing research on Frankfort for the last several months.

Three weeks ago, North Star’s CEO Dan McEachern presented a summarized report of the company’s findings to civic leaders and interested citizens at a breakfast at The Capital Plaza Hotel.

The report makes fascinating reading, whether you’re a longtime resident or relatively new to town. It comprehensively examines perceptions of Frankfort, both positive and negative, from business leaders, residents, and outsiders alike.

If you haven’t seen the report and are interested in taking a look. the PowerPoint can be viewed on the Frankfort Chamber of Commerce home page:
http://www.frankfortky.info

As Frankfort residents, there are lots of different ways we could respond to this report. But the morning of the breakfast, there was a speaker who I think captured the essence of what this represents for Frankfort – an opportunity.

In December of 2010, the McDonalds on the east side of town was destroyed by fire. Franchise owner Joe Graviss spoke passionately at the North Star breakfast about the tremendous support shown by the Frankfort community in the aftermath of the fire. “We reopened so quickly that a New York insurance company sent a representative down to Frankfort to find out how we did it!”

Graviss believes that Frankfort has an opportunity now to harness that same community spirit to help build a bright future.

One of the more interesting observations Graviss made was when he shared the input he has received from young people. “When I ask kids to tell me what we could do better in Frankfort they say, “Have a better attitude.”

Graviss added, “What separates leaders from followers is attitude; finding the positive and focusing on that. Those that are successful have a good attitude. If you think positive things are going to happen, you’re right!”

This reminded me of a story I once heard a pastor tell:

A farmer was sitting on the front porch on the outskirts of town one day whittling a stick. A stranger came up the road and called out to him, “Say, I’m new to these parts. What are people like in this town, anyway?”

“What were the people like in the town you came from?” asked the farmer.

“Oh, they were nasty. They were stingy, rude, and lazy,” the stranger replied.

“That’s pretty much the way you’ll find the folks here,” said the farmer.

A few minutes later another newcomer came up the road. ““Say, I’m new to these parts. What are people like in this town anyway?” he asked.

Again the farmer replied, “What were the people like in the town you came from?”

“Oh, they were lovely. They were generous, kind, and hard working,” the man said.

“That’s pretty much the way you’ll find the folks here,” said the farmer.

It’s easy to see which of the men in that story had the better attitude. The message is that attitude effects outcome.

The North Star report identifies our assets, which are many – our rich history, the river, our distilleries, the charm of our downtown, our scenic beauty, and the fact that we’re the Capital, just to name a few.

But I believe Mr. Graviss landed on our most important asset when he shared his personal experience with the response of the Frankfort community. It’s the attitude and heart of the people!

Let’s respond to this opportunity with enthusiasm and positivity, looking forward to an exciting future for Frankfort!


Steve Siler is a song writer, and founder and director of Music for the Soul, a non-profit music ministry. He is writing this column on behalf of Downtown Frankfort, Inc., a Kentucky Main Street program.

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