Lessons Learned from “I Love New York”

I love New York. Seriously. I totally get why the city chose the phrase as its official motto. I stepped off the train today, inhaled an aromatic brew of garbage, sweet roasted nuts and hustle-bustle (aka, Eau de Manhattan) and grinned. The air is thick with humidity, but my giddiness is far more dense.

My excitement got me thinking during my plane ride. What is it about New York that makes us squeal its motto? Between novel work and spurts of half-sleep, I wrote this post. Alas, I apologize for the peanut smell. 😉

“I Love New York” history, in a nutshell:

In February of 1975, New York nearly collapsed when underwriters withdrew from a $260 million dollar bond issue. City cleaners went on strike. Schools closed. And 300,000 people lost their jobs. In effort to rebuild, the New York Commerce Commission began marketing the state as a tourist hotspot. Advertisers chose “I Love New York” as the slogan because of the deep affection residents historically maintain. It turned up on everything from t-shirts to radio waves, thanks to the official “I Love New York” song by Steve Karmen. Fortunately, the efforts paid off. The motto has stayed strong, as has the spirited city-patriotism of New Yorkers and tourists alike. Inspiring, right?

According to Dr. Keith Dinnie, author of City Branding: Theory and Cases, the best slogans come from within and reveal the true identity of the brand. They’re less about commercialism and more about spirit, authenticity and relationship—New York being a prime example. What if we applied the same principles to our lives? Sounds like success-in-the-making to me.

Lessons Learned from “I Love New York”:

1. Respond to difficulty with love. The woman who responds to losing her job by pursuing her passion, forming a new career she truly loves. The man faced with an illness who decides to put all of his energy into self-care so he can regain health and vitality to share with loved ones. The family enduring financial hardship that downsizes from a house to an apartment so they can continue to pursue careers, hobbies and the togetherness they love. What we focus on grows, love and happiness included.

2. Live authentically. Many of us do. But too many people are afraid to pursue their true passions. Too many stay in relationships, knowing they’re damaging. Some of us dress to impress, while denying our personal style. Others fall prey to addiction, avoiding our true feelings by fixating on drugs, dieting, shopping. Sometimes we don’t even realize our in-authenticity. We struggle with headaches, fatigue, feel like staying in bed or continually rationalizing how “right” or “best” our behaviors are. Self-awareness is a key to unlocking authenticity, according to psychologists.

3. Choose a positive personal mantra. It’s easy to get down ourselves, question our abilities and self-criticize. But none of that moves us forward. When I feel overly critical, I remind myself of the positives and try to treat myself the way I would a close friend. It often works, and the muscle keeps growing stronger. Ever since I trashed my blonde card, I’ve been standing up taller and second-guessing myself since. Words are powerful, particularly when shared with others. Now I’m wondering if avoiding negative self-talk and humor only goes so far. Emphasizing positivity too might make us indomitable…sorta like New York. 😉

So I’d love to know… What’s your “I Love New York?” 

In case you’re short on ideas, consider the following—all via Louise Hays, minus the last one:

As always, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, I’m off to savor New York, ThrillerFest and the company of some of the world’s finest writers and readers. More scoop on my time here soon. 😉

As a gentle reminder, I’m still accepting “I AM A WRITER” photos for a project that will be featured on my website. Email me your photo (august at augustmclaughlin) by July 21st. Cheers!