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They have a built-in state pride that’s so large that even the rest of the world knows that “everything is bigger in Texas.” In fact, if you Google image search “Texas flag tattoos” you’ll return over 93,000 photos of people who have forever inked their body with the Texas flag or some other iconic Texan thing.
It’s a little scary.
But in the end, I want a little of that.
No, not some crazy Texas tattoo, but a state pride for all our citizens that runs deep. One that North Dakota citizens could wear like a badge of honor no matter where they live now.
North Dakota has reason to be proud: We have a budget surplus and the lowest unemployment in the nation. We’re a leader in energy, agricultural, aerospace and more. We’re ranked in the top 10 in lots of stuff: #1 job market, #1 state competitiveness, #3 happiest people, #1 most social (media) state, #3 for gross domestic product growth, and #1 in awesomeness.
OK, I made up the awesomeness statistic. BUT, if there was a scale for that, I just know North Dakota would rank high there too.
Check out more North Dakota rankings in the 12 reasons to Live, Work and Play in North Dakota.
In the end, North Dakota is filled with a humble brood. Most our ancestors came from Scandinavian and Germans stock, where it just isn’t the cultural norm to brag about anything. We all live our lives, do our jobs, care about our neighbors and we don’t have much to say about it.
The citizens of North Dakota have much to brag about, but mostly they just like living and being from here. And, if asked, we’ll gently tell you we are from “North Dakota.” No extra context needed. No bragging necessary.
We may never reach the “Texas-level” of state pride, but I do hope we all strive to be Ambassadors for North Dakota. Staying positive about the state we live in and love helps others to see that what we don’t have is sometimes what makes us such a great place. And, remembering what we do have tends to keep us humble.
Amazingly, the North Dakota Ambassadors program, which is North Dakota’s volunteer feel good force, has grown to just over 7,600 members on our social networks. Ambassadors spread our positive state messages and we’re changing the nation’s view about what we are. Join us on Facebook or Twitter.
In the end, my dream would be that all our citizens and former citizens choose to be a North Dakota Ambassador. We all carry a different vision of what being an Ambassador for North Dakota is. The Ambassadors program is even looking for feedback on what you think an Ambassador is – Take the Ambassador Survey.
We may never reach a time when there are 93,000 Google hits depicting people with North Dakota’s flag inked on their body, but I hope we’ve got our North Dakota roots tattooed on our souls. It is a quieter kind of state pride than Texas has, but in the end, I’m left thinking maybe I don’t want everything to be bigger in North Dakota … maybe, I’m simply humbled by the fact that it’s better in North Dakota.
This just in: Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see shadow. Spring is coming!
Isn’t it amazing how each year – on Ground Hogs Day – we take a brief moment to care about the weather forecasting skills of a giant ground rodent. The ground hog has been a national tradition for years and let’s face it, his special day of weather forecasting is a nice diversion mid-winter to get us looking towards spring. This year Punxsy Phil says spring will come early and winter is on its way out, simply because he didn’t see his shadow.
Sitting here in North Dakota on what really, truly is a beautiful morning (with the exception of it being a wee bit cold — -23 degrees Fahrenheit as of 7 a.m.), we’re hopeful that rodent is right. An early spring would be welcomed by all in North Dakota this Ground Hog’s day.
The whole production of shadow-based weather forecasting has left this Ambassador hoping Punxsy Phil isn’t a ground hog playing possum. With so many prairie dogs in North Dakota, we certainly know how to appreciate a ground rodent. So cheers to you Ground Hog, you better not turn out to be a dang lier!
Check out Punxsutawney Phil’s official website for more Ground Hog action.
Note: Thanks to Ambassador and new North Dakota Department of Commerce Marketing Intern Stacey Loula for sharing her thoughts as a student-transplant to North Dakota. She truly is a “city-slicker,” born and raised, as she grew up in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. She is currently a senior at the University of Mary, majoring in Business Communication with a minor in Public Relations.
By Stacey Loula, North Dakota Ambassador
Why North Dakota of all places? That question is by far one of my favorites. Family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances often ask this one question because I chose North Dakota as a place to better myself and continue my education. Now as a Business Communication and Public Relations senior at the University of Mary, I couldn’t have imagined a better choice.
Two and a half years ago my journey took me to North Dakota. I chose North Dakota because it was something new for me, both culturally and personally. I wanted to expand my horizons, and North Dakota gave me that opportunity. If I look back 5 years ago, I never would have ever thought of Bismarck as a place I would end up or even so much as visit or vacation. I mean what’s so good about North Dakota right? Its winters are treacherous; it’s always super windy, nothing to do, nothing to see, etc. Well, that was then, before my journey of self searching and a need for something more.
I have come to appreciate North Dakota, especially having grown up in the bustling metropolis of Minneapolis. I think that moving to a smaller state, let alone smaller city really makes you appreciate a place like North Dakota. It is a place that prides itself on friendliness, family, togetherness, helpfulness, selflessness and giving. “Home is where the heart is,” and that is exactly the feeling I get from being here. Where I come from it’s all about who has what, how much it costs, and money is what makes the world go around. People tend to lose track of what true happiness is and the important things in life, that’s why I am here and why I love this State; and I think that plays a huge part in why North Dakota is doing so well economically. This state has played their cards right despite the rough economic times, but it definitely shows. Hard work really does pay off.
I have worked very hard to get where I am today and believe me, it was not easy. I feel very liberated and proud of all that I have accomplished thus far in my life. North Dakota is my happy place. My home away from home. No matter how crazy my friends and family think I am for choosing North Dakota, what matters is that I am happy. It’s because of my accomplishments, mistakes, life changing decisions, people I have met, and the friends and family to help guide and support me along the way that have molded me into the person that I am today and I am proud to be that person here in ND.
Strangely, we’ve become so connected digitally with social media, cell phones and email that we are certainly loosing a little of our personal touch. Let’s face it, one-to-one communication isn’t what it used to be. Text messages now interrupt conversations, cell phones ring with the authority of something that demands immediate attention, and timeliness is based on whether or not you’ve responded to all the messages on your Blackberry.
Sometimes it is really good to be reminding how to be attentive, especially in the case of one-to-one communications. A blogger I follow by the name of Nate Riggs, had a great post this week on how to have better one-to-one meetings. In 35 simple steps, Nate reminds us how to be good humans. And as North Dakota Ambassadors, I hope that is something we can all aspire to be.
I’ll share a few of my favorites below, but then go and check out the entire list at NateRiggs.com. You’ll be glad you did!
- Try to be on time. You’re not always going to succeed. Life happens. But try as hard as you can.
- If the other person is late, be gracious. You never know if they or their loved one has been in a traffic accident.
- If someone offers to buy your coffee, graciously accept their gift with a “Thank you”
- Practice good nonverbal communication. Make eye contact often. Nod. Smile. Look surprised. Emote. Show your attention visibly.
- Wait for their periods. Let the other person finish their complete thought. Pause to consider for a second, then respond.
- Don’t be afraid to laugh. Sharing laughter creates a different level of connection.