Be bold

What, are you crazy? You can’t do that!

Depending on the situation that’s either the worst advice you could ever get or the best.

If this was said to you after you declared your intention to wrestle the Greenwich mountain lion or do a cannonball off the I-95 Mianus River Bridge then, yes, that sentiment might well be common sense. But if it was said to you just because you wanted to achieve something and make your way down a path few, if any, had walked then it can also be the worst advice you could ever hear.

The past few weeks we’ve covered a lot of graduations here in Greenwich and we still have the big one to go, with Greenwich High School a little less than two weeks away. But we’ve heard a lot of the messages that are meant to inspire our youth and fill them with confidence as they leave the safe confines of high school and enter into the strange and potentially dangerous world of college and university.

When we’re told not to do something just because there are doubts we can handle it, there should be a response of “I’ll show you that I can do this.” That doesn’t mean acting recklessly. But it does mean not being afraid to take on new responsibilities and blaze a new path to prove the doubters wrong.

This past week the Convent of the Sacred Heart had its commencement, and coming on the heels of his double booking at Greenwich Academy we had our doubts about whether legendary news anchor Tom Brokaw was going to be able to bring anything new to the table as commencement speaker. But we found a message from him that applies, not just to those attending Sacred Heart, but throughout the town.

He said that the people of today need their help. They need their new thinking and energy to harness the challenges of today. But none of that is going to happen if we listen to the doubts, both of those who don’t know any better and those within ourselves. We need the young women of Sacred Heart to not be afraid to achieve, just like we need the men of Brunswick, the women of Greenwich Academy and all the students at GHS.

When you tell people you can’t do something then you don’t get the kind of women we saw last week on television trying to break the glass ceiling in advertising. On the AMC reality show The Pitch, timed nicely to run after the highly watched new episodes of Mad Men, we saw a male-run firm competing for a client with Womenkind, an agency run out of Old Greenwich with a decidedly female point of view.

In the show, the male firm ended up winning the client with the odor of sexism filling the air. And while we must remember that the lens of reality television is not always the most accurate and that the truth can be somewhere on the cutting room floor, the viewer was left with the impression that the “old boys’ club” had triumphed. But that obstacle won’t stop the driven, talented women we saw on the show who are making a name for themselves right here in town.

They might not have been able to win this client, but we think they’ll get the next one and the next one and … well, you get it. They are entering a business environment after no doubt hearing a thousand times not to do it, and that it would be too much of a challenge. It’s a good thing they didn’t listen.

This is not just a message for the young women of Greenwich. This applies to everyone who has goals and dreams and is looking for the chance to make them happen. You’re going to hear a lot of reasons why you can’t do something in your life, but don’t be afraid. Push forward and make things happen because unless you do then nothing will ever change.

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