03 Jan 2012

Nantucket Optimism

Nantucket Optimism

Hang around a group of college kids for a few days and you can’t help but get excited about the future. We spent the holidays with family and good friends who have kids similar in age to our 19 year old daughter Ashlie. Listening to them talk about their current college studies, short-term goals and future plans was inspiring. They obviously don’t spend their days tuning in to the economic gloom and doom predictions or the job market forecasts. From their perspective, the future is bright and failure is not an option.

Our daughter is an Acting Major at Elon University. Her big brothers continually ask her what “Plan B” is should this “acting thing” not work out for her. She repeatedly dismisses their skepticism and is quick to retort that in her mind entertaining a Plan B is admitting in advance that Plan A is flawed. That’s unacceptable to her. One of her acting instructors directs the students prior to each audition to “Go Big or Go Home.” She’s “going big” with her Plan A. Similarly, one of her friends awaiting word on his college acceptance, was asked if he’d chosen any “safe schools” in addition to his top picks. “Not a one,” he reported, “I’m aiming high and refusing to settle.” These kids are focused and determined to manage their own destinies. Perhaps they are naïve…but maybe, just maybe…they’re on to something. I, for one, have decided to spend 2012 taking a page from their playbook.

It’s a brand new year. The opportunities before us are limitless. I recognize I might not be able to control the stock market, the job market or my own personal health…but I can manage my perspective on what surprises life has in store in 2012. Our Principal, Jeff Lee, has a “keep it positive” directive in our firm. He insists that once a deal is underway each of us literally visualize a successful outcome…and maintain steadfast optimism. The analogy he uses to remind us is this: He asks us which attending physician we’d prefer should we find ourselves flat-lined on the operating room table – the one who stops to analyze and talk about the situation, the one who (God forbid) throws up his hands and says “that’s it, Plan A is out the window”….or, the one who refuses to be deterred by the alarming beep of the heart monitor…the guy (or gal) who grabs those defibrillator paddles and jolts for all he (or she) is worth. I know which doc I would want. Jeff’s story reminds us to keep our attitude positive, to persevere against all odds and to give little thought to “Plan B.”

The Grey Lady is an easy place to practice Nantucket optimism. From the friendly people, to the quaint architecture, to the regular “wow” moments Mother Nature serves up. This faraway island constantly compels its residents and visitors to consider the bigger picture. As you welcome 2012, may you enjoy countless opportunities to express optimism. Visualize your successes, hold tight to your Plan A and arrange to spend a few weeks or more under the expansive Nantucket sky.

Go Big!

Shellie Dunlap


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