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Who Makes It Happen?

Melanie Griffith in ‘Working Girl’. Photo: 20th Century Fox

One of my favorite movies is Working Girl. It’s one of those films I can watch again and again. Working Girl is a snapshot of the ‘80s, when women wore power suits and fought for their place at the corporate table. In many ways, Working Girl is as relevant today as it was in the 80s. While women are still working for a place at the table, there is one big difference: Women are helping one another create their own tables.


My favorite line from Working Girl is when Melanie Griffiths’ character asks her girlfriend, played by the brilliant Joan Cusack, “Who makes it happen? We make it happen.” It’s a statement every woman should print out and put on their desk or their refrigerator.

The ability to makes things happen is the result of knowing what you want and having the courage to go after it. For many of us, figuring out what we want is the hard part. I could give you the usual advice like “start with something you’re good at.” Instead, I’m going to suggest you ALLOW YOURSELF TO DREAM BIG! That’s another one for the fridge.

Early in my career, I wanted to be a sports photographer. While I could have gained experience shooting photographs at the local Little League games, I approached the Sports Editor of the biggest newspaper in San Antonio and asked if he’d give me press credentials to a Dallas Cowboys home game. Not only did he say yes, but he gave me a press pass for the entire season. Did that take courage on my part? You bet, but if I hadn’t asked, I would have been my own glass ceiling. By having the courage to dream big, and ask for what you want, you’ve eliminated most of your competition. Most people just talk about what they’re going to do “someday,” but few follow through.

While it’s great to dream big, don’t stop there. When you’ve figured out what you want to do, put together an organized, well-researched critical path that gets you from empty nest, or unhappily employed, to where you want to go. Maybe it starts with writing a business plan; acquiring new skills; working part-time in a boutique and culminates with opening your own boutique. While there will always be naysayers, if you believe in your idea, find qualified people/woman in that field and seek their advice. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed. More than likely, they’ve been in your shoes, plus people are flattered you think enough of them to ask their opinion.

As you’re honing your plan, don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t come together as you imagined or hoped it would. Things rarely do. If someone pokes holes in your plan, use it as an opportunity to do more research. They may have a valid point that will make your plan that much stronger.

One of my mantras is “Don’t take no for an answer.” “No” is just a word. It’s not a reflection of you or your abilities, and no today doesn’t mean no tomorrow. Don’t let a “no” keep you from moving forward. And finally, be relentless. Nothing is easy, but if you don’t like where you are in life, do something about it. Don’t wake up one day and regret the “what ifs” and “if only.”


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8 thoughts on “Who Makes It Happen?”

  1. Really encouraging post, Brenda! I’m never afraid to ask questions or stop people and ask them where they got “that great sweater” or tell them “Your haircut is perfection! Where do you get it done, and by whom?” But I’m having trouble dreaming big right now. It will pass…

    • Val,
      I think I have a bit of insight into “where you are,” and I can say I’ve been there. Big time! I also know that “being there” makes it DIFFICULT for us to “fix it.” I also know that if we don’t do something about it, we’ll stay “there,” and that’s not what you want. I don’t know how you’re reaching out, but let me know if I can help. xoxox, Brenda

      • Thank you for your empathy. I believe you DO understand. My 16-yr old daughter finally convinced me that I needed to go talk to someone. She deserves better. I deserve better!

        • So glad to hear that. Don’t know if you’ve found anyone to talk to, or have made an appointment, but please do! Being depressed makes it hard to follow through and find someone to call, but make it your goal: Find a good counselor. Don’t be worried about what happens next. A good counselor will help you uncover the obstacles that are keeping you rooted where you are. Don’t worry about what you’ll discover or talking about them. It’s the ah-ha moments you have with a good counselor that are the jewels. I have a friend who’s seeing a counselor now, and she’s becoming the woman I haven’t seen in a longtime. That’s exciting! She’s excited and sees light for the first time in ages. I’ve been in counseling for grief and depression in the past, so I know… It’s hard work to live in a dark place, and there are no rewards for staying there. xoxoxo, Brenda

  2. “Working Girl” is one of my favorite movies of all time. I am so sad when I talk to some of my younger millennial friends and they don’t know the movie. I always sing the song from the closing scene: “Let The River Run” that’s my philosophy as I age.

    • Hey Judy!
      Once I get that Carly Simon’s song in my head, it’s there for days. Don’t you love the way the camera zooms out of her in her office until she becomes just a spec in the NYC skyline? “Guess where I am Cyn?”
      PS: Now that song is all I can think about:)

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