I know, the title makes you say “Huh? What doors are you talking about and why would I where the open door is anyway?” Just bear with me and it will all make sense very soon. Don’t be so literal all the time, OK? LOL!
Where Is The Open Door?
I know by now you’ve heard this saying a million times. Or maybe not. “When one door closes, another door opens” is a quote most often credited to Alexander Graham Bell. The actual quote is:
“When one door closes, another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Ok, let’s say you ARE one of the ones who don’t keep worrying about the closed door. I’m not saying this isn’t a major hurdle for most of us either. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say that you completely internalize this message. When an opportunity ends or never materializes you ARE looking for the other that will more than fill its space. The best way to do this is to spend some quiet time in nature and just ask God or the Universe ‘if not that, then what?’ and let them fill in the details. You can’t rush this process and here is where I think we make our biggest mistakes. We push so hard to fill the seeming void created by the closed door that we rush to an open door that’s something comfortable and, we believe, reasonable.
The Universe Isn’t Reasonable
Unfortunately, that’s not how this process works and when we try to control it we fail. We just don’t know we fail because it looks like we’re doing something that matters. What happens is we pick something that’s very similar to the choice that vanished and we fail to see the REAL opportunity because it scares us. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you’re just starting your business and trying to come up with the best way to help people get something they want. You do your research and you find something you can teach that inspires you and doesn’t scare the hell out of you. You come up with a perfect name that describes your gift perfectly. You go to register a domain and every possible variation is taken. What do you conclude from this?
Do you decide the web site is maybe not the way to go at first or do you beat yourself up coming up with SOMETHING you can register that even kind of communicates your message? This is where some great plans just come off the rails. I believe our reluctance to ask the tough questions like “Do I need a website now at all?” or “Am I SURE this is something people need?” Instead, we ask comfortable, easy questions like “Which name is best” or “What WordPress theme best communicates my gift?”
Can you see what’s happening here? To use the door analogy again, we’re choosing which porta-potty to go into instead of should we be driving to a restaurant where the bathrooms are much cleaner but further away? Ok, not that great an analogy due to the urgency potential of the choice-LOL! But I think you get my meaning. Should we look for another similar option or be patient and consider that we’re not even in the right zip code.
A better analogy would be from my past. For three years, I sold vintage children’s books on eBay. Eventually, the collection dried up. Instead of asking “What gift can I bring to the world that will help them?” I asked “What else can I sell online?” Big, big mistake that has accounted for most of my stress, physical challenges and failures in the more than five years since I made that choice. Thank God, I have finally seen the error of my ways and I’m taking steps to correct them. I’m working with Yaro Starak’s Entrepreneur’s Journey Insiders group and it’s helped open my eyes. The value of mentorship is a subject for a future post but suffice it to say it’s been very important for me to back up and ask different questions instead of choosing just another porta-potty door.
My message here is simple but far from easy (Thanks, Trevor) : when one opportunity ends, don’t jump on the first thing that comes to you because it will probably be something similar. Give it some time and make sure you’re asking yourself the tough questions. You may benefit from my Five Minute Mental Tune Up.
- Why do I think the opportunity ended in the first place? Was I ever supposed to be doing that?
- What is the most “out there” opportunity that I think my skills and passions are matched for? Remember, if you ask better questions, you get better answers!
- What one action can I take today toward that “out there” opportunity to see if it resonates with me?
What Door Has Opened For You?
I want to hear about your most soul crushing failure and how it showed you the way to find your true calling. Or at least something that makes you happy to do because you know you’re impacting others. How did you find your “calling” if you’re even there yet?
I would also like to hear your experience with the porta-potty process. What seeming “opportunity” did you select for comfort and convenience that ended up being an unmitigated disaster? Give us the real dirt and let us know what you did to fix it.
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