Hi readers, sorry I’ve been a bit absent on the blogging front the past few months… No excuses good enough to share. But I’m back and eager to share some New Year thoughts with you if you care to read them. It’s a longer one sorry (not sorry), but I promise it will be worth it if you stick with me to the end though…
‘How to walk through open doors’
As we bank another year of life as memories and move into another new year of possibilities there is one topic I think needs to be discussed, and that’s the topic of how to deal with new opportunities. That’s because each of us will undoubtedly face at least one new opportunity in 2015, and how we respond, or not respond, shapes our life.
This past year I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked my advice on ‘what to do’ by a few close friends and even a few strangers. I’m always honored to have these conversations with people, but the funny thing is all I mainly do is listen, and often by the end they’ve came to their own conclusion. Most of the time, it’s a conclusion they probably would have come to without me by simply using a pen, paper and pros and cons list.
However, I suppose its human nature (mine too) to want the confidence of a second opinion. So no judgment about seeking advice, just a warning label that not everyone you seek advice from will realize they don’t have your answers, you do. So advice seekers beware!
But a part from the need for reassurance, I always think the irony in asking anyone else ‘what to do’ with a decision is that we know they will never fully have the right answer for us, nor will they live the consequences of that decision once it’s made. But, we ask anyway.
So that got me thinking… in an effort to have a kick ass 2015, let’s set the stage for making our own good decisions this year and taking our own smart risks on opportunities we encounter.
So here goes on ‘How to walk through open doors’…
First lets get clear on a couple of certainties I have that make up the foundation for this blog article.
- A ‘door’ is synonymous with an ‘opportunity’.
- All doors always start open. I didn’t say always wide open, just open… some even maybe just unlocked… those ones you might have to kick in but they are still technically open.
- All doors have the ability to shut.
- Everything on the other side of all doors is always gonna be a mystery cause it hasn’t happened yet… and it will NEVER be perfect… You can choose to be scared of that fact or excited about it, your choice.
- You are solely in control of the end decision of three simple choices – walk away from the door, walk through it, or slam it shut.
Now that we’re clear on the ground rules… Here’s what I got for you…
I was honestly never intentionally out to climb any ladders in my 20’s and now into my 30’s, but I guess you could say I keep finding open doors and I keep walking through them. Of course I don’t walk through them all. Let’s not be silly. But I do walk through the ones that are desirable to me and make sense to who I am and who I envision I can become… Because after all it’s my life to live and lead with purpose and what use am I to society if I’m doing things I don’t enjoy. Doing things that make you unhappy make us all unhappy. So stop it if that’s you.
From an early age I had a golden rule for myself about ‘doors’ that has been a critical factor in my personal growth – that rule is ‘either walk through it or walk away from it, but never shut it no matter what.’
I came to that conclusion through some early mistakes of my own and also by watching many others around me make the same common mistake of thinking there are only two choices with opportunities – to walk through the door or shut it. Most people don’t consider they can just leave it the way they found it if not interested, ‘open’ for someone else.
This, I think, is mainly because when faced with a ‘door’, emotions immediately run high, especially if you’re not seasoned at dealing with opportunities. It’s all too easy to feel heightened anxiety from the uncertainty of the consequences of your imminent life changing decision. ‘Do I walk through that door into that dark room of unknown and take my chances it’s the right one? Or do I play safe and stay in this well lit room I’m already in where I can see everything clearly?’
Fear of the unknown, I’ve found, is most people’s number one reason for not walking through doors. And it’s also very often their number one excuse for resisting change. Don’t let fear be the driver of your decisions.
There’s a whole host of other possible emotions to beware of when deciding to take or not take opportunities that if not controlled or recognized can be a barrier to making the right decision…
For example, there’s the potential emotion of heightened excitement that gives us tunnel vision and makes us jump in too fast and make wrong choices. Or how about the selfish, childish reaction of ‘if I don’t take it I don’t want anyone else to get it either.’ Or how about the victim rationale… ‘If only my life turned out different and I could take that opportunity I so badly want..’
Point is, keep a level head if you find a door this year…
But finding doors and knowing what to do is tricky…
First, you gotta see them…
Not all opportunities look like it. Sometimes they are in disguise or even under an invisibility cloak. And as I said before they never look perfect.
To get good at seeing them, be aware of their possibility. If you think it’s possible and that you’re deserving of them, they will present themselves. The awareness, you’ll find, will grow and grow and you’ll start seeing things you never saw before.
Second, (as previously mentioned) you gotta control your emotions…
That expression of ‘take the emotion out of business’ can do us well here. The more emotionally tied you get to an opportunity the more the mirrors fill with smoke and make it hard to see truth. It’s hard to let your left brain give you the logic in a decision when your right brain won’t let him talk.
Third, you gotta make your choice and move on.
Make decisions reasonably fast. The longer it takes the more the door shuts and the less likely you are to want what’s coming on the other side. A good rule of thumb is if the right answer doesn’t quickly hit you in the gut then it’s likely not the right one for you… Walk away. Whatever you do, don’t dwell and hymn and hah over something you’re not sold on… You just waste your time, your energy, and likely miss another opportunity you could have wanted more.
Forth, if you choose to walk through it, do it right…
Walk with confidence, grace, trust and bravery. Know that as a human you’ll always feel unsure! Even when you’re sure you’ll have moments of being unsure. But don’t let uncertainty make you weak. Acknowledge it but don’t choose to accept it. ‘Trust’ is the key to ALL doors. Keep it in your pocket and use it often.
Fifth, you need to know there will always be more doors!
Just cause you walk away from one door, don’t think there won’t be another. Don’t let the fear of ‘what if’ this is my one and only opportunity force you into making a decision you don’t actually want to make. ‘Trust’ that there are as many doors out there in our big great world as you want to see.
Happy New Year everyone and happy decision-making! I hope this year brings you an abundance of new and exciting opportunities to choose from. Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2015!!
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