The open door policy
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Now, I’m not talking about a literal or figurative open door to the boss’ office that purports to encourage employee-employer communication.
I am referring to doors of opportunity. Sometimes you don’t even recognize that it’s a door; you’re just plugging along, wondering why, putting one step in front of the other and not sure of your path, and suddenly you realize that you’ve walked through what you didn’t recognize as a door to future possibilities.
Such a thing happened to me recently. I had been strongly encouraged (almost forced!) to start a blog; it would be great for my business, I was told. It wasn’t explained how it would be great, just that it would be.
I read an article in a national magazine that was similar to a blog post I had written. I emailed the editor to tell her that her published article resonated with my experience, and I sent a copy of my blog post. One email led to another, and a future collaboration of writing projects has opened up.
I did not contact that editor with a predefined agenda and a planned outcome. That it turned out to be an open door to future possibilities was a pleasant bonus.
Some years ago, I had weekly radio shows, was doing marketing and seminars, writing for publication, raising my daughter—my plate was full. Too full.
Many people told me I was all over the place and needed to focus on only one thing because that was how you got ahead. I questioned why I was doing so much, what was the point of it all, and where was the payoff. Yet I plugged on.
After two years, the unexpected payoff came. Because I was a registered nurse with multimedia experience, I was recruited for a novel position in a startup online healthcare company. I loved that job! But I had no clue that a door would open through all my disparate ventures. For that matter, I didn’t even have a clue there was a door in front of me.
A fellow I knew was a maintenance man for a large apartment complex. He was shortchanged on bonafide expenses for the company and generally belittled. After a particularly abusive and exploitative day working for this company, he’d had enough and quit without a clear idea of what to do next.
But it didn’t take long for him to walk through the door of entrepreneurship that was beckoning him. He started his own successful handyman business and didn’t look back. Deciding that the apartment complex job was a dead-end, closed door made him turn around to see an open door of more gratifying life work in front of him.
Another friend in the tourism business happened to participate in a guided tour while on vacation; she shared her disappointment about the quality of that tour with another entrepreneur from that destination. Surprise! That person had been nurturing an infant project of starting his own guided tour business and needed someone with just her expertise to make it a reality. They’re now collaborating on that project.
When you must be assured of a clearly defined outcome before you take any step into the unknown, you miss out on potential opportunities that you hadn’t known existed. You miss out on life and all its crazy coincidences when you’re afraid to take any risks.
If a door opens, and you’re invited in, walk through it. It just might be the serendipitous encounter that will change your life.
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