Doors. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about open doors, closed doors, long hallways, and why people are so afraid to use what is in their hands. We all have skills, talents, gifts that we can use to unlock doors (call these our keys), but we become so afraid because of past experiences that we don’t use them. What if your past experiences and everything you have been through to this point has created the perfect mix of experience and zeal to help you turn that key, walk through the door, and then do very well using those gifts to help others?
Our experiences are not just for our own lessons. In fact, many believe that our experiences are often for others folks to learn from so they can see that we rose above them and triumphed over them. So others can see that what was meant to break us instead built us. So why do we allow our experiences to keep us down?
Take inventory of the things you are good at. Think about skills you have learned from life and work. Write down everything, no matter how small, that you can do or that you can teach others. When you do this, you start to see patterns in topics that you have a lot of gifting within. Ideas start to spring forth for classes or workshops you can teach. You start to realize career paths you can pursue or organizations that may be able to use your talents.
Once you know what your keys are, you can begin to look at doors and start to understand which ones you should be walking through. Just as keys are cut a certain way, different doors have different locks on them. Once you are familiar with your keys and how they are cut, you won’t even pursue doors that have locks whose keys would look different from your keys. You know the key won’t fit and won’t waste your time trying. If you are meant to be an entrepreneur, why keep looking for jobs working for others? If you know you are well gifted in reporting why would you look for a job as a cashier? Once you know your keys and understand which doors to walk through, you have conquered the first part of the battle.
Once you know which doors to walk through, you have to continue down the hallways, walking through the foyers, and exploring to determine which other doors your keys unlock. Getting a job, for example, is only the first step for someone looking for a new career. Once you get the job, now you have to look at pathways to use your skills for the new company so you can move up the “corporate ladder” or learn new skills that complement what you already know. You keep moving down the hallways and ensuring you are always looking for new doors to pursue as the timing is right.
The problem so many face is IF they are bold enough to use their keys to get in the door, they stop once inside. But like a house, there are many doors to pursue and many ways we can move once inside. We must be wise and think about which doors are for us and which ones belong to others. This is a good time to caution that not every open door is one you are meant to walk through. Be sure to always line up the doors you walk through with the keys that you are holding. Some doors are open for others but you arrive first. Don’t walk through what isn’t for you. Stay focused. Know your goals. Move accordingly.
When you stay focused and know your goals, you can use them as a roadmap to ensure each step is a step forward. Don’t align yourself with people, organizations, or volunteer efforts that aren’t in line with where you want to go. Anything you spend time on outside of your calling and focus becomes a possible detractor. Your friendships, activities, books you read should all align with where you are going. The problem so many of us face today is we are stretched so thin between family, work, church, and kids activities that we have lost sight of what our focus in life is. We have lost track of our dreams and where it is we want to go in life. We have become a society of people living so fully in the moment that we have forgotten what it means to plans.
Imagine if a contractor only knew he was going to build a door? Imagine if he designed the house as he went along instead of before he ever laid a foundation. How would he know that his foundation was big enough if he didn’t first work with an architect to know what the final build would look like? We have to be very careful to ensure we are living in the moment while also understanding the bigger plan. That we walk through the first door having an idea where our next stop is. Sometimes plans change, and that is okay, but if we don’t have an idea where we are going, we will settle anywhere.
Sometimes, doors aren’t open and you need to walk up to them and open them yourself. You do this by using the keys in your hands. For business, this may mean attending local networking groups or working with some folks we know to complement services they offer. When you open doors using the keys you have, there is a certain feeling you get, knowing that you did the work. When you walk through the door, you know that it is the right one because you turned the key and it opened.
As authors, writers, speakers, and folks who are in the arts, our doors often come by being creative with what we do and how we do it. We have to network with others and talk to business folks to see what they need and how they would like to accomplish it. As creatives, we also tend to put our entire being into all we do, so we have to be careful when we walk through doors to ensure we don’t get too comfortable in the hallways of life when we are supposed to be walking towards a conservatory or office space. We need to ensure we are using our talents wisely and that we are taking time to stay focused on the end goal.
Take time to think today about the doors you have been avoiding and the ones you have been walking through. Find out what is causing fear about opening doors you know are for you and reasons why you continue to walk through ones that are meant for others. Search yourself to understand where you want to be and how you would like to get there, and then pull all the information together so you can get up, walk through the doors want for you, and start enjoying the path you are supposed to be on.
Until next time,