Updated: Feb 1, 2022
The door metaphor comes up for me a lot, not sure what it is about them, but it seems to help me order my thoughts.
When I was starting to learn more about coaching and therefore figuring out if it was something I wanted to be involved in professionally, my husband bought for me, as a Christmas present, a course in coaching at the local college. I’ve always loved a bit of night school, so I loved tripping off every week down the road.
The lady that ran the course remains I think the most energetic woman I have ever met. I have genuinely never seen anything like it, here was a woman not only on a mission, but so deeply passionate about coaching that it was impossible not to be infected by her. She was incredibly flamboyant in her dress, her manner and her language. My buttoned-up self initially found it difficult not to stare at her with my mouth open, she was so alien to me and yet week by week she totally pulled me into her world and her lens on life. She was a gift.
One evening after class, she and I were in conversation and she made a statement that has stayed with me ever since. I have a cluster of these moments from life, the ones that keep you mulling over it for a long time after and seem to offer greater and greater insight over time. She asked me a question, to which I answered in the negative and her response was:
“Isn’t it fabulous not to have to stand in front of that door anymore? Now you can find other doors!”
This was one of my earliest lessons in perspectives from another coach, it was absolutely not what I had expected her to say and she really, I mean really meant the fabulous part. It’s a phrase I come back to time and again when I am feeling stuck and when I am feeling sorry for myself.
I believe we all experience that feeling of standing in front of a closed door and no matter what we do or say, no matter how hard, or how many times we knock, it remains, resolutely closed to us. It’s a rejection and therefore it hurts. And yet we stand there in the often-vain hope, that something will miraculously change and it will, one day, open and beckon us through.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Believed to be attributed to Albert Einstein, but according to another source may actually have been the novelist Rita Mae Brown!
Why therefore do we stand there? Perhaps because it represents a path that we feel we should or are expected to follow, for some because it is a path they desperately want to follow? Perhaps because to turn away from it, to look for that other door is too scary, too painful. To walk away represents failure perhaps, admitting defeat, grief. If we believe that the door we are barred from leads to fulfilment, success, happiness, normality, fitting in, then it becomes more understandable how some of us can just get stuck there for years… waiting.
I have certainly stood in front of a few of those doors in the past – still find myself doing it now from time to time (every day is a school day remember!). I believe I stood there partly due to fear – if not this then what? And partly because sometimes it can be so all encompassing that we can’t actually see any other door at all on our own.
When this happens, I think back to that wonderful bounding woman and change my lens – what would it actually be like not to stand in front of this door anymore? By not standing here, what other doors could I be leaping through, exploring? Conversely, by doggedly standing here, what else could I be doing, be being.. the whole what am I missing out on? Playing FOMO with myself often works as a little brain hack for me.
To you who feel stuck.. are you standing in front of a closed door? How long have you been there? Can you take a step back and look around you? What else can you see? What would it be like to explore a little? Perhaps there is another door, with your name above it, waiting for you… open.
If you are interested in how I can work with you around different perspectives, self-limiting beliefs and more, you can speak to me directly, you can book a free initial one hour session with me here
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