Sunday, October 2, 2011

You can’t go forward looking at your behind ...

“ When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. ”

Helen Keller (1880–1968)
American humanitarian
Advocate for the deaf and blind

Helen Keller says it well. Many people who are destined for greatness and success never get through the open door because they are continually looking back, revisiting history, wondering if “it” will happen again.

As a result, they go nowhere. They are paralyzed. They are controlled by others and their past. In life and in career – on all levels – that effectively halts growth and achievement, and we see it so often.

There are life defining moments that are difficult to shake off and eat at one’s core. They are ones that we never forget – the loss of a loved one, a relationship gone bad, a job that disappears – your choice or not. They are tough ones to shake, but they too become history and need to be looked at as life experiences to learn from and move on from.

So often I meet individuals who have lost their job – they quit, company closed or they were fired for some reason. Their core is certainly shaken in a significant way. And at times, fear sets in – what happen if this occurs again? It may – and one needs to be resilient, shake it off, and go through the next open door. In Harvey MacKay’s book Fired Up! (, he recounts the experiences of high-achievers who achieved success who once faced the ax and lost their job – they were fired, replaced, didn’t leave on their own term – but they dusted off and grew. A partial list:

Larry King, Joachim de Posada, Mark Victor Hansen, Muhammad Ali, Robert Redford, Lee Iacocca, Michael Bloomberg, Billie Jean King, Larry King, Lou Holtz, Walt Disney

They didn’t look back at that closed door – they went for the next open door and grew, succeeded and prospered.

Are you or have you been faced with one of “these moments” that have been difficult to shake?

A few suggestions:

• Grieve – yes grieve. You deserve it and it will help as long as you make grieving time short and with an end in mind. This is critical. There is a point – a critical point – where grieving ends and opportunity starts.

• Seek support – be with others and do not hide or squirrel away in “shame”. Connect with friends, family and your network. Be open and honest about what occurred as make these connections part of your support team – and they will support you (if one does not, leave them in your dust!).

• Journal your experience – identify what went wrong, when and with you and write this down to revisit in the future when in a difficult situation perhaps happens again. You will have a roadmap based on experience to draw from, and it may be helpful.

• Think opportunity. I hear so often – “I was paralyzed at first but as I look back it was the best thing that happened to me”. How true, a closed door may be just what one needs to move forward – and go through the next open door of opportunity.

As I have said over and over – you cannot change history. Don’t try -- you will die trying. Move on. Grow. Prosper. Be one of greatness in whatever manner you measure that. And keep Helen Keller in your mind …

Thank you for reading this. - Dan

Dan Moran
President & Founder
Career Management & Transition Specialists
125 Wolf Road, Suite #128
Albany, NY 12205
Office: 518-261-4212
Cell: 518-641-8968
eFax: 586-279-4212

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