Over the last few days, I’ve not been in a state of mind to journal. Most of my mental attention has gone to client work and an interesting new project I was invited to engage in—perhaps planting the seed for a next chapter in my business journey? I also went for my third chemo session on Tuesday, and while it’s no drama, it does lower my usual energy level; so, when not working, I dawdled… with self-compassion.
Planting seeds is something I’m good at. Not the kind that grow into plants; no, I’m not graced with a green thumb. It’s the metaphorical seeds that when cultivated grow into new callings, opportunities, and adventures.
But on second thought… hmmm… maybe it’s not anything I actively do. Maybe what I’m foremost good at is being in a persistent state of “openness”—open to seeing the next open door that life presents me… and not being afraid to walk through it.
Having challenges in your life open doors for you.Payal Kadakia
And when I stop to look at it, I perceive and appreciate that my life has involved the opening and closing of a series of doors, some momentous life-pivoting, others minor, yet not insignificant to the whole journey. Let me today recount a few of the weightier doors.
As you read my brief account, you may imagine it’s all been a straight line for me, from one closed door to another open one; I assure you, it’s been anything but.
Some months after having been called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1984 and not feeling in any way inspired to practice law (a closing door?), a totally unexpected—and life-changing—door was opened for me. By next spring, I found myself on a slow boat to China, fell in love with the place (still can’t explain that; it was like coming home), and put my heart and soul into becoming-then-being a China-trade consultant.
So much learned; so much experienced in the next handful of marvelous and eye-opening years. Circumstances beyond my control ended that chapter. Although sad for a while, I remember being surprised by my own adaptability in accepting this closing door.
When one door closes another always opens, but we usually look so long, so intently and so sorrowfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened.Jean Paul Richter
The next big door I walked through landed me (with my honey) in the Philippines as country manager for an American giftware company. I’ve always considered those next six years (1990-96) as my MBA practicum. Again, so many more skills picked up and lessons learned, about corporate ways, leading a team, business processes, human nature, and much more. And again, that chapter ended through circumstances not in my control. Yet I was fine with that door closing, too; it was time for me to move on.
Over the following decade or so, doors of entrepreneurial opportunity opened up consecutively for me in the international supply-chain for home décor, other consumer goods, and equipment, each one leading to another interesting one…, until the last door slammed shut.
I could never, ever, in my wildest youthful dreams have imagined I’d one day be shown a door leading to using my business and leadership skills to co-develop a business model for migration services and then executing that model in a small Eastern-European country called Moldova. And yet there, too, the door suddenly, unexpectedly, and firmly closed.
We returned to Manila end 2017, with me on the look-out for the next BIG open door for me to walk through and sink my passions and skills into. I nurtured a few business ideas and have developed a meaningful coaching/consultancy firm.
Then, out of the blue and not welcomed, the door to cancer opened. And yet I will remain fearless. Let’s see where this door goes. So far, nothing too disruptive.
My other doors remain open.
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.Joseph Campbell
How about you? Has life shown you consequential doors? Have you seen them? Opened them? Walked through?
Or is there another metaphor you would use to describe your life journey?