The Power of the Closed Door

Why Closed Doors Can Be Just as Thrilling as Opened Ones

I have a real fascination about doors. Not just any door, but the architecturally intriguing doors of old and even the newer, sleek modern doors of tomorrow. When I was in Paris this past Spring, I took a picture of every breathtaking door I came across just because I adored them so much! But what’s more incredible to me than a door’s stunning design is what it represents: opportunity. A new doorway to walk through is intriguing. A new career opportunity. A fresh business. That book we always wanted to write and now we see that path forward to get it done. Who’s inside that door – who will we meet in there? What will we see and what will we learn? If that’s what we want – to explore what’s inside the newly opened door – then shouldn’t a door closing be the opposite of that for us? A door closing generally signals the end of our visit or it means we’re not allowed to walk through that door at all. I’d like to submit to you the idea that a door closing can oddly be just as thrilling as an open one.

Parisian doors that caught my fancy this April

A “no.” A turn down of your proposal. A layoff. The end of a relationship. That business you didn’t win. That innovative business idea that crashed and burned. Even something as devastating and life altering as a cancer diagnosis. It naturally should feel disheartening – even impossibly defeating – but I’ve learned to see it as a sign to pay attention. When a door closes – especially when multiple doors close at once – it’s a sign to me to get very quiet for a moment. Get very still – and listen. It means your true intended path forward is about to become quite obvious, but you have to be attentive to your surroundings to sense it. See it. Feel it. Sometimes we’re far too busy worrying about the door that closed that we fail to see the door that’s opened before us, beckoning us to walk through.

Big changes happen when we’re forced to focus on one singular path. Sometimes that path shows us we need a new skill. Or it shows us a path that makes sense for business. It connects us with the right people who know something you don’t and who can guide you down that new path. Closed doors, I’ve learned, can also save you from a mistake you yourself might not have foreseen. They are – in so many ways – blessings in disguise.

Closed doors are peculiarly powerful in that way. For entrepreneurs, it can also mean you’re quite close to forging your own next “yes.” A closed door will force us to innovate, to create solutions that we might not have otherwise created without the “benefit” of that closed door in our face. They teach us what we did wrong that time so we know what to do next time. Think of the number of successful entrepreneurial giants today and innovators throughout history whom we would not know if they’d stopped when they encountered their own closed doors. Albert Einstein. Babe Ruth. Walt Disney. Oprah. Mark Zuckerburg. You.

Nothing scientific about this – this is just a quick note to say that perspective is everything and that the next time you encounter a closed door, be adventurous enough to let that wry little smile of knowing gratitude creep over your face. Why? Because you know you’re getting closer to the door you’re meant to walk through.

Andrea D. Smith
Senior Brand Strategist
The ADS Agency