Have you ever felt paralyzed when a door closes, perhaps a personal or professional door such as when a job or long-term career ends? It can be difficult to keep things in perspective and move on to greater opportunities, but perhaps the words of Helen Keller are a good starting place to find the proper focus:
“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.”
Keller, a renowned disability rights advocate and author, included this version of the popular adage in her 1957 book, The Open Door. Of course, Keller did not merely repeat inspirational messages, she was (and continues to be) an inspiration for tens of millions. Blind and deaf from early childhood, she overcame challenges few of us can imagine, let alone conquer.
Over the course of her 87 remarkable years, Keller found strength and courage and motivation in knowing that when one door closes, another opens. So, when she spoke or wrote about possibilities and opportunities, it pays for us – still today – to listen and learn. Here’s what I mean:
When One Door Closes…
The Keller adage has similar versions that have been attributed to Alexander Graham Bell, Miguel de Cervantes, and many others. It’s fair to say that it has entered the American lexicon of inspirational wisdom. Clearly, this metaphor can apply to many life and career situations. Whether it is a dream deferred, a personal relationship that ends, or a professional period that has run its course, doors close throughout our lives. What doors have closed for you recently? Can you foresee doors that might close soon? Perhaps your corporate career is coming to an end?
Keller’s point, of course, is that by dwelling on this closure and continuing to look back rather than forward, we can too easily miss what’s next (which might very well be more fulfilling than what we’ve just said goodbye to).
Another Door Opens
How many times have you lamented a loss – personal or professional – and felt unable to move past it? In the business world, the concept of “paralysis by analysis” refers to overanalyzing something to the point that you cannot move forward. While this can apply to strategic initiatives, marketing campaigns, product launches and the like, it might also be an apt characterization for the failure to move on. Certainly, if you’ve poured your heart and soul into something – your career, for example – it is natural to look back, to replay what might have gone wrong, to analyze what is a fait accompli, that is, something that has already happened, something unchangeable. The problem is that many people get stuck gazing at this unchangeable thing and turn what should be no more than a backward glance into a backward trance. And they miss the open door just over their shoulder. Such is the case with many sales leadership professionals who find themselves at the end of a successful career in corporate sales. They look back with pride, hopefully, but perhaps with some regret too. Dwelling too long in this misdirected state of focus, their next great sales career opportunity could remain hidden, even though it is easily within reach.
Will You Step Through to Opportunity?
I’ve written often about professional next chapters and second acts and second halves. I’ve written about how so many sales leaders whose corporate careers have ended believe at first that their only option is to ride off into the sunset or become cloaked in cobwebs as they sway gently in their rocking chair of regret.
But I’ve written, too, about how a great number of sales leaders have discovered a different path – a path that lies through that open door – to the world of fractional sales leadership consulting. No longer is an idle retirement a foregone conclusion. If you are like our Sales Xceleration licensed Advisors, you could be on the verge of using your hard-earned sales leadership wisdom to serve small to mid-size businesses as a sales leadership consultant in a role as an Outsourced VP of Sales. Because it’s a fractional-time arrangement, you can serve multiple clients concurrently or choose how many hours you want to allocate to this next chapter. Regardless of how you decide to make your consulting opportunity work, you’ll almost certainly have this in common with our growing roster of licensed Advisors: you’ll work with a renewed sense of purpose and passion and find personal and professional fulfillment along with surprising financial reward possibilities.
The Bottom Line:
Every ending can be a new beginning. For every door that has closed, another opens. And your career sequel – your second act – could be more rewarding and fulfilling than your first. If you’re ready to step through the open door to your next great sales leadership opportunity, click here or contact us today at 844.874.7253.