October 19, 2009

Be a Builder of Doors

The more you seek security, the less of it you have. But the more you seek opportunity, the more likely it is that you will achieve the security that you desire. — Brian Tracy

Anybody can sit around waiting for opportunity to knock.

But what if opportunity never seems to come knocking at your door? Well, then, you’ve been sitting at the wrong door.

When I worked in the high-tech industry in the 80s and early 90s, I watched several of my colleagues take off for hot companies like Yahoo!, eBay, Oracle, and others. I wondered when such opportunities would knock at my door.

I was waiting by the wrong door for opportunity to knock. My door had a sign that read, “I’m looking for Security” nailed to the front of it. It might as well have read, “No Solicitors — Especially Opportunity.”

When I cleaned up my life in the early 90s, though, I began to see that I’d been waiting for life to come to me. No wonder I was always disappointed. Life won’t come to you any more than it came to me. Life doesn’t work that way.

I discovered that I had to build new doors if I wanted opportunity to come my way. Those new doors represented my efforts both to let life in and walk out to engage it myself. “You can’t wait for inspiration,” said author Jack London. “You have to go after it with a club.”

I recently held a workshop in which we talked about how to remodel your life. One middle-aged man came up to me during a break and asked me about building new doors. “I hear what you’re saying, but how do you know when the right opportunity comes? How do I decide which one to take and which to ignore?”

“Thanks for being so up front with your question,” I said. “But let me challenge you on something, if you don’t mind.”

“Sure,” the man said. “I don’t mind.”

“Good. You’re still looking for security. If you strive for security you will never find it. In fact, pushing for security really keeps doors closed.”

“Okay, but what the heck does that mean?”

“It means you have to build a lot of doors. You have to let go of worrying about security or about ‘getting it right’ and instead focus on opening up and stepping out. Invite life in. Seek to build two-way relationships. Engage interesting people and ideas. That’s the great thing about doors: They’re open on both sides.”

The man sighed. “So basically you’re telling me to stop worrying about the ‘right’ opportunity. That’s a tall order.”

Tall order? Indeed. But take it from me: If you lock yourself behind a door labeled “Security,” you’ll never get what you really want from life.

I won’t promise you that life as a door builder will be easy. You’ll have to put some energy into it. But when you do you’ll discover that more opportunities come your way more often. That’s the power behind taking action in your life.

It works when you open to it.

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