You’ve heard the old adage before, “When one door closes, another one opens.” Do you believe it? Some people may say it’s cliché, and it is for the most part, but I believe it. This week I’ll discuss this saying, share personal experiences and famous failures, and provide reason to validate it.
I want to start with a quote that sums up my argument perfectly. Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed-door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” It’s common to say that when one door closes, another opens because most of the time people say it just to make someone feel better. I think the majority of the time people let the pain of failure linger. People dwell on missed opportunities or tragically find a safe haven where they don’t run the risk of failure anymore. All great achievers have two things in common, 1) they’ve failed previously 2) they don’t run from it or find the safe haven. Alexander Graham Bell failed numerous times while creating the telephone, but he did not let it stop him. We must look for the door that has opened when one has shut; if we don’t, then it becomes cliché.
About six years ago (I say about because the years run together as I get older here:)) I interviewed for a head football job. I was young, only in my third year of teaching and coaching. My dream or goal when getting into coaching was always to be a head football coach. Football became my main sport in high school, and I wanted to be like my uncle who was my high school football coach. Well, I made it into the final round of interviews and felt like I had nailed it. I was confident I had done my best to win the job. Well, I didn’t get the job. It went to someone who was a bit older and who happened to be related to the AD of the school. At the time I was upset, but in hindsight I am so glad I did not get that job. I am fortunate that door closed. That school would not have been the best fit for me or my family. If that door hadn’t closed, my life would have taken a different path and I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today.
Three years ago I interviewed again for another head football job. I had strong interviews and made it into the finals once again. Once again I did not get the job. I was going to go to this school to be an assistant football coach and head girls basketball coach. A series of events unfolded and things did not work out at this school. At the time was upset but quickly realized it wasn’t meant to be. I was fortunate to stay at the school I have been at my entire career. Since that time I have returned to an assistant football coach and have taken over as head girls’ basketball coach. When one door closes, another opens.
Growing up I was the oldest of four siblings and the only boy. My family is an athletic family; we played everything all the time. While watching my sisters play sports, especially basketball, I would always remark on how I would never coach girls. It wasn’t going to happen. It’s funny how things change and life works, because right now there is not another team (boys or girls) that I would rather be coaching. I’ve been blessed to have a great group of girls during my three years as a girls coach. I love my players and I love our team this year. I’ve never been happier personally or professionally. Now I don’t ever want to give up basketball and am not sure if I would ever want to be a head football coach. I would not be in this position had the doors previously mentioned not closed. It didn’t feel like it at the time, but man am I glad that I didn’t get those jobs.
As a final example, let’s look at some celebrities. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld was booed off the stage after one of his first sets. The next night, he went back out on stage and the rest is history. In 1954, Elvis Presley, The King, was fired after one performance from the Grand Ole Opry. He was told, “he wasn’t cut out for it and should go back to driving a truck.” Leading actor Hugh Jackman was fired from a 7-Eleven after six weeks for talking too much to customers. I share these famous examples of doors closing to illustrate the truth behind Bell’s quote. Seinfeld, Presley, and Jackman didn’t dwell on the door that closed. They kept their eyes open and took full advantage of the next open door.
My message is simple and I know it to be true through personal experiences. One door closing might just be the best thing to happen. I am grateful for the closed doors in my life because I wouldn’t be where I am and as happy as I am today without them.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week and be an RGP today!