What to do When the Door Keeps Closing

Photo by  Masaaki Komori  on  Unsplash

Have you ever had a goal in mind, a goal you may have spent the past couple of years working towards, only to have door after door close in your face?  This could be for a job, a relationship, or even something personal, like wanting to move out.

A couple of weeks ago, I met with a client regarding his career direction.  For the past two years I have known him, he was focused on one specific career goal, he wanted to become an occupational therapist.  The problem was he was having a difficult time getting into the field: his phone calls and emails were going unanswered, the one job he was offered and accepted the day before his start day he was told the company decided his position wasn’t needed anymore, and he had another year of classes he needed to take before he could apply to any program.

He came in feeling defeated and frustrated.  So we talked about his options until I asked him “how badly did he want this?” Because at that moment, he was filled with such frustration and despair, he was thinking it was time to move on. I told him to go home and think about it.  To not make a decision but to take some time to just be in the moment, put occupational therapy out of his mind, go through his day, and just be.  He agreed and we decided we would meet again in two weeks.

I saw my client this past week and he came in a completely different man.  He was happy and the energy and excitement were coming off of him in waves.  I asked him what happened and he said that since he lost his job he went back to a job he had in college for a physical therapy company where he talked to the owner and decided to change his career path.  He was going to become a physical therapist assistant and was going to continue to work at this company to eventually get a job once he received his certification.  Not to mention that the classes he had completed for occupational therapy met the requirements for physical therapy assistant.  He already applied to three programs and was hoping to start in the fall. 

It was amazing.  It had been two weeks and I felt like I was talking to a different person.  The energy, the excitement, and the actions he had put into his new goals far surpassed the actions he had put into occupational therapy and all of this happened in just two weeks.  I felt so happy for him.  We talked a bit longer and he left in a much different frame of mind compared to our last meeting. 

Why am I sharing this story with you?  Because sometimes doing nothing can be better than constantly doing something. And when we do nothing, you never know what door will open up.  For years, my client was so focused on one goal nothing else was an option. But the goal led to nothing but closed doors again and again.  It wasn’t until he stopped trying was he able to find a new door that opened up for him, a door he wasn’t looking for, but made so much sense and excited him in a way that he hadn’t felt in so long.  And when it’s the right path what he found was door after door opening up and instead of resistance he felt nothing but flow.  It was amazing and I felt so happy for him.

If you find yourself in a situation where you set a goal for yourself but every opportunity leads to nothing except for closed doors, I recommend stopping everything.  Stop putting any action into your original goal.  Stopping thinking about what you are doing to do next, who are you going to try and talk to next, where are you going to go next. Take some time to reflect, see if this is what you really want, and when the answer comes to you, go from there. And if nothing comes to you, there's nothing wrong with just sitting in silence, being present with what's going on in your life now, and then continuing on with the journey. I'm not saying you always need to change your plan, as what happened to my client, but taking a little break can help you get refocused, especially when you've been feeling nothing but frustration rather than happiness.

If you’ve been a situation where you’ve encountered nothing but closed doors, share with us below.  How did you get through it?  Did you change your path or stick with it? And if you are currently in a situation where you feel that you have been experienced nothing but closed doors and need support in moving forward, you can reach out to me.  I’d love to help you just as I helped my client.