Eliminating The Default Response To Personal Growth

DoorI was recently on a teaching call with my coach, mentor and friend Kary Oberbrunner.  He was discussing how we sometimes have a default of inaction when it comes to making decisions.  He went on to suggest that it may be more beneficial to move forward and wait for doors to close rather than waiting for them to open.

As he described the results we get when choosing one over the other, I found myself wondering how often I choose to wait for the door to open instead of using the “action” option and reach down, turn the handle and open the door.

It’s sort of funny – walking through doors – when you know what’s on the other side, you throw that thing open and walk right in.  But what happens when you don’t know what’s on the other side?  If you can muster up enough courage to open the door, you turn the handle slowly so you don’t draw attention to yourself and open the door trying to get a quick peak, just in case you’re not supposed to be in there.

Why shouldn’t you be on there?  There must have been some reason you wanted to open the door.  I think the reason we hesitate to open the door is that we are simply unsure of what’s on the other side.  It’s not something we are familiar with.  It’s outside of our comfort zone.

So let’s look at the options.  Well, I guess there are only two – open it or don’t.  How much of our lives are spent “not opening doors?”  If we desire to grow, we need to open doors.  We need to be willing to do what we have not done before.  We need to be willing to go places we have not been before.

I love it when John Maxwell tells the story of the man who said to him; “I want to do what you do.”  In classic “John Maxwell” form, he responds; “But are you willing to do what I’ve done?”  I love that!  Growth, in any area, is a journey.  That journey is going to require opening doors – lots of doors.

Here’s the deal.  You have got to take action.  If you spend your life waiting for doors to open for you, I hope there is a comfortable chair in the waiting room.  I look back at my life and can only imagine what was behind the doors I never opened.  But hey, no looking back – right!

Now I embrace the idea of opening doors, especially the ones that I have no idea what’s behind them.  Why?  For one reason, because I know there is much more to life that I ever imagined and I know, from lessons learned, that no one else is going to open them for me.

Now I must clarify – I believe there is a time when someone will open a door for you. But that only comes when they know that you would be willing to open it yourself.  We can’t make it in life by ourselves.  We need people to open doors for us.  But if you are not willing to walk through, you might as well stay in the comfy chair.

Here’s the point.  Don’t let your default be inaction.  Make your default doing that thing you haven’t done before or going to that place you’ve never been before.  That is where growth happens.  Not sitting in the chair.

My challenge to you today is to identify just one door that you have been afraid to open … and OPEN IT!  You won’t know what’s on the other side until you do.


Don’t miss a single post from Building What Matters by subscribing at the top left of this page. 

Help support us by clicking here and Liking our facebook page

Barry Smith    10/21/13   photo by author   © Building What Matters 2013


2 Responses to “Eliminating The Default Response To Personal Growth”

  1. David Hain says:

    Great post Barry, love the analogy. in my experience, when others have given me a hard shove through doors I was hesitating in front of, I have generally thrived. Without the shove, I’d never have found out!

    And as a coach, I find myself doing the shoving, nearly always to similar effect.

    As a result of both experiences, I find your case compelling and proven!

    • Barry says:

      Thanks David. I totally agree with you. So many opportunities missed because we gave in to the “default of inaction.” This was a real eye opener for me – now it’s time to take action – time to start opening those doors!