When a Door Shuts

At the end of my third year at Wheaton College I lost my scholarship by dipping below the required grade point. I had no choice but to take a year off and earn money. But I had no clue how to do that.

Couldn’t get a waitress job, as I had never been one. Couldn’t get an office job, as I couldn’t type. Even went to a hotel to see if I could be a chambermaid. They laughed.

I had absolutely no experience at any jobs.

Denver want-ads announced Continental Airline was hiring stewardess. I applied. Although half an inch too tall (by their exact measurements) I nailed my first two interviews.

The final meeting was with the head recruiter. “You’re exactly the type of girl we like to hire,” he said, handing me a contract.

It was more money than I could imagine, I would see the world and after who-knows-what tantalizing adventures, I could complete my degree.

The man was about to hand me a pen to sign when he asked, “What had you planned to do with your life?”

That was easy. Be a missionary in China to help people.

He looked out the window tapping his pen. When he finally spoke, his words crushed me, “I’m not going to hire you.”

That door slammed hard in my face.

I fought tears as I vainly tried to persuade him to change his mind. His resolve was simple, “Once you get a taste of this life you won’t go back to school or your dreams.”

When a door slams that hard it hurts.

Doesn’t matter why or who slammed it, the pain is the same.

Rejection. Loss. Confusion.

You ask yourself over and over; “What did I do wrong? “

It may just be that this was the wrong door for you.

Sometimes it takes awhile to be able to put that slammed door into perspective.

Think about it– how many times have you nursed a broken heart, your life shredded, but from time’s perspective you are grateful that relationship didn’t work out.

Ever been fired? That hot red bruise marking your soul makes you ashamed to even hold up your head. But later, as you see waves of employees carelessly discarded, you understand that this door slamming in your face, had absolutely nothing to do with you.

Go ahead. Feel the pain. Rage at the indignity.

Then get up. Wipe your pride on your sleeve and get tough.

Figure out how to look at that door that just slammed in your face.

Look at yourself first.

Did this door slam on you because of something you did? If so, what do you need to learn and change? Where can you take responsibility?

On the other hand, maybe this door slamming has nothing to do with you.

Is this even the door for you? Maybe the closing of this door is a signal to you that there is a better one waiting to open.

If this was not your door, clean the blood off your nose, get back up and knock on the next door.

And the next.

Did you know Oprah was fired from her first job as a TV reporter because she was “Unfit for TV”?

An agent told Marilyn Monroe that she should consider being a secretary.

Vera Wang failed to make the US Olympics ice-skating team, so she went into fashion.

Okay. Maybe the door is not just slammed on you, but on your cherished script, book or proposal– the one that you know in your heart is a killer.

Arianna Huffington’s second book was rejected by thirty-six publishers. She ran out of money, began to doubt her ability and became very depressed.

Pretty clear she got up and kept knocking on doors.

J.K. Rowlings was shot down by the first twelve publishing houses.

She knocked once more– and the right door opened.

One of my favorite writers Madeleine L’Engle who wrote A WRINKLE IN TIME was told no twenty-six times before she got a yes, and then won the Newbery Medal.

TWILIGHT author Stephanie Meyers gathered fourteen agency rejection letters before selling 17 million copies.

Meg Cabot had so many rejection letters stuffed in a bag under her bed that she could not lift it. THE PRINCESS DIARY went on to sell 15 million copies, not to mention becoming one of my favorite movies.

She kept knocking.

THE HELP was turned away sixty times before Kathryn Stockett found a publisher.

Yes, you read that right. Six. Zero.

So what happened to me after that door slammed in my face at twenty?

I didn’t know as much then as I do now. So I felt deep self-pity. I was painfully aware of everything I lacked and clueless about the strengths and assets I did possess.

I laugh now, but it turns out the ‘assets’ that paid my way through university were ones I considered defects: being skinny, gangling legs and my a strong angular face in an age where cute was coveted.

As a model I made six times what I would have made as a ‘stewardess’.

And because I loathed the attitudes of both the people hiring me, and the ones watching me, I was more than anxious to finish my education in order to use my mind, and work at something I loved.

By the time I had my undergrad degree in communications, I had already been hired as a writer/director/producer for film, radio and TV.

I didn’t go to China.

I didn’t become a missionary…

…those turned out not to be my doors.

But I was right… my door was to help people. And this door remains wide open for me on my journey.

When a door shuts, it may be the best thing that ever happened to you. Trust life, and yourself, the right door is out there, waiting for you.




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Think8 is an international Business Design Firm in Montreal dedicated to helping businesses and people realize their full potential to achieve meaningful success on their own terms creating a dynamic whole for life and business. We use a dynamic system of 8-steps that, when applied in sequence, allows you to bring everything you know, have lived or ever dreamt of living into focus and alignment.

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I am a professional woman who loves being a woman, who loves working with women and who loves challenging the status quo to help other women speak up, stand up and thrive.

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