Alexander Graham Bell said “when one door closes, another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
What he says is true. But as leaders, this is a paradigm we can challenge. I’d like to see us turn it around and say instead “when one door opens, another door closes.”
That sequence would require us to be more thoughtful and deliberate. We’d be focusing forward, and we’d be tidy in our task of closing the door on the room we left. By closing the door, we might minimize our own temptation to look back and our attempts to go back.
Let’s face it. The past is the one thing we cannot change. Back there, somewhere, we all have regrets. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve also hurt others, hurt ourselves, changed the course of our lives on some unalterable way.
Gazing into the past and wishing it away won’t work. Our only option is to close that door, turn our backs, and walk forward to the next door that we can open.
A big part of leadership is remaining open. That’s why we’ve chosen the theme get connected by staying open for our June focus in the connect community.
Effective leaders keep their eyes toward the future instead of looking at the present or the past. These leaders are open to new ideas, open to challenges that will present themselves, open to the input of others, and open to the possibilities they don’t even see just yet.
Leaders lose their mojo when they dwell in the past. No one can be inspiring when they are mired in what used to be. Credibility is fleeting if it is focused on the past, on resting on your laurels. No matter how good or how bad the past has been, it’s largely irrelevant to leaders from this day forward.
So give yourself a break. A break from the past. Close the doors. Reach out your hand in front of you and open new doors, the ones you can step through and into the tomorrow you will shape.