Finding the Open Window

Burbank, California; March,2003;
Joan Marques, MBA, Doctoral Student

"When God closes a door, He always opens a window."
I've heard that one several times in the past years. Every time I was in a depressive mood and felt the walls closing in on me, there was somebody conveying words of similar contents to me. I actually even find myself now using this consolation when I talk to someone else in a precarious position.

Thinking on the above-posted statement, I have to admit that it has a powerful connotation to it. But I also have to confess right away that finding the open window can be a real challenge. Oftentimes it seems that the harder you look, the less you find it. It actually appears that only when you decide to lay it all in the hands of fate -- without becoming entirely lethargic of course ? things start to happen.

Yet, it's pretty tough to look at your position -- especially if things seem grim -- and keep thinking positive. No matter whether your desperation pertains to a career related issue, or a personal one: unpleasant turns to perceived stable situations can knock you off your feet and lob you into a dark hole. But there is only so much you can do. Presented in the most basic way, here's a possible set of steps to consider when disaster strikes:

1. Overcome your panic as soon as possible: panic is your worst enemy.

2. List the facts: Where are you now? Where do you want to be? If there are more options to where you want to be (different jobs or career possibilities, for instance), list them all!

3. List the options: What are the various ways to get there? In other words, organize your thoughts and formulate your strategies.

4. Review your skills: What do you already have in house (knowledge, talents, looks), and what do you need additionally in order to have the best chances? Make sure you also consider at this stage how far you want to go with your upgrading and how much you want to invest in it.

5. Develop an action plan. Especially when it pertains to a work lay-off or a legal issue, you want to be very precise about the way to go. Your action plan should also pertain to the just mentioned skills-upgrades, which can vary anywhere from courses and seminars to appointments with beauticians and gym-workouts.

6. Execute every action you consider valuable: in the right way, in the right order and at the right time.

7. Review the actions you undertook and consider whether you have done all you could.

8. Take a deep breath and trust in a positive outcome.

Now, a positive outcome may not present itself right away. Sometimes you will find yourself having to adjust the action steps undertaken. Sometimes your mind will come up with new alternatives to try out. And sometimes the response to the previously taken action steps will require a more detailed approach before you can reap any benefits. But no matter what happens or how long it takes, don't lose faith in yourself. Just keep your eyes open to find that window, and your ears to hear when opportunity knocks. And, if possible, incorporate your intuition, for sometimes the open window may be just out of sight and the knock of opportunity done with silky gloves, but allowing your sixth sense to detect every new stream of fresh air will surely lead you to the place you want to be. Flawlessly -- permanently!