Deb Sofield


If opportunity doesn’t knock – build a door…

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I grew up with the idea of when opportunity knocks you open the door and let it in…but what do you do when opportunity doesn’t knock and you need an opportunity – I agree with the funnyman of yesterday – Milton Berle – If opportunity doesn’t knock – Friend you build a door.

Yes – sometimes you need to pull out the hammer and saw and make things happen. Ideally, I wish it would just appear but you and I know that isn’t always the case… so now is the time to get going… to put on our work clothes and get to work…

Is there an opportunity that seemed closed for you? Is this something you need or simply want to happen? Once you have looked at all the options… can you see a way through? Maybe or maybe not but if it is something you feel passionate about or know you have the skills and proficiencies to do the job – maybe you need to pull out your tool box and start building.

What I find is that many people want it to be easy – I don’t blame them but that’s not always an option… sometimes we’ve got to get our hands dirty to create an opportunity or – build that door…

So if opportunity is not knocking – I wonder what door do you need to build?

We’ve just come through the holiday of Thanksgiving and we’re rushing to Christmas and the New Year… and in the slow time as you’re planning and working and scheduling – have you stopped long enough to think about what doors you might need to build – no better time than at this season where many are thinking about new directions and opportunities.

Is there a door with family members – who have – in a sense locked you out – that you can build? Or re-build

Is there a door with a work colleague that you need to create?

Is there a door with your friend, or spouse or partner that you need to build or at least repair?

I get that there are some realities here…I’ve been a coach long enough to know that people who are hurt or who perceive they’ve been hurt will many times not give you or anyone an opportunity to make things right – in an odd way they love to hang on to their exquisite pain… as bizarre as it is – it makes them feel powerful to hold others at arm’s length…to punish them in a sense (which is really heartbreaking because no one is being punished but them because trust me – everyone else has moved on) – as the lady on the video says – ain’t no one got time for that…

I find that a lot of people who have closed others out – think they are doing it to protect themselves from further hurt or shame but mostly I find that they want to retaliate in the one way they can and that is to close themselves off from others…

Makes me want to ask – how that working out for them – as they sit there all alone wondering why they have no friends or company or someone to go to the movies with – especially at this “happy time of year…”

Well, I can tell you the answer – they just become more and more bitter and angry and alone – and unfortunately, they stand on the other side of the door not willing to answer the knock of opportunity or restored friendship or love… the simple fact is nailing it shut only hurts them… Which oddly enough is the exact opposite of their intended desire… because most people who are on the receiving end of the silent treatment or no engagement treatment or acting like they don’t exist treatment – will simply go away and find other friends and other things to do…other opportunities.

Unfortunately, we can’t fix the wallowers, the one that have a skewed view of their justice or pain But we can for many provide an opportunity to unlock the door or build a door to let the sunshine in and healing begin…

And that’s an opportunity that a rational person would like to see happen…and a healthy person might even help build that door from the other side instead of boarding it up to hide from their truth.

So, if you’re so inclined to try once more – than good for you to reach out and begin building that door… and if you’re rebuffed at least the door is built and they now know they can walk through at any time… you’ve created the opportunity and that is all anyone can ask…

Now – some will say if the door is closed its closed for good reason… but that may or may not always be the case – some people do change, some incidents that were so big in the past are small now, and sometimes the reason for the disagreement dulls with time… so you’ve got to weigh the pros and cons and make a decision…that is best for you or your family.

I have long believed that if a door is closed maybe you should open a window… or in my case break a window and get through – now sometimes that has worked to my advantage and sometimes not.

I’m not one to sit and wait – if I make a decision, I usually go for it – no moss grows here. But as I get older sometimes, I mull over my decisions before I act in haste – I’m getting too old to do things twice – I like the line from Abraham Lincoln – I may walk slow but I don’t walk backwards….

So, when I see opportunity and it seems to be the right thing for me I’ll make a run at it and give it my best to see what comes of it. And sometimes I’ve had to review the situation and then form a plan and then begin.

And that is part of opportunity  – you’ve got to begin – staring at a closed door is a waste of time. No one is going to open it for you (not usually) you’ve got to put your hand to the task and either push or pull – saw or chop – to make something happen.

Let me encourage you today that – If opportunity doesn’t knock – pull out your tools – your skills – your best ideas and go ahead and build a door. Because sometimes the best laid plans are missing an important ingredient – that is – You – you who are called – you who are ready – you who are willing to go the distance…

If you see an opportunity – you should go for it. You found it You can make it right or better…because You stepped up – You took the initiative and with hammer in hand You began to build. And sense you’re not a quitter you can finish the job…

I like the thought of building a door and not just a window or a cubby hole – because we want to build something that allows as much opportunity to flow through as possible as fast as possible so we can get to work building our future, repairing our past or living fully in the present.

I had to laugh when I realized that this quote If opportunity doesn’t knock – build a door is from the comedian Milton Berle – or Uncle Milte as he was called… he’s a guy who started on the stage, silent movies, Broadway, vaudeville, radio, motion pictures and Television….

  • He was the first major star in television to have the nickname “Mr. Television.”
  • NBC signed him to a 30-year television contract in 1951.
  • He held the Guinness Book of World Records for greatest number of charity performances.
  • He was a Lyricist for over 300 songs.
  • He had a collection of 5 to 6 million jokes.

His career lasted over 75 years he was king of TV for many years…till his style faded with the viewers…talk about living a life of opportunity.

He was known as a joker and some of his best lines are:

Laughter is an instant vacation

I live to laugh, and I laugh to live.

Radio . . . that wonderful invention by which I can reach millions of people . . . who fortunately can’t reach me.

You can lead a man to Congress, but you can’t make him think.

A committee is a group that keeps minutes and loses hours.

My favorite joke of his is this….”He found it impossible to make a date. He’d start to talk to a girl and his tongue would twist up like a pretzel. He went to a bookstore and looked for a book that might help him overcome his timidity. On a non-fiction rack he saw a book titled ‘Ways to Women.’ Blowing his whole allowance, he bought the book, rushed home and discovered that he’d bought volume ten of the encyclopedia!”

He’s a guy who was ahead of the game of opportunity – when one door closed, he built a door and opened another and did for 75 years… that’s impressive…

If opportunity doesn’t knock – build a door

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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