It is a stunning day in the mountains of the desert retreat my husband and I are visiting for a few days. I am just finishing up a long walk while he is out mountain biking. It is close to dinner time my stomach is telling me, and I am looking forward to getting back to the room and cleaned up for the evening. As I get to the condo I reach in my bag for the key and realize it is not there. The door is shut and locked up tight.

Standing at the door I think to myself, “Ugh, how did I forget my key?” Though proud of myself earlier for purposefully leaving my cell phone behind, it now presents a quandary – I have no way to contact my husband or the hotel, and our room is a hike from the main lobby. Not to be deterred I began to walk around the condo checking for another way in. Then I remember… there is another entrance on the back patio! To my relief it is open and in moments I am back inside.

There have been other times I have crawled through windows when finding a locked door. You can probably relate and share some stories of your own.

When the Door Shuts on Your Dream

Shut doors can happen in many areas of life. You may have had a door shut (or even slam) on a dream in the last year. If this is you, know that you are not alone.

There is no doubt – this uncertain time has been disruptive and unsettling. If you take time to reflect on your leadership response, you will no doubt see a higher level of stress and a myriad of emotions as you have navigated one change after another.

Does a closed door on a dream mean that it is over? Not necessarily.

If you believe that everything happens for a reason, then every door shut, every roadblock, every wall you face is an opportunity to learn and grow.

After reading The Success Lie, an executive from Beijing posted a photo of himself looking through an open window. He said, “The book helped me open another window.” It is inspiring to hear the book’s message resonating with business leaders around the world in different and unexpected ways.

As my reader said, “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.”

Learn to Give Yourself a Break

If you are tired and facing what seems to be an impenetrable door, maybe it is time to rest. Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break.

Consider this. Your body is designed for handling normal day to day stress. When a crisis occurs your cortisol levels spikes and you have an adrenaline rush that helps you to take action, grab resources and tackle a situation. The problem is when the crisis does not end or seems to turn into one crisis after another that is unending. This brings on chronic stress that begins to create damage in the body and mind.

It is ok to rest. In fact, it is necessary. In times of chronic stress, you need to rest more, deeper, refuel yourself. When you take a pause – even a short one, it will help you to see more clearly.

What door has been shut for you? Take time to pause, to rest, then ask yourself, “What opportunities does this provide that I wouldn’t have otherwise?”

Look for the open window.


  • Janelle Bruland

    Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, & Co-Founder of Legacy Leader

    Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and high-performance coach who inspires others to live impactful and successful lives. She is Founder and CEO of Management Services Northwest, a company she started in her living room in 1995 and has grown into an industry leading company, named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. magazine. The CPO of Microsoft, Mike Simms, describes her as a true pioneer in her field. Janelle is also the Co-Founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company that teaches business professionals how to build a legacy, transform their leadership, and love their life. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.
    Janelle is a lifelong resident of Whatcom County, Washington and is married with five children. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golf, as well as keeping fit through various sports and activities.