Sometimes you just have to open the right door.

It’s easy to get stuck.

In a job.

In a relationship.

In a project.

In those moments, you feel like you’re out of options, that the cards have all been played, that the doors are all shut.

I’ve felt that way before. I would say that I felt that way during most of 2014. I’d experienced a big career transition. I’d made a big decision, but I didn’t really know what to do next. It wasn’t a lack of action. I was in serious motion, but it felt like I was wearing roller skates on an ice skating rink. My arms and legs were flailing about but I wasn’t going anywhere.

Have you ever felt that way?

I learned in that year that sometimes you just have to declare Do Over. You just have to remember you have permission to try, again. And, you just have to open the right door.

Because when you’re stuck, you stop opening doors. You start to feel like you already know where they will all lead. You get discouraged and stop being curious about what’s on the other side.

But, I dare you to keep opening the door. I challenge you that you don’t really know what’s on the other side of a conversation, an opportunity or a new day. The truth is pretty simple:

You’ll never know what’s on the other side of a door unless you’re brave enough to open it.

Some people in Europe couldn’t have possibly predicted what they’d find when they opened a door in a public square in this video.

But they did and what was on the other side was amazing.

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25 Comments
  • David Mike
    Posted at 08:41h, 08 January Reply

    I wonder if this is the way around, “When you’re 30, Europe is going to be closed. You will have to vacation in Branson.” theory?
    I keep putting off the opportunities to speak on podcasts, because my story isn’t finished yet. From a conversation with Matt Ham, I have decided to say yes from now on, and open those doors!

  • Paul Anderson
    Posted at 09:12h, 08 January Reply

    This hit me strong: “Because when you’re stuck, you stop opening doors. You start to feel like you already know where they will all lead. You get discouraged and stop being curious about what’s on the other side.”

    So much wisdom and truth in that statement. One you get stuck – things seem to lose their excitement. Thank you for the dare Jon! It’s time to start opening some more doors.

    • Eileen
      Posted at 12:38h, 08 January Reply

      Ditto! Paul Anderson… That statement is me to a tee!!! I love a dare…

  • Marcy
    Posted at 13:03h, 08 January Reply

    I’m almost finished with Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor. She spoke of a frightening midnight experience, some sort of fear outside her bedroom door and said this.
    “All night long, it sat outside my door waiting for me to decide whether or not to open up or not, and I decided not-a decision that has come back to haunt me in a whole new way. Whom did I refuse to let in that night? Did I turn the Beloved away because of a frightening mask? Or was the Beloved out there without a mask for once, asking only that I handle my fear long enough to let the divine darkness in? I will never know. ”
    Certainly not coincidence, the multiple door metaphors. Thank you Jon, for dream oxygenation!

  • James Sommers
    Posted at 13:36h, 08 January Reply

    “Have you ever felt that way?”

    NOPE! Never! Well, not in the last 10 seconds. Yup, I feel that way again! Jon these posts have been spot on for me. I’m going through a major change and feel stuck. This post helped me a great deal! Thanks again for what you do. Know it makes a difference.

  • Jackson
    Posted at 14:15h, 08 January Reply

    Thank you for this, Jon. This was exactly what I needed to hear today. Time to go open some doors…

  • Jesse Barnett
    Posted at 14:20h, 08 January Reply

    I have certainly felt this way before. As I am trying to build my blog and my platform I sometimes feel overloaded with doors to open. I have to remind myself to carefully open them and then move forward.

    I have also found that things are happening for me even though it is in small increments. I think I will look back and see how each door laid the groundwork to get me where I ultimately want to be.

    Thank you for the insightful (and honest) post. It’s nice to see that even Jon Acuff has worries and doubts. 🙂

    Jesse

  • Shelly Tiffin
    Posted at 15:04h, 08 January Reply

    I just read (probably Bob Goff) that maybe God doesn’t want us to wait for yes, maybe he wants us to go until he tells us to stop. That’s a great twist and reason to start kicking doors down instead of waiting for them to open.

    • David Mike
      Posted at 16:14h, 08 January Reply

      Good call Shelly!

    • Sarah
      Posted at 08:47h, 09 January Reply

      I love that! Perhaps that’s the point I’ve reached; to not wait for yes, but to go until God says stop. Hmm. Quite a call to prayer for me today, thank you!

  • Frank
    Posted at 19:54h, 08 January Reply

    very true. when you feel stuck, you are stuck. immobilized. i quit my job after 5 years because it wasn’t the job I had signed up for, and even though I tried to get my bosses to stop micro managing me, it was not making staying any better. it’s been 6 months. in that time I was able to decompress. when I was ready to start something new, I would open doors but nothing was there. that was 5 months ago. now, wow, when one door closes, another open. it’s trust and faith. I feel great and I am looking forward to all of my adventures.

  • Reina Floyd
    Posted at 22:21h, 08 January Reply

    Once upon a time I believed in the “Fight or Flight” theory. Then I looked back over my life and realized there was a third option, which happened to be my default mode – Freeze. As in be frozen in fear. Thanks to books like Start, posts like this, and the Hustlers I interact with have helped to ease the suffocating weight of fear.

    Thanks Jon

    • Reina Floyd
      Posted at 22:26h, 08 January Reply

      Wow I need to go to bed. That last sentence hurts.

  • Gina Horkey
    Posted at 06:32h, 09 January Reply

    Great reminder, thanks Jon!

  • Marsha King
    Posted at 07:18h, 09 January Reply

    When I feel stuck I call it being in ‘froze zone’. I have been in Froze zone so much this past 4 months starting a new entrepreneurial venture. My goal in 2015 is to shorten my time between frozen and thawing. When I ‘thaw’ I get back at it, make another sales call, finish an important project and keep moving forward. Opening doors isn’t just a metaphor for me because I make cold calls daily. So this article was right on time. Can’t wait to see what’s on the other side of those doors today!!

  • Will Nollenberger
    Posted at 07:30h, 09 January Reply

    I feel stuck to the point where I don’t even know what I would do if I had a Do Over. The moments I feel most alive are when I’m coordinating people or helping people improve themselves (teaching them self defense, teaching them budgeting, personal training, spiritual development), but I just feel super stuck with student debt and unclear on where I could go. Thank you for the article to remind me that maybe I just need to start opening doors and seeing what happens.

  • Troy Laird
    Posted at 07:50h, 09 January Reply

    I know this feeling very well! Someone is offering me a Do Over right now and I’m afraid to try for reasons I can’t go into here. I’ve been stuck so long, I’m afraid to move in any direction for fear of being wrong and putting my family in a bad spot. I just need to take a deep breath, drink another cup of coffee and make a move.

  • Rob
    Posted at 08:13h, 09 January Reply

    Jon,
    Thanks for answering my email from Weds. with this post. At least it seemed like it was meant for me directly. Today is the birthdate of my grandfather. He would be 123 today. He passed away on the day after his 108th birthday. Though he never received a formal education passed 3rd Grade, he had a PhD in common sense. He landed here in America at the age of 9 with his half-brother, 16 yrs. old. His mom sent them here to find a better life than the subsistence farming life they had in Italy.
    He had to work to make ends meet from then on…and he did. He wasn’t a big statured man, but he was hard-headed determined to achieve a good life in America. He and my grandmother raised 8 children who begat 17 grandchildren and so on. All of this because his mom wasn’t afraid to say goodbye in order to help him. All because he wasn’t afraid to learn a new language, a good craft in metal working, and not afraid to marry and take on the great responsibility of a family of his own. In fact, I don’t ever recall seeing him afraid to take on a task, no matter the load it might bring with it. He is the guy you write about who opened all his doors and didn’t seem to hesitate to walk through.
    I must step over more of my own thresholds, in his honor, starting today.
    Jon – my grandfather would have liked talking with you because you don’t spout BS. You speak simple truths, solid common sense.
    Thanks

    • jim
      Posted at 17:38h, 09 January Reply

      Rob,
      Wow, wow, wow! I’d love to hear more about your Grandfather’s journey. Wow! I have some similar stories about immigrants from Ireland – 2 little boys who lost their families en route. 7 year old was sent on an orphan train to a farm in the Midwest, 9 year old lived off the streets of NY. Count your blessings and jump thru those doors. We have it soooooooooooooo easy, relatively speaking.

  • suzewannabe
    Posted at 09:56h, 09 January Reply

    Yes-2014 was discouraging.

    I was in excruciating pain from endometriosis and on oopiod pain killers that made me brainless and unable to concentrate.

    My Papi died in February. We were close-I was defeated.

    I had 2 sugeries in the fall. They found that the endo had wrapped around my kidney and was strangling it.

    In my annual review, I was told “too slow”. Crushed.

    I never gave up.

    I started researching and writing about endo at welliebellie.com

    In November, a Houston magazine wrote my story and did a photo shoot. The story in press.

    Now I’m back at work and things are 180 degees flipped around.

    I feel good, working fast and well and getting complinents on my work.

    Thank you, Jon, for sharing that you also felt discouraged.

    Glad to know I was not alone 🙂

  • Belle
    Posted at 10:16h, 09 January Reply

    Jon the man!!! Hits the spot again. Thank you! And love that video. Will definitely share it.

  • LW Warfel
    Posted at 11:00h, 09 January Reply

    Makes me want to go find a door and open it! Thanks, Jon!

  • mark napior
    Posted at 16:19h, 09 January Reply

    Yep! When I was contemplating quitting my day job to go straight commission sales, a friend told me that God doesn’t give us doors with flashing neon lights that say “this way!” But he does give us doors, and it is up to us to take the step to see if the door is unlocked. Thank you Jon.

  • julia
    Posted at 03:03h, 10 January Reply

    I just told my boss I am quitting. The jb has been my life for the last 7 years but i had to get stuck in order to realize it’s not the place for me any longer. It’s hard to leave, I don’t have a clue what’s next, but I trust in God. So thank you for this post! It has given ne strength!

  • Christy
    Posted at 12:17h, 10 January Reply

    Excellent post! I shared it on FB & Twitter — this was very affirming, however, I still have many doors to open!! Thanks for the encouragement, I really needed to read this!!

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