Written By: Preston Thompson
Before I begin, I would like to create an imaginary scene. Ready? Keep reading…
Your eyes open, and you are standing in the middle of a half-acre field. The weather is warm, and the sky is cloudy. Periodically, sunlight shines through the clouds. A seasoned wooded fence painted in dull white surrounds the ends of the field. The grass is dark green with a few small brown spots here and there. Crabgrass and dandelions are spotted throughout the field. You look down at your bare feet wiggling and curling your toes to feel the rough texture of the grass blades underneath your feet. As you rub your feet on the grass hard brown dirt is exposed from underneath the grass. In front of the fence to the left is a regular height apple. It produces small apples dispersed throughout its branches. A wooden basket halfway filled with apples picked from the tree sits under the tree. Across from the tree is a tiny pond. This is home. A place you have been complacent in for years. It has enough to maintain, the field work has been routine and simple.
Suddenly, the door of opportunity appears in front of the fence emitting a bright yellow light around its corona. At first glance you ponder on the idea of walking through the door because you do not know what’s inside. “Is this new opportunity for me? Will I be as successful as I am now? What does the new opportunity entitle?” More thoughts flood your mind remembering times others talked about the door of opportunity appearing and walking through it is a chance worth taking. Are there better opportunities on the other side? Is the grass greener, and the sun shines brightly all the time? Plenty of people have walking through this door and succeeded. So, what do you do? You open the door and walk through.
With one hand turning the doorknob then pushing the door forward you walk through. Feelings go from complacent to excited as you take one step in the new field. The first thing you notice is the grass really is greener on the other side with no brown spots. The Sun shines brightly in the sky. This new field measures at one full acre (maybe more) surrounded by a new fence made of white vinyl. In front of the fence to the distant left are two apple trees with an abundance of apples hanging from their branches. There are so many apples on the tree the branches hang low. Resting in the tree’s shade are a few buckets filled with freshly picked apples. To the distant right is a large pond with water so clear you can see the fishes swimming. Without stepping completely through the door, you can already see this field looks better than your current field. It even feels and smells better. There are so many opportunities you can take in this new field with time and preparation.
Now is your chance to walk through. So, you do. With one barefoot in you already notice how much softer the grass is. The softness of each grass blade rubbing against the sole of your feet feels you with excitement for the new opportunity. “Ok, I’m here,” you tell yourself as you walk through leaving the door slightly cracked opened.
A short amount of time has passed since walking through the door of opportunity, and you start to notice this new opportunity does not feel the same as it did at first. For some time, you thought you were the problem with failing to meet the demands of the field. Unknowingly, you put in more time in this field than before. As you reflect on the time that passed you begin to realize just how much harder and more time you spent maintaining the field. That soft grass you walk on requires more watering days just to maintain its greener appearance. The soil needs to be carefully fertilized to maintain the nutrients. The pond with clear water requires a lot of cleaning, water testing, and replacing just to keep its purity. Those two apple trees that produce an abundance of apples has low hanging branches, but the tree is too high for you to pick them from the ground. And those baskets full of apples are small and lack depth in comparison to the basket at your last field.
So maybe this new land did not live up to its expectation. Sure, it is plentiful, but the amount of work it takes to maintain its beauty does not meet the visual description.
You slowly walk to the end of the land, stop at the fence, and turn around to see the door you walked through. It is still slightly open but emits no light. You decide to walk to the door just to see the old field. To your surprise, everything is still the same. There is still a chance to go back, but should you? On one hand this new field of opportunity is very abundant, but the workload is above the expectations. On the other hand, you are still familiar with the old field. It had its problems and lack rapid growth, but the workload to maintain its beauty was at the right level for you to maintain a stable balance between work and peace. After contemplating whether to stay in the new field of opportunity or not, you decide walking through the door back into your old field maybe best.
And sometimes, that is how new opportunities (without the visuals) can be when accepting the offer without truly knowing the amount of work it requires. At first it sounds like a dream come true when chances of rapid growth are involved. It’s appealing, new, exciting, and most importantly, it has promise. Your optimism takes over as you begin to work in this new role. But like all things new, it eventually grows older. Once you become accustomed in the new role, that same role loses its “new” adjective, and becomes just a role. What now? Do you still feel the same as you did before or are you realizing this new opportunity does not live up to its expectations? Is it time to look for another opportunity whether it is brand new or going back to a place or position you once worked?
It is in our DNA to chase after new opportunities in hopes that it is better than our last or current role especially when we become dissatisfied with unchanging situations or lack of growth. This may explain why some people move from one job to the next every 2 to 3 years. When our current role becomes dull and commonplace and seems to be going nowhere, we begin to wonder if there is something better elsewhere. Maybe this new opportunity will result in more pay and happiness with better benefits, this new relationship will lead to love and marriage, or a move to a new town/city will equal more opportunities for growth.
What happens when you accept this new opportunity only to discover what you once had may have been better although it lacked in growth and development? It was not perfect, but somewhere in it you maintained happiness over a longer period despite its flaws. Is it wrong to go back when the opportunity reintroduces itself? Notice I gave this blog the title Walking OUT From the Door of Opportunity and not Walking AWAY From the Door of Opportunity. This means you are in your new opportunity but have a chance to return to your last. It’s going back to where you once were after spending time in a new opportunity that no longer satisfies you. Now that you took your former opportunity back, what lies ahead? Do you take your experiences from the new opportunity in hopes that you can change its commonplace culture? Do you forget about those experiences and accept the things as the way they are?