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Stop staring at the closed door! 4 ways to overcome unexpected change

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us." --Alexander Graham Bell

What door has recently closed in your life? Maybe it's a job loss or a relationship, or an opportunity you were hoping would finally come together. And now, the door you wanted to remain open is closed. It is essential that you don't linger too long staring at a closed door. If you do, you're likely to miss the new opportunities that are waiting to open for you.

If you're dealing with change brought on by circumstances beyond your control, here are four steps to get your stride back:

1. Mourn the loss.

It can feel devastating when unwelcome change intrudes on your life. Give yourself permission to grieve your loss. Acknowledge any lessons you've learned. Once you've acknowledged and mourned, choose to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward. Self-pity is self sabotage.

2. Make a decision to face forward.

At some point, you must stop lingering at the closed door as though it will reopen. Instead, walk away and take steps onto the path that is unfolding before you. Face forward rather than backwards, and you'll find that change offers new hope and opportunity. This decision takes courage. Courage is a choice.

3. Be open to change.

Don't compare your new opportunities to your old opportunities. Instead, recognize that new opportunities sometimes have very different benefits from old ones. They sometimes address different needs and wants, and bring you joy in ways that were missing before. Sometimes they stretch you in ways you haven't been stretched. Embrace the challenge with gratitude and perseverance.

4. Walk through the open doors.

New life, new work, and new opportunities will open up on your path. Walk through them!

Often, doors close because we never should have walked through them in the first place. Other times, they close because they were meant only for a season. Learn the lessons, live with courage, and enjoy the journey.

Valorie Burton is a professional speaker, life coach and the author of five books, including What’s Really Holding You Back?, Listen to Your Life, and How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Subscribe to her free e-newsletter at and follow her at