Sliding Door Moments

trainBy Lynn Forbes

My career has always been more kismet than craft. Remember that movie Sliding Doors in which the life of the main character is completely different depending on whether or not she makes the train? That’s me.

From my first day as a college intern when the city editor at the Bridgewater Courier News assigned me to cover a murder until today, chance has been my friend. Don’t get me wrong. I have goals and work hard to achieve them, but somehow or other the most amazing work experiences have been the ones that find me. The sliding doors.

That traumatizing but exhilarating night of the murder many years ago was Day 1 of an 18-year fabulous newspaper career in which I had many run-ins with my buddy Mr. Chance. Like the day the food editor quit in a huff and I – organizer of gourmet dinners and avid reader of every foodie magazine I could get my hands on – went right to the top gun and told him he had found his next food editor. That was a fun job.

Or the time the powers that be at the newspaper decided to combine the staffs of seven lifestyle sections and that I was the one who had to figure it out. I kicked, I screamed but ultimately I had no choice. The section editors, who had been happily nestled, all snug in their beds, were so pissed off at me because they thought I was working for the man. “Look,” I said, “either we figure this out together and create a new system that works for us, or management will figure out one that doesn’t.”  Yep, those editors quickly joined hands and sang Koombaya. That experience made me realize that I had a knack for managing people and creating process and systems, which later led to executive positions managing many talented teams.

The Wild, Wild Web

One day I had lunch with an old newspaper friend and told him I thought it was time to leave my inked-stained days behind. Like the Ghost of Future Jobs he pointed me toward my next career move – the Net, as we called it in the day. It was an ezine – remember those? I stepped up to my neck into the wild, wild web and a whole new phase of my career. I found myself working for exciting startups, confused companies grappling with this Internet thing and media giants optimizing a new platform.

My favorite Internet adventure was when an acquaintance introduced me to her sister who worked for media biggie Scripps Networks. Before you know it, I’m launching the digital piece of a brand new cable network. Now that was quite a job. In yet another sliding door moment, I reconnected with a woman I had known years ago who just so happened to be Ms. Honcho of a big social media company. You can guess the rest of the story.

When I think about how many opportunities came to me this way, I’m amazed. Honestly, I didn’t plan any of this, although I’d like to think talent and tenacity had something to do with it. But chance and synchronicity – those sliding doors – were large in the equation.

Hang On, It’s a Bumpy Ride

I  admit that I had to create a tolerance for vertigo, bumps, bruises, twists and turns to ride this roller coaster. Many people say, “Wow, you have really been through it.” It’s true, I have. Given a do-over, however, I wouldn’t do it any other way. It’s been an out and out blast and the reason I have experienced so many adventures, including my latest as an entrepreneur, finally doing for myself what I did for so many companies.

These days I am far more aware of those sliding door moments right in front of my nose. We just wink at each other and I step onto the train.

… You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So … get on your way! - Dr. Seuss

 

Comments

  1. You know, I recently had a similar train of thought, looking back and seeing how chance operated and how little any “plan” had to do with it. So, for all the goal-setting that we’re taught to do complete with mission, vision and all sorts of ridiculous-ity, I’m glad that Mr. Chance and mostly Bon Chance operated in MY life!

  2. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I think of that movie from time to time, Lynn, because it is fascinating to consider the “what if’s” in our lives. What a fabulous career you have had (and continue to have), bumpy ride and all.

  3. Lynn: I think what sets you apart is that you acted upon the opportunities. EVERYONE is presented with opportunities, but not everyone seizes the moment.

    Goal setting can be specific or general. The decision to not be afraid to try something new is a goal.

    As Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently stated: “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.

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