Next to my desk is a hip-high half door with a stop sign on the front, delineating the section we prefer customers not to pass. For a number of reasons non-employees must pass through this door on a regular basis to get to other offices. The receptionist will point the way, but ultimately, they see that door and stop. After all we are ingrained from a young age to stop when we see a stop sign.
Due to my proximity to this door, they stare at me, their eyes telling me that they are waiting for permission. It’s a half door. They can see there is nothing on the other side but a hallway. Yet they stop and wait. I've started saying, “Go through the door that says stop and take a left.” Most people laugh, but there are a few that simply stand at the door looking at me indignantly as though I’ve asked them to break an important rule. I’ve begun to wonder how many times I’ve been the person standing in front of an opportunity resembling a deer in headlights, refusing to go through a door even when I was given directions and everyone around me was encouraging me to move forward. The honest answer is that many, many times I've sabotaged myself when opportunity came to me.
Why do we have such a difficult time walking toward opportunity? We have dreams, goals, desires, and we get to the door only to stop. We see our self-created stop sign filled with criticisms, old rules, and reasons we may fail. We cannot find the courage and trust in ourselves to go past these negative signs. These thoughts have lead me to using a new mantra to encourage myself - "Go past the sign that says stop." I stop, acknowledge my fear and negativity, then go past the sign that says stop. The more I use this mantra, the more I realize the many times I let myself simply stop without enough thought process into why. I now use this mantra when I don't want to go to an event, when I don't want to take time for self-care, or when I'm trying to learn something new and I want to stop practicing because it feels hard. I repeat, go past the sign that says stop.
Allow yourself to move forward. Allow yourself to be the person you want to be; the person you are proud to look at in the mirror. Start today the tasks you’ve been putting off for tomorrow. Heal today what hurt you yesterday. Learn that new skill you want to add to your resume. Still acknowledge your fear but walk past those negative signs anyway. Meet a better you on the other side. Go past the sign that says stop.