Quiz: Is This Your Ex-Door or Your Next Door?
By Jacey Eckhart
Are you a door stalker? Do you have a door in your hallway of life that you knock on, pound on, shout at, and generally jiggle the handle and it never, ever opens?
I call that the Ex-Door. It will drive you absolutely crazy. Because there is no logical reason why it won’t open. Whether it is a career door or a relationship door or a goal door, it really ought to open. It’s about to open. You know it will totally open if you just keep trying. And you have been trying. For a long time. So why won’t it open???
Because it is your Ex-Door.
The Ex-Door is the door we go back to when we are scared, or tired, or when we miss what we used to do and who we used to be. The Ex-Door isn’t only a job thing; it is a life thing. Knocking at the Ex-Door is
calling your girlfriends in your old neighborhood because you have no one to talk to in your
new neighborhood even though you have lived there a year.
running eight miles a day when you can hear your hip joints screech the moment your shoes hit the floor.
hoping that this time your loved one is going to change, even though there is not one blessed sign of change anywhere.
holding on to size 4 clothing even though you have not zipped into anything so small since the sixth grade.
volunteering at the elementary school when your kids graduated from college six years ago.
I have an Ex-Door or two of my own—doors I think I should stop knocking on that I can’t help but knock on continuously. It is starting to hurt my knuckles. (See Charlotte Hurd’s eye-opening Ex-Door experience here.) If you wonder if your Next Door is really an Ex-Door, take my Ex-Door Quiz now:
The Ex-Door Quiz
1. How long has it been since this door was open to you?
A. Less than a year
B. Less than three years
C. More than three years
2. Is there something out of your control that prevents this door from opening (like a physical, geographical, economic, or stone cold reality factor)?
A. No. Can’t think of a thing.
B. Maybe it is a little out of my power.
C. Yes. Houston, there is a problem.
3. Does this door represent something you are or something you used to be?
A. Something I am or want in deepest core of my being
B. Something I used to be or used to want
C. Something I will never really be or want again even though I wish it were
4. How does pursuing this door make you feel today?
A. Powerful and hopeful
B. Discouraged and tired
C. Do the words “self-loathing” sound familiar?
5. What other people think is not the most relevant factor, but it can be a clue. So are you the only person who thinks this door will open?
A. No. I have lots of people who tell me to keep trying.
B. Well, I have at least two people who tell me to keep trying.
C. Yes. Lots of people have suggested I should move on.
6. Are you only knocking on this door because you are worried about what other people think?
A. What other people think does not factor into this thing at all.
B. What other people think about this secretly matters to me.
C. If there were no other people, I would probably give up on this door and be glad about it.
7. Think about what your life would be like if you were prevented from ever knocking on this door again.
A. Devious. I don’t care if I’m not allowed; I’m going to keep knocking anyway.
B. A little sad. I’m going to miss this door.
C. Relieved. Like a giant weight has fallen away from me.
8. Have you put too much effort into this already?
A. Is there any such thing as “too much effort?”
B. Man, I put a lot of effort into this with no visible effect.
C. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
9. How badly do you want this door to open?
A. So much that I kind of enjoy the process even though it is taking a long time.
B. I want it to open. Really, I do. Really.
C. If I am being honest, not as much as I thought/used to.
10. Is pursuing this door preventing you from finding your Next Door?
A. This IS my Next Door. I just know it.
B. Probably. But it is so scary to stop.
C. Definitely. But I don’t know how to stop.
Score your quiz:
Mostly A’s: Keep knocking at your Next Door.
You give every sign that even though this is taking a long time, this door is your Next Door. The pursuit itself makes you feel good. You enjoy the kind of work it takes to make that door open. You have social support behind your dream. Check with a trusted advisor to see if you are doing the right things to make your door open. Then give it a year. If the door opens, YAY, YOU! If the door has not opened, take this quiz again.
Mostly B’s: This might not be your Next Door.
You occupy that in between place where you don’t know whether this is your Next Door or your Ex-Door. In your notebook, write longhand for one page about what this door means to you. Don’t edit yourself or judge your thoughts. Just let yourself write. Then take this quiz again next month to see if you have more clarity. If six months go by and you are still answering B’s, then this is mostly likely an Ex-Door. Be brave, my friend.
More than 3 C’s: Step Away from the Door.
My heart goes out to you—in a good way. On one hand, it is really hard to let go of a dream you used to have or an identity you used to enjoy. On the other hand, this moment represents a great opportunity for you. Letting go of one thing makes room for something else to take its place—even though you do not know what that something else might be. Use the Ex-Door Worksheet to remind yourself that you have officially marked this one as your Ex-Door and you will not be knocking on that one for the foreseeable future. YAY, YOU!