Jason E. Fort
The Haunted House of Success
So I was thinking about opportunity as it applied to my 13 year old son. Ever since he was 7 years old, he has had aspirations of one day being an officer in the US Air Force. He has recently become active in the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet, and he and I have taken steps along the way to encourage success in this pursuit of his dream. Now he is only 13, so he has plenty of time, unknown events, and opportunity ahead of him. The problem he has had to face most of his childhood has been respiratory health. As a parent, this concerns me - because I know that at a certain point, the branches of the military will look down on his health history if it effects him much longer...so I got to thinking about that word opportunity, as it relates to open and closed doors. I have enjoyed many opportunities to walk through several open doors in my professional life. I have initiated professional careers in education, fitness, coaching, law enforcement, and writing. I have had doors that I pushed open myself, and I have had doors, or opportunities, open to me. It was up to me to take those opportunities - to walk through those doors. This brought to mind the imagery of a scary movie - an image of a person stuck in a haunted house, trying to escape. For the person who is trapped in that scary house, it may seem convenient sometimes to find doors along the way...doors they think may lead them to a way out - a way to 'break through' to the outside. Because this is a movie we are talking about, some doors appear out of nowhere; some doors they see way down the hall. Some doors might look frightening, and they think there is no way they are going through that one! Others seem convenient. Perhaps a certain ladder suddenly hangs down from the ceiling that appears to break through to the outside via the roof. Sometimes these doors are only open for a little while, then slam shut when you least expect it. And then sometimes, some doors may even seem like the only way to go, but there is a huge, ugly monster they must get by just to reach the door. Does this not relate to perhaps how a young person could view the journey to success in this world? On my journey through this professional world, I have taken on some career paths because they were convenient at the time. I have taken others because a door was suddenly open to me, and I thought I saw a unique path to 'break on through to the other side.' I know some people may take what appears to be the easy path - the most convenient doors, while others want to climb that ladder hanging before them and go straight to the top. My current path in law enforcement is a door that both I chose to take, and one that is in line with other goals. But the ultimate path I want to take, to achieve my real 'breakthrough', if you will - is the opportunity I discovered, that seems to line up with a certain divine purpose; the opportunity to succeed in a writing career. But there is this huge ugly monster in the way; this monster has many heads, with names on their foreheads like Target Audience, Critics, Platform, Advertising, and Publishing! My initial intentions were to take this monster head-on; but I didn't realize how many heads it would have. I am slowly realizing that this daunting task will take time, and maneuvering. But I will break out of this haunted house! Which brings me back to the task ahead for my son, and perhaps other people out there. I hope I can help my son realize that there is no one way to go to become successful. There will be ups and downs, and just when you think you might be walking through the right doorway, that door slams shut. For my boy, that could be his asthma. That may be the only reason the Air Force doesn't accept him - OR - maybe that's just the big ugly monster in the way. Either way, I want him - and others - to realize that you don't have to feel pigeon holed or cornered into one career path. So...what has your haunted house of success looked like?