At 21, I was beginning my senior year at Pacific Lutheran University. With my advancing age and a college transcript had come an air of entitlement. Was there any reason not to expect that my teaching degree would open doors for me? That my career would unfold exactly as envisioned.

Except that it didn’t. My expectations far exceeded reality. I expected doors to open for me just because I was standing in front of them. Kinda like the grocery store, you know? I expected a Nordstrom-sized paycheck, medical, dental and orthodontia coverage, and a nice retirement of European travel after 30 copathetic years in the classroom. I lasted four years in the classroom.

Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, gives us four referability factors: Show up on time. Do what you say. Finish what you start. Say please and thank you. And whether you’re an entrepreneur growing your business or a college senior just trying to find your way, they apply. All four connect us to each other with respect and gratitude, not something that filled my life at 21.

There is a difference between entitlement, opportunities you think you deserve, and the opportunities that come with showing up on time, doing what you say, finishing what you start, and saying please and thank you. I wouldn’t learn that until many years after graduating from college when I found myself standing at one door after another, none of them opening.

Instead God put me in front of the handicapped door with a button to push. God knew I had an attitude that needed work, opinions that needed tempering, a belief system that needed reprioritizing. It’s not all about me all the time! I know…

Have you ever found yourself stumbling between issues of entitlement and opportunity? How has God opened the right doors at the right time for you?

Remember: Today’s lesson, today’s experience, even today’s misstep can become tomorrow’s wisdom. And we all benefit from wisdom ~ yours, mine and ours.