I got the most amazing email last week in response to my post on native eyes – the idea that when we become too close to our issue, everything becomes everyday and we lose sight of what is remarkable. Sometimes, we lack the gift of fresh eyes into our own story.Wendy Kikkert of the Neighborhood Music School wrote this in response:We recently had the gift of fresh eyes – an intern that was placed at our school. We’re in Boyle Heights, which is a poor area of Los Angeles. We’re in a Victorian home, and there’s an iron gate around the property that’s locked at night to protect the building. During business hours, we had always unlocked the driveway gate, but for some reason, no one had ever unlocked the front gate which leads up to the front door. Shortly after he started here, the intern asked why we kept the front gate locked, that it looked as though we were closed. Well, why did we? No reason!So, we opened the front gate, put out some friendly inviting signs, and people in the neighborhood started coming in (because one of the signs said “please come in”) and signing up for lessons. We opened the front door and started a Facebook page in December, and we have enrolled over 40 private students and over 50 group students since the holidays – exponential growth for a school that had 135 students when if first got here eleven months ago.So, amen to that insight!Thanks Wendy for letting me share your message – and the photo of your open gate. Your email got me thinking far beyond native eyes. To mix metaphors, it got me thinking about welcome mats. How does your organization feel to the world? Is there a welcome mat and open door? Is your website warm and inspiring? Is your material accessible and guiding? Is your building friendly and inviting? Are you going out and meeting people where they are, in the street or on Facebook?Unlock the gate and what happens may surprise you.