A colleague of mine sent me this video ahead of a quarterly meeting we conducted with our entire business unit and it started me thinking about the nature of opportunity. From where are great opportunities born?The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “opportunity” as:
- a favorable juncture of circumstances
- a good chance for advancement or progress
All too often I believe we allow ourselves to be lulled into the notion that opportunity is something that either happens (or does not happen) to us but when you watch the video above and you look carefully at the actual definition, there is nothing intrinsic to the nature of opportunity that requires it to be instigated by some outside force. In fact, I think most people should agree that opportunity happens because of those things we do to carefully create opportunities for ourselves.
Once upon a time a very smart, very driven business leader with whom I had the good fortune to work gave me the advice to “manage my career like an asset” – outstanding advice I have given to hundreds of colleagues and friends in the years that have followed. Given the nature of the U.S. and global economies and the rise of new, disruptive technologies that are constantly changing the face of business, to say nothing of the roles we play in our personal and professional lives, we should constantly be asking ourselves what have we done today to create opportunities to open doors and stand out from a crowd.
There are thousands upon thousands of quotations, blogs, articles, and books on this topic but at the very heart of the issue are individual ownership and preparation. In the spirit of keeping it simple and relevant, one of my favorite statements on the topic comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1860, “Shallow men believe in luck, believe in circumstances: It was somebody’s name, or he happened to be there at the time, or, it was so then, and another day it would have been otherwise. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
So get up, get out there, and take control of your destiny. Build a plan, work that plan, and create the doors you want to have the opportunity to open.
- Reinvent management now (marshallstanton.com)
- The Little Black Book of Innovation: How It Works, How to Do It (marshallstanton.com)
- Evolution of branding (marshallstanton.com)
- History and future of marketing (marshallstanton.com)
- Marketing is about values (marshallstanton.com)
- Great list of ideas to boost employee engagement (marshallstanton.com)