We all know that personal action is required to take advantage of opportunities in life. Otherwise, they lie inert for us and then dissipate. But there's also a deeper perspective available. In Adam Bryant's New York Times column "Corner Office," Lori Senecal, Global CEO of ad agency C. P. &B. and CEO of the MDC Partner Network said something interesting this week while reflecting back on her own graduation from college and going for her first job. She got an offer and decided to take it without even realizing what all it involved. She comments:
That was a time when I embraced one of the philosophies that I go back to a lot today, which is that action creates opportunity. I didn’t know what the nature of the job would be, but I knew that if I took action, other possibilities would appear, and they did. Ever since then, I’ve often thought about action creating opportunity.
Bryant later asked her what advice she would give to new college graduates, and she said:
I talk to them about action creating opportunity. So dive in, and great things will come of it. The other thing I like to focus on is the importance of impact. You have to learn to prioritize the impact opportunities rather than just being busy. There’s an infinite amount of things that you can do, but focus on the things that will catapult the company and your career forward.
Action and opportunity - action and impact: Two vital connections. Taking action in reasonable ways, in ways that are right for us, creates opportunities, and then among those that arise, we should choose to act further on the ones that will have the greatest likely impact for good on the world, our businesses, and our own careers. Well directed action is the key, at both levels.
This is the philosophy I call activism. It's up to us to take action. Do things that matter, both by creating new possibilities, and by having impact. This is nice advice to keep in mind, not just for recent graduates, but for all of us along life's way.