Why I am an Opportunity Maker, NOT an Opportunist
Be an Opportunity Maker. Opportunities are everywhere waiting for us to activate them… When I think of this sentence, I remember what I do for a living. We spend almost above one-third of our lifetime building a career, dedicating ourselves to a job, which whether we want or not, defines us… unless we define it!
As a child, my parents used to think I can’t say enough NOs! I think they were right, and that was for a reason. I figured out if I take whatever life throws at me and turn it to something I want, I can have anything. And when it came to building my career path, I thought maybe I can build my own career with the only thing that I was good at. So, I became an Opportunity Maker and refused to be an Opportunist.
Of course, by Opportunity, I mean Business Opportunity which is a time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to bring people more together, make high effect movements, build companies, gather teams, generate revenue and growth, and so on.
Opportunity Making is a concept. Being an Opportunity Maker means to use the best talents you have to make opportunities happen and invite others to do so.—Reza Ghiabi
Opportunism, on the other hand, means a whole different story. An Opportunist is a person who takes advantage of opportunities as and when they arise, regardless of planning or principle. In other words, it is the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances –with little regard for principles, or with what the consequences are for others.
The difference between Opportunism and Opportunity Making is that the first one is good for an individual or a group, and the second one is good for everyone.—Reza Ghiabi
So what it exactly means to be an Opportunity Maker? Well, it involves pattern-seeking. An Opportunity Maker deals with people outside their normal circle to find wider patterns.
It is not wrong if we think of human beings more than their title. I often have a problem with business cards or office doors titling people as Designers, CEOs, Developers, etc. as it is their only personality. Life of a human being is far more than that and indeed contains a lot of unexpected sets of skills, connections, and potentials. Once people work together on something and build trust, more unexpected opportunities will arise.
Now, like Opportunism, Opportunity Making can be a career like mine or a lifestyle based on mutuality. The wise Kare Anderson in her book Mutuality Matters: How can You Create More Opportunity, Adventure & Friendship With Others, described how we can all benefit from this kind of lifestyle. The book, in a nutshell, emphasizes TRUE caring about the others in professional ways. You can watch below short TED talk to get a picture of Kare’s powerful message.
Kare Anderson thinks and writes about becoming connected (and being quoted). She’s an Emmy-winning former NBC and Wall Street Journal reporter, now a columnist for Forbes and Huffington Post. Her diverse set of clients includes Salesforce, Novartis and The Skoll Foundation. She’s a founding board member of Annie’s Homegrown and sits on several advisory boards including Watermark, Rainforest, TEDxMarin, and Gloop. Anderson is the author of Mutuality Matters, Moving from Me to We, Getting What You Want, Walk Your Talk, and Resolving Conflict Sooner.
“So my idea to reimagine the world is to see it one where we all become greater opportunity-makers with and for others. There’s no greater opportunity or call for action for us now than to become opportunity-makers who use best talents together more often for the greater good and accomplish things we couldn’t have done on our own. And I want to talk to you about that, because even more than giving, even more than giving, is the capacity for us to do something smarter together for the greater good that lifts us both up and that can scale.
(…) Just remember, as Dave Liniger once said, ‘You can’t succeed coming to the potluck with only a fork.’”—Kare Anderson
How can we be an Opportunity Maker?
- Give First > When it comes to business, it has been always about giving and take. it is essential that we try to give first and provide support for others, and then let them do their part.
- Collaborate > It takes what I call “professionalism” to work with others in a healthy way. Building a professional healthy relationship with others means we take the lead make everyone a leader in such a way that not only everyone can benefit from a mutual project, but they feel awesome!
- Connect > Some ancient religious stories say that when God was creating humans, he put a bit of his breath into the human soul, making it alive and beautiful. I believe there is something in everyone that makes them have the capacity to be great, good, and worthy of a mutual relationship. And I believe if we give them the chance, they will connect with us one way or another.
- Appreciate > There is nothing original that we do. Our minds made to take pieces and combine them (hopefully) creative. It is no different whether we come up with a brand new idea, or build a company from scratch. There is always some else involved. We should all appreciate all the pieces when we make a whole.
What other thoughts can you bring to this conversation? Share your thoughts, ideas, inspirations, challenges, and solutions on being on Making Opportunities.