How to Harness the Principles of Opportunity-Makers

There’s no better time than today to become an opportunity-maker and be a catalyst for good in the St. Louis region. Opportunity-makers use their talents to benefit the greater good and find the right people to amplify their impact. Here are some ways to create opportunities in your community by harnessing the principles of opportunity-makers.

View the world through another’s eyes.
When issues arise, opportunity-makers fight the urge to view situations through only their own eyes. They acknowledge that, although their background and culture can dictate how they view the world, it doesn’t need to determine how they treat others. They choose to be fascinated by, rather than indignant about, the different people and opinions they face in the world. Opportunity-makers say yes to new connections, even when those connections don’t share some of their views.

Engage with people who are unlike you.
Opportunity-makers actively try to engage with people unlike them. Throughout each day, we have an incredible amount of opportunities to take missed or negative connections and craft them into positive experiences. From the cashier at the grocery store to the woman at your metro stop, each of our daily interactions present us with a choice: do I claim energy from this person, or do I find a way to contribute value to them? Contributing value can be as simple as choosing to smile after a long day at work or actively listening to a weary traveler. In the moment, a positive action may not seem like much, but it could be the beginning of a new connection with an unexpected ally. By connecting with people outside of their normal social circle over a shared interest, opportunity-makers are less likely to experience confirmation bias when they approach new projects.

Adopt a collective impact mentality.
In the nonprofit world, collective impact occurs when a group of people or organizations from different sectors commit to solving a specific social problem by aligning efforts. This collaboration is key to bringing together resources that naturally complement one another. Opportunity-makers recognize this and organize uniquely-talented people together to create great things in their communities. They realize that they can achieve much more working with others who possess the strengths they lack rather than tackling problems alone. By seeing people’s strengths, opportunity-makers share their vision and direct other’s talents for good.

Our city needs people dedicated to creating opportunities across different neighborhoods, industries and communities. And, if we actively embrace these principles of creating opportunities, we can put our talents together for a better St. Louis.

Want to learn more about becoming an opportunity-maker? Listen to the original TED talk.

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Emily Knippa

Emily Knippa is a St. Louis-based marketer and writer who focuses on content marketing, career development, and personal finance. She enjoys meeting people pursuing inspiring career paths. She’d love to meet you at the next United Way event. Say hello to Emily on Twitter at @emilyknippa.