Which is better, being tactical or strategic?

The correct answer? Neither. The two have to work hand-in-hand in order to carry out a bold idea. 

Many of us tend to view these as in conflict with each other, and we often find ourselves so busy being tactical that there’s little time to be really strategic. Tactics are the means you’ve chosen to accomplish a strategy, so if you’ve lost sight of your strategy, it may be that you’re merely being opportunistic. Tactics are not the enemy of strategy—opportunism is.

Opportunism keeps bold ideas from seeing the light of day.

What’s your bold idea that hasn’t worked out yet? Owning your own business? Leaving your job for ministry? Leaving ministry for a job? 

Ask yourself these questions to see if you’re treating your bold idea opportunistically or strategically:

  • How important is it? Opportunistic thinkers devalue their bold ideas and work on them only when they have the time (they never do). Strategic thinkers know that the big rocks go in the jar first or there won’t be space for them later. They love their idea enough to romance it.
  • How hard is it? Opportunistic people worry about effort. They either overestimate the effort and never start, or underestimate it and quit too early, moving on to idea after abandoned idea. Those who think strategically, though, place a higher premium on the idea than the effort it takes to bring it to life. They know that the size of their commitment is measured by what it takes to stop them.
  • Who cares? Opportunistic people seek to make others happy by their responsiveness. Lacking aspirations of their own they feel important receiving the accolades of others. Strategic people are rewarded by the fulfillment of their own commitment. They know they must focus on a greater purpose that cannot be given to them by others.

Every day we have a choice. We can think and act strategically, knowing something important is at stake. Or we can respond to our days merely opportunistic, allowing our bold ideas to languish in neglect. Which would you prefer?

Are you pursuing your bold idea with a cohesive strategy and applicable tactics? Or are you chasing whatever seems like a good opportunity at the time?

A version of this post originally appeared on learygates.com.