To do lists are great. So is a three year and five year plan. But don’t get hung up in focusing on the act of doing those things. Get going now, create immediacy, and learn from your mistakes.

Execution, work, is really all that matters. This leads to other great opportunities, unplanned. Specify some goals, outline some dreams, and then dive right in.

Just don’t spend too much time planning and over thinking. There’s no better time than taking action now.

As you start your post-HBS career, look for opportunities, look for growth, look for impact, look for mission. Move sideways, move down, move on, move off. Build your skills, not your resume. Evaluate what you can do, not the title they’re going to give you. Do real work. Take a sales quota, a line role, an ops job. Don’t plan too much, and don’t expect a direct climb. If I had mapped out my career when I was sitting where you are, I would have missed my career. – Sheryl Sandberg’s career advice to Harvard Business students (via Quartey)

Share on:

By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.