I read a book once that described how very minor changes, or small decisions, heavily impact the direction you go in life. By comparing small changes to piloting an airplane cross-country, the author described how "A turn of a few degrees over Ohio may seem like a small adjustment - merely fine-tuning. But in the long run it determines whether you end up in San Francisco or Los Angeles." (Gottman, 2006). And so, this must be true with careers. I'm sure every little decision - to join a committee, participate in teaching seminars, mentor students, collaborate with other business - can also impact your career.
The question lies in determining what your career goals are, then finding the small opportunities to help you achieve your goals. Since I have only been a physical therapist for less than a year, I haven't really finalized what my career goals are. I enjoy practicing but can also see the challenges and benefits of managing, teaching, consulting or any other branch of therapy career niches.
Career goals go hand-in-hand with personal goals, because one obviously will affect the other. If my personal goals include geographic moves, expanding my family or various financial decisions - those may impact my options at work.
I think it's important for me, this early in my career, to be conscious of the little opportunities around me and capitalize on them. I'm sure I will look back years from now and be amazed by how each decision brought me to different stages in my role as a physical therapist.