How do you decide on a career that is right for you without wasting time or money? Picking the right career is probably one of the most important decisions that you’ll ever make because when you pick the wrong career you can waste a lot of time. Sometimes years. So what is the quickest path you and other millennials can take to start your future career?
Unlike previous generations, millennials are looking for more of a work life balance, a flexible schedule that isn’t the traditional 9 to 5, and low stress. A good salary is one of their top priorities, mostly because of student loans that average over $30,000 a student… and one of the top reasons why they need to start their career sooner rather than later.
Too many millennials focus on academics and extracurricular activities, and when they aren’t sure about their future, they study more instead of getting work experience. They might have chosen that subject or field because their parents or friends told them to take it. And then they realize months or years later that they hated it. So they switch their field.
And then after the switch, they realize they don’t like their new subject either, so they switch again, wasting valuable time. Unless they have an inheritance or trust fund, they need to change their attitude toward money. Instead of accumulating more debt from student loans, they should start working right away.
It’s best to take a job, any job, to get some real world experience. It will develop their financial confidence, instead of drowning in student debt and developing an unhealthy attitude toward money.
If you want to have a successful career, focus first on finding jobs to make money. Then when you’re making a profit, focus on a career that you’re passionate about. This is the exact strategy I used to achieve my goals, starting with what propelled me to my success: my motivation.
Watch this video on how to decide on a career.
How My Career Started
When it comes to picking a career, let me share with you my own experience. I wish I could tell you that I got here because this is exactly how I envisioned myself and what I was going to do, but that’s not what actually happened.
It wasn’t like that at all because in the very beginning, all I wanted to do was to provide for my mom. When my dad went bankrupt, with over a million dollars in debt, he could no longer send us money.
He was in Hong Kong back then and we were in Canada. I’m the only child in my family so I had to take care of my mom, so all I wanted to do was forget about a career and make some money so we could have food on the table. That was it.
Fast forward to today. I have the greatest job in the world. I work when I want, where I want, with whom I want. I’m able to impact so many people’s lives as a global educator but it didn’t start off like this.
Try Many Things, Then Eliminate Your Options
I believe if you’re a young person still trying to find the perfect career, you haven’t tried enough opportunities.
It’s like sports. How do you know what sports you would excel in if you haven’t played enough? If you’ve only played basketball your whole life, you might think you’re a pretty good basketball player but you’re only five foot five. You’ve decided this is your career. But if you haven’t tried swimming or football or soccer or ping ping, how would you know basketball is where you excel the best?
It’s an elimination process. Very quickly you would know if it’s not your thing if you’ve tried different options. If you’re a horrible painter, then being an artist wouldn’t be your calling. Painting is definitely not my career choice. Other people might love it, but I can’t even draw a stick person. Sports are not my thing either so I’m not going to be an athlete.
The Career Paths I Didn’t Take
When I was young, my dad wanted me to become a lawyer. Then when I learned more about being a lawyer, I didn’t want to be a lawyer. It’s the path my dad wanted for me.
Later on, I wanted to be a firefighter. I have an uncle who is a very good firefighter. He would tell me life-changing stories about his career, but I later found out that rescuing people from burning buildings wasn’t in my future. I still like to watch firefighting movies though.
When I learned martial arts, I thought I was going to be a martial arts instructor. I was going to open up a school and do that for the rest of my life because I liked to teach. My dream changed when I realized my martial arts instructor was struggling to make rent with just a few students.
I tried many different things. I started being a copywriter, a consultant and speaker, but not in a million years would I have imagined I would be doing what I’m doing today. It was only after much zigzagging I found my place.
First Find A Career That Makes A Profit
In life, it’s very important for you to find the place where you belong and to find what you were meant to do. If you just focus on your career and doing what you love, you will struggle financially. You must become financially stable first so you can have more choices and have the money to invest in yourself.
That’s what I did. I wasn’t just following my passion, I focused on making a living and making a profit. The drive to make a profit originates from my culture.
The Chinese don’t talk a lot about being passionate about what you do, they work long hours to make money. Maximizing the amount of money they make is a main goal. In North America, they think the opposite way. They want to find their calling, even if they struggle financially while they’re exploring their options.
There is nothing right or wrong between both philosophies, but at first, focus on profit. Find something that can make you money.
Combine Profit With Passion
Once you get the money out of the way, you can focus on what’s important. If you’re making good money, and you can also find something that you’re passionate about, then you’re combining profit with passion.
Also, if you can combine something you’re passionate about, like speaking and teaching, you’ll learn to master the craft and make more money with that. If it’s what you love to do, it will never get old.
This is how I can be on stage and talk for days without a script: it’s because of my passion. So if you combine passion and profit, you make more profit because you love what you do. If you love what you do, you’ll get good at what you do.
Profit, Passion, And A Career Legacy
When I was 30 years old, I found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: I wanted to impact people’s lives. When my father passed away, I had asked myself what my legacy would be and what I wanted to be known for.
I have imagined myself at my funeral. Did I want people to say Dan Lok made a few dollars? He’s successful and wealthy? Or, do I want them to say, “That man changed my life,” and because of me, they found their purpose.
The latter is what inspires me to do what I do today as a mentor. I combine my purpose with passion and make a lot of profit. When you can do all that, it’s very special. I’m grateful I’ve found my ideal career.
So start with trying out different jobs and making a profit. Then follow your passion. If you get there, you’re a lucky person. You’ve got to find your own path. No one can tell you what it is. That’s my recommendation on how to find your career.
What are you passionate about? Comment below.