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March 31, 2009


Tae Yun Kim is one of the highest-ranking female martial arts masters in the world. She was born in South Korea, a culture where female children were not valued. In fact, as a female first-born child, she was considered bad luck to her family. She grew up in poverty. She survived the Korean War. When she arrived in the U.S., she spoke very little English. The only jobs she could get were pumping gas and cleaning toilets. She gladly took those jobs and never lost sight of her career goal -- becoming a master of martial arts. Despite all of the obstacles (including the fact that she is five feet tall and weighs ninety pounds), she achieved her dream.

She lectures, writes, and has her own TV show. She founded the art of Jung SuWon and owns the Martial Arts and Wellness Centers in California. Her energy, enthusiasm and humor leave no doubt that she will be successful at whatever goal she chooses.

At a conference in San Francisco last April, she was asked when she knew that she would be successful. She replied, "I knew it when I was cleaning toilets for a living!"

Ask yourself: "When did I decide I was going to be successful at doing something that I really enjoy?" Oh, you haven't made that decision yet? What is stopping you?

Many people have a secret belief that work should be difficult and not fun. They have an ideal career or job in mind, but think that anything they really want to do is just a fantasy. Conventional wisdom goes like this: Difficult work is normal (or even virtuous); it builds character; you can't make a living by doing what you really enjoy; if it's fun, it can't be serious work.

Who made these rules?
Every week, I talk to people who are smart, talented and have wonderful ideal careers in mind. Many of them have yearned for those careers from a very early age. Somewhere along the line, that ideal was pushed aside for a serious, lucrative career. This was often done at the suggestion of a well-meaning parent, friend or school counselor who said, "That's a tough field to get into. You should do this instead," or "It will be hard to earn a living at that. You should be thinking about...." My clients talk about what they are doing now and that it doesn't make them happy. When asked about hobbies or other interests, then they mention what they've always wanted to do. Their answers to the question, "What is stopping you?" sound like this: "I don't know how.... I'd have to go back to school.... I couldn't make enough money.... It would be too hard.... I don't have enough talent...." They have made up their own rules about why it just isn't possible to have a career that makes them happy.

Malcolm Forbes said, "The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy." Ignore conventional wisdom and try considering this as your personal wisdom: It is possible to do what you really want to do and be paid well for it. When you find that, the work time will feel like play.


Filed Under: Job Search