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What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20


Stereotypically, growing up in an Asian family means you are born with the pressure of either following your parents’ career path or being told you ‘should’ become a doctor, engineer, lawyer or any professional field popular at the time.

Born and raised in Vietnam, I, however, had the opposite problem.

My dad suffered injuries from the Viet-US war and became disabled way before I was born. His physical condition didn’t allow him to work, despite his talent and wisdom. With dad requiring 24/7 care, this resulted in my mom having to stay at home to look after him.


Growing up, I really struggled with my identity and was unsure about the career path I should follow. While my friends whose parents were doctors, teachers, engineers, bankers, etc. had a pretty clear idea what they wanted, or didn’t want, to become.

Having no career orientation; combined with the curious and adventurous gene in my blood; meant that I would want to try my hand at EVERYTHING.

And so I did. Looking back, I think I have quite an impressive resume spreading across a few industries. I’m super proud of all the diverse experiences I have accumulated; as well as the wide knowledge I have gained, the complex network of people from all walks of life I have met; and the various management and leadership styles I have experienced.


However, every once in a while, I succumb to a deep admiration of people who have a remarkable decades long career in one industry. From outside looking in, it seems like they have it all figured out and are ready to go the distance. While I have, in the past, looked at my career and pondered, “What career path am I REALLY following?”

While I treasure every experience and every mistake that has made me who I am today (which I am absolutely happy with), I wish someone could have given me some much needed advice when I was at university in those early years, feeling lost.

So, nearly a decade after leaving university myself, I find myself writing this. To all the dreamers, the passionate, the crazy, the talented, the ones “feeling lost”, the ones who think they are not special - here are some career and life advice I wished someone had told me when I was a whole lot younger. I’ve learned them through trial and error and I hope they help you too:

  • Take the time to look deeper at your values and interests to discover your passion and inner strength
  • Never be concerned or make up excuses for your awesome past career or life experiences, whatever they may have been. Find a way to highlight all that you have learned as nothing is ever wasted. Now go for the job you love and walk into the interview proudly with what you have done and learnt!
  • Every experience counts. Be the best you can be. Do what you love. Love what you do.
  • And if the motivation, inspiration, passion, or love has worn out, it is time to move on. It's better for both you, and the organisation you work for. There is no point forcing yourself to stay in a job you are no longer passionate about. Life is too short to be stuck doing things you don't love.



“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle.” - Steve Jobs.


And if you still haven’t found your passion, that’s ok too. Keep searching because what you’re seeking, is seeking you too. Before you start searching for a career that sparkles, you need to understand yourself first. And to do that, you only need ONE tip, and the rest will follow.

TOP TIP: Look within to see beyond. Start by finding the answers to these:

  • Pay attention to what you love doing so much that you lose your sense of time doing it
  • What are your core values?
  • What life stage are you at?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your resources?
  • What do you enjoy doing the most?
  • What changes do you want to see in the world?
  • What are some burning questions and problems you see around you that require solving? And how can you solve that problem?

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything” 



My final words to you. 

Live life for the experience, not for the possession. I hope you are doing what you love and loving what you do! 

PS: Still looking for your dream career or having a burning business idea but not sure where to start? Join us at our Career Date Night to mingle with some industry experts, business owners and inspiring entrepreneurs and listen to their success & failure stories and career journey.

Register your interest here!




Posted by Lynn Hoang


Experienced client & business manager - helping businesses grow financially and operate efficiently

Andrew Ford

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.