Getting ‘picked’ last wasn’t fun at school. Don’t let it happen in your career

For many, sitting back and waiting for a job to come along is sure to bring back school flashbacks of getting picked last. There’s an alternative.

Getting ‘picked’ last wasn’t fun at school. Don’t let it happen in your career
[Photo: Presidio of Monterey]

Everyone remembers the nervous uncertainty of waiting to be picked for a team at school. Standing against a wall, hoping you won’t be the last kid chosen, with the refrain “pick me, pick me” running through your head.


Then, finally, you’re chosen. But, after a brief sigh of relief, you realize it’s not the team you want to be on. The players don’t include you. They never give you the ball. They don’t acknowledge your efforts. But at least it’s better than not being picked—or is it?

If you’re unemployed or unhappy with your current job, you may still be experiencing this feeling as an adult. According to a 2017 Gallup World Poll, 85% of people who are employed don’t like their job. In addition, 43% of U.S. college graduates are underemployed, meaning they work jobs that do not require a college degree, while 65% of graduates in Europe—approximately 19 million people—are unemployed.

All of these people have one thing in common: They are waiting to be picked.

But that’s not the way to find a fulfilling career. And it certainly won’t inspire you to be the best you can be. So, instead of waiting to be picked—pick yourself. By doing so, you’ll be able to pursue your passion, achieve success, and ultimately change your life.

If I can do it, so can you. Here’s how I made the decision to follow my passion and start my own business:


When I was younger, I worried that I would never be picked

When I finished my education I had £15,000 in debt, was living at home with my parents, and didn’t own a mobile phone or a computer. I thought I would never be picked. Not by an employer, a girlfriend, or anyone. And I had no idea what to do about it.

I felt lost andfor a brief timeeven suicidal.

This all changed when I had the courage to pick myself.

Today, I have a beautiful wife, a wonderful son, and a lovely house, and I do something I love every day while also helping others. There’s nothing special about me. If I can do this, you can too. And it starts with a simple action.

What does it mean to ‘pick yourself’?

Picking yourself is not buying into the latest “get rich quick” scheme. And it’s certainly not accepting the “Please hire me, and when you’re done fire me” job situation that many fall into.


Instead, it’s about knowing what motivates you and pursuing it. The key to success is doing something that you feel passionately about, which also brings value to other people.

I began my business with a free haircut. Sitting in the chair I explained to my hairstylist everything I loved doingteaching, acting, and communication. After hearing my story he made me an offer: I’d get a free haircut if I would teach his employees how to communicate with their clients.

At first, I said “no.” I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. The next time I got my hair cut, my hairstylist wouldn’t let me go without taking him up on his offer. I agreed, and what happened next surprised me. His employees liked my training session so much that I was asked to do the same thing for the company’s chain of salons.

The real “ah-ha” moment came a few weeks later when I received a phone call from the manager of a large engineering company. He needed someone to train his staff for an exhibition. Our mutual hairstylist had recommended me!

One free haircut in exchange for doing something I love allowed me to establish and grow my businessall through recommendation and word of mouth. Nineteen years later, I now run a multi-million-dollar company and train 10,000 people a year.


And it’s all thanks to an opportunity that allowed me to do what inspires me and sharing that passion with others.

Once you choose yourself you can find success—and even start your own business

Forget what everyone tells you about starting your own business.

You don’t need to be a certain age, have a college degree, or money in the bank to pick yourself and start doing what you love. When I started my business I didn’t have a desk, I shared a computer with my dad, and I had already spent everything the bank would lend me, with only a few pennies to my name.

What I did have was a passion people would pay me for. I found what inspired me and translated that drive into a profitable living. And you can do the same.

No matter what profession you decide to pursue, I’ve learned building a successful business requires three things:

  • Do one thing well. Identify something you love to do and that people will pay you for. Then learn to execute that one thing the best you can. Start by writing a list of everything you absolutely love doing and feel passionate about. Write a list continuously for 10 minutes, while perhaps listening to some inspirational music to get your passion flowing. Then circle the things that you think people might pay you to do. Next, consider this—could you imagine earning $1,000 in your first year of doing this as a side hustle? If so, could you imagine earning $1,400 in your second year? Guess what? If you keep going at that rate of growing your side hustle from $1,000 by 40% per year you’ll be earning $1 million per year from it within 20 years.
  • Become an expert at communicating. If you want to succeed in business, in life, and in relationships, you need to be a good communicator. It’s essential to building new contacts while also maintaining those you already have.
  • Fulfill your potential. These three words will be your motivation when things get tough. Remember your passion, stay focused, and never stop working toward your vision. Don’t compete with anyone else; compete with yourself.

The key to finding real success isn’t waiting for someone else to pick you. Sure, you can always play it safe and count yourself among the 85% of people who don’t enjoy their work, and the millions who are waiting in line to get hired.

Or you can find something that you love doingsomething that other people will benefit fromand get paid to live out your passion.

This article originally appeared on Minutes and is reprinted with permission.