Be Willing to Take the Journey
Passion and loving what you do are what sets most of us on our career paths. In my career so far, four key tactics have been necessary to keep me moving toward my goals: tune out the naysayers; work every angle; embrace your differences; and take the journey. This is my advice to anyone who is building her career and pursuing a dream.
Always remember to tune out the naysayers. I’ve wanted to make movies since childhood. For just as long, people have been telling me why it would be hard for me to succeed. They remind me that the industry is male dominated, and few people of color are in leadership roles. Some people point out that I had no family or other connections to the entertainment industry. And within my traditional Asian family, choosing a creative career was a baffling choice.
In spite of a litany of reasons to choose another field, I chased my dream. Remembering to tune out the naysayers and focus on the work kept me moving forward.
As it turns out, embracing my differences helped me contribute to the creative process on multiple films. At times I’ve been the only woman or person of color in the room. Throughout my career I’ve worked on pushing past any fear or hesitation in favor of speaking up. Creative projects are stronger when ideas are generated and questioned by people with different perspectives. Who you are and the way you think matters. You and your team benefit when you embrace that and use those differences to achieve results.
To make your dreams come true, you have to work every angle. When I was in school, that meant taking on internships at multiple studios while I was a full-time college student and juggling a part-time job to pay for school. In 2017, when we were working on two films (Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4) simultaneously, I worked every angle possible to make sure we had the right plan and great execution to do something that had never been done.
In order to achieve something new, whether it’s a personal first or a company first, be willing to take the journey. Say yes to challenges and focus on growth more than outcome. Ten years ago, I didn’t know where my career at Marvel would take me. Looking back, I would tell my younger self, “Don’t worry so much. Just go on that ride, and don’t worry about the outcome.”
That’s good advice for anyone just starting out or starting over. If you have passion, be willing to take the journey and you’ll have no regrets when you achieve your goals.