Aug 24 2018 Yuki Lee - Recruiter by day and musician by night!

Nelson Mandela said “I never lose, I either WIN or learn” I am extremely passionate about learning and sharing how some people struggle while others find a way to thrive, often despite the most challenging circumstances. I am intrigued by people’s journeys through life, stories of love, passion, loss, perseverance, and success.

Sometimes we need a little inspiration! That fuel to your fire that powers you through the difficult and often dark path we may find ourselves on, unsure, of what’s to come and discouraged by what has been. Every now and then we meet people that brighten our horizon, reignite our hope and our passion. It is often the simple, relatable and real stories about real people that warm our hearts and get our creative juices flowing.

Yuki Lee is an unassuming man, of Korean descent but born and raised in Tokyo. At first glance, his calm, mild-mannered demeanor masks the struggles he has overcome and the determination it has taken, his success is misleading though well-deserved and his story modest and yet infectious.

His story speaks to those of us who have had a dream, a hope a passion. Something we aspire to but hold off till a later supposedly more ideal time. We stumble through life, avoiding our true love, for fear it is not time, how many times have you caught yourself say I am not ready yet.

We have become masterful at formulating reasons why it is not feasible at least not right now. Don’t get me wrong it’s not easy I know, and Yes some of our reasons may be valid, but to quote a wiser man than me. “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”.

So, with hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, heartache, this often-winding road will lead to success if we continue to tread it and learn.

Love is Born!

Music has always been a staple in Yuki’s life, influenced by his father’s love for 60-70s music, and though he may deny this in public his love for mainstream pop and rock. At age 14 he picked up the bass inspired by his brother who had started to learn the guitar and was determined to play with him. His love for music grew and led him to join his schools brass band club where he discovered the double bass he now plays masterfully. As most of us can attest to; sometimes our dreams take a kick to the face from reality and we find ourselves at a crossroads. Having to decide whether to trudge on towards our dreams or embrace reality and step away hoping it is only for a season.

The Kick that changed it All!

At 22 years old faced with the inevitable kick most musicians face; the long hours of practice, the financial constraints and how these things can drain your passion. As a young man he had to look deep within and ask himself a poignant question, “Would I give up everything for music”.

His answer to this question took me by surprise, with a desire to pursue music, unwilling to embrace the life of a struggling musician and unable to see a way to success he decided to walk away from music in the pursuit of other possibilities that could help him to build his music career. Since he was not following the mainstream music path that limited how much money he could make and he didn’t want to do it half-heartedly without complete focus and dedication, after all, devotion matters.

But what do you do when you have put all your focus, all your energy, all your strength all you have into one thing. You sacrifice everything for your dream, you drop out of college for your dream and now with no formal college education, no real work experience, no money, how do you change your life. There is an old African adage that says know your roots for the future is unknown.

Well for Yuki his roots were clear to him and so he decided to become a recruiter.

“Why recruiting? I really wanted to utilize my skills and personality. I quit college in 2nd grade of college to focus on music but after deciding to focus on building my career I realized that a sales-related role would be the only path to success. It was obvious that roles like banking or engineering were not my choice as they needed long years of investment. I believed in my energy and personality which allows me to enjoy communicating with others. In this sense, sales seemed like the perfect fit and it would possibly offer a high reward.”

It is easy to lull yourself into a deep career slumber, to postpone to procrastinate until that which you desired is but a distant memory. This was an incredibly difficult decision but really the only option he had. Was it risky? YES, it was a big risk, a telling and winding journey filled with lots of ups and downs but through it emerged fulfillment and true purpose.

Our passions, dreams, and hopes are all really a culmination of our experiences, the sum total of all the ups, downs the good, the bad, the happy the sad and everything in between that works to shape who we are.

1+1= Happy!

An unlikely path can often times lead us to wonderful opportunities and moments of self-discovery we never imagined. I was skeptical, I mean you wanted to be a musician, to play music that matters and you are a recruiter.

How could this possibly bring you closer to your dream…?

With a chuckle and a telling smile, Yuki continued to tell his story…

“It’s not just sales, it’s about finding the right person for the right opportunity it’s like a messenger from heaven, I can develop candidates confidence I can show them what they can do, what their skills can help and the options available to them you can see the change in their eyes, it will make a brighter future for them by understanding where they are in the market and help them get a better job. Be a catalyst for change in people’s lives.”

What a brilliant awakening in the pursuit of one dream he was able to discover recruiting and to find fulfillment in both. We are taught that our income should be derived from our passions, and if you are unable to monetize your passion it is often times relegated to the status of a hobby. We limit the effort we put in it and do not explore it further and we find ourselves working to live and stuck in the endless pit of routine watching creativity and passion drift away.

6 years after making the fateful decision to step away from music, it has all finally come full circle. A successful career in recruiting and the relentless pursuit of his hopes of musical success. Yuki is part of a 6-man Jazz band that performs all around Tokyo at some of the most popular jazz venues. But this doesn’t mean it comes easy; without a record label’s backing and as he puts it we don’t have attributes like youth or beauty to help us sell so we need to have a higher level of talent. Despite the numerous obstacles they face Yuki is able to overcome them by leveraging skills he has developed from his years in recruiting, building a following by utilizing social media or his vast network.

With gleeful wonderment and excitement, he explained to me how their band Fontana Folle was able to successfully complete their first concert in Indonesia. Using connections, they were able to have a 2-day performance at the largest jazz venue in Indonesia. This was also coupled with visa issues for some of the band members from Japan, which meant they had a concert scheduled but not enough musicians to play. He was able to connect with local musicians and able to use his recruiting skills to help his music career. His ability to build relationships and play the game of numbers by unapologetically calling as many people as he can to find a gig or find musicians has paid dividends for his music career.

What I have learnt from my talk with Yuki Lee is that there are multiple ways to achieve your dreams, dreams are pursued and not intrinsically in us. We have to be creative, we have to be relentless and we have to be willing to ask ourselves the difficult questions and continually learn from our failures, and struggles. His journey started with the bass and led him to recruiting and together they offer him fulfillment and growth.

Yes, it may be difficult, yes there are numerous obstacles but what are you doing to achieve your dreams. Are you aware of the resources, skills or attributes you can leverage to fan the fires of growth and lead you to your dream!

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