A Simple Strategy to a Career You Love

Sharing the people, place and practices I learned from Ken Coleman’s book The Proximity Principle

Wang Yip
5 min readJul 4, 2022


Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

The Proximity Principle by Ken Coleman is a book with a simple but powerful idea for how you might get a career you love. The principle focuses on three big topics.


Ken says there are five people that you need in your life to get closer to your dream job. You probably already know (or even have) some of these kinds of people in your life:

  • Professors — these are the people that will teach you the skills you need for your dream job
  • Professionals — these are the people that are working in the field you are interested in — they are the best of the best. Some of them may even be working your dream job.
  • Peers — these are the people that will challenge and learn alongside you
  • Mentors — these are the people that offer guidance and help. Note that they do not have to be in the same field or even your dream job field.
  • Producers — these are the people that create jobs and hire — often partners, C-suite individuals, HR directors, etc.

To get closer to your dream job, you need these 5 kinds of people — people to help you learn the skills you need, people that can serve as the north star for you, people that can learn alongside you, and people that can offer guidance and people that connect you to the opportunities you want.

One way of understanding if you have these 5 kinds of people in your life is to go to LinkedIn or your Rolodex, list out these 5 types of people (professionals, peers, etc.) and then categorize each individual in your network according to these 5 types — and specifically around what your dream job/field is (I’ve assumed here that you already know what your dream job is).

If you don’t have the right kinds of people in your network, you can leverage your weak ties — that is people that aren’t connected directly to you but are connected to people in your network (i.e., two degrees of separation). In some ways, asking your weak ties for opportunities can be less intimidating and less of a reputational risk than asking your network…



Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at www.wangyip.ca