The Big Mistake New Graduates Make When Starting Their Careers

05/12/2015 11:48 am ET | Updated May 12, 2015

How do you go from being a radio station mascot to leading one of the largest media companies in the world? Only Erik Logan, the co-president of Oprah Winfrey Network, is uniquely qualified to answer that question. Before he landed at the helm of OWN, Logan's career had more humble beginnings -- and, as he tells #OWNSHOW in the above video, there was no better place for him to start.

"It starts with finding what your real passion is. For me, when I was in the mascot outfit... I loved what I was doing," Logan says. "I wasn't totally sure where it was going to lead... But as you lean into it... that's when the door [opens] and windows of opportunities come your way."

Finding your passion is one thing, but transforming a dream into a career can be another overwhelming undertaking. New graduates, especially, tend to think it's crucial to hold out for the "perfect" job just to get that dream going. Logan, however, says this may be one of the biggest mistakes a new graduate can make.

"Don't look for the perfect opportunity," he advises. "I certainly didn't find the perfect one -- what I found was something that felt like generating some momentum in that direction that I was going. So, your first job should be good enough to get you moving. That momentum of your life is really what you want to have happen."

When young people overlook the importance of this momentum, they risk losing out on the opportunity that could be the stepping stone they didn't realize they needed.

"Sometimes, I see people out of college look for the perfect job, and what happens is opportunities pass them by," he says. "They don't develop that inertia. That inertia, I think, is really key to get your life jump-started out of college."

Of course, the media exec still emphasizes the importance of staying true to your dreams and goals.

"We all, in a perfect way, think about where we want to be... I'm not saying don't do that," he clarifies. "What I am saying is, what comes your way may not be exactly what you think it is. You have to look at the opportunity and sort of turn it around a little bit and go, 'Yes, this moves me toward that dream.'"

Doing this, Logan adds, helps you move through the inevitable changes that occur as you grow and as your outlook evolves. "What you'll realize as you move through life [is that] the dream that you had at 19 will look different than the dream you have when you're 23," he says. "It always... shifts. So, it's about that movement, that inertia and that momentum."

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