Why the CEO of Yum China wants young professionals to keep on learning — even when times are tough

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Now the CEO of China's largest restaurant company, Joey Wat didn't always know that she would end up in food retail — let alone be the leader of a major group.

So for those who are just starting out in their careers and are undecided on what they truly want to do, Wat has some key advice:

"Keep learning — no matter where we are in our life, in our career," Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China, revealed to CNBC's Akiko Fujita last month.

Newly-appointed to the position of CEO, Wat didn't always have a job in food retail. Before working for her current company and other retail groups, Wat spent seven years in the management consulting industry, including time at McKinsey & Company.

"It took me a long time to find what I am passionate about. One of the reasons why I kept on doing consulting was because I didn't know what I was truly passionate about, until I found out that I really liked retail."

"I realized that I really enjoyed the pace, I enjoyed the common sense, I enjoyed the result-driven business — but before then, I didn't know."

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When people start out in their careers, they may not know exactly what they want to do — but that's OK, Wat explained to CNBC in an episode of "Life Hacks Live."

Wat actually gained a lot of insight on the industry she currently works in back when she was a teenager. Speaking to CNBC at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong, Wat recalled that she worked in a restaurant when she was 15 — a part-time job she did for three years before university.

"I learned so much," Wat said when recalling her part-time job. She explained how surprised she was by how influential her time at the restaurant had been on her current job, with Wat saying that she refers back to her experience, to see how it can apply to current situations, or even be done differently.

Just hang on in there and keep learning, because life is a journey.
Joey Wat
CEO of Yum China

"I believe that for young people to find out what they want to do early on in their life — they are really lucky, good for you! That's fantastic! For many young people (however, they) probably are still in the searching process — and that's OK. Keep learning, because you never know when this particular experience will be beneficial for your future."

"Everyone will go through obstacles. When things get really tough, just remember one thing: 'Hang on in there'."

"Just hang on in there and keep learning, because life is a journey — whether you learn from the good times, or the bad times, they are all good (experiences) if you look back. There's always a silver lining," she said.

Life Hacks Live is a series produced by CNBC International for Facebook, where tomorrow's leaders get to ask some of the world's biggest influencers for advice. You can watch the full interview here.