When I first started Amasia, I prayed hard that God would grow our firm to become a great success. I told him that I’d go anywhere, meet anyone, do anything… whatever it took I’d do it. But instead of giving me a tactic or a strategy, he gave me a picture.
In my mind’s eye I saw my oldest son Kyan come to me with a startup idea. He pitched it to me and asked me to bless his business through an investment, by opening up my rolodex and promoting his solution to potential partners. Then God asked me “under what circumstances would you want to bless your son’s startup?”
The first thought that entered my head is that because he’s my son, of course I’d want Kyan to be successful. I want him to have every opportunity the world can afford him, for him to experience every joy and victory available because that’s what dads do. Fathers love their sons.
But then the mental video continued, and I saw two scenarios, one where Kyan energetically asked for that blessing “because I’m going to buy a company Ferrari, and when we blow up and make billions I’ll be the man, and all the girls will be after me. It’s going to be awesome! Apa, I know what I’m doing. I just need that initial investment and I can run with this and make it huge!”
Then in another scenario he implored “I’ll be careful with the resources and the credibility that you lend me with your name, and when we’re successful I want to use those compounded resources to give back and make the world a better place. Also, most importantly Apa, I know I can’t do this alone, so while I’m asking for your blessing now, I know this is really just the beginning of a journey together. I’m going to come back to you every day for advice about how to run this company, because I really value our relationship and your wisdom.”
Now in the first scenario I realized I’d still want my son to be blessed, but I’d be worried about dropping a big check into his company because it’d actually really hurt him in the long term. I’d probably drip feed the investment to make sure he spent each cent wisely, and hopefully he would learn the lessons of humility and proper prioritization along the way.
But in the second scenario, I would not only want my son to be blessed, I’d feel totally confident about writing a big check and pulling every resource in my capacity behind him to make him successful because his character was mature enough for his calling.
I felt God trying to impress upon me that as a father, of course he wants my business to be successful. And as an all-powerful being, he has the means to bring about incredible outcomes in the snap of a finger. But often I’ve found that the first order concern is not what he can do through me, but what he can do in me.
Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In our work and relationships, we often seek external change in our circumstances, but that must first start with transformation within. When we gain the humility, selflessness and love that come from an intimate walk with God, the worldly outcomes naturally follow as an outflow.
PS: Since those early days my two older boys Kyan (7) and Luke (5) have started their first company with K-Pop producer extraordinaire Elmo of Double Dragon fame. Please check out Sonically (which is also the music curriculum for my wife’s startup Trehaus). Thankfully the boys aren’t talking about a company Ferrari… yet.
-- John Kim