My #1 advice is that no one is perfect. We are all dealt a hand of cards in life, like in the game of poker. We cannot change the cards we are dealt with but can play them to the best of our abilities.
A question I ask on my podcast is how to turn a negative situation into a positive one. I have reflected on this question in regards to my own experience. Growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I faced many prejudices during the Troubles. I was not accepted during my childhood and was often bullied; however, I did not let this bring me down. Although I was a Chinese kid on the outside, I grew up with many western influences. Later in my life, after graduating from university, I expected to go to Hong Kong to start my career as a lawyer. Stepping into Hong Kong, I was seen as an outsider. This identity issue I have had all my life continued even after going to Hong Kong, where I was supposed to be the same.
After experiencing and learning from these differences, I have since overcome them with positivity and understanding the advantages of having two feet planted in two different worlds. This is why I am incredibly passionate about bringing people and cultures together through innovation and business. Each person needs to find their "edge" that makes them different and unique; this is how I turned a perceived negative into a positive.
Last week, I shared with you about my greatest mentor, my Father. However, our family's legacy is built upon the decision of my Great-grandfather to focus on educating my Grandfather so that he could transition the family away from being poor farmers. This intention to invest in education led to my Grandfather leaving Hong Kong at a young age on a two-month boat journey through Singapore to Colombo to Liverpool. After a few years of working in Chinese restaurants and saving enough, he opened up his restaurant, which he had been determined to do. That is how our family businesses started, and the same values are represented today throughout the DNA of our family office.
I share this with you because I am proud of my family history, and secondly, this proves that hard work, grit, willpower, and determination can change your life and that anything is possible. Never give up, or think that you have to settle for the box you or someone else had put yourself in. Dare to dream and dream big.
I feel fortunate to have had various mentors throughout my career, from when I first stepped into Law and navigated my way into finance. My greatest mentor would have to be my Father. Every day, I reference everything he taught me, whether it be values, Chinese culture, and the importance of education. He would always say to me, "Be in control of the car, don't let the car control you." A simple concept that has kept me present and focused on never letting any environment or external individuals control me or my path.
I am incredibly proud to be from a Hakka Chinese background. Although I speak in English, I think with a Hakka mindset. I attribute my hard work ethic and deep-rooted values to my Hakka heritage. As a Global Citizen and someone striving to create impact, I believe in advancing by unlearning what we don't need and using a combination of eastern philosophy mixed with modern innovation.
I believe you must embrace failure to achieve success; it is a process. You must keep trying, never giving up, and constantly learning. Since I was a young kid in Belfast, I have failed many times throughout my career but have picked myself back up each time. If you have this attitude, nothing can stop you.
At Tsangs Group, we value a never-give-up perspective from staff who go the extra mile and learn. Most of all, they need to take ownership of what they are doing and treat the business like their own. Taking accountability and ownership leads to achieving more success. What are your non-negotiables for new hires?
My biggest mistake as an investor has been trusting the wrong people. It is extremely crucial to set controls and mechanisms and conduct the proper due diligence to mitigate risks. Always go with your gut feeling and also look at the facts, numbers, and figures; these never lie.
There is no secret formula I can give entrepreneurs and investors for success. Anything possible; no one is perfect. This notion is a common thread amongst almost 40 people and counting I have interviewed for my podcast, Anything is Possible. They have all uniquely paved their path
However, I will share this. There are always different ways to achieve the life you want, but you must have a vision, and you must work hard to accomplish the vision. Think, plan, and execute, but remember to be agile and adaptable.
As an investor, I often get asked what I look for in potential businesses and entrepreneurs? The number one trait that I look for is integrity. Without integrity, there is no trust, value, and partnership. Without that, nothing can be sustainable and lead to success.
My foundation is built on my experience as a child in the family-owned Chinese restaurant business. From a young age, I have seen the grit it takes to be an entrepreneur. Being an investor now, I see that most entrepreneurs do what they love not just because of the money; it is their life, not just considered work, and it becomes an addiction for them. However, there needs to be an emphasis for this generation of entrepreneurs to find balance, whether in their mental health or spending time with family, or finding hobbies, as it is not just about high performance, numbers, and driving forward. Ultimately, being the best version of yourself reflects the vision, passion, objectives, and results of an entrepreneur.
I am an advocate for risk-taking. Most of you see me in my role as an investor. However, I started as a lawyer early on in my career. I attended law school to satisfy my parents and could not imagine myself being in law for the next 30-40 years. Take more risks and see where they lead. Love and be good at what you do. Leave a comment if you have taken risks in your career, and where did they lead?
How are you leading and building your team? My leadership style is simple: work hard and lead by example. My main intention is to encourage my team to be autonomous, make decisions, make mistakes, and to keep growing. If individuals do not grow, then our mission will not succeed.
Do you believe in luck? There is much we cannot control, like where we are born and who our parents are. However, you can create your luck and shape your circumstances by working hard, planning, having positive thoughts, and taking ownership of your destiny.
Principles and ethics navigate how we show up in the world. Honesty, integrity, service to others, positive thinking, and reputation are key factors in conducting how I show up every day. Remember that reputation can take a lifetime to build but can be taken away instantly in a moment of madness. What principles and ethics do you live by?
On my podcast, Anything is Possible, I ask each guest what books and or movies have inspired them. I decided to turn the tables and answer the question myself. Bruce Lee and his life story have always been an inspiration to me. One of my favourite movies is Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. I use his principles for life and martial arts philosophy when making life decisions. A book that I thought was fantastic is Principles by Ray Dalio. And lastly, the documentary, DEALT, featuring my good friend Richard Turner, the world's greatest card mechanic, featured on season one of my podcast. If you have the chance, I encourage you to read or watch one of the above. Comment below with a book or movie that has inspired you and why. Let's share the knowledge.
We are all trying to be innovative right now. Well, how is that possible? There are different ways in which I generate new ideas. I like to get my inspiration from reading, researching, and talking to people. Although travel is tricky right now, connecting with people through travel and jumping into unknown cultures has helped me find new approaches. Opening our hearts and souls to other cultures makes us realise we are more similar than we think at the core.
Anything is Possible is my life motto. Many people ask me what that means? Well, it is a straightforward equation that takes commitment and believing in yourself. What is your life motto?
Try your best
Never give up
Be the best version of yourself
Manifest positive thoughts
I recently took the entire Tsangs Group team on a walk to Lai Chi Wo, where my family has inhabited for over ten generations. It has a history of about 300 years and was named because villagers used to harvest lychees from the surrounding forest. I cannot be more proud because this Hakka walled village recently won an Award for Sustainable Development from Unesco Asia-Pacific.
I strongly believe team building is necessary to push the limits and be successful.
It has been over 8 months since I had hip surgery. And life has changed since then. I am even more motivated to spend every second of my day learning, building and innovating. During my time rehabilitating, I was working remotely and speaking at webinars. Many people came to me for advice especially younger people. This gave me the inspiration to start Anything is Possible interview series.
Here is a glimpse into part of my day in Hong Kong, heading the family office and spending countless hours filming for Anything is Possible to bring you unique and valuable content. I hope and believe we can inspire people to believe that Anything is Possible. There is always a bigger vision, but you cannot just see it; you have to just go for it.
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