In today’s episode, I’m talking with business advisor, current Managing Director at Diversified Search, Tony Leng. Tony experienced early success in his career, followed by perceived failure when he moved his entire family from South Africa to the U.S. to follow God’s call.
Discover how Tony’s experience of “failure” in an intense season of challenges that involved his faith, money, health, and career were part of the plan the entire time.
1 – Spiritual Success and Worldly Success Don’t Always Overlap
Tony prayed a classic prayer, asking that if God wanted him to move to the United States, that he would provide an open door. While the door definitely opened, it was not the way Tony expected it to. He had a job, but he wasn’t qualified for it and he lacked the confidence to do it, which felt very unfamiliar.
In faith for God’s plans for Tony and his family, he had burned his safety net and sold everything at home in Johannesburg to move to the states. In the US, the Lengs were technically safer physically, but they were barely able to pay the bills. Tony’s career no longer felt successful, but God was making him more successful in his faith and maturity in this season.
2 – Make a Habit of Remembering
The character in the Bible that Tony relates with most is John the Baptist. John was someone who spent a lot of time with Jesus and chiefly aware of his mission and purpose on Earth. And still, John experienced a lot of doubt and a lot of moments where nothing seemed to go according to plan.
So if you find yourself crying out “Is this really what you wanted for me Lord?”, take a moment to look back at how God has met you in moments that felt like this one. Consider how you felt before you knew the outcome. Consider how God met you in your fear and helped you move through it.
The more we are able to take time to remember through habits like journaling, the quicker we will be able to trust God when nothing looks like it’s going according to plan.
3 – Surround Yourself with People That Know You and Your Journey
In addition to being able to look at how God has been faithful in the past, Tony emphasized how important it is to actively surround yourself with people who trust God but who have known you through many different seasons of your life.
When you’re riding a roller coaster of feast or famine, it’s not wise to use our emotions as a compass. Find your people and give them the permission to be the truth-tellers in your life. When you have trouble remembering how God provided for you before, rely on them to retell the story. And be ready to return the favor just as often.
Professionally, Tony is a Chartered Accountant and CPA – but claims he was never any good at numbers. He was born in Cape Town, completed his High Schooling at Haileybury College in England, studied at the University of Cape Town, did his articles with Coopers & Lybrand in Cape Town and San Francisco (where he got the CPA), and then moved back to Johannesburg to work for M-Net (Multichoice). He was CEO of a Credit Bureau, ran a Telecoms company, was CEO of a public IT company, and in 2001 moved back to the USA.
He met his wife Esme while in South Africa and married her in San Francisco. His wife and her parents, particularly her father, played a big part in him coming to know the Lord.
While in South Africa he and his wife had 4 boys. Tony says he has lived his life back to front, with lots of overt success early followed by some real challenges when he came to the USA when it came to his career, faith, health, and money.