You Can Create a Beautiful Life

My parents moved from Seoul, Korea in 1975, when I was just 12 years old. When my mother enrolled me in school, I didn’t know a single word of English. I remember that first day of school—scared, curious, and excited all at the same time. Some days I came home crying. Before long, though, I was speaking enough English to make friends and enjoy school. Now, whenever I’m faced with a new, challenging situation, I look back at the 12-year-old me and smile. I know I’ll figure it out, and things will turn out all right.

Like many fellow immigrants, my story is filled with challenges that have helped shape me into the person I am today. Were it not for my mother and father’s drive and grit, their entrepreneurial spirit, and ability to put me through college, I have no doubt that my life would have followed a different path. Most important, it was in watching my parents make the sacrifice of leaving their home, their family, and everything familiar, and rebuilding everything in the United States that gave me the inspiration to excel in my own endeavors.

Immigrants like my parents come to the United States with a dream for a better life for their children. This dream, and their ardent desire to achieve it, enables them to face trials and tribulations that come with living in a foreign country. Perhaps that is why immigrants are some of the hardest working, bravest, and boldest people we are lucky to call our neighbors, colleagues, and friends.

I’m reminded of my experience and the values of the immigrant community when I watch my gardener. He is a Mexican immigrant who has overcome personal challenges and built a booming business from the ground up. Rain or shine, he is the happiest and hardest working person I know. He reminds me of what’s important: Work hard, but don’t forget to enjoy life.

I am proud of my life’s work and to do what I do as COO & founder of Perfect Company. I’ve enjoyed career roles across numerous industries, worked with incredibly talented people, and on a personal level, am proud to raise my children with a similar approach to how my parents raised me; they showed me that drive and commitment through hard times can help a person create a beautiful life. That has certainly been the case for me.