“I was a person full of arrogance, hate, greed, jealousy and such…I was on my way up in every way, making a great achievement in the company. As I was promoted, I caused pain on numerous subordinates to achieve the business results. If anybody did something wrong I let them go. I acted in a charismatic way—for better business results. My arrogance and vigorous mind were so severe. I am a bit relaxed nowadays, whereas before I only thought about work. I thought I could do anything by myself if I was determined. Recently, I’ve been realizing once again that nothing can be done without God’s support.”
I met Kang Yongkoo in Seoul and was taken aback by his very polished “top management” dress and demeanor. As Kang Yongkoo’s story unfolded, I was deeply touched with his insights of working in a big corporate culture and how it can bring out the worst in us until we change. He was on his way up to become the CEO role of a major cosmetics company in South Korea. He describes himself as arrogant, greedy—truly intoxicated by power and thinking about work only.
Then he was pushed out in a power shuffle. Determined to continue his path to success, he bought a company but in an industry he did not understand sufficiently—he lost that company. For what seemed unrelated at the time, he was hospitalized for a severe stomach ailment and was told that he was dying. A friend of his came to the hospital to see him and prayed for him. He healed, and he was never the same again. He began reading the Bible and going to church every day.
Kang Yongkoo traded in his corporate life for a life in ministry, leading a Christian organization that serves the needs of families in the military (the same job his friend who came to pray for him once held). His story reminds me that my own struggle with “the need to be right” and “the need to be important” is something that I must work to overcome every day…and that faith in others and God, not just my own will, is how that comes about.