The Wisdom and Wealth Podcast

Tony Kipkemboi: Intangible Balance Sheet Episode 50

October 05, 2023 Joshua Klooz
The Wisdom and Wealth Podcast
Tony Kipkemboi: Intangible Balance Sheet Episode 50
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to this week's episode where we hear from Tony Kipkemboi. Tony was born in Kenya but emigrated to the United States, graduated from college, served in the military and now has a successful business career.  This is an incredible story full of life lessons and enouragement.  Thank you Tony for sharing more about your life's work which is undergirded by faith, family, hard work,  and belief. 

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JOSH KLOOZ, CFP®, MBA
WEALTH ADVISOR

Phone 281.719.0036
Text 281.699.8691
Fax 281.719.0156
jklooz@carsonwealth.com

1780 Hughes Landing | Suite 570
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Music by bensound.com




Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome in again to another Wisdom and Wealth podcast. I'm Josh Clues, the scene wealth planner for Carson Wealth here in the Woodlands, texas. Today is another of our Intangible Balance Sheet episodes and I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming Tony Kip Kimboy to our podcast. He's gonna share a little bit more about his Intangible Balance Sheet and his life story and I'm excited to have this conversation and delve deeper into your balance sheet. Welcome, tony. Thank you so much for your time and welcome to the podcast.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you. Thank you, it's a pleasure being here. I really appreciate your time and being able to share my story here as well.

Speaker 1:

Yes, absolutely. And so, for those delistiners that maybe newer, the whole concept of an Intangible Balance Sheet is that most of life is measured in numeric terms. You know, for better or for worse, and I believe that all of us have this Intangible Balance Sheet that goes along with our actual financial balance sheet that is comprised of our first principles, ultimately our morals, values and belief systems, and a lot of these things are passed down from our families, but they're most effectively passed down through stories, because those kind of take root in our minds and whether it's our generation or the next generation, and so I'm excited just to hear more from your story, tony. But before we dive in, can you give us just a brief background of yourself before we dive into formal questions?

Speaker 2:

Oh yes, absolutely For me, born and raised in Kenya to be specific, eldarad, kenya, is a small town up in the northwest part of Kenya, east Africa, and born there, raised until I was 19 years old when I moved to the United States, I came on athletic scholarship so I did run 100%, fall into the stereotype of a Kenyan, so ran Cross Country and Track. I got a scholarship, 100% scholarship, to run at the NZAA Division II School of Cross Country and Track and then subsequently, I guess after a series of events, now I'm here. But yeah, that's kind of like my background in a short snippet, but I guess I can also touch my siblings, kind of things like that. So my family, my parents, it's like a polygamous. Well, it is a polygamous family. So my dad had two wives, or still has two wives, and so from my mother's side there's five of us, three brothers and one sister, and on the other, mother, stepmother, four brothers and one sister as well. So kind of like same as equal on both sides. I'm the second born on my mother's side, in that sense.

Speaker 1:

Now, do you still run, like you know, competitively at all? Is it possible for you to run for fun after you've run competitively for that many years? All I remember is so I went to a Division II school as well, and I did not run Track, but all I remember is it seemed like the guys that were in the cross country and Track team were like they were putting miles on the odometer any time I turned around, which was pretty crazy.

Speaker 2:

Yes. So for me, I think that the big change now when I I don't really complete college in a sense, when I came here for that scholarship so a little background I went to that Division II school for a year and I think about a year and a half, and then I ended up transferring to Division I school in Louisiana. It's called Grambling State and the first school that I went to was called well, it's called Young Harris College. It's in North Georgia, northwest Georgia, in the Appalachian Mountains. So it was a really interesting transition for me and part of me but I segue a little bit on this. So the school I chose that school specifically because it was in the mountains and I was really interested in biology and I felt like that was a good playground for me to go learn stuff about biology in the Appalachian Trail, and so it was perfect. And it was a small Christian school. I think it was like 1500 students in total, the entire, the entire school. So it was a good ratio for me to be able to interact with a lot of people and more like Christian environment and I got to learn a lot from there. And I transferred to the Grambling State University in Louisiana, famous for their marching band and while I was there, it was really fun too because I got to experience like the other opposite side of the country and culture as well, because the first school was like 99% white in terms of race and the school that I went to in Louisiana was HBCU so it was like 99% historical black diversity. So I got the best of both worlds and just kind of being able to learn, coming new from Africa, so that was pretty fun for me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, now, as you think back on your growing up period, are there any stories that influence you, coming from your parents, your grandparents, that are pivotal to your family and to kind of your formation growing up?

Speaker 2:

Yes, wow, that's a pretty interesting question. When I read it as well, as you said, there's a lot of stories for me it's definitely. I've shared a bit here and there with a lot of people and most people have suggested to me maybe you need to write a book at some point, but I don't know about that yet. But for me there's a lot of stories that I can share. First of all, my great. I was lucky enough to be able to see my great-grandfather before he passed on. I think I'll show him for a brief video moment. At least, when I was, I knew what I was looking at and I knew how to communicate. Then I was very young but I got to see him, although he wasn't able to see me because he had lost vision and things like that of old age. I think it was in the hundreds, if I'm not wrong at that time. But he used to work for the British colonialist. As you know, kenyan was kind of colonized by the British back in day and he used to work for the colonialist that lived in that area and with the colonialists left he was able to. He inherited the house because I think he was that lead servant or something of that sort. The story is really a blurry in a case, since it's handed down for the most part. But he used to work for them and he used to get a small piece of the pay and for that time as well they took over the house and my great-grandfather now grew up in the house and now stays in the house and fortunately by time as well. I grew up in the house because I used to visit a lot and my grandpa also. It's also like a polygamous family. He has three wives. One of them is my grandmother and she was 93, so pretty. They lived quite a good long life. I spent a lot of time with her growing up and that was a thing back then. They would just your parents would let you go, stay with your grandmother, stay with the grandmother for your first few years of growing up kind of formative years because they knew you would of course not disrespect the grandmothers and the grandfathers and they would teach you very valuable lessons. So for me that involved waking up in the morning, getting out the goats and the cow and taking them to graze. You would graze them in the forest. You live in the morning at like seven after they milk them and you come back at five in the evening so that they can get milk before they go to the zoos. And that was really fun for me because you would go in the bush, we just stay there and make sure it doesn't go eat somebody's crops or they don't get lost. Or if they get eaten by maybe a python or something, you're able to come back and say this one got eaten. Or because we do count in the morning and count in the afternoon. So if there's a miscount my grandfather it's one of the stories I remember he would make everybody go out, especially the older people. Like if you're not, unless you're a baby, then you stay at home, but if the cattle was missing, everybody's going out. Nobody's sleeping, grab your torches, lanterns, whatever, just everybody's gonna go to the forest and find the missing cattle. So that was always fun and that taught me accountability just from the get go. I have to make sure that I'm accountable for all the animals when they leave and they come back and just hard work as well. And that was on my father's side, on my mother's side as well. I got to see my grandfather and grandmother there as well. They're just humble people. They lived in a different section of the country not too far. It's called Katale, and I grew up with them also, I stayed with them for quite a while and they told me farming. So that's it's very odd for me at that point, but I learned how to be a good farmer, and by farmer just means you know that we would get like this diggin' hose and we'll go make sure, like the maize cause we had corn and we would plant corn and we used to. It was for also, apart from sustenance, we used to. They used to grow them and sell them for cash as well, to be able to have some money to be able to buy more for the next time. So my job was to make sure that when the farm is tealed by the tractor, be able to go behind it and make sure it's good and ready and then we'll just make the lines using our the digging hose. We'll make the lines and it would be like acres of land and it would take us like a week to do that and it would be like morning to evening. You eat lunch, you eat breakfast there, you eat lunch on the farm and sometimes you might even eat dinner there. So it was that intense and you just be covered with dust, and you do that morning to evening, morning to evening, for entire week. So that taught me hard work and what I really appreciated then was because they did recognize your hard work and they would praise you for it. So that always motivated me to go back and do it better the next day so I can get even better praise. But that taught me hard work and I knew nothing was easy and also kind of seeing the plans from the moment that the farm is tealed to the moment you put the seeds to the ground, they grow up, you put the fertilizer on it, you take out the weeds, because we just used the hose, we didn't spray it really, which so we used it manually to take them out. So we would do it like two times in a season and then also, once they're ready to be chopped, they rechop them and put them in stacks in the farm. So we'd have like maybe 100 stacks in the entire farm and then there'll be harvesting season. We were very involved in that as well and putting them in a tractor, taking them home, taking them out so that they get dry and sometimes put them in a bag. If there's not enough, put them in a bag and just kind of use a stick to hit them so that you can separate the cob from the corn itself and be able also like just kind of we use like those besons to you scoop them, you lift them up and the wind kind of blows the shaft away from it and then it's much cleaner. So kind of saw that entire process of doing that all the way to the plate. So that was very neat to see that process.

Speaker 1:

Now, were you able to save the shaft and stocks and such for animals, or was it?

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Okay, we got it.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, we did that for the animals and we'd have this machine I forget what it's called, but it would kind of like mill them down to like very kind of like, not too fine, but kind of like pieces, otherwise it'd be pretty hard, once it gets really dry, to break down. Exactly. And then we would put them in bags and we would scoop a little bit here and there every day to just kind of put it in a trough for them to eat, and we put some molasses on it as well and just mix them up real good and add the salt for them as well. So that was, and I also learned how to take your cattle as well, just kind of make sure they take them to the dip every Monday and make sure the ticks don't affect them, and also birthing cows and things like that. So those are like interesting things I did back then that I, when I look back, I'm like I'm glad I got those experiences.

Speaker 1:

So I too grew up on a small farm and ranch here in the States. But the one thing that caught my attention that I've people that know me well know I don't do. I don't do reptiles. So when you said it got, you know, an animal got eaten by a python. Did you ever witness that?

Speaker 2:

I witnessed one that's just been tangled up and it's kind of like breathing its last breaths. It's kind of like the ribs are crushed. Oh no, but other than that I never saw it like really the attack phase yeah but I was really young and I guess the crazy part for me in all that we were so young and after seeing something like that, there was still letters go out there and be the ones taking care of it, taking care of the animals, but it was, I guess, nobody, really nobody. The belief was it doesn't harm people it only eats animals. So if you see it, just let it go, don't try to do anything stupid, just kind of let it. Just let it do its thing, kind of thing.

Speaker 1:

It's as scared of you as you are of it. Kind of Exactly Kind of thing, yes.

Speaker 2:

And grandpa used to tell us this. But sometimes my sister would be like I want to go with them, but then we would try to scare her so she doesn't come with us. We're like, hey, there's snakes out there. They's like, remember, and yeah. And the grandpa would be like, yeah, maybe don't go, but just not that bad, just make sure you don't mess with it.

Speaker 1:

That's incredible. So now, as you, misha, it's the themes I hear coming through are just hard work and accountability, dependability, resourcefulness, things of that nature. As you think back with regard to your parents, are there any stories that come from their experience that you take with you to this day and that influence you?

Speaker 2:

Yes, I think one major one is from my mother. So my dad and my mom both worked in the he's like More of like a government prior status company called Kenya cooperative for creameries. So this is a small block of milk plants so farmers would take up the cattle milk there and then they would take the milk to that this factory and they would sell it. Paul leader to the government of the government would buy it and the government would take that milk and use it, of course, to produce other dairy products for the entire country for sale. And so my dad walked as a manager in one of those branches and of course they would rotate him several places Throughout the years. My mother worked in a lab within the within the milk factory and that's how actually they actually met in the beginning and my mom used to do milk testing for Milk quality. So she did things like butterfuck content measurement to make sure that the milk is of good quality before it goes up. So growing up my mom I remember she used to sometimes you got to a point where she she came home. It was this one milk plant she worked at and she would come home and she would. She would complain to my dad but also, like air, her concerns about the manager. This wasn't my dad, this was another milk plant that she. They worked in separate milk plants at that point, but the milk plant she worked at she noticed that the milk quality was low all the time. It wasn't satisfactory when she did the measurement. And then one time she noticed why that was happening and she found that that the manager, with some people, they were colluding and Actually scheming milk that comes in and they, I guess they used to sell that milk on the side and then they would dilute the milk with water so that they meet the quarter and so my mom did the quality checks. It wasn't. It wasn't meeting all the time. So she complained to them. She went through the due process all the way up to the chain and Nothing really ever happened. So she got. She got really upset about that and she ended up resigning from the job Because to her she was like I can't stomach this, I can't work at a place where Nothing is being done. I've reported it, so I'm just gonna. I'm just gonna separate myself from it. And I remember that time a lot of people were getting a tell her why you quitting was a good job. And you know, you got family, you got all these people and I mean, of course, my dad still worked, but a Lot of people were just concerned for her and they were asking her you know, why are you doing all this? This is it doesn't. It doesn't justify you leaving a job, kind of thing. And I remember her being really steadfast about it and Speaking what she thought was right, and I learned a lot from that moment. I told myself well, I think this is the right thing to do, because she felt she looked more happy even after when she left, because she was in. She's never really taken any other jobs. Since then she's just been doing her homework and being a being home, being his wife. But that taught me a very important lesson about integrity and just kind of doing things the right the right way.

Speaker 1:

Literally voting with your feet right, that's. That is such a neat story now. Is you think Back on. You know your childhood and even Transitioning you know to to your adulthood. Are there any stories that that you wouldn't mind sharing with us? As far as that you look back on, that are pivotal. That made it clear to you hey, I want to immigrate the United States, and and why?

Speaker 2:

Yes, that's also another very interesting beginning for me. So I'm not sure like the title of the movie, but I used to watch this movie when I'm growing up. This was like in the early 2000s when I was watching this, but not even already 2000. I think it was late, late 99s. So my mom used to, you know, she bought a small TV. It was like the red great we call them great wall TV with the knobs stuff. So you had like this black and white long to. It was really cool and vintage. But I remember watching a movie there one time. It's called McCall. I don't think it's called McCormick, but I think one of the characters of McCormick that this really cool Ray, not race car but like a sports car. That was really cool. I was going under the trucks and weaving around and it was like an action movie a little bit. So it's really cool. I loved it. But that kind of was the beginning, the seed that I person remember at least, thinking I want to go to the US. This is a very early age that I wanted. I was born in 92 and still in the 90s I was still sure that I want to come here at the end of the day and then you know you still my mom like a joke, I want to go there when I grow up. I want to go there when I grow up. Then that 911 happened. I was still in Kenya. I still remember that day, you know, watching the TV, seeing everything happening. I remember the channel is like, well, I just hear one of those. But I remember Watching everything coming down and my mom was like, well, I guess there goes. Your dream, because on the background story for this as well was, yeah, I was born a family with religion. My family was a little really weird thing going on with the religion. So we started off as Muslim and this was coming from my grandfather's side. I've never really gotten a real story or something concrete to say how this, how we all I mean how it started now, who picked up the flow was the first kind of convert and then the entire family was Muslim. But before that we were going to mosques and doing everything. But I was still still a child, so I was just going through the motions. You know you go there. You see people washing their hands. You wash your hands three times. What's your face? Go through those rituals and then go to the mosque and do the prayers. But then after the 9-11 happened, you know my mom was well, you can't go anymore. And you remember that time the Muslim Community was kind of like you know they got a heat for you know reasons well related to that time. And I remember my mom and I think but by then my name was Abraham, because had a Abraham Abraham version of and I remember my mom telling me well, you're gonna move the embassy, they're gonna look at your name, but they're just gonna say automatically that's a no. Because I used to tell I want to go, I'm gonna go. And after that I told her you know what I'm gonna change my name, I'm getting out of all this because I just don't want to, I just don't want to jeopardize my my nose. I was still young but I had that goal. I was just like I don't have jeopardize my goals, I'm gonna change my name. She was like well, we can call, I can call you the name that I wanted to give you initially, because her family was not Muslim, her family was Christian and my dad side was there. So I ended up getting out defecting and I think months, a few months later, almost in the entire family, even to my uncle, aunties, like I think 90% of them got out and they switched to Christianity. Some of them went to Catholics about. I went to other denominations as well, but I remember Most of them, almost everybody left and I don't know what triggered it, but I think for my personal viewpoint that was, for me at least, and since then I never really relented anymore and I, I, I pursued it with like just vigor. I remember when I was in high school I was thinking, okay, I'm gonna graduate high school. Then what happens after this one? I, you know, I'm starting looking for opportunity to the US and After researching a lot, I figured the easiest way for me to come was to add scholarships, because they were coaches that came to the you from the US, to Kenya, those scouts. So they're looking for athletes, since Kenya is not for having a long distance runners. And so I started running and, at least for me, nobody in my family ever ran before Professionally or anything. So I remember most of my family telling me, like, what are you doing? Is this for physical fitness, because nobody in our family ever ran. What are you trying to do? Like this is you know? You know, some people even went to the extent to say if you start running, it's like a joke, like if you're running or everybody else can run. Now you know kind of things and, and Back home you know, running is has a different connotation, was I Don't know if you can pause for a moment, just wanna, yeah, yeah, you, you, I'm sorry about that, no worries.

Speaker 1:

No worries, I have four kids too, so I get it. It's part of it, yeah 100%, thank you. So you had decided to start running and picking that up. Okay, great.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I started running. I had just graduated high school. I think that was the sem of 2010. And the way I guess high school is working? Kenya, you go for four years of college, high school, so we call it different names. I'm from two and from three and from four and after the four, from four. Everything over there, first of all, like the exam, is there's no multiple choice, so you have to write everything with ink and you fill in the blanks with just things you've memorized and digested over the four years and more of like. Your future hinges on that one exam at the end of your fourth year. If you pass that exam and they don't base it on your performance in the previous years or any other exam is just that one final exam. If you do good on that exam, that kind of sets your future and the government also kind of picks your major based on how you perform what subjects.

Speaker 1:

So no pressure. In other words, no pressure.

Speaker 2:

So the government is really cool today. They tell you give us five options of what majors you or what majors you want to do you want to pursue in college and they'll pick one for you. And most of the time they don't honor any of your suggestions based they're just going to come from, based on your performance and what subjects you did really good in. For me, there's always a cutoff point, because a million students are taking the exam, about 300 of them will get acceptance to university and the government is going to pay for you if you get accepted. But the rest of you that didn't get accepted is either you go back and repeat your fourth year of high school so you get the grade that qualifies, or if your family is really well off, they can pay for you to go. It's called parallel university, so you do what the other people are doing. You get to pick your major, but your parents have to come out the pocket with a lot of money for that. And then the other option is just to go to like a trade school or something, if your parents are able as well. So for most people it's a very hard time, stressful time and high school day was boarding. So you go to school for three months, you don't see your parents for three months. You come back home for a month and then you're off again. You go for another three months and then you come back for a month, just like that. So in the entire year you see your parents for maybe what Two months.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, about two months.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the entire year, and that was kind of like, I guess, for me and I was referencing that down the road. I think that plays a good role for me when I joined the military, so that's a separate case, but for me that time I was waiting for the results in 2010. And I told myself you know, I still got a year to wait for this because people have to go manually mark this exam because it's written by hand, so some teachers and we have to sit down and go through your paperwork and so you're. Handwriting is really terrible. You're out of luck because you'll get more of a grades because you know. No, not really part of your fault as well because of handwriting, but I ended up not getting a qualifying grade. I think I missed it by three points, but by then I decided I wanted to come to the US and I knew the path was trying to get a scholarship this couch that I mentioned in the beginning. They come to Kenya during the summertime. They try to recruit summertime for you. As they come, they go over there, they try to recruit for the fall season and so they usually people we all line up in a dirt track somewhere in one of the fields and people try out. So sometimes 50 people show up, 100 people show up, sometimes 200 people and there's a 5k. You know that's 12 laps on a 400 meter track and kind of duke it out. So if you're in the top five or top 10, depending on how many coaches are there they pick the top, maybe top one. Each school wants one person or two people. So your goals get top three to be guaranteed, you're going to get a school and top 10 to have even a shot. So I tried it several times and I trained for like six months only at that point and I remember I started training first because I didn't even have running shoes. I was running barefoot for like a week or something and then I quit because I got an injury from running barefoot and then I ended up running with canvas shoes. And then you know good grace from people that are professional athletes. So, if you know this, famous marathoners that come from Kenya, they're more like elite chagy, but then there's so many other people they're running that actually have some Some good professional experiences outside the country. So one of them offered me a pair of shoes that you weren't wearing as much and I started running with that. And I remember going some of these meets For tryouts and I would come in like second last during like the first couple months and it was horrible. I just told myself this is just hard 12 laps in a track. And then I got to train and training was three times a day. So you wake up at 5, you go for maybe a 10 mile run, you come back, eat breakfast, take a nap for maybe 30 minutes, do stretches. At 10 o'clock you're out again to the, to the fields, probably going to do some mile repeats on the track or I don't know. Four by four something, something just to build up your speed and then the evening of four in the afternoon, it would be an easy run. So probably five, five K, just super easy, just just to get your body ready for another intense work out the next day. The only days off we had was on Sundays only. So the rest of the the rest of the days was just Added three times a day. Saturday was one run in the morning but it was the longest run in the morning and that was it to close that to close the week for the weekend. So you would work about, we would look up a four and we would go. You're probably something around 20 miles and it was rough. I don't have to lie. My body went through a lot during that time. I know I ended up bleeding, kind of like peaking blood at some point, getting shots being out for like a week. Those were parts of my body ended up passing out several times just because exerting myself too much. But it taught me how to just kind of persevere with the pain and just kind of ignore the pain, which is kind of like the part that was very interesting. So To those six months of those intense training and failures I don't really call them failures, much more like trial, trial and it was in favor for me Also. Like just to train six months and go beat somebody that's been trained.

Speaker 1:

It's another way of looking at it.

Speaker 2:

I think yeah, exactly yeah yeah, I was trying not to be so hard on myself at the same time. You know, after 60 months I was pretty good, ended up going for one of the trials and Ended up coming in second place for that one and it was pretty intense feeling when I finally got to be able to get that position and Got picked up by the college some colleges as well, and the college in Georgia actually applied and it was really fun. The coach was really, I like talking to the coach, ended up accepting the offer from them over. Since college it went to the embassy. That was another challenge as well, because that time I think they were giving one in five people are getting visas and so there was a lot of rejection going on and you would have people Around you that I've gone, failed, came back and you see how they're feeling. But then you would also ask them questions. You know, what do you think they actually want or what do you think you're missing? Then I would try to correct that. I remember going to the internet and kind of like looking up a whole bunch of questions and how to prepare for interviews and just Questions that they potentially could ask the embassy. I remember rehearsing this in my mirror in my bedroom All the way, like three in the morning, just rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing. I would ask myself my question and then I would look at myself in the mirror answering the question and I remember, you know, ask myself the question in the beginning and I would just like fumble on it and I remember being so hard on myself and just telling myself it's not right, do it again, do it again, do it again. And I was like until it was three in the morning. I'm like, oh, I gotta sleep Because I have practice in the morning. So so that was really fun experience, but ended up getting the visa, which was really good. My interview actually ended up being like three minutes or something, so it was like do all this prep for for three minutes of your fame, but it was really fun, ended up.

Speaker 1:

So you come to the United States and what was that transition like? What do you remember from it? I mean because you've already overcome probably more friction and and more obstacles and you know Two, three, four year period than most people would in a lifetime. What was the transition like to the States?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, that was. Yeah, definitely it was rough at first. I mean, I still remember everything vividly, like if there was a way to port into somebody's brain and print out, like exactly create movies out of how you see things and you close your eyes and you can see it. It was really cool. That's just a slight tangent, anyway, but the first experience I had, you know, coming off the plane this was in Jackson Hartfield, atlanta Coach was there. We just had my name on a banner. He didn't. He didn't really know who I was like because he had never seen the picture, but he knew I was. You seen my times? Because back then I mean but Over there is really hard to get video because at one point I mean telling me, can you record yourself when you're running and start and see a video of you? but over there, you know, with You're running on a dirt track and it's like somebody's form when it's not being fun running on it. And so we had this one. At one point I had somebody on a motorbike and then somebody sit behind it and turn around Back in a day and try to record me. But it was so bumpy after I finished running like the mile, when I saw the video it was just not usable because it was just shaky everywhere. You can. You know me because but anyway, that was really fun. And then so when I got off the airplane, got off the runway, you know, just kind of coming in, walking into the, you know where, you got people with banners waiting for you. I saw him there and I went to him, was like hi, coach. I knew it was so happy and you know he was called. It was winter time, I was January 8th, I remember 2012, and it was called. He had snowed outside and I had my t-shirt on and I was just, you know, coming from Kenya's hot. You know, you know it's fine. I remember the first thing you told me you got a jacket. Yeah, they in my back Probably need to put like two on or something, because it's horrible outside. I was looking outside. I don't look that bad, but being in a building is a different thing from outside, so that was for a shock. I got so cold. I was like, well, I've never felt this cold ever in my life and it shocked me and I ended. I remember getting a call and asking him Is it always like this?

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm.

Speaker 2:

If it's always like this the entire time, like how do people run, like, are you like you expect me to run in environments like this? And I remember having a lot of questions but then all of a sudden he was like yeah, no, no, no, we have indoor, we have outdoor and sometimes might rain when you're running snow or whatever, but it's fine, it's not, it's not like all the time. So that kind of made me relax a little bit because I was like no, this is, this is definitely not do it for me. But I also remember him telling me, you know, when I was watching tunnel in my, in his mind, was that Big God, like you know cuz he was. I just hope nobody's doop me he was so relieved to see me and like skinny and like looking really you know I can really good shape. It's running those times. So we, first thing we we stopped at subway in Atlanta and I was like the first stop was you might use a? Hey Need some food? I was actually. We got into subway. That was my first Major culture shock, to be honest. We got into subway and he went straight to the counter you know, order this sandwich, I think it was, but it was a sandwich from subway and Took the drinks and went to sit down and I think in his mind also was thinking well, everybody knows subway.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I remember standing there I'm looking at the salad bread, looking at the meat there one also. I just picked the greens and the meat. Then they'll cook it and then they'll put it on the bun or something, because I had never ate a sandwich before that. So I remember looking at it and I told the guy well, and I saw what they gave the coach, and then there was somebody in front of me Well, that doesn't look good. How did they just eat the greens? I had never ate salad before. I was like what stuff is this? Like what's going on here? And so I remember asking just give me the bread, I just want the bread, only not the salad. He gave me the bread and he gave me a cup, but I remember this, look, he gave me. It was just like. I think in his mind he was like what's going on with this guy? What is he going to do with this bread? I think in his mind he was like let me just see what he's going to do with this bread and I just walked up with the bread, went to the fountain drink. I didn't even know how to operate the fountain drink. So I had a cup in my hand and I was just standing there. I was like, well, what happens here? You know, I was like Coca-Cola oh, I'm familiar with Coca-Cola, fanta, sprite. I'm like, okay, I know those things, but there is, I don't know them. I remember signaling the coach and he came over and was, oh yeah, he just pushed. I think he was expecting me to know. I didn't know how to do that. So for me that was first off. I think I took a Coca-Cola, went and sat down with him and I took my first bite of the bread and I was like this is not it. It doesn't taste like some stuff I eat at home. I was like, what is this? What did he make of this bread? I think it was a bun with like the seeds on it. So, yeah, I was just like this is just terrible. I took one bite. I remember swallowing it just so that, because I can't take it out. But I remember telling myself, oh, this is not good, maybe I need to go back home. Was this a big mistake? And then I drank the Coca-Cola too, and it was so concentrated like the the ox, the ox, the cow reacts. The freeze on it. It was so strong. And I remember telling myself well, this is not it either. I was just like I can't eat anything here. I was like what am I going to eat? And I remember the coach telling me you fool, I just ended up like telling me I'm full and then we're just going to left. But I just remember stressing about that a lot. We got to school All the time I kind of adapted. I even pizza. I had never even ate a pizza before. Everything was needed to me. I remember hating pizza a lot and the coach was like that's good, then you can run.

Speaker 1:

And even like burger or anything.

Speaker 2:

I had never ate those things but slowly by slowly I got better at it. I remember eating bread for the longest time in school. It would be bread, and I learned how to take a bit of coffee but a lot of creamer and sugar, and so it felt it looked like Kenyan tea, kenyan chai, so that was kind of like the closest thing that I would do. So it was like a little bit of coffee and a lot of milk, and so I used to eat that morning, breakfast, lunch, and then the coach one day was like they are heard, my team is. I eventually told on me to the coach he's like this guy eats bread and this coffee thing he makes and that's it. He doesn't eat anything else. So I remember the coach told me well, this is not good. So he ended up buying me like the vitamins bottles because it was like you're not, you're not getting any nutrition from all that stuff you're eating. I remember taking this pill to substitute my lack of money, but I think it took like a month or two and I started like slowly easing into the food and now it's a different story. You know love, but yeah, that was a challenge. Another thing that I also want to mention A lot was that the campus had this host families, christian families that would go to school and they would do something more of like second adopting for international students. They would take you, help you ease into the United States with the culture and everything. This family in Georgia is called the Nelson's. I am, they're still. They're like my family now. They're not even like they are my family right now and I've been with them this all these years. Every summer I would go visit them, stay with them, stay with their kids, and we had fun. I learned a lot from them. They helped me pick up, pick up English real fast, because when I came here my accent was so thick. I understood what people were saying, but people couldn't understand what I was saying. So I even at one point ended up like carrying a pen and paper, because sometimes I would talk for like a minute and then somebody would like wait, I didn't catch any of what you say. So I got kind of tired of that. I was like I'm just going to carry a pen and paper, so if somebody doesn't understand, I just write the whole thing down and I give them the oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that. So, but they helped me a lot because they had like young kids and being able to do it. They kind of forced me to have to speak for them to understand me and they were. They were some nice people as well and they're probably one of the nicest people and just the entire community. There's a church neighborhood in the church. I love everybody that love me. It's really fun. They know my family now so you know it's kind of like they saw me as a child growing up because I went there, was 19 and they saw me the entire time and then when we visit them frequently you know now I have kids and see me there they just they're just so happy and it's not so many words I can say to describe what I feel about what they've done for me and my family.

Speaker 1:

Tony, I'm curious as you. There's so many other questions I want to ask. You know just as far as like your stories of how you chose your career and things of that nature. But as you look back on the transitions of life and where you are today, what are the beliefs and principles that you look back on that you think are most important, especially when you think of your own kids, like you want to pass on to them?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, good, good, good question, I think for me. One thing that stands out for me is 100% hard work. That's like my first one. Nothing comes easy at all in life where you have to put in work. And if it comes too easy, what I usually say is it's probably going to go easy, because it's just going to go away as easy as it came, because you don't know, you don't value how hard it took to get it. You can't be easy or easy, and the other thing that I would also emphasize for them and value that I personally value is kind of like, I think, what something's that JF Basel's made famous by pointing it as a regret, I mean a minimization framework. So, sitting down in your life and thinking well, if I don't do this thing down the road when my life is almost at the end, well, I regret not doing it and I carry that with me and everything that I've done so far is geared towards that, trying to minimize the regret that I have in life. I don't want to have this feelings even right now, nor it doesn't have to be at the end of my life. But right now sitting and thinking, maybe I should have gone with that option. So everything in my life so far has revolved around if I find something that I think gets interesting and I'm really, really passionate about it, I'm putting a lot of thought to it I should just go for it. Go for it, figure it out If it doesn't work, pivot and just being able to be flexible and also just pursuing what you really want.

Speaker 1:

And another way that I've heard this next question talked about is a concept of what are eulogy virtues? Right, we spend a lot of time in life pursuing our goals and our accomplishments. Maybe it's the wrong way to phrase it, but those might be our resume virtues. But there comes a magical point in life where we look back on our lives and we're like well, shoot, I'm trying to build a eulogy when I die. As you look at your life now, we're both younger, but what would be some of those things that you think ought to be on there, or you want to be on a part of your eulogy?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, very, very interesting question and I think, as you mentioned, I think most of the eulogies usually go with the words, of course, hey, you worked here, you did this, and that that's all cool because it's going to be there anyways. But some of the things that I also want to, would like for it to be there, especially with the kids, family and all the friends that I've had throughout my life, as life changes is just the care and how you treat other people. I think that's very important for me and also knowing that you wouldn't be where you were without all these people. They've done something for you and you've also done something for other people, but I think the most important thing is just how you treat other people. So for me, it would be nice for me just for other people to say this is how you made me feel when you did this and that, or when I did this and that. I get that from a lot of people as well, and I also give it back the same way, but I think it's very obvious because they say people won't remember what you did for them, but they always remember what you said, how you treated them, in a way. So I think I value that.

Speaker 1:

Excellent, Tony. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and sharing your example with us. It's incredible. Any parting thoughts or parting sentiments before we close today? Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I think most of the stuff I've covered, but I think the most important thing that maybe I could share with others is just pursue your passions, whatever it is, but also be able to value what you have, because you end up in the cycle where you're chasing the next thing, that's just going to life, and sometimes you forget to take accountability of what you have already. Years before that, you were yearning to get to where you are right now, but you've also failed to realize that you're going to get to where you want to go next, what you're looking for, the real thing, the next thing you're fighting for, and it's going to feel the same. You're just going to feel empty and you still need more. So just sitting back, taking accountability of what you're doing. I'm just looking at your intern, don. For me personally, first of all, a good example. There's a lot of people that I started running with back then. They never got a scholarship, they never got visa, they're not here. Their life is way different right now. So I always sometimes think what if that was me? What would I be doing right now? I wouldn't have this opportunity to do what I'm doing and that always going to motivate me to be able to appreciate what I have and be thankful, because all this stuff is, it's a privilege at the end of the day, and being able to appreciate and share with others as well, it's the big thing. So giving back is something that I also personally value a lot.

Speaker 1:

Thank you again, tony. That's, I think, very noble admonishment and apt admonishment. Appreciate your time and it's always again. We hope to talk with you again in the future and wish you and your family nothing but truth, beauty and goodness in the road ahead.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Intangible Balance Sheet and Life Story
Family, Farming, and Life Lessons
Resignation and Dreams of Immigration
Education System and Transitioning to America
First Impressions of Atlanta and American Food
Lessons Learned and Values Shared