Leonard Lim on Fishing, Failures, and Success

Leonard Lim

Leonard Lim on Fishing, Failures, and Success

Leonard Lim on Fishing, Failures, and Success

“It’s not about how many times you fall down, but how many times you get back up.” -Abraham Lincoln

I know it’s a pretty cliché quote to start an article with, but many people live by this quote and one of the amazing people is Leonard Lim. (myself included *chuckles*)

Leonard Lim is the founder and chief executive officer of Omnisense System. Omnisense System is a company that has revolutionised the way fever screening is done, with a made in Singapore thermal sensor.

What’s so enticing about Leonard Lim’s story? Yeah, he fell 7 times and got back up 8 alright. What makes him different from the other failure turn to success story?

I believed Leonard Lim found his purpose through his beliefs. What made a change in his life that he was able to find himself back again? He joined a church group.

He found himself running on empty quite a few times in his life. There were times when he failed his studies and proceeded to work as a salesperson at an exhibition company that shut down after few months of him joining.

Girl, I’d be thinking I brought bad luck to the company if it was me, of course. But that is not the case for Leonard Lim, he perseveres and went fishing! Yes, the man went fishing.

Mr Lim fishing

Mr Lim fishing with his friend Khoo Yong(left). Image via Channelnewsasia

Fishing was his favourite past time. (Might still be if he has the time!) There was once in his lifetime, he spent five to six months fishing every day at the Kallang River after his first business in 1997 went belly up.

The Turning Point

Fast forward to the turning point of his life. Though his entrepreneurial journey was peppered with failures, hardships, some lucky breaks, he did not give up once. Leonard Lim had to fall back to rations back in the day just to survive.

Remember that exhibition company that I mentioned earlier? With some of his ex-colleagues, they started a company installing door frames and kitchen cabinets for condominium projects.

It was his first business, at the age of 24! I’m 24 and writing an article about him, where is my company? (Sobs in the corner) Just kidding! I believe that everyone’s journey is different, it just takes time, perseverance and willpower to get to your dream!

Okay back to the amazing Leonard Lim. His company lasted for a good three years.

“The company ran into cash-flow issues, and in my opinion, they were caused by some dishonest practices by my partners. (It was) my fault as well, since I missed many signs until it was too late,” said Leonard Lim.

He didn’t handle the situation well, he said. That episode broke his heart and his pockets. He was in a funk and back to pick up fishing to deal with the situation.

The Actual Turning Point

After a few months, he started up a small internet business that yet again failed to take off. Going broke a few times will certainly get you ready for any lemon life throws at you. That was the case with Leonard Lim. He had to fall back to his ‘rations’.

Leonard Lim then decided to join a church group which for me is his actual turning point where he found his purpose and himself. He started doing volunteer work with underprivileged children, which in return, helped him more.

“Through those children, I started to understand myself much better,” he said. “I was able to identify some counter-productive emotional feelings I had and learned to deal with them. I also found a more stable job,” he added.

From that point onwards, Leonard Lim never stopped working hard. This man even went out during the SARS outbreak. Nobody wants to go out, but this man went out there to look for the infrared system to identify those with a fever. If that doesn’t shout determination, then I don’t know what determination is.

Applaudable Virtue

Leonard Lim

Image via Channelnewsasia

I think Mr. Lim is genuinely a noble person. In 2008, one of his corporate funders pulled out and he’s back with a financial issue. You know what his staff did? They offered to work for FREE!! They say in times of crisis, people show their true character.

Anyone can be corporative, patient and understanding when things are going well and life is good, birds are chirping. But when everything is on the line, only a few nobleman or woman can behave with grace and compassion.

I truly believe that Mr. Lim handled the situation calmly and for who he is as a person, made his staff willing to work with him for free. In an economic crisis phase, who wants to work for free if the person you’re working with is a…bad person.

Present Day

Today, Mr. Lim’s company Omnisense System, which started with three staff, has now expanded to more than 40 people, in Singapore and now Taiwan.

Leonard Lim with His Employee

Financially, Mr. Lim is in a better place but has “not yet made (his) fortune”, as he has reinvested most of his income into his thermography and night vision business.

You’re probably thinking I’m going to end the article with a failure equals to success quote. You got that right! (chuckles) As cliché as it may sound, going through multiple failures in life, will mould you into a better person. It teaches you lesson no one can teach you. Failure is the greatest teacher of success. 

Lastly, I will share Mr. Lim’s very own word to lift up your motivation if you’re going through a hard time right now.

“I’m glad there was quite a fair bit of failure quite early in my life. That built me up,” he said. “Through all those failures, I realised that very often in a crisis, there are a lot of opportunities.”

He advised entrepreneurs struggling today to be patient and to develop emotional stamina. “For every great journey, obstacles and trials should be expected. We need to find the correct motivation to push on,” he said.

There’s also a time to give up. Knowing when to give up or alter course is a difficult but important decision to make. There’s no shame in failure; recognise when we make a mistake….learn from it and move on.”

Read more about Leonard Lim, here. 

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Anna Nathasa Puteh About the author

Anna has finally decided to add some biographical info on herself. Some say they can hear Anna's voice while reading her words.