Guest Post: Learning to Balance for Better
The next guest blogger on The Art of Navigation is Kim Guest. I am delighted for Kim to share her experiences finding balance amidst the chaos of starting a business.
#Balanceforbetter - it was a great hashtag this year. Something that I think said more about people themselves for a change rather than a cause, and I love people. My name is Kim Guest and I am an Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of isoshealth. I am currently fascinated by ‘balance’, in both my product, my team and my customers, but most of all myself.
After 2 years of taking an idea from my heart to your screen, and into the lives of hundreds of people, I spend quite a bit of time asking myself if I have the right balance. Of course, I don’t – who does? But that time and space to ask the question and the decision-making to act or not to act is something that is a huge part of my ability to keep going.
This journey is not easy - it does not win you friends, nor give you financial security - and is not great for your health. It’s constant messages of ‘You must have absolute faith in what you are doing, to the exclusion of all doubt’ to, ‘We must go and pivot now’ are loud and confusing. Somewhere, your Balance is in there. Easy, huh?
I am 49, a single parent to 2 young men, and International Women’s Day this year, in particular, speaks to me about how much the working world has changed. I refused to share with my first employer that I had a typing qualification, so that I didn’t have to do secretarial duties. I took this entrepreneurial step over 2 years ago, driven to be more involved, participative and accountable for the change I want to see in health and wellness. I felt a lot of frustration that the boundaries of a large business made innovation impossible, and in a number of senior roles the constraints outweighed the impact I thought was possible and necessary. And so, I slowly adjusted my lifestyle to accommodate less routine, less income, more isolation, more uncertainty - and jumped. It was subconscious at first, then purposeful, and it was exhilarating.
The high for me is to be able to drive real value through technology, for trained professionals to provide health and wellness services to people; virtual clinic time with Dieticians, Physiotherapists and Psychologists, letting you Balance your Nutrition, mental and physical health to stay healthy. The lows are having to play the game in terms of starting a business, because there are surely unwritten rules. The biggest frustration is the ‘eco-system’ surrounding the start-up community. It is messy, uncertain, unclear and at its worst, unethical. I believe that most of the uncertainty comes from the lack of structure in peoples’ roles around you. Everyone does a bit of everything, a mixture of raw skills and high emotion is a heady cocktail, trying to drive clarity around the difference between ‘help’ and ‘accountability’.
I learned early on that lots of people were likely to react well to my mission - who doesn’t want themselves or their family to be healthier? Or was that to me talking about my business or my business talking about its value? I had to quickly learn to identify the real ones, the ones that I needed onboard and the ones that would stay if I invited them. This, with the professional guidance of Matt (The Art of Navigation), has culminated in what will be a longer lesson in balancing expectation. If I have one thing yet to master as a Founder and CEO, it is the balance of expectation. Blind optimism is not welcome everywhere in your strategic thinking.
And so, I look to the beacon that is balance - weighing up the past and the future, the needs of my business, my customers and my family and, most importantly, recognising what I need and looking for the insights that help me to be better at balance.
Head over to isoshealth to find out more about Kim’s work.