I had the privilege of witnessing a truly unique and enlightening talk at our 2023 event in Boulder, Colorado. Yong Kim, the co-founder and CEO of Wonolo, and his wife Linda Kim, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, shared their journey as a couple navigating the entrepreneurial landscape. This wasn’t just another talk about business strategies or mental health practices; it was a heartfelt exploration into the complexities of maintaining a relationship while also pursuing ambitious dreams.
Why Should You Care?
You might be wondering, why should you care about a couple’s experience in entrepreneurship? The answer is simple: because entrepreneurship is never a solo journey. Whether it’s your spouse, your family, or your close friends, the people around you play a crucial role in your success and well-being. Understanding the dynamics of a relationship within the entrepreneurial context can offer invaluable insights into how to be a more conscious and effective leader, not just in business but in life.
The Meeting of Two Worlds
Yong and Linda’s story began in college, where they were seemingly opposites. Yong was an introverted young man from South Korea, while Linda was a confident and outgoing individual. Despite their differences, they found love and got married soon after college. Fast forward 30 years, and they were on our stage, sharing their story for the first time in such a public setting.
The Dream and the Dreamer
What struck me most was their discussion about “the Dream and the Dreamer.” Linda, a meticulous planner, and Yong, a more spontaneous individual, had their life mapped out until Yong decided to leap into the world of entrepreneurship. Linda supported this decision, despite the financial uncertainties it brought. This is where the concept of ‘conscious leadership’ came into play. It’s not just about leading a team at work; it’s about being conscious of the decisions that affect those closest to you.
The Power of Acknowledgment
They shared a poignant moment where Yong made a LinkedIn post about donating a portion of his salary to a cause they both believed in. Linda felt sidelined because the post used “I” instead of “we,” making her feel unacknowledged. This incident was a wake-up call for both, emphasizing the importance of mutual recognition in every aspect of life, including professional endeavors.
Communication is Key
Both Yong and Linda highlighted the importance of open communication. Linda mentioned that their relationship had built up enough “goodwill” over the years to sustain them through the tough times. Yong found Linda’s practice of helping her patients navigate through trauma by over-communicating their feelings to be beneficial in their relationship as well.
The Long Haul
The couple acknowledged that the entrepreneurial journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Just like in parenting, the days may be long, but the years fly by. Therefore, taking care of yourself and acknowledging the people in your life is crucial for long-term success.
Yong and Linda’s talk was a powerful reminder that the journey of entrepreneurship is not a solo endeavor but a shared experience that requires mutual support, understanding, and love. Their story serves as a lesson for all of us, emphasizing that conscious leadership extends beyond the boardroom into every aspect of our lives.
Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Until next time, stay conscious and stay inspired!