We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristin Darga and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristin, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I’m a firm believer in axing the concept of “Work/Life” balance. If you think about it, a work/life balance indicates that work is separate from you, from the rest of your life – people are not linear. Life affects work, work affects life. The real concept has less to do with balance and more to do with success, happiness, and doing fulfilling work. The American culture is so focused on working long hours, working hard. Working hard and “busy” is worn like a badge of honor. Personally, not it’s more like … I am not busy and that’s the badge of honor. At times of my life, work and my business consumed my life, and when something happened in my business it felt like my life wasn’t ok. Work/LIfe balance fail. I was working too much and I burned out – start having problems with my health. The question is more like – do you have a fulfilling life? What’s missing? Do more of that and stop doing the things you don’t want to in order to win some non-existent badge of honor.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’ve always been told that my business wasn’t a traditional company, and it’s not. I’ve always been able to see the vision of the company having a long term impact on entrepreneurs. At the end of it all – it’s a passion-driven company and I believe it to be part of my life’s work. I started Impact Founder in 2015 after there were two suicides of startup founders and the sudden death of a third. I created Impact Founder to do whatever I could to help alleviate the feelings of inadequacy, isolation, stress, depression, and suicide among founders by sharing real stories of real entrepreneurs’ struggles and successes. With this in mind, I build a media company to share these stories and am on a mission to make sure another entrepreneur isn’t lost due to isolation, feelings of inadequacy, failure, or for any other reason. Self-doubt is part of life and sometimes entrepreneurs face the issue alone and lose their perspective. Building Impact Founder has been my own founder story, indeed. Along the way, I’ve learned more than I can imagine telling here. What I can say is that in the beginning, when you have a vision, the path to complete that seems so very clear. It’s like a new house without being lived in yet. Over time things happen, the route to arriving where you planned changes, almost multiple times in a day. What I’ve learned through growing Impact Founder is how to surrender and how powerful a commitment is when it’s not about you. Whenever I made things about me, and not about the people this company impacts, that’s when the business would get off track. And at each stage of growth, my role in the company needed to change and grow. In the beginning, so much depended on me, Over the past couple of years, I discovered that I was the reason the company wasn’t growing into the vision I saw for it – I was stunting its growth. That is, I believe, one of the most difficult decisions a founder comes to in the growth of their company, I needed to remove myself from every area of the business that I was standing in the way of. I usually knew what that was by asking myself “Do I enjoy this” and “Is this the area that is always causing me stress?”. At this point, I have a team that fulfills the vision of the company. I was simply the one who built the foundation for them to stand on.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Gosh, with covid I just dream of this happening again very soon and can’t wait. If it’s summer in Colorado I am taking them to two of my favorite places: Start the day with a couple of paddleboards, and take a short hike to find some water surrounded by cliffs and mountains – I am not telling you where though because I cherish the serenity of a mountain lake without crowds of people. Then we would end the day at Red Rocks Amphitheater with a favorite band. A week-long trip? Shoot we would camp, swim, hike, bike to our heart’s content. My absolute favorite place in Colorado is near Telluride and Pagosa Springs. That is one of the most beautiful areas of the country we would head there with our tent, paddleboards, bikes, and hiking boots in the car then make the grand tour of Colorado.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to my Impact Founder team. The past year has been a rollercoaster-like none other. Early on I told myself I would do what I needed to in order to keep Impact Founder moving forward and my team was there every step of the way. We all came up with creative ideas to support our direction and growth. The brainstorming and direction my team took was something I didn’t appreciate until now. Obviously, that’s one area I have a lot of gratitude. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the gratitude for my close friends and family. I feel like I have gone through massive growth, learned so much and my family and close friends have created nothing short of miracles for me through many conversations, adventures, waves of laughter, and tears. If I have learned anything through the pandemic, it’s that I thought was important before is no longer top of the list for me. Those things have fallen away and the important things have taken their place.