Taking risks

The holidays are almost here. What are you planning to do this year? Something exciting? Or are you just going to chill out, get over the year just past and look forward to 2017?

Me? Glad you asked. Remember last year when I took part in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race? I joined my father’s crew on the yacht Pazazz. We didn’t make it all the way because we ripped a mainsail and had to pull out early.

That didn’t stop us. In fact, the moment we got back, we started training so we could have another go this year. And you know what? I’m just as scared as I was last time. I get seasick and when I think about sailing through the Heads my stomach falls to the floor.

At the same time, I’m looking forward to it more than I can say. It won’t be easy but there’s something about the challenge, the thrill, that makes me very happy.

I’ve been wondering why something so uncomfortable and dangerous appeals to me so much and I’ve come to the conclusion that I really like risk. For me, things have to be edgy and difficult. I just can’t do boring.

Which got me thinking about Springday and the risks I took starting out on my own with not much more than a passion for technology and wellbeing, some know-how and a big idea. It’s been hard going at times but exhilarating and so, so worthwhile.

In fact, I think competing in the Sydney to Hobart is a lot like creating a start-up business, which is what Springday is.

As in a yacht race, all start-ups begin at the same point. Nobody knows who will win or even succeed but you can be sure that those who planned and prepared have more of a chance. And thinking back to Springday, it took three years of foundation work, from 2009 to 2012, before we launched substantially.

Although both race contestants and start-up entrepreneurs can think of possible risks, nobody knows exactly what unexpected disasters (and triumphs) lie in wait. For example, two months ago our boat hit a whale! And this year, at Springday, a company’s international risk department held up our project for nine months, proving that both racing and starting a business demand nerves of steel, not to mention excellent crisis management.

Both start-ups and team races have a boss, a captain or leader but both enterprises depend on their team members, each one of whom is responsible for their success. As in business, you need communication, trust, loyalty, engagement – all these things determine the outcome.

Diversity, too, is important. You need team members who have a range of skills and life experiences. It’s tempting to recruit people who mirror you and your preferences but voices from other places see things differently and so can widen possibilities.

Talking about diversity, there’s a strong correlation between being a female sailor in a male dominated sport and a female CEO (and single mother of two) in a tech start-up, a very male dominated industry indeed. I’m proud of myself as a woman in both these enterprises.

Unlike last year’s venture to Hobart, 2016 has been an epic year for Springday. Our model, a hub which puts the best of wellbeing into people’s pockets, caught the attention of a range of providers in areas outside the straight corporate arena. I’ll tell you more about this next year, but in summary we’re trialing Springday for cancer patients, we’re negotiating with health care funds and insurance companies and we’ve partnered with the fitness industry. We’ve won our first major international client and have others on the books.

Risk is scary but it brings great rewards. So here’s a challenge: next year, why don’t you make a resolution to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk, either as a company or an individual. If you do, let me know. Springday will be there to support you every step of the way.

Whatever you decide and on behalf of all of us at Springday, I wish you a very happy holiday, a great end to 2016 and a wonderful, prosperous and exciting 2017. 

What’s new

Springday Product Update
In 2016 Springday featured Zombie Quest. Now it’s time to find a narrative for our 2017 fitness challenge. Should the journey go through the Seven Kingdoms or rather be a Harvey Specter court case? Please share your opinions, thoughts and suggestions with us.

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