Name: Kym McNicholas
Title: Executive Director, Extreme Tech Challenge
City: San Francisco, CA
Kym is a force of goodness, I had the honor to get to know the past few months. As soon as you meet her, she wants to help you. And her passion for story telling combined with her big heart, lead her to win Emmy Awards, work with Sir Richard Branson and lead some of the most popular sports programs in the country. She has a lot more to offer in the coming years, as she begins to build her own venture, and we are so lucky to have caught up with her in the mission at Four Barrel to hear her intimate story and leave even more inspired to do what we love.
Photos by Elle Wildhagen
How and when did you find your passion?
For me, I think the key was letting go of all control that I had and just trusting the universe. Because all I know is that I want to feel successful, I want to feel good. I want to feel fun and want to feel happy but a lot of times you don’t know exactly what that is because there's an evolution of so many new things every day. For example, I never thought I'd want to be an energy news anchor. I had no idea that even existed. Not on my list of goals. Feeling good, feeling happy, feeling as though I was having an impact and that I was changing the world that became my goal. Since I put that out there, the universe kept bringing me those things in ways that I would have never thought of or dreamed up but makes me feel the things I want to feel.
Tell us more about the transition to doing what you love.
When I was younger, I was bullied. I was so shy and I’m actually an introvert. As such, my true purpose has been to allow anyone who has a story to tell it and teach their life lessons. I've been on a lifelong journey learning to speak my truth. Because overtime in the past that I’ve tried speaking my truth, I’ve had naysayers or those that would put me down for speaking my truth.
The place where I've been able to speak my truth has been on camera.
I started doing impactful, meaningful interviews and interviewing more people about their passions. I ended up interviewing a founder who I thought was the epitome of passion. That won me my very first Emmy nomination for interviewing Ido Leffler CEO or Yes To - we were the only one nominated in that category. It meant so much to me to see my mom holding the Emmy so tight. One of the most impactful moments of my life.
What is failure to you, and how do you deal with it?
In terms of failure, I'm going to look at it from an entrepreneurial perspective. People in Silicon Valley see failure as earning you stripes and I kind of agree with that and I am going to take a step further and say that I don't think there are any losses.
Anyone who takes a risk, puts their heart out there and puts it on the line… they all contribute to the entrepreneurial cycle.
Whether you’re successful in your venture or your venture fails you don’t really fail, you learn a lesson and you pivot and you grow from that. It’s all about the journey and you shouldn't judge the journey. I see those instances as moments of clarity.
I remember when I was let go of sports announcement, at first I was devastated and thought, "poor me poor me," but then I realized it doesn't feel good to act like a victim and it’s not empowering . I asked myself what would make me feel better about the situation? To know that it was meant to be. I was meant to focus 100% on something else and because of that I was able to learn and grow so much more.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is not getting married and having a family. I think I’m going to make an amazing career mom and amazing wife.
I focused a lot on my career. In numerous situations I've put my job first instead of focusing on a relationship or on family but in my heart of hearts, family is most important to me. When you lie on your death bed and you think of all the things on your bucket list that you've accomplished what you regret most is lack of time spent with people you love.
How do you think about money?
The key to abundance is feeling abundant regardless of how much money is in your bank account. I had to change my attitude about money and it's an ongoing journey. I’m not perfect at it. I did not grow up in an affluent family, I grew up in a stable family with a strong work ethic.
When you’re constantly worrying about what you’re spending, it is only going to lead to more worry, but because I am aware of the abundance I have I can feel good about spending money, feeling responsible. I have appreciation for what is abundant in my life.
What is self-love to you? And how important is it to your journey?
Self-love is to stop caring about what other people think and looking inside of yourself and looking in the mirror every day and feeling good about who you are.
For the first time in my life I feel good about all of who I am and where I’m at. There are always struggles for everyone in different places - we’re all human.
When I won that Emmy, that was another turning point in terms of self-love. It didn’t make me feel better about myself. What ended up feeling good for me was accepting all of who I am without the outer influences. It showed me that you don't need to achieve this or do that in order to feel good. That’s the first step to self-love.
Who inspires you and why?
I love women who are true role models who really follow their heart. My mom inspires me with the adversity she has had to overcome her health issues. I’ve never met anyone like her that literally wakes up every single morning with a smile and greets everyone with a smile.
My dad inspires me with how committed he is to his family and how much he has had to overcome in his life. He was in Vietnam in the military, having to pick up pieces of his men. Recognizing that being a leader isn't just bout taking the glory but about being a part of the team and protecting your team. He did all of what it means to be a leader.
In being a leader of the Extreme Tech challenge it wasn't only about being on stage, but it was about being in the trenches with every single of these entrepreneurs.
Advice to the Community
Please share a piece of advice with our community of men and women who are looking to leave their traditional jobs and live their passions.
Align yourself with what you truly want, believe its already done and allow for it to happen. So many of us say we want something and put up resistance without realizing it because it hasn't happened as yet. Embrace the fact that it hasn’t happened yet, then get down to what it feels like to have all of what you want. It feels good to have all of that you want.