Kim Guedry – Imposter Syndrome during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Kim Guedry is Co-Founder and President of Ceveal Solutions, LLC, a San Diego-based start-up helping organizations take their complex problems and create viable solutions. As strategic planners and problem solvers, Ceveal Solutions supports clients, across any industry, in identifying, planning, and implementing ideas so they can decrease risk and/or increase profit.
Prior to co-founding her company, Kim altruistically gave over 20 years of service to our nation in the US Coast Guard as an active duty and reserve member. Some of her assignments included Commanding Officer of a Coastal Patrol Boat during the 9-11 tragedies, Deputy Incident Commander for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Chief of Operations for US Southern Command’s Crisis Action Team, and a Coast Guard Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for FEMA Region II covering New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. She cut her teeth driving cutters (ships) but transitioned to support and lead operations ashore before turning towards crisis and emergency management. Kim remains a service-oriented, Captain (select) in the Coast Guard Reserves in an Inactive Ready Reserve status.

Connect with Kim Guedry:

Connect with Michael:

[00:00:00] Michael King: Hey everybody, welcome back to In the Trenches with Michael King where we talk with business owners, leaders, and executives about the lessons they've learned while fighting In the Trenches of the business battlefield. On April 20th, 2010 there was an explosion at the deep water horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. 11 people were killed in the explosion and an estimated 210 million barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico over the following weeks and months. President Obama went so far as to call the event the worst environmental disaster the US has ever faced.

[00:00:43] Thousands of people were mobilized to respond to the disaster and efforts were made to stop the leak, contain the oil and clean up the oil. Literally thousands of people were involved. Those efforts were largely coordinated and overseen by the US Coast Guard, and today's guest is my friend Kim Guedry. Kim was sitting in your standard powerpoint training session in Washington DC.

[00:01:05] When her cell phone went off, she was being directed to Mobile, Alabama to oversee the cleanup, safety operations, and management of the people working on over 300 vessels in 70 coast guard personnel that were working to contain this massive incident to make the whole thing even more fun. Kim was also responsible for providing daily updates to the state governors and even president Barack Obama as to how things were going.

[00:01:31] A pretty cool assignment right. But there was only one problem. Kim had never done anything even remotely close to this before. When Kim reported to the scene, she was overwhelmed with imposter syndrome. Why should she be here? Why should she be in charge? How is she going to manage this chaos and not only put out the fires immediately in front of her team, but also piece together the larger, longer term strategy that would be vital to their success.

[00:01:59] Today, Kim is the founder of her own business, and she finds herself struggling with many of the same imposter syndrome feelings that she experienced in 2010 so we're going to talk with Kim about how she manages those feelings. And how she's found ways to press forward despite them. We're also going to talk about the balance of humility and confidence, and we're going to talk about leading others that have big personalities.

[00:02:22] So without further ado, here's my conversation with my friend Kim Guedry. All right. We are recording exciting times. Kim, thank you so much for joining me this morning. How are you?

[00:02:34] Kim Guedry: I'm doing well, Mike, how are you? Thanks for having me.

[00:02:36] Michael King: Yeah, I'm excited. This is officially the second in person interview I've ever done, and so it's a, it's a lot different looking somebody in the face than looking at them on a zoom call, so I appreciate you taking the time to come in today.

[00:02:48] Kim Guedry: Absolutely. It's my pleasure.

[00:02:50] Michael King: One of the things that you told me about when we first met was that years ago, you found yourself in the middle of managing crisis communications, and a lot of the reports that you were responsible for ended up going to the president of the United States. governors, some pretty.

[00:03:08] Hi, people. And, I don't know too many people that have ever reported directly to the president's office before, but you were telling me that through that you are kind of getting into the trenches, if you will, that you are kind of overtaken by this imposter syndrome. And who the hell am I to be doing these kinds of things?

[00:03:26] Is that right?

[00:03:27] Kim Guedry: That is, right.

[00:03:28] Michael King: Well, give us a little bit of backstory about you, where you were in the coast guard at the time. How did you kind of get to that role? What was your professional background like up to that time?

[00:03:39] Kim Guedry: Right. So I had done several years of active duty after I graduated from the coast guard Academy.

[00:03:44] I had later transitioned into the coast guard reserves and I was based at the sector in Mobile, Alabama. there I was actually a logistics department head. And when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened, in April of 2010, I was actually at the national defense university in Washington, DC at the time.

[00:04:06] And I had a strong suspicion that. Once I got back to Mobile, I would be mobilized for, for the oil spill efforts. so I found myself mobilized and in a position, as the deputy incident commander for the nighttime operations at the incident command post in mobile. we had a large area that we were responsible for covering, which was basically the Tristate area of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle.

[00:04:36] Michael King: So just to make sure I'm kind of setting the scene right here. You were in DC at the time and there was an explosion on an oil rig. You know what I'm kind of picturing is there's like a bunch of these like military officers in a room, and there's some kind of like. Top secret PowerPoint, maybe like on the screen and everybody's beepers start going off like in a Tom Clancy movie and it's like, okay, Maverick, we, we've got to mobilize.

[00:05:02] Is that kinda how it happened?

[00:05:04] Kim Guedry: Not that dramatic, maybe, but yes. I mean, you're absolutely right. I was in DC for the reserve component, national security course, which was a joint service. You know, all, all services and all rates and ranks, senior levels. And, and that's exactly right. There were some individuals there once, once the event occurred, where, right.

[00:05:24] Pagers at the time and, and cell phones, early, early days were, were going off. And we knew that as reservists, many of us would likely be, be recalled or mobilized for the event and, and sure enough, that's what eventually happened. All hands on deck sort of event.

[00:05:40] Michael King: Interesting. So you're, for all intents and purposes, on the next flight out of DC.

[00:05:44] Headed to mobile, Alabama, which is where your duty station was at the time. And remind me, what was the deep water horizon all about? What actually happened that caused all the pagers to go off?

[00:05:56] Kim Guedry: Right. So what it essentially was is an oil rig. There was an explosion on an oil rig where unfortunately, several lives were lost, in a tragic event.

[00:06:04] But then what happened following that was just. This incessant flow of oil, right? That was coming from the well. And so it was an effort to contain that oil and to stop the flow, were weeks and months later that was still happening. So as you can imagine, not only the pollution aspect of that, but also the economic aspect of that, the tourism and the fish and wildlife and everything that happened after that, is affected.

[00:06:34] Local communities and offshore efforts as well.

[00:06:39] Michael King: So this is kind of like a major national crisis because of the environmental impact and then the economic impact from the Gulf coast. And so all the powers that be care a lot. What's going on relative to stopping it. Containment and cleanup. Is that right?

[00:07:00] Kim Guedry: That's right. And then it brought, you know, an interesting dilemma too, because the coast guard does do pollution response, and given this was well off shore, there was a responsibility there, a statutory responsibility, but also the fact that this was a commercial entity where this was initiated. So it was really.

[00:07:22] A dual role where the coast guard was basically assisting the responsible party in their efforts for, for the cleanup.

[00:07:32] Michael King: I can imagine that there were probably dozens or hundreds of groups, organizations, companies, government, departments involved in this just because of the scale? I mean, I'm trying to remember back to the news.

[00:07:48] It was, I mean, there was oil all across the Gulf coast. I mean, there's like tens of millions of gallons, right?

[00:07:54] Kim Guedry: Yeah, we were, we were essentially looking at an area from Texas to Florida essentially was the area where we were. Well, the region that was encompassed.

[00:08:07] Michael King: Okay. And you were telling me your job in this whole thing was.

[00:08:12] With all these, you know, many dozens of organizations that are doing different things, are involved in different ways. You've got to kind of take all of their efforts and do daily status updates on, you know, from stopping the spill to containing it to clean up. You've got to kind of consolidate all of their activities into a report so that the powers that be can feel informed as to what's going on.

[00:08:40] Is that right?

[00:08:40] Kim Guedry: That's right. So the area and the perspective I had on this was really, again, that Tristate area of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. And compiling that data, which ranged anywhere from thousands of miles of beach surveyed or cleaned. To hundreds of aircraft or a hundreds of vessels doing oil spill cleanup to number of people who were responding and all sorts of areas in between, such as amount of containment, boom, that was being used, which is the material that they use to contain the oil, so they can properly dispose of it or collect it.

[00:09:19] And so there were. But thousands of data points really were coming in. And how do you take all of this information in and assemble it and analyze it in a way where you can push that up to the headquarter level to where that information is provided for the decision makers for a larger scale cleanup effort.

[00:09:41] Michael King:  Also, that is the powers that be

[00:09:45] Michael King: So that sounds like a lot. Yes. Why were you the person that was called? What was special about you. That you were in charge of coordinating all of this, or consolidating all these communications channels into like kind of a singular report. I'm sure it's, that's overly simplified, but what, what, what about you made you uniquely qualified to be that person to do that?

[00:10:08] Kim Guedry: That's a great question, Mike. I don't feel like I was any different than another mid-grade officer. I happened to be living in Mobile, Alabama at the time. So for me, it was personal. This was happening in my own backyard, almost literally. And you know, so for me to voluntarily mobilize essentially so that I could stay in Mobile and to help with these efforts.

[00:10:35] There it was personal and at that time. Great officer level, you know, you're often put into these situations where it is very vague and you try to figure things out as you go with lots of moving parts. And like you talked about the alphabet soup of agencies that were there and affected. so I honestly don't feel that I was any different than any other. Great officer at the time that that would have been there.

[00:11:07] Michael King: When you say mid-grade officer, you've been an officer in the coast guard for 10 years at this point.

[00:11:11] Kim Guedry: Probably, yes.

[00:11:14]Michael King: In nothing that you had done in your career prior involved organizing communications across large scale crisis situations and putting it into, you know, some kind of a report for the president. Right?

[00:11:26] Kim Guedry: No, no. Right. I mean, I've been thrust into some interesting situations. for example, I was commanding officer of an 87 foot patrol boat, and I took command three months before 9/11 happened. So those sorts of things where you're in this very dynamic situation had occurred in the past, just not to that scale or that magnitude.

[00:11:49]or that. Consolidated effort, if that makes sense.

[00:11:53] Michael King: Sure. When day one, you roll into the office, what's going through your head.

[00:11:59] Kim Guedry: It was a little bit of a blur. You walk into this massive building of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people in the incident command structure, which is how this was laid out.

[00:12:13] You have people with different vests on which are different colors for different things. So for example, the command structure is wearing white vests. Then the response folks are wearing red vests and the finance folks are wearing green vests, and so you can kind of identify people even from afar, but it is, it's a beehive of activity for, for lack of a better comparison.

[00:12:37] Michael King: Did you feel confident in your ability to step into that and execute and get shit done?

[00:12:41] Kim Guedry: I was confident that I could figure it out. it was a blur and I was confident in the connections I could make. But other than that, for the position and the role I was stepping into, Nope. Nope. Not a clue.

[00:12:57] Michael King: I remember after, in fact, I can't even remember sometimes in the military. But certainly after the military when I was, you know, I had started off as a staff engineer and progressed pretty quickly through the ranks and got into situations kind of similar. Just the way you describe it in, in magnitude in my mind too. There's tons of people here. I don't know what most of them do.

[00:13:21] I am now in charge of making sure that they do what they do well and there's big implications if they don't. And when I found myself in those situations. I could and a lot of ways wanted to just kind of ball up and go away. Cause I'm like, why the hell am I the guy doing this? What about, why am I the one that was chosen to do this?

[00:13:43] And in retrospect, I asked for it and that was one of the big reasons why I raised my hand, but I started to kind of feel like a phony. Like I'm trying to come in there and steer the ship. there's nothing special about me. I haven't done this before. And I think Seth Godin calls it imposter syndrome.

[00:14:02] did you have any of those kinds of feelings?

[00:14:05] Kim Guedry: Absolutely. Hands down.

[00:14:08] Michael King: Tell me more about that. What was that like for you?

[00:14:10] Kim Guedry: So for me, it was just a challenge, like you said, who was I? Right? Why? Why was I in this position? And, and to me it was more a matter of, okay, get your act together, right?

[00:14:24] Try and figure this out. And in the meantime, just smile, nod and ask a lot of questions. And, and that whole, that whole incident or instance where, you know, you're using your aars and your mouth in the correct proportion, right where you're trying to take in all of, as much as you can, as quickly as you can. so that you can get up to speed.

[00:14:47] But really up until that point, it was this blur of, right. Why am I. Who are they? Why are these people gonna listen to me? Because I have no idea what the hell I'm doing at the time until you figure it out. So, right. That was, that was an incredible challenge for me.

[00:15:06] Michael King: Did you ever have a day when you came in or a moment during all the chaos where you had you thought to yourself, somebody's going to realize that I have not left clue what I'm doing and call me on it.

[00:15:20] Kim Guedry: You know, I had those feelings along, along the way. But I think I would ask enough questions to make people realize, at least in my mind, that was my way of, hopefully they won't call me out, right? If I'm asking enough questions and I. Am not portraying myself in a way that I, I've got it all figured out that maybe they'll give me some grace, right?

[00:15:47] And they'll allow me to learn. But at the same time, you know, you're still responsible for getting done what you need to get done and executing your mission.

[00:15:57] Michael King: I think a lot of people tend to default on the other end of that spectrum when ego and insecurity come into it. And you find yourself not knowing what to do, worried that you're going to be found out.

[00:16:09] Rather than ask questions as the safety net, you try to force yourself. You know, I used to say, you know, if you speak loud enough and confident enough, everybody will assume that you know what you're doing and they'll just listen to you. But you took the other approach. You said, I'm going to sit back. I'll spend, you know, 90% of the time listening 10% of the time talking or something.

[00:16:30] Rather than trying to pretend like I do know the answers and directing people and giving guidance when I really don't

[00:16:37] Kim Guedry: write well. I think too, I was at an interesting point in my career and where you were talking about mid-grade officers, where early on in my career, yes, I would have taken that former approach.

[00:16:47] Right. Where I was, I was much like you in the sense of talking loud, make you know, move, move around, carry some papers then and people will think you're busy and you know what the hell you're doing. Right. Where later. Transition to a point in your career later. Whether it's in the military or outside where you know you're mature enough to know what you don't know.

[00:17:12] We're mature enough to know that it's okay to ask questions and that by doing so and not pretending to know everything, that you're actually in a better position. One, to learn yourself in two, to make others around you comfortable with the fact that their leader may not know everything. and that's okay.

[00:17:31] And I think, I think that's, that's where I am now, both in my military career and on the outside where it's okay to not have all the answers. and I'm okay with that.

[00:17:43] Michael King: I love Bernie Brown. I've referenced her like a dozen times on the podcast so far, but that willingness to show vulnerability and that you don't know is the fastest way to build trust from the team.

[00:17:54] It's when we go into it and we don't show that vulnerability that people tend to not trust us or trust us a lot more slowly. I'm wondering though, you're a day or two into it. There's 1,000 pieces of information coming and going. There's a red vest, green vests, yellow vest, orange vest, and all the vests and all the acronyms, you know, agencies.

[00:18:16] How do you. Kind of take a breath in, step back, and start to figure out what to do next? What is the next, the literal next thing I have to do?

[00:18:29] Kim Guedry: I think you said it right there. I think it's taking that step back and, and triaging, for lack of a better word on, OK, what is most important. Right now, that might not be what's most important an hour from now, but right now, what is most important for me to, to tackle or to fix or to coordinate or to facilitate right now.

[00:18:54]and then kind of build from there. And once those pieces really were like a, you know, a puzzle piece that, sure, some of the pieces would change at times. But more the requirements would change, but once you start figuring out what those pieces are, you can more adequately, inappropriately put them together.

[00:19:14] Michael King: How do you transition from, what's the most important thing right now? You have to make a transition from what's the most important thing right now and being hyper focused on that too. We've got to start building a longer term strategy here so that we're not always in firefighter mode. How did you transition from.

[00:19:36] The most important thing. Right now, I'm being overwhelmed with just this constant barrage of data points to putting together a longer term strategy to calm things down. So it was a little bit more deliberate and less reactionary.

[00:19:48] Kim Guedry: Right. That's a great question. And, and of course we had a unified area command, which was the powers that be, as you call them, above us, who pushed some of that down to what their requirements were.

[00:20:02] So some of that was outside of our control, but internally I think it was really, it was very relationship based. So knowing who your belly buttons point to push, right? Who do you get that information from? Who? What are the relationships that you need to have in order to get the types the

[00:20:29] Quantity and quality of information that you're looking for. And then also, I think just quite frankly, being open to the criticism of what's not working right and, and when to make those changes and even tweak the things that you're currently doing in order to build that longer term plan of moving forward.

[00:20:50] and something I, at times still, you know, I struggle with, and looking back and using deep water as an example. You know, it's really what. What is your final mission? What are you trying to do? What are you trying to accomplish? So whether that's using deep water as an example or using business as an example, it's trying to filter out the noise that is not going to get you towards that final accomplishment or that final mission.

[00:21:22]and yes, there are going to be some things that are going to be. Constructive in that process. And there are going to be other things that are destructive. And I think it's listening to those constructive items and trying to filter out and, and, turn off those disruptive items when

[00:21:39] Michael King: people are throwing.

[00:21:42] With the best intentions, advice, and suggestions at you when you're in a role, particularly when you feel like there's some imposter syndrome going on, what is the filter that you use to kind of distinguish between, this is an idea that I want to take on board and it's going to help realize that that final mission kind of thing, or this isn't something that's going to help it help me get there.

[00:22:05] How do you walk through that? Because sometimes it could be a person who is saying, Hey, you really need to go left here. To get to that final goal and the other person is saying, you need to go right here. And they both say, if you go the other direction, that's catastrophic. Well, how do you filter through to determine, or do you just discard it and do your own thing?

[00:22:23] Kim Guedry: No, I definitely don't just discard it. I think for me, a lot of that I may be a relationship based person. So for me it's who is that person and what is their experience? And I like to think I'm the type of person who. Who not only learns from my own mistakes, but often can learn from other people's mistakes, or at least I try to.

[00:22:46]So for me, I try to use the information of people who have walked the walk and are talking the talk, right. That they're using those, their past and their experiences and that I'm able to use that to buy proxy right.

[00:23:04] Michael King: How long did you remain in that role? With deep water horizon.

[00:23:10] Kim Guedry: Right? So for that role, I was there for a healthy month.

[00:23:14]and then I transitioned to an additional role as the director of on-water operations, which was essentially for, again, for that same area of responsibility, the Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida region. And that was interesting. In this. Fact that during that time is when the well actually was kept. So then we were dealing with the additional problems of, okay, you have all of these boats and aircraft and things that now how do you clean them?

[00:23:47] How do you decontaminate them? and how do you still clean up all of this oil and all of these things. So as a director of on-water operations, it was really starting the plans of decommissioning, if you will, and putting assets back to how they came and to making them whole again

[00:24:09] Michael King: During the month that you were in that role.  What was the biggest mistake you made during that time?

[00:24:16] Kim Guedry: That's a great question. So the biggest mistake I made during my second month there as director of on-water operations was really. It was really, really, it's funny, we were talking about relationships. It was a relationship mistake. I think there was, there was an individual, and I rarely have relationship challenges in getting along with people.

[00:24:40] Usually I feel like I can be sort of this chameleon and you know, change to my environment. Which I think has helped me along my career, both business and, and in the military. but there was particularly one challenging individual to work with, and I think I will let it get too personal in how it bothered me, but I think that's why it bothered me is because it had never really happened before.

[00:25:09] And I just struggled with that personally and professionally. Because I just don't eat. I don't like when people don't like me. Right. I think that's, that's not an uncommon feeling, but there I let it potentially affect my work.

[00:25:26] Michael King: What happened.

[00:25:27] Kim Guedry: Just disagreement on, one how just the operations were being run.

[00:25:33] I'm from my little world, right? I'm not talking about the big picture, these things, big picture. I think we're, we're going really, really well. but in my little, my little perspective, my little world, we just had one different way of approaching other people and different ways of planning. What this next phase for our, our.

[00:25:54] Responsibility was supposed to be. And yeah, it was just a personality challenge where I think he just didn't like to be quite Frank. and, and again, that had never, at least that, that visual like did that, it just never happened to me before. So I struggled with how to respond.

[00:26:21] Michael King: How did you respond? That was a mistake.

[00:26:24] If you could go back again and do it differently, what would you do differently? What didn't work from all of your other relationships over time? This had, what did you apply incorrectly here?

[00:26:36] Kim Guedry: Probably a little too abrasive. I would probably take a more laid back approach with this individual. And maybe a little more closed door conversation versus outward disagreement in front of other people.

[00:26:54] Michael King: Was ego a driver with the other person?

[00:26:56] Kim Guedry: I would like to say yes. Yes.

[00:27:01] Michael King: Well, the reason I'm curious is when you have big personalities. They typically don't like to be challenged in front of other people. And boy, there's fewer ways to throw up a wall then challenging them in front of other people. I know that, cause that's me, right?

[00:27:20] That was me for 25-30 years of my life. And so, you know, as soon as somebody, even with good intention, is questioned, but I think it goes back to that imposter syndrome for me. Then the insecurity that goes with it. Remember I talked about, you know, being loud, you know, if I talk loud enough and confidently enough and I walk fast enough, people will just assume, and when somebody throws for me that, you know, any kind of variability there that might.

[00:27:45] So, you know, what's behind the curtain with the wizard of Oz here. I would get, you know, hyper defensive and aggressive with those people. And I think it was because I knew that somebody would figure me out. They were on to me. And so the closed door conversations, while still not comfortable for me, were way better than trying to, to say it, even in a helpful way in front of other people.

[00:28:09] So I. Yeah. I saw myself in that story, as the recipient of that. And so, you know, for me, identifying those people ahead of time is important so that I don't, I don't do that. Cause again, even if you have the right answer, if you approach them the wrong way with it, it doesn't matter because it's going to cause problems.

[00:28:28] And now the right thing doesn't matter. You've got a more immediate problem and it's this toxic relationship.

[00:28:34] Kim Guedry: Right. And I think that event did, you know it provided me with so many lessons that were not only applicable there and in my military career, but also in business where, right. Like you said, identifying those personalities beforehand and how, how, you know, when you're dealing with hundreds or thousands of people in these massive, very dynamic environments, how do you.

[00:28:59] How do you do the right thing, right? Or the right thing for that individual or at that time. So I think it did provide me with that opportunity in that perspective of, okay know your audience, whether it's, you know, a fellow coast guardsman or whether it's a client or whether it's a coworker in just learning more about them or being able to read people in those situations and act accordingly.

[00:29:25] Michael King: I think that exact bit of information there, this, that hyper awareness to who's around you, what is their personality? How are they going to receive you in, in the way that you are is why? For me, networking events are so exhausting. Like I come home and crash after a networking event or if I go to a conference, if I go to some local, like a meetup or something.

[00:29:47] Yeah, I think that if you do it right, which is the way you describe where you're at, you know, really looking at the verbal, the physical cues, the environment, the surroundings, you know, the whole ambiance from me, it is absolutely mentally draining to do that. But it's similar in sales or business development.

[00:30:05] You know, where you go from one call to the next call and it's, you know, you have to shift the way you approach. Every single time you're talking to a different client, and then sometimes you don't even know how they're showing up on that given day. Normally they could be very laid back and reserved, but they may have just come from a huge argument with a colleague or a vendor or a customer or something, and now they're in this very defensive state.

[00:30:30] You have to immediately kind of recognize that in shift gears, or it destroys the relationship that you have despite, you know, no fault of your own. It's challenging. It's tough. People are tough. So you've talked about business a couple of times. What do you do outside of the coast guard now?

[00:30:49] Kim Guedry: So outside of the coast guard, about four years ago, I co founded a company called Seville Solutions and we really help clients tackle their complex problems.

[00:31:02] Michael King: How long ago did you start that?

[00:31:03] Kim Guedry: About four years ago.

[00:31:05] Michael King: Was that by yourself?

[00:31:06] Kim Guedry: No. So I co founded with actually two Marine reserve colonels based in San Diego.

[00:31:13] Michael King: What was the transition like going from a military mindset for how many years

[00:31:22] Kim Guedry:  going on just over 20

[00:31:24] Michael King: years? Is there a mind shift change that you found you had to make going from coast guard government kind of way of thinking to business.

[00:31:33] Kim Guedry: Well, I think I had, yes. I mean, it's definitely a transition, but I think I made a gradual transition and made the process more gradual in that, several of those years were on active duty, and then I did several years in the reserves as well. So in that reserve capacity, you're really. Dual hatting, right?

[00:31:55] You're really wearing two different hats in that one. Yes, you still have your foot in the door in the coast guard, but you've also made that transition to the civilian sector, if you will. So for me, it was very, very gradual. and I think also in the fact that I did go into business with two other Military service members, we are able to understand each other. But I think what that does in turn is it does make it even more challenging to reach out to people who do not have that military connection. So clients and such, where they may not have that experience where the three of us may understand and to be able to communicate and translate.

[00:32:39] But how is that translated. Again to the outside that that's been a challenge.

[00:32:45] Michael King: How do you overcome that?

[00:32:47]Kim Guedry: one, I think just with time in the amount of time, you know, the, the further I've been. You know, the longer I've been taking this transition and seeing that life does exist outside of the military, right?

[00:32:59] In, watching both my husband retiring and good friends retiring and seeing that that transition is necessary because the average person does not understand. So a lot of it is just self reflection in how am I, how am I being. Perceived and received by other people. so it's just an internal process of, of learning

[00:33:24] Michael King: is going into business scary.

[00:33:26] Have you found, no, it still scares the shit out of me almost every day.  Has it been a scary kind of thing for you, or is it been, like a silent confidence? Like. Because you said earlier, I can figure things out. So does that confidence carry into the business or are you kind of like still in this uneasy place?

[00:33:47] Kim Guedry: Yeah, no, I feel like I've done an okay job with having the confidence kind of on the outside. But again, leading to the imposter syndrome conversation earlier where it may look like that, but no. Terrifies the crap outta me. and I think it's, and it's hard and it's challenging. And every day, you know, whether you're dealing with internal company relationship problems or whether you're dealing with, you know, client issues or trying to, you know, do the business development and, and build your client base.

[00:34:19] And, and you know. Execute. What brought you into business and why, why you exist? I think each and every day, those bring different challenges in, and it's still, to me, is just as challenging and scary as it was the first day. Just in a different, in a different context. Like I guess the best way to describe it is in regards to having kids, right?

[00:34:44] So there are challenges of being an early parent, right? You have this baby that you know you're responsible for. They send you home from the hospital and are like, you know, here, take care of this, this new human being. and don't, you know, don't screw it up right. Well, you get over those early stages where you start figuring things out with that baby and sure that baby is going to grow and that baby's gonna mature.

[00:35:06] And now I've got a teenager and, and you know, 14 and an 11 year old. Well, my challenges aren't any easier. They're just different. And I think business, at least our business is much in that same way. The challenges still exist. They're just different.

[00:35:24] Michael King: Does the scariness and the certainty. And the fear that you still kind of feel impact your personal life at all?

[00:35:36] Does it have an impact on you as a wife or you as a mother? Does it go from office to home at all?

[00:35:46] Kim Guedry: I hope not. However, I will say I think it has changed me. Well. I say I hope not in one sense, but in another sense, I want to say I don't see how it can't because I feel like it's made me a different person in the sense I, feel like I've always had a level of confidence, but again, it's just different.

[00:36:10] Right? I wouldn't, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, I would never. Be having this conversation of the fact that I was confident, outwardly confident, but terrified on the inside, like my answer, you know, 10, 15 years ago in a bin, now I've got this, I'm fine. I got this all figured out. Like that level of vulnerability.

[00:36:31] Never would have been uttered from my mouth. Never, ever. So I think some of that, right, that confidence in, in figuring that, and I don't know if that comes because of the business. I don't know if that comes from many years in the military or affiliated with the military. I don't know if that comes from being a mom or a combination, you know, a synergistic effect of all of it together.

[00:36:53] I don't know. Maybe it's just maturity. Maybe it's getting old Mike.

[00:36:58]Michael King: some of that.

[00:37:02] Kim Guedry: But no, I, I think, I don't think there's anything, when you initially asked the question, I took a negative sense to it, but I don't think that it has to be bad.

[00:37:14] Michael King: Positive ways. Has it impacted you as a mother showing vulnerability, especially with two boys?

[00:37:17] Kim Guedry: I think it's okay to make them understand and know that. It's okay to not be okay in 100% on your game all the time. As long as you're trying, as long as you're, you know, trying to figure it out. And as long as you're asking for help, if you need help that, that's okay to not be on your game 100% of the time.

[00:37:43] That's human. That's called being human.

[00:37:45] Michael King: What about his wife?

[00:37:46] Kim Guedry: I think the same thing. I think the same thing, you know, where 20 plus years ago when, you know, 20 years ago when we got married, it was, yeah, it was a very different person than who I am today, and I hope I'm able to voice. Those things are better than I did 20 years ago.

[00:38:05] Michael King: Well, thank you so much for coming

[00:38:06] Kim Guedry: today. Thanks. It was fun.

[00:38:20] Michael King: Thanks for joining us today. Please don't forget to subscribe to In the Trenches with Michael King on your favorite podcast platform like Apple, Google, or Spotify. Once again, I'm Michael King with KFE Solutions. We'll see you again next week.