Biz Dev & Sales / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Lindsay Rios, Head of Sales & CS at zeroheight

Lindsay Rios is the Head of Sales & CS at zeroheight, a company building the DesOps platform for UX, starting with UX documentation.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Well the short answer is I’ve been in sales for the last 10+ years. The more detailed answer is I planned on being a neurologist but after undergrad, I took a break to work for a little before continuing the decade long path to becoming a doctor.

I sold MINIs and BMWs and was bit by the sales bug. I really loved it and excelled. I did return to healthcare for a year but realised I didn’t want to put my life on hold for so many years, and returned to the dealership for some time.

Then I was referred into a tech startup to sell predictive analytic software and there I honed in on my passion for leadership and mentorship. I had a couple different leadership positions while being there for 5 years.

Fast forward to now I am the Head of Sales for the most incredible company, zeroheight. We’re paving the way for DesOps and my team consists of enterprise AEs, Sales development, RevOps and soon to be more! 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Since the company was first based in London, my day can feel very hectic when I start because I am trying to get online ASAP after kiddo drop off for the first meeting of the day. With our time difference, my mornings are filled with meetings with London but also catching up on all the slack messages and e-mails that have occured 8 hours before me.

Then the rest of the day is trying to do more strategic work while also supporting my team. I always start my day at my local starbucks because going back home makes me want to clean up the mayhem that is around my house, and at Starbucks all I can do is work!

By the time I go home for lunch, my brain is working more and I finish up in my office. It also is my brain cue that my work day is starting since I don’t tend to commute. 

A recent work day looked like so:

7:45am Yell at my kids, “put your shoes on, WE HAVE TO GO!!” (Let’s be honest, this is just what households look like in the morning with kids)

*drop off kids*

8:15am Arrive at my local Starbucks, purchase my regular, get on zoom for the product meeting. 

9am Meeting with my Head of Marketing in Amsterdam. 

9:30am 1-1 with one of my AEs in London

10am Quick company wide zoom to surprise one of my AEs with a little baby shower before he heads off for pat leave

10:15am Finish catching up on slacks, emails, drinking my giant coffee and listening to one of my playlists

11am Time to eat. Go home, eat lunch and take a break from the computer or phone

11:30am Go in my home office, take a look at my planner/priority matrix to decide on what to prioritise for the day; Plan out my sales/success retreat coming up, write up documentation on the new pricing strategy we’re doing and why and message with the team as needed

1:00pm 1-1 with an AE on local time

2:00pm 1-1 with another one of my AEs

*Back to strategic work*

3:30pm second lunch! I love eating and also do so often

*Finishing up work that is less of a priority*

5:00pm off to get my kiddos and I’m signed off for the night

In between all this there’s likely some life stuff happening and impromptu calls with my team

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes. I had the greatest experience working for HubSpot a few years ago, and they really helped pave the way for remote life. Ever since then I realised I was not willing to go back to an in-office only environment.

I love my career but I love my family most, and working for a company where employee first is in it’s DNA is a non negotiable for me now. zeroheight is the best of both worlds because I can work from home (or anywhere) the majority of the time and we only require 2 in office days a month because we also know the benefit of being together.

The great news is, I love being in the office with my team more often than that anyways :). It’s also not just about being able to have flexible remote options, it’s the trust and empowerment in the team that must exist at the company for it to be successful. You can still micromanage people remotely. I give my best self to my company because of this dynamic. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Work life balance means to me that I have the choice to weigh work or life differently as needed day to day. It does not mean that work and life are equally balanced, pretty much ever! Some days life just tips the scale more and vice versa.

I achieve this by first and foremost choosing a company that believes in this being the best dynamic. Secondly, I think it’s not easy for many of us to allow life to tip the balance at times.

Culturally America puts work first a lot, and also I think most of us are still at an age where “work” was taught as being most important. It’s important to not feel guilty when life steals the spotlight from time to time.

I have to remind myself, I don’t need to “make up” for a day that I had to take my son to urgent care suddenly or even more important, if I take time off. It’s not about the minutes I am giving to work, it’s about the results and being part of the team. Plus there’s always plenty of other days that will exist where work stole the show. No need to keep a tally. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Every once in a while I need to do a big reset so that I can be intentional with my day instead of reactive to whatever comes my way. I finally set up my home office space in a way that not only makes me feel good about the space I’m in but also encourages productivity.

Before doing this, I didn’t much like working there because it was the “crap room” and the walls were yellow from the previous people and it’s just not my colour. I set up an entire vision for how I wanted it to look.

Shout out to my company for giving an amazing home office budget and my CEO who really encouraged me to use the budget to transform my space since I was being shy and not wanting to spend the company money.

Instead of using my old dinner table as my desk or having a bunch of random furniture pieces that made its way in the room, it was transformed into a room that if it had a name, would be Lindsay. I also set up a giant Eisenhower matrix on my cork board in front of me that I use to help me stay focused on true priorities. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I’m not so great with books but I love a great article/post. Sometimes I even write some just to share what I’ve had success with before. I go on and off podcasts but I do really love Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast.

So many of the episodes are about perspective or mindfulness or perseverance, but coming from a person that you can really relate to. I also love great videos that aren’t too long.

If I could recommend two things it would be to watch Kim Scott’s Radical Candor – The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss and to read The 5 Productive Morning Routines of Highly Effective People by Britt Joiner at Trello.

Why? Radical candor has so many great lessons in it but it teaches the crucial importance of communicating honestly but from a place of caring. (and also receiving that communication) It’s the type of video to watch every once in a while and is valuable every time.

The generic term, communication is key, exists for a reason. Successful relationships, careers and happiness come from communicating what you want/need and also on how to hear it! I love the trello article because it gives really great ideas on morning routines that are realistic.

For example, one of the sections tells you, do not get up at 5am if you are just not a morning person. You’re never going to suddenly be a morning person so don’t make yourself do a routine that doesn’t work for you, it’s just not going to be effective. (I’m a big advocate for being realistic)

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I love my planner. Something I can write in. Apps or digital versions just don’t do it for me. When I feel my life is in chaos, I realise I haven’t touched my planner in some days. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?  

It would be from a person who is a parent, is a partner, has a full time job and also pursues hobbies that they love since that is the type of work-life balance I aim to achieve! I value advice from anyone and everyone about this topic but if I was choosing, I’d want it to be from someone who is trying to balance the same weights. 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Be kind to yourself! Work, life, balance. These topics are constant works in progress. As I mentioned earlier, I need a reset from time to time because I will find myself feeling like my life is in chaos once in a while and I’m being pulled in multiple directions instead of driving where I need to go.

I have to be kind to myself in these moments so I can grab hold of the reins a bit and “start over”. You could be President of the United States, you’re still just a human so don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Don’t tell yourself what you “should” do and replace that with what you “could” do.

Lastly, don’t choose routines or solutions that are not realistic for you. I say this by making the distinction between something that requires work and discipline vs something that just makes no sense in your life to do. But don’t try to start your day with a 4am when you do your best work in the pm hours. That’s not going to do anybody any good. Find what makes you more effective so you can give your best version to everyone, most importantly to yourself.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.