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Balancing the Grind with Martin Lacey, Founder & CEO at Compete Impossible

Martin Lacey is the founder & CEO at Compete Impossible, a London-based social start-up within the fitness technology and climate change space.

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

For the last 12 years, I have worked in the B2B and B2C enterprise technology market, mainly supporting VC-backed companies with expanding into Europe and Asia. At the age of 24, I became a Director of a multimillion-pound services company, and drove significant growth as a member of the board over a seven-year period.

Currently, I am the Founder & CEO of Compete Impossible, a London-based social start-up within the fitness technology and climate change space. I founded the business at the start of 2021 with the goal of harnessing workout activity to take immediate action towards climate change, as well as giving everyone on Earth the ability to build scalable athletic events with ease.

Our mission is to become the most fun, easy and competitive way for people everywhere to manage their carbon footprint whilst improving health and performance. By using our app, your workouts fund amazing causes, including planting trees, offsetting harmful CO2 emissions, and removing plastic from our oceans.

We also provide critical support to humanitarian projects and work with sustainable partners to provide rewards. Current activities available to track through our platform include running, cycling, swimming, and walking.

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

Generally, I get up at around 6am and head to the local gym first thing. I like to start work at 7.30am and dedicate around 90 minutes to emails, admin, and financial planning activities.

Depending on the day, my work could be more product-led or user/customer acquisition focused. I tend to focus on outbound reach and content in the mornings, and spend my afternoons on Zooms, calls and meetings.

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

We are a fully remote team across London and Europe and definitely promote flexible working. For example, I sometimes plan a 2k swim at lunchtime. We promote healthy, happy living and our platform is hugely creative, meaning it is critical for our teams to be in the right headspace.

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

I have to be honest and admit that I have an extremely focused, almost obsessive personality! That said, I totally believe in work-life balance, as I have seen first-hand the impact neglecting it has had on me and those close to me over the past ten years.

Burnout is real – it’s better to rest and come back stronger, than give up, or even worse, isolate yourself from important people in your life. If you want a successful career, balancing work with friends, family and other interests is key.

Fundamentally, your loved ones will support you with or without your job. In my opinion, work-life balance is best achieved by taking on the right amount of work in the first place and being prepared to say ‘no’ when needed. Doing a job that you are passionate about helps massively, as well as reflecting regularly on your progress toward objectives.

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

I have definitely been journaling more since COVID-19 and I like to look back, to check progress and reflect on past thoughts. Life moves very quickly and people have short memories, so it’s good to see how far you have come. Lifestyle-wise, I have been eating less meat and have increased my training, incorporating regular swims and cycles into my routine.

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

I am a big reader – some books I have read and enjoyed in the past twelve months include:

  • How to Build a Billion Dollar App: Discover the Secrets of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs of Our Time – George Berkowski
  • Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry – Marc Benioff
  • What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture – Ben Horowitz

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

My Apple Watch – and, of course, Compete Impossible!

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

Richard Branson or Larry Ellison.

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

Check in with friends and family regularly and don’t isolate yourself. Tackle stress by taking action early and always having a plan. Most importantly, find your passion and don’t look back!

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About Author

Balance the Grind is a work-life balance publication on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.