Hölmetrics, an Origin Story

by | Sep 16, 2020

I used to be a youth worker. When I was 13, I wanted to be a youth worker. I got a degree to become a youth worker. After graduating from college with a degree qualifying me to work with youth, I spent 3 years and 4 months working with youth, primarily on a public high school campus, developing extra-curricular activities for students.
Admittedly it took a lot less than 3 years and 4 months to discover that I actually wasn’t very good at working with youth. It was kind of like growing up wanting to become an astronaut, spending 10 years studying and training to become an astronaut, only to find out once aboard the space ship that you’re intensely claustrophobic. Now, I know that getting accepted as an astronaut by NASA is exponentially harder than becoming a youth worker, but it has what I can only imagine was a similar effect on my life.
After the first full year working on campus, I began experiencing symptoms of what I would later discover were occupational burnout. I felt as though I was stapled to the carpet. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning to go to work. I hated the thought of going to work. It would take me close to three months to get back to the place where I was ready for the next school year, just for the whole thing to start over again. And with the cycle came the inevitable burnout by late April.
Sitting in a psychologist’s office after the third cycle of burnout, I began asking myself the question, “If you could look closely enough at my life, could you see this coming?” Could predict something like burnout, and if you could predict it, could you prevent it? What is different about me, then my colleagues who seemingly go about their careers with relative sustainability, not to mention success.
That was the launching point for the very first prototype of Hölmetrics.
For the next six months, I travelled around the country, from Moncton, NB to Vancouver, BC trying to sell youth workers subscriptions to my product. I didn’t sell a single one. But what I did have were hundreds of conversations with youth workers about their stories, and their journeys with burnout. So I went home and got to work on the next version of Hölmetrics, and the next version after that. We worked with youth workers, and doctors, and teachers, and business leaders around the country to arrive at a tool that can empower leaders to create healthy, life-giving places to work.
Places, where my friend Alana would say, “give us more life than they take”. All the while working alongside our customers to hear their stories, and try to get to that place where we are providing them with the answer to their most pressing people problems. The journey towards healthy, life-giving workplaces for all us is not easy, but we can do it together. We can continue to have the conversations that will lead us there. And when we get there, we will know we have done something good.