Every entrepreneur needs mentors and coaches and Lauren Le Munyan says she helps her clients in technology, media, fitness, fashion and design “kick ass” – by helping them align their true authentic purpose with their business. Learn practical methodologies to establish your vision, mission and culture, and create the right structures and systems to execute your ideas.
Melinda Wittstock: Lauren, welcome to WINGS.
Lauren Le Munyan: Thanks for having me. It's so great to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, it's great to kick off the New Year with so many amazing women like you. I am really big on asking people I guess what their theme is, or inspiration for 2018. What's yours?
Lauren Le Munyan: My word for this month, and I think I'm going to continue it for the year, is manifest… This idea of showing up as you always were meant to be and collecting the dues of the seeds that you've planted.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that's beautiful. How do you manifest?
Lauren Le Munyan: A lot of meditation, lots of intention-based journaling, really just understanding what my mission is and purpose is. This came up to me in a meditation three years ago when I first started coaching, which is that I am a catalyst for positive change. Whenever I'm on that journey doing what is in line with that mission statement, then abundance comes in. Whether it's abundance financially, in love, in friendship, in intimate relationships, in fun, whenever it's in alignment with that that I feel like I'm just on point.
Melinda Wittstock: It's funny you should say the word “alignment” because that was my 2017 word. It was interesting how everything did actually come into alignment. When you are in flow with your business, and I imagine you find this as you coach all your clients as well, when they're in line with their soul purpose, or highest values, or whatever, suddenly the business becomes easier.
Lauren Le Munyan: For sure. Yeah, I actually talk to my clients about getting in their flow pocket. What are those things that they find, not even being easy, but that feel exciting, and you just feel, I call it the hair-raising moments on your arms? When it clicks and you feel that electricity of like, “Yes, I need to be doing this.”
Melinda Wittstock: That's really, really nice. Of all the clients that you work with, particularly women entrepreneurs, on balance, how many of them tend to be in alignment when they come to you? Or are they pushing a boulder up a mountain trying to do something that they think they should be doing, but isn't actually right for them?
Lauren Le Munyan: Yeah, I would say none of them are coming to me in full alignment. There's usually some tweaks and shifting that needs to be made, but where I see them really over-investing in taking care of others. Whether it is people that are working for their business, or their family, or their clients, they're over-serving others before they're taking care of themselves.
Melinda Wittstock: Why is it that we always put ourselves last?
Lauren Le Munyan: Because we suck at doing for ourselves what we do best for others. It's the obliger. I don't know if you've read The Four Tendencies from Gretchen Rubin, but a lot of my clients come in in this obliger tendency, meaning that they're super activated by external expectations, but they haven't listened to their true inner voice of what they need. It's really this worthiness or this feeling of deserving that they can do better for themselves and that they should have that.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it's interesting the word “worthiness,” because I think sometimes we don't value ourselves. In a way, when you think of society and how you grow up with all the messages, whether it was from glossy magazines, or social media now telling us constantly that we're not good enough, and whether that manifests out in business life. What do you think is the root cause of some of these things?
Lauren Le Munyan: I think it's a number of factors. It's the internal story, so it's the media, but it also is the internal family messages. I think that those are more deeply rooted because those are the messages of, “This is who you are. This is your label, your box that you're supposed to fit in.” Depending on your role in the family of your Mommy's helper, or you're the cute one, you're the smart one, you're the silly one, we end up acting those out more so in our adult lives without realizing it. The more that we pull away from it, as soon as we're back around family, it ends up getting sparked. I think that that's where this battle of who are true self is, versus who our label is identified as, is where that conflict comes in.
Melinda Wittstock: Lauren, I've found on my journey, particularly in my 20's and 30's, I was such a doer. It was all about action and it was all about things that I should do. I wasn't even really aware of that. I think a lot of people aren't. Until I remember someone calling me out on it saying, “Why do you think you should?” I was like, “Did I just say that?” Yes. When you're working with your clients, what's the giveaway, I guess-
Lauren Le Munyan: That word.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, right. It is that word, isn't it? Are there any others?
Lauren Le Munyan: Yeah, I look at this range of engagement and vocabulary. It starts at this can't or won't as the lowest form. Then it moves up into this have to, then need to, and then choose to, want to. I'm always looking for vocabulary triggers of where are they centered around their engagement.
Melinda Wittstock: You used to work in corporate and I take it that that was a ‘should’ kind of a job?
Lauren Le Munyan: Oh, for sure. For sure.
Melinda Wittstock: What were you doing?
Lauren Le Munyan: I was an executive director of three international trade associations. I was working for nonprofits, but on the for-profit side of the management. Lots of should’s for 11 years.
Melinda Wittstock: What was the epiphany that made you think, “Oh, this isn't right for me”?
Lauren Le Munyan: My hitting-the-wall moment. In addition to doing that for 11 years, I ran a Crossfit gym with my now ex-husband for two and a half years in Las Vegas. I hit burnout. I was exhausted. I was working 16 hours a day. I was just like, “This is enough.”
I hired a career coach. He asked me what did I want. I couldn't answer him. I could describe the job, but I couldn't tell him what I wanted. I was like, “Obviously, to be happy,” but I couldn't figure out how to get there. I had that moment of, “I'm never going to have someone offer me what's going to make me happy unless I just take this leap.”
I worked with him. He ended up becoming more of a life coach and strategized my change, because I realized at that moment that I wanted to be a coach. I'd been coaching at a Crossfit gym, but I realized that I wanted to be able to have that positive change in other people's lives. I ended up getting divorced, sold my house in Las Vegas, moved back to Washington D.C., and basically started my 2.0 vision and journey for myself.
Melinda Wittstock: Isn't it funny how such big change comes from, as you said, hitting a wall?
Lauren Le Munyan: Yeah. The thing is, you can either look away and ignore that it happened, or you can actually turn the corner and make a new decision. You can go around the wall, you can go over the wall, you can bust through the wall, but the wall is never going to go away once you see it.
Melinda Wittstock: What I find also, it resonates with me so much when you said, “God, I didn't even know what I wanted.” I think we all have those moments in our lives where it's like, “Wait a minute. What do I want?” Maybe the root there is a fear that we don't really feel able to ask for what it is we really want. We've buried it so far deep in the recesses of our brain, or wherever, that we're out of touch.
To me, it's so tragic that so many people, both women and men, end up in that place. For me, I think, “God, how to turn that around earlier, so our kids don't have that issue, so people actually graduate from college with a different perspective.” Are you hopeful that that change is happening, that there's sort of more of an awakening in society that people are getting much more in touch with their purpose?
Lauren Le Munyan: Yeah. I don't know if it's necessarily, “Let's speed it up,” because I think that it happens to you in the time that you're ready for it. I think it's more along the lines of just letting people be and letting it go, instead of should-ing all over people.
Melinda Wittstock: A human being instead of a human doing, I guess.
Lauren Le Munyan: Yeah, but this idea of you putting all of your should’s and expectations on other people, because it just becomes this buildup of the wall. That's the wall. The bricks are laid by other people and their expectations of you.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it's interesting. When we criticize other people, or when we blame other people, we're giving all our power away. I think so many people go through life experiencing it as if other people are doing things to them. There is a very magical shift that happens when you step up and take responsibility for your own life and you realize that even some of the bad things that are happening, it's like, “What's this thing about me? What's this thing about my beliefs or my mindset or whatever?” It's pretty radical. It's a big shift for people.
I like to say that I help you help yourself so that you can then help your business and then let your business take care of you. #WomeninBusiness #WingsPodcast @laurenlemunyanClick to tweet
Lauren Le Munyan: Yeah. When you can point out, and be objective, and actually re-label it: instead of bad, it's just a good lesson.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. That's right. Talk to me a little bit about what you do right now for your clients because it sounds like it's not just business and executive coach. There's a whole mindset component here. This is interesting because on this podcast, it's really evolving as I interview so many successful women. One of the predictors of success is mindset, is a recognition or acknowledgement that personal growth and business growth are the same thing. They both self-reinforce each other. How does that work in practice? Tell me a little bit about what you do and how you've helped your clients.
Lauren Le Munyan: I like to say that I help you help yourself so that you can then help your business and then let your business take care of you. People come to me and think that they need to do their marketing, or new website, or new pictures. What I find in the first session is that there's a whole bunch of dirty laundry that we need to sift through to understand what we're working with.
I start by just doing an assessment. It's called the ELI, the Energy Leadership Index assessment, that uncovers these internal blocks, these belief systems that have been holding them back, and what the stressors are that are not allowing that free flow of energy. Through that, immediately we have a trust-based relationship because I see them for who they are instead of their accolades, their profit lines, their bottom lines of business. We just get to what they're about as an individual and then who they are as a business owner.
It's a strategic business and life strategy that I like to incorporate because we're not just business owners. We are whole people that need to be taken care of. I become that vent line or that celebration line, but really we're just working together as a partnership to make really awesome things happen.
Melinda Wittstock: When women are having a business issue, like maybe sales aren't growing as far, or maybe money has dried up even, or they're having a hiring problem, or can't attract the right people, or any one of these issues that comes up in business, is it at the root of it a business issue or is it really just something to do with personal growth that's manifesting in business?
Lauren Le Munyan: You know, it could be a number of things, but what I have found is that there was something that happened that shifted away from it working. At some point, things were going great, gangbusters, and then something happened in their personal life that took them off course. Maybe it was a new relationship. Maybe it was a new baby. Maybe it was a breakup or a kid got sick. Something took them off their game and off their track. I always ask, “What was happening right before this happened and the shift happened,” so we can pinpoint it.
Melinda Wittstock: That's really interesting. It's very difficult to, and I know this from experience, it's very difficult to succeed in business if you are in, say for instance, a bad relationship or a bad marriage.
Lauren Le Munyan: Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: One of my startups was really struggling and I couldn't figure out why I was struggling. Then all I had to do was look at the fact that I was in a pretty abusive marriage and I was like, “Oh, right. Okay. That makes sense.” It's so obvious, I guess, to an outsider, but when you're in it, it's really hard, especially for women because I think we're so relationship-focused. We think we can do everything and balance everything. The treadmill just starts going faster and faster and faster and faster, and we get into trouble when we try and just keep running faster and faster and faster.
We’re not just business owners. We are whole people that need to be taken care of. I become that vent line or that celebration line, but really we’re just working together as a partnership to make really awesome things happen. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @laurenlemunyanClick to tweet
Lauren Le Munyan: I say it's the hamster wheel because you're actually propelling yourself and making it go faster each time. There's no one else controlling the speed of it.
Melinda Wittstock: So true. It really is, but it's such an interesting awakening, isn't it?
Lauren Le Munyan: Sure.
Melinda Wittstock: Awhile back, actually one of my first business networking groups, really was focused a lot on this, in Washington D.C., a group called Netcito. We would meet in these, you know, circles. I guess we were like 10 to 12 people in a group and always in a non-competitive situation, but it would be Mastermind style for 20, 25 minutes with an issue. The rest of the group would ask you open-ended questions about what was going on with you and were not allowed to give you advice. It was fascinating because I learned over time from that group, with myself and just with others, that every time every issue, no matter what it was, came back to some sort of mindset issue, or some sort of old belief, or something that had happened in childhood.
Lauren Le Munyan: Yeah, totally.
Melinda Wittstock: It was miraculous because when these blocks were cleared, suddenly the person was either free to say, “Well, wait a minute, I don't even like my business anymore. Why am I even doing this?” Or it would just be an epiphany that would allow them to make better decisions about hiring or actually hire instead of trying to do it all themselves.
When you look at some of the traps, some of the manifestations of all of this in terms of the business issues that women have, and one of the things that comes up on this podcast a lot is that we tend to be perfectionists. Sometimes it manifests as procrastination because it has to be perfect before we do it. Or we take too long to hire other people. Is that consistent with what you find in coaching your entrepreneurial students, if you will? What other kind of issues? Where do we get in our own way?
Lauren Le Munyan: I think it's this not resting. A lot of my clients are coming to me and not getting more than four or five hours of sleep a night. They're already depleted energetically, which stunts your creativity and your resourcefulness. But then it's this idea of, “I've got to figure it out on my own.” They're trying to figure out social media when they've never done it before. Or they're trying to manage their books and they hate numbers.
It's this idea of, “I've got to figure it out because I don't have the money to do it.” It's this lack of investment in yourself. Actually, I tell them, “Well, by you hiring this coach, you're investing in yourself and your business. Now you've opened the doors to ask for more help.”
Melinda Wittstock: Right. You need to be able to ask for help. We get so caught in a scarcity that trying to do something that you even like to do, you're not going to be good at it, and better to double down on your strengths and hire your weaknesses.
Lauren Le Munyan: Yeah, and in the same way that they would hire you as a professional to do something, someone else would, it's more efficient. It will cost you so much more. You have to look at what your billable rate is and how long you think it's going to take you to do this task versus just taking the plunge and hiring someone else.
Melinda Wittstock: You know, I think this is really true even in your personal life.
Lauren Le Munyan: Sure.
Melinda Wittstock: Just the other day I was talking to somebody about how, wait a minute, does it really make sense for me to do the laundry? How much would I pay somebody to come to the house and, I don't know, clean the floor, clean the windows, do the laundry, that kind of stuff? As opposed to how much value I'm creating for my business, or businesses in this case, if I sat quietly for an hour and really thought of something that brought the business lots of leverage or a whole new revenue stream or whatever? What's my hourly rate? Is it $100 an hour? Is it $1,000 an hour? Is it $10,000 an hour? Should I be doing the laundry? Right?
Lauren Le Munyan: Absolutely, and I think of it as reinvesting in your local economy.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, no that's also true. One of the reasons I started this podcast, though, too, is I really believe that women, because we all uniquely have this problem, and I fall into it, too, because I think, “Oh, I can do it all,” because we're programmed that way.
But what if we really were able to start helping each other a lot more, and just getting better at asking for help, and asking other women for help, so we're all soaring in the areas where we're meant to? Because there's somebody else. If you hate spreadsheets, there's someone else who loves spreadsheets. If you hate content creation, there's somebody else who loves content creation. Like that.
Lauren Le Munyan: Absolutely. Yeah, and we actually started a social-preneurs group in Capitol Hill probably about seven or eight months ago just to discuss those types of things of like, “Is it okay for me to do this?” It's like this level of getting a permission slip to go and take that next step to make your business better.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that's awesome. Looking ahead to 2018, you were talking about your word and manifest. Are you a manifester? Are you the type of person who sits there and just visualizes something and it happens?
Lauren Le Munyan: Totally. Yeah, I'm actually a really visual and creative person, so when I'm sitting in session, I'm actually doodling people's ideas out so I can give them the visual representation of what I see. But I sit there and I put myself in the place that I want to be, and I look at everything that's around it so that it's already happened, and I'm just reverse engineering it to make it be.
Melinda Wittstock: That's awesome. Is this something that you always had? Or you maybe always had, you just didn't know you had?
Lauren Le Munyan: Probably the latter. I've always been super intuitive, so I've always been able to see people beyond what they're portraying, but I've never saw it in myself. Things always came easy. I would pick things up just by doing it and asking questions, but now this innate sense of, “No, you're where you need to be right now.”
Melinda Wittstock: That's just so beautiful. I've got little Goosebumps.
Lauren Le Munyan: There you go. The arm hair rising!
Melinda Wittstock: You know what's interesting is that just in the past couple of years, the fact that we're having this conversation, which even a couple years ago would have been considered way out there-
Lauren Le Munyan: Woo-woo.
Melinda Wittstock: Woo-woo. Yes, totally woo-woo. Now, it's coming up almost every podcast that I do, every conversation I'm having. I don't know. There's no small talk left in my life anymore.
Lauren Le Munyan: There's no time for bullshit is what I'm about.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. It's really true. There's not, but it's just that perhaps you start, as you make this transition yourself, you start attracting other people around you who are more like that. Maybe that's why.
Lauren Le Munyan: You're manifesting awesomeness.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, you know, it's really funny is with this podcast. The most curious thing that's happened is almost any day, whoever I seem to be interviewing, and all I do is I put my schedule out there and people sign up, so it's they pick the day, but what's really funny is that it's always the right person to be talking to on that particular day.
Because I was really working on, “What's my one word for 2018?” It took me a while because I had a whole bunch. I was like, “Oh, it's abundance. Oh, it's WINGS. It's like taking flight.” Then I finally came to surrender because I came to the point of view of actually just like that concept of letting go, which to me was really just being. It implies a radical acceptance of who you are and that you're enough. It's good. When I did that, suddenly a whole bunch of things just really falling into place. That's my word: surrender.
Lauren Le Munyan: I think your word is actually ‘be’.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, maybe it is be. Yeah. Well, that's it. Yeah. Be.
Lauren Le Munyan: You had to surrender in order to be.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, my God. Oh, yes. Exactly. Oh, God. I'm checking my arm and I have the hair-rising thing. Yeah, but it's so true. Lauren, this is awesome. What are some of the things ahead for you? When you visualize your future and where you want to be five years from now, or out, do you think that far ahead?
Lauren Le Munyan: I like to focus on the year, but you know why not five years? We'll just go there. I see myself writing a couple books. I have a goal to write two books this year. Doing a lot more public speaking on what I call the inner strut, so that's that inner structure of confidence and where it comes from. I've got my SpitFire podcast going. I finished a 100-day blog challenge, so definitely creating more content, working with awesome female entrepreneurs, and male ones if they want to come in, too. It's just really continuing this whole inspirational path that I'm on and traveling a ton. I need some sunshine.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, God, so do I. Oh yeah. It's been so cold in Washington D.C. Oh, my God. Yeah, I need more of that, too. Why did you call your podcast SpitFire?
Lauren Le Munyan: Well, it actually came about in a meditation when I was going through coaching certification. This idea of your inner fire, your passion, your truth, and figuring out how to express it. Because the first step is to acknowledge it's there, but then what do you do with it?
I have The SpitFire Coach is one of my coaching brands. I let it go away because someone, actually two men, told me it was too bold and too intense. Then I realized, “You know what? If I'm too bold and too intense for you, then you're not ready for me.” I wanted to inspire other people to find their truth, and fire, and just spit it out. By listening, to get inspired, too.
Melinda Wittstock: That's wonderful. I know that you have a complimentary, No B.S. Business Guide for First-Time Business Owners.
Lauren Le Munyan: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: How can folks find that?
Lauren Le Munyan: That is at the hyperlink of laurenlemunyan.com/nobs.
Melinda Wittstock: Okay. Awesome. No B.S. That's good. No B.S. Then they can-
Lauren Le Munyan: Or NOBS.
Melinda Wittstock: Or NOBS. NOBS. Okay. Then they can obviously find you with SpitFire. How else? If folks want to work with you, because you help them really get into alignment, their vision mission, strategic things, all of that, if they want to work with you, what's the best way to do that?
Lauren Le Munyan: You can go to my website: laurenlemunyan.com. You can follow me on Instagram @laurenlemunyan. I'm on Facebook all the time. But really sitting down and doing the assessment first, the ELI, is amazing for opening up those doors and the blocks.
Melinda Wittstock: Okay. That is fantastic. Well, thank you so much for talking with me today.
Lauren Le Munyan: Absolutely. This has been awesome. I've got some arm hair tingling, too.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Fantastic. Well, Happy New Year to you, Lauren. Thank you so much.
Lauren Le Munyan: Happy New Year.