Lauren LeMunyan, PCC
Owner, Lauren LeMunyan Coaching, LLC & The SpitFire Coach
At the age of six, Lauren tasted her first drop of entrepreneurship and was hooked (literally). What started as way to cure boredom while hanging out with some octogenarians, Lauren learned the art of crochet and quickly mastered the beginnings of hat-making. Fast-forward three decades filled with a successful career in association management and multiple business launches, this SpitFire Coach now teaches creative entrepreneurs and passionate professionals how to streamline their focus, reduce stress and make magic happen.
Lauren incorporates a fun, direct and intuitive-based coaching process to build clear, concise and creative strategies in marketing, branding, operations, hiring and business development.
When she’s not combating gremlins and energy blocks, Lauren spends her time in Washington, DC
With her personality-packed English Bulldog, Rico Suave where she also produces and hosts a weekly business-focused podcast – The SpitFire Podcast. And if that isn’t enough fire spitting, she can be found up and down the East Coast performing on stage as the Bluegrass-Americana Rapper, JRZ FRSH. www.laurenlemunyan.com
5 Tips for Adding a Dash of Spitfire to Your Life and Business
My podcast guest is iPEC-certified coach Lauren LeMunyan, who came from the nonprofit space and then opened a CrossFit gym in Las Vegas. As she began to see how people hold themselves back, she realized she was holding herself back. So she hired a coach and ended up becoming one. In meditation, she discovered her coaching gift was “spitfire:” understanding the passion each of us have in our bellies and how to fire it up and express it. Today she helps small business owners and executives, whom she sees as change agents bogged down by details and self-expectations. She becomes the catalyst to help them find their passion and feel confident creating the positive change they envision.
Lauren firmly believes that what we do best for others, “we suck at doing for ourselves.” In struggling with her own distractions, expectations and fears, she has created many tools to help her clients stay focused. I know we entrepreneurs all experience—yet few want to talk about—our bouts with doubt. Our recent conversation uncovered many wise tips you can use to create success.
1. Fire Up Your Passion—and Have Fun
Given the alluring security of a corporate job, the risks of starting a business by yourself today are huge. Lauren begins by helping her clients rediscover their values and passion. Once they touch their original why, she says, the creative floodgates open. The next step is brainstorming where they want to be in one, three or five years and reverse-engineering a plan.
Everything is on the table for Lauren when working with her clients. She always finds some kind of “no-fly zone,” something “protecting” the client from making change, which she helps them understand and address.
Lauren’s favorite success quote is, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” She feels that in having fun she can be most powerful and helpful for others. Sometimes we start businesses with a short-term goal in mind—perhaps making a quick buck or out of fear. If you find yourself unhappy and uninspired, it may be time to transition out. And that’s ok, too. I agree that if you are not waking up smiling about your work, about serving others, what do you need to look at?
2. Develop Personal Refocusing Tools
Like many of us, Lauren personally struggles with patience and trusting the process, often pushing and making things more intense than they need to be. She has to remind herself to let go, or to pick herself up when others aren’t sharing her excitement. Her daily meditation practice helps her sit in stillness and move through any anxiety. What helps you refocus?
Another resource she utilizes is reaching out instead of isolating, talking things out with a friend or colleague. Too many entrepreneurs feel like they need to take everything on themselves and that they don’t want to be a burden. In my practice, executives do this too. But nobody earns an award for doing things by yourself. Co-creation multiplies outcome.
Lauren uses and recommends The Awesome Shit List Journal. She used to worry into a journal, writing about her insecurities until she decided she needed a place to keep all her positives. You can create your own, she says, then write every day about “all the awesome shit” going on. When your energy starts to drop, open it up and take in all that evidence that your business and life are great. Many of my own clients can replay a difficult conversation but can’t remember momentous positive experiences. Journaling helps us see what’s really happening and reframe and refocus.
3. Get Honest Feedback and Assessment: Mastermind
Lauren believes honest support and feedback is key. Our wonderful family and friends like to protect us and tell us what we want to hear, but that isn’t what you need to find true success. Success requires realistically looking at the facts and your accomplishments, calmly and consciously, to keep you on track. If you are still struggling a couple years in, for instance, loading up your credit card, then perhaps it’s time to let the business go.
Lauren leads mastermind circles, with the goal of tapping the collective creative power and sharing to help all participants become stronger and more passionate. Her group of entrepreneurs meets weekly for about an hour to discuss fixed topics, then opens to whatever is on people’s minds. Participants get accountability to goals, and can build community and networks. Lauren says it’s like sitting around a fire, telling stories and making connections. They get the support they need, decreasing stress levels, increasing inspiration, and the creativity just takes off, she says.
I love masterminds and have been in one myself for over four years now. It has been powerful. We can discuss failures, too, learn from them and get help overcoming the challenges that every entrepreneur experiences. Lauren calls masterminds a “power posse,” and considers having one a key to success.
4. Take Your Time and Research Well
Lauren tracks 13 entrepreneurial pitfalls, one of which is comparison mentality: the expectation that success happens overnight and the crushing disappointment when it doesn’t. Instant success is a myth. She says you have to expect building a business to take 2-3 years minimum. There’s no harm or foul or failure in having a side job while you do this, either. When you take time to grow your new business, you can launch when you are fully ready.
Lauren recently interviewed a musician interested in starting a boat-cleaning business, walking him through questions an investor might ask: what is the current competition, market size, potential revenue, how many hours can you put into this, what is your exposure to risk, what connects you to this business? If your answers center around your values, she says, then keep exploring. Shadow someone and take your time learning about the business. The more research you do and allies you collect, the better for your business. Get people engaged in your story, and when you are ready for your grand opening, you will have a line out the door.
Before you plant, you must prepare the ground and fertilize it. No tree shoots up overnight. Often businesses that grow fast crash fast. It’s a marathon of steady work.
5. Own Your Quirkiness!
Lauren has loved her confidence growth in going from a career she thought she “should” have to owning a brand that people told her was too strong. She says she looks like a young, sweet girl and then drops gansta rap on stage. “I’m not only the rapping coach but the cursing coach,” she admits. Yet what you are will resonate with your people, so own your strengths and uniqueness. If anyone says you are too bold, then good for you. Not everyone can leave a solid job and start a business that serves others—those who can’t are probably the ones whining!
Lauran’s Book Recommendation: The Gifts of Imperfection
Lauren loves The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown. The book taught Lauren to leverage her vulnerability and imperfections as strengths instead of hiding them. Yes, people assume and judge her, and then Lauren drops some knowledge on them and they often ask, “Wait, how old are you?”
While we often feel we must fit into a box and be perfect based on certain standards, this book helps anyone embrace who you are and see your strengths instead of deficiencies.