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7 Questions on Leadership with Lauren Clemett

Name: Lauren Clemett

Title: The Brand Navigator

Organisation: Your Brand True North

The Brand Navigator, Lauren Clemett is an award-winning Neurobranding expert.

Told as a child that she had word blindness and would never be able to read or write properly, she went on to become a 5-time best-selling author and now uses her dyslexia as her greatest asset - helping others understand how the brain sees brands.

She has worked at leading advertising agencies and in brand management since before the internet, helping launch hundreds of global brands and appearing in worldwide media, as the sought-after personal branding specialist.

Lauren shares how you can turn distraction into attraction and get a clear direction to stand out from the crowd as a magnetic leader.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Lauren's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Like every leader in business, I have an entrepreneurial brain, and that means I have a million ideas every day, which is awesome and creative, but those bright-shiny-objects, teamed up with comparisonitis and a pinch of FOMO in there have taken me off track and lead me down the wrong path many times.

The challenge is harnessing the power of a creative mind, my business brain, and my passion for helping others, showing them the way forward, while not also being led down the garden path myself and into what I call WOFTAM - a Waste Of Flipping Time And Money!

It takes about 3 years to really develop a strong personal brand that stands out from the crowd, and I'm sure it took me twice as long because I was constantly distracted!

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was told I had word blindness at a young age (dyslexia) and luckily had a great teacher who helped me understand how to read in my own way - seeing the shape of words in my head - and that disability became my greatest asset.

I ended up working in advertising agencies that were right at the cutting edge and I was encouraged to use my ability to see the shapes of brands to become a very good production manager. I worked with leading agencies and corporations as a brand manager and then started my own agency.

Eventually, I focused on personal branding and became a best-selling author and consultant in this area.

Since then I have merged my business with a partner into The Audacious Agency, and we are doing unbelievable things to help entrepreneurs, thought leaders and change-makers build profiles and stand out from the crowd by entering, winning, and leveraging awards. It's an incredibly positive business model and we are growing fast, representing clients from around the world with hundreds of awards platforms and media channels.

I've always been a confident person, so becoming a professional keynote leadership speaker was obvious. Finding Your Brand True North was my next best-seller and my motivational keynote speaking from this brand is very exciting - I'm helping so many people get back on track and turn distraction into attraction, with Neurobranding right at the center of everything.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I'm a 5 am riser, making my bed, and then off to the gym 6 or 7 days a week. After the gym, head to the beach for a walk before a high-protein breakfast. I'm so fortunate to live in the Sunshine Coast of Australia!

I don't pick up my phone until at least 8 a.m. I've realised I have become addicted to it (that bright-shiny-objects again) so I limit my time online.

I check emails and get the vital deadlines handled, then get into content creation and marketing campaigns for the businesses, making calls and following up, sending out inquiry packs and welcome kits, or having meetings with clients and my fab business partner.

I'm prepping for a bodybuilding competition, so I snack on high-protein, macro-based food all day and drink loads of water, taking regular quick breaks from the computer.

I either have another walk in the late afternoon, or head to the Recovery Room (compression boots, sauna, and hot/cold pools) three times a week, but I mostly work through to 7-8 pm before dinner and in bed by 9 pm.

This routine is about the same 7 days a week - with different work on weekends - usually speaking at events or sailing!

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

When I was young I would worry about everything. I would wake in the night in a cold sweat worrying about school, or, as an adult and a production manager I'd wake in the morning with a sharp intake of breath, it felt like being shot out of a cannon, because of the many pressing deadlines I stressed about. I can only imagine the damage I did to my adrenal glands over the years!

Later, as a mum, I had post-natal depression, and that made me very aware of how I managed my mental health and the importance of asking for help and putting everything in perspective.

As I became a leader I've learned to manage my anxiety and stress but have noticed it reappearing at certain times. I get especially anxious before keynote speaking because I want the organiser and the audience to get the best outcome, and of course, our work with awards and media means we are always on a deadline!

A reminder that helped me recently, was to focus on the things I can control, and forget worrying about the things I can't. It's a grounding lesson and one I need to remind myself of constantly - especially when I have such high standards for myself.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

My business partner and I recently read Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters. We are both strong personalities and were struggling to blend our leadership together to work best for our growing agency.

The book outlined the importance of finding the right roles, and we have definitely seen the benefits of implementing the suggestions from it with her as the creative and me as the integrator.

It's made the operations of the business more streamlined, our roles totally clear and we are seeing massive growth as a result, with lots of focus now she can be more creative again and I know the business model can handle it!

For anyone in a business partnership, this book is a must-read.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Find out what you really want to stand for as a person as well as a leader, and just do that!

If you can align your core skills, values, passions and talents with what you do as a leader, you will be on the right track to being fulfilled and purposeful, no matter what role you have.

It does take time and introspection, but having a clear sense of your personal brand will definitely help give you that 'litmus test' for any opportunities that come your way. You can use your personal brand to ask yourself "Would my brand do this?".

And if you ever feel something is off, it's probably because it doesn't fit with your brand.

You'll know when you are in the right place at the right time because your own brand aligns with the business, organisation, or opportunity in front of you.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I race sailing on the 50-foot carbon fiber yacht, Cyclone, and we are headed to Julian Rocks just off Byron Bay NSW Australia (where Chris Hemsworth lives - although he is not part of this story unfortunately).

It's a 90-nautical mile race and an all-day/all-nighter with 15 amateur crew on board. Just as we near the rocks, which we have to go around before heading home, the wind dies to nothing and big black clouds appear on the horizon. We slop about for half an hour with the weather looking ominous and it's literally the calm before the storm. A decision is made and the iron spinnaker (the engine) is turned on, disqualifying us from the race and we go about, hoping to outrun the storm. We don't.

It hits with such ferocity that all but 3 of the crew head below where it's dry, and we stay on deck to navigate the way home to safety. It's so dark that we can't see the lights of the shore and the rain is pouring down on us like a waterfall. I'm on the helm, steering the boat, with all my wet weather gear on, but suddenly, over my left shoulder I hear the sound of waves breaking on a beach...but it can't be, according to the electronic screen of the iPad in front of me, we are miles out to sea.

I ignore it, dismissing it as hearing things...but there it is again... I whip off my hood, ignoring the rain that drenches me, so I can hear better and it's definitely waves breaking! "Get off the beach" a shout comes from below where someone has fired up another iPad in the dry of the cabin.

I quickly turn the wheel 90 degrees and we head out to the open sea. Turns out the raindrops were falling so hard, that they had been hitting the iPad in front of me like a finger, pressing down and changing our location. I thought we were safe, but we were only a few hundred meters off the beach.

I switched to using the old-fashioned compass, looking at the right bearing and steering us into the blackness, knowing now I was going in the right direction. Hours later we got back to the marina, cold and wet but alive.

The lesson it taught me as a leader, is that we can rely on technology too much and that no matter how good it might be, there is nothing like listening to those feelings when you are going in the wrong direction to make better choices on where you invest your energy, and the opportunities you say yes or no to.

Having that human connection and taking the time to know where you are and what direction you are going in is vital for today's leaders, where everything else is just a distraction.

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