5 Habits This Creative Marketing CEO Uses to Improve Her Life and Work
Entrepreneur Lauren Maillian on storytelling, self-care and finding deeper meaning in your work.
Lauren Maillian is the founder and CEO of LMB Group, a strategic marketing and brand advisory company. She was also a founding partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early stage venture firm focused on investments in mobile and consumer-facing technology-enabled companies.
Impressed? I'm not done yet. When she was just 19, Maillian co-founded a boutique winery that quickly became an internationally recognized award-winning wine brand, making her the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. She did that after she got back from working as a model in Paris and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I probably left out a bunch of other impressive accomplishments, so to get the full story, I suggest reading her bestselling business memoir, The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms.
As you can tell, Maillian has been busy -- and she's showing no signs of slowing down. I had the pleasure of speaking with her and got insights into not just what fuels her astonishing success, but also her favorite mental and physical practices that we can all use to improve our businesses and our lives.
1. She never stops learning.
"In today's digital and Internet of Things era, digital literacy is essential, and I find it not only economically beneficial but also really exciting to stay abreast of the latest tech developments. I make time to stay informed of emerging trends and remain knowledgeable about technology, even if it's not my main priority. My focus is developing future-proof strategies, but I work with a team that specializes in various elements of technology (such as coding) to implement that strategy. Surrounding myself with an expert team not only allows me to maintain my primary focus, but also keeps me learning, expanding and sharpening my own skill set. Of course, sometimes you implement new systems or programs and it's a swing and a miss, but the benefit of interfacing with new technology is invaluable."
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2. Harnessing the power of storytelling.
"The most challenging and rewarding aspect of my business has been the power of storytelling. Working as a brand strategist for a cannabis company, in particular, has helped me learn how to change the narrative around a product to create immense economic output. The explosion of the cannabis industry is a powerful example of how to effectively change social views, norms and values, and much of that change comes into play through the work that I do. A decade ago, the notion that cannabis could be a legal and blossoming industry with viable companies and marketable products might have been inconceivable to most of us. Through my business, I get to see firsthand that public perception on almost anything can be pivoted with the right storytelling, and with the right people at the helm to tell that story in a new and strategic way."
Related: How to Use Storytelling to Sell Your Brand and Vision
3. Finding deeper meaning in her work.
"I worked with an entrepreneur who was going through personal tragedy at a time when she was also preparing for business growth. After the loss of a child, she went from being this wealth of information, ideas and excitement about her industry to feeling lost and obviously needing the time to grieve. She didn't have the same passion and love for her business and didn't really know what to do. We were fortunate enough to cross paths and I offered her counsel and advice about her business strategies, but also about how to emotionally cope with her grief and make the space and time to take care of herself. We bonded over the hardship of handling motherhood amidst personal trauma and entrepreneurship and she ultimately decided that her child would not have wanted her to give up. Of course, it took a while for her to get into a rhythm again and feel comfortable proceeding with her business plan, but now she's doing so well and everything she does is really in honor for him. She has seen a tremendous shift and growth in her business, in her revenue, and a lot of it came from simplifying her processes, learning to delegate better, compartmentalizing and prioritizing. In the last two years, her business has been more successful than in the previous eight years combined, and it's just an awesome testament to the power of strategy when coupled with support and advocacy. I can't say enough how humbled and appreciative I am to be in a position where I get to meet and help people like her."
4. Embracing a rigorous self-care regimen.
"I love working out and I am working with Be Exceptional Fitness to maintain an exercise regimen that challenges and strengthens my mind and body. Starting my day off with intense exercise allows me to clear my mind and release stress and tension. There's something reassuring and most importantly, empowering, about realizing your physical power and knowing that it translates to your professional power. Self-care for me is ensuring that my in-fit matches my outfit -- strong, confident and capable. Of course, I also enjoy vacations with my family and acupuncture and massage help me to rejuvenate, but that feeling of being exceptional in all that I do definitely comes from my fitness routine. I'm a big believer in the notion that the mental skills you develop from fitness are almost always transferrable into every other facet of life. Yes, exercise keeps me sane, it keeps me looking and feeling my best, but it also cultivates a strong sense of discipline and personal accountability that only magnifies my professional persona."
Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs
5. Knowing her value.
"No one asks men how they balance work and home; no one questions how, or if, they can manage their time and varied responsibilities. I really wish that people would embrace women's ability to work hard in their careers, build great businesses and still create a loving family without sacrificing one aspect for another. I sincerely believe it's central to the issue of women's value not yet being fully seen and appreciated in business. Instead of questioning capabilities, men should worry instead about equalizing pay in light of all that women can and do handle on a daily basis. Let's instead equalize tolerance of competing responsibilities. We handle it well."