Helping ambitious entrepreneurs and executives to shine with Lauren Jane Heller of Shine+ Leadership
Helping women who want to lead the team, get the promotion, or start the new business to get out of their own way and become better leaders requires a bit of self-awareness, shine and possibly a trip down south.
A passionate coach, storyteller and connector, Lauren Jane Heller works with ambitious women to free them from the beliefs and behaviours that keep them small and grinding — so they can have outsized positive impacts on their organizations, communities and the world. In her winding career, she has harnessed the power of story and deep human connection to create and shift human experience, working with organizations from VC funds and startups to universities and non-profits. She now runs leadership programs for women through Shine+ Leadership as well as masterminds and 1-on-1 leadership coaching for executives and entrepreneurs.
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Olivier [00:00:00] Sometimes helping ambitious entrepreneurs and executives to get out of their own way to come better. Leaders requires a bit of Polish and shine and possibly a trip down south. Hi, I'm your host, Eddie. We said, and today's episode, we're joined by Lauren Jane Heller of Ooh, shiny leadership where we explore LJS aha moment, the ups and downs of her journey, and so much more. Hey LJ. Thanks for joining us on business. Not one-on-one. How are you doing
Lauren Jane (LJ): I am doing wonderfully today. Thank you. How are you?
Olivier excellent. Thank you?
Okay, let's just jump right into it. Please introduce yourself to us.
Lauren Jane (LJ): So I'm LJ Lauren. Jane Heller is my full name. I am an executive leadership coach and writer and a whole bunch of other things. I came to this path, very circuitous, really started my career in documentary film, worked as a journalist versus a copywriter, fell into tech [00:01:00] and discovered conscious leadership and coaching.
And. The power of really growing yourself in order to grow your business and how you can go about doing that and effectively got hooked and was like, that's what I need to do. That's how I help humanity. And that's sort of what I'm doing now.
Olivier That's great. Yeah. Tell us about your business.
Lauren Jane (LJ): So my business is called shiny leadership and. What we do is help ambitious leaders, entrepreneurs, and executives, to better understand how they are getting in their own way so that they can build and live and lead from a place of commitment and possibility rather than from the fear that dominates most people's lives and have out-sized positive impact.
On their [00:02:00] businesses, on their communities and on the world at large, really by growing themselves as they grow their businesses.
Olivier that's really interesting. And how did you come across this? What was the aha moment and the first spark behind this project that really said, I need to do this,
Lauren Jane (LJ): so. My aha moment would have taken place. When I was a participant in a conscious leadership training program at my former work, I was working in early stage VC here in Montreal. And I had this moment of like, oh my gosh, this is what the world needs. We need to help people to understand. we are being how we get in our own way, how to lead in a more conscious way so that we can create really awesome work cultures that we can get away from this, like really fear-based, competition-based paradigm that a lot of people exist in [00:03:00] and into something that is much more holistic and collaborative, and there's more possibility.
And. So from that aha moment, which happened while I was still working in VC, I actually shifted to, okay, well maybe I create this inside the firm and I do this for the founders that we're working with and we talked about it a bit and it, they liked the idea, but it was a longterm play. So I was gonna have to wait at least a year, if not longer, to start creating these programs.
And. My feeling was like, this is what I feel called to do. I know that I spent a lot of my life doing stuff I was really good at, but didn't light that fire inside me. And so I went out and started the business and started talking to a lot of different people. And. My transition initially went toward the direction of, okay.
So [00:04:00] I was the director of communications at the firm. So a lot of my early clients, I was working with more in coaching them around storytelling and communication, but underneath it all, storytelling is just about how we take the data of our lives and interpret it and tell ourselves. This is truth. This is how it worked.
And so that's as relevant for ourselves and our own growth as it is for the way that we talk about our businesses. So it was sort of a, I started talking to people about supporting them with their storytelling. And a lot of my clients were like, wow, I had no idea. How much I was going to learn about myself when I was doing this process.
This was way more fun than I had anticipated, or I've learned a lot more than I thought. And so I sort of packaged that into the way that I continued to approach speaking to clients and marketing what I'm doing. So that there still is this sort of through line of the stories that we tell ourselves and how.[00:05:00]
We kind of create our own reality and how you can harness that to really create the future that you want rather than sort of feeling like you're getting swept along by a tide that you have no control over.
Olivier That's really interesting. And when you started this and where you are today, did you find your idea of pivoted a lot
Lauren Jane (LJ): so when I first started out, I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn't know how it was going to get here. So I knew that I wanted to create group programs that would help people to really crack their lives open and, and see what they're capable of and believe that they can do it. I knew that I wanted to do one-on-one coaching and.
Help people to create the accountability for themselves and actually believe in their own possibility. But. I wasn't sure how I would get from being seen in my community as a writer and communications person to [00:06:00] executive leadership coach in a short amount of time. So I started off running a program.
The first program that I created was called clarity and it was really centered on. Helping folks to become better speakers, to understand how to build the narratives around their personal brands, around their, their company brands. But a lot of that work is, is, is inner work. A lot of that work is really understanding how you are creating challenges for yourself.
And so. I wouldn't say it was a pivot. I'd say it was more an evolution that I started with more storytelling. And now it's evolved much more into sort of an overall connected leadership kind of thrust where I'm, I'm helping people to draw together all of these different threads of their lives. I'm helping them to understand who they are.
Under their survival mechanisms and to really step into creating [00:07:00] what ever it is that really lights their fire. And so get people sort of on mission and on purpose. Through through. I mean, actually by living by example. So through doing this for myself, I can enable other people to see how possible it is and that when you can let go of all the, all of the complaints and fear and voices in your head telling you, you can't do it and give them a bit of compassion.
It actually makes it really easy to do the things that you would.
Olivier That's great. You could tell there was an evolution in your, in your thinking around your business, when you started this, what was your biggest roadblock that kind of like hit you, that you weren't anticipating when you started this.
Lauren Jane (LJ): Honestly, the biggest roadblock was my belief of what I could actually do and accomplish in a year. So I. I had this very big audacious idea about what I wanted to create. I was already [00:08:00] making pretty good money when I was working in BC. I decided that I wanted to double that in revenue in my first year of business, which seemed a little insane.
And there were moments where I was like, I want to do this, but I didn't fully. Believe myself. And so actually one really good example is I ended up partnering with a person where I ignored all of the red flags and it ended up biting me in the ass. And so it was really, I think, Like the roadblock was actually my excitement to create what I wanted to create.
That led me to not trusting my inner compass and letting the excitement pull me along into a path that was actually not the right path for me at the time. I don't regret having done work with this person, but it was just after the fact that. Oh, okay. This makes so much sense. I understand why this didn't work and I need to [00:09:00] really pay more attention to the red flags or the places where it just doesn't feel.
Right. Instead of rationalizing myself out of those things and being like, oh, it's going to be fine. I can, I can trust this person when the truth is, I was just trying my best to ignore it and really enjoying that person telling me how awesome I was.
Olivier So I was going to ask, my next question was going to be if you can go back in time and leave yourself a 30 second voicemail what would it be? But I'm guessing this is to pay attention to your gut feelings, right?
Lauren Jane (LJ): I think it would be two-fold it would be listen to your gut and hire somebody to help you with all of the stuff you don't want to do. Cause I've got to the end of the year and it's like, shit, I co I totally could have afforded to outsource all of the accounting to spend more money on the sort of more production sides of the business, the stuff that is not my favorite.
And I was like, no, I can do this. I don't know if I'm going to make enough money yet. And so [00:10:00] rather than just. Committing and trusting that I could outsource the things that are not in my zone of genius and just focus on the coaching and content creation and connecting with people. Was like, oh, I can't do this yet.
So, so that voicemail would definitely be just like, get all in, find the right partners and go for it because I could probably have generated more revenue. If I had saved myself those chunks of time that I was doing bookkeeping and dealing with the like business admin that I don't actually enjoy.
Olivier yeah. that's great points. It's very true. I think a lot of times freelancers and small business owners, we tend to try to put on everything onto our shoulders and that's not always the right idea.
Lauren Jane (LJ): Yeah.
Olivier So one of the other questions, how did you go and start your marketing for your business? Was it just word of mouth or did you actually have a plan
Lauren Jane (LJ): so through my time working at real ventures, I was the director of communication. So I did a lot of marketing. I came to realize [00:11:00] that marketing is not my jam and that I actually need to reframe marketing for myself to make it fun. So I really dived into marketing from a perspective of I'm just creating deep connection with other human beings.
And so the way that I do that is by sharing my writing is by having conversations with people and. Primarily through word of mouth, because word of mouth is 10 times more effective than traditional marketing. We know this there's a whole bunch of studies that prove this. And so for me this past year was really about digging into my own network, letting people know what I was doing, what I was creating and having.
Conversations with them where my motivation wasn't to sell them. It was to go into those conversations and see if I could serve them. And so if my service to them meant connecting them with somebody else, that's perfect. But I just really [00:12:00] wanted to hold space for people, help them to maybe see one of the problems that they're having in their lives or their business in a different light and connect deeply.
So that if at some point. It does feel like we should work together, then that can happen in a more organic way. So my approach to marketing was very organic. And then the one thing that I did do that I felt worked super, super well. That way. Really planned. It was kind of on the fly was offering, I did something called a 50 coaching conversation challenge.
So I offered 50 free coaching conversations, no strings attached to anyone in my network who wanted to take me up on that offer. And. I think I had filled all 50 conversations within four days. It was crazy. I wasn't expecting it to work that well. And I learned so much from that process. I feel like I became a better coach as a result of having those like [00:13:00] short 30 minute conversations with that many people.
And a few of those people actually did become clients and I'm still working with them now. And once again, The word of mouth and the value of the work that you're doing, I feel is one of the most effective marketing tactics you can have. And so it's like being 100% authentic in the work that you do and having really deep, conversations with people without pushing them into buying from you.
For me, feels like the best way that I can do more.
Olivier Yeah, probably the, one of the best ways to go about it in a small business and freelancers. Do you get a lot of referral business afterwards? .
Lauren Jane (LJ): Yes. So I have been getting a ton of referrals. I have a few of my clients seem to want to refer me to everybody they know. So I've been getting a lot of especially. Some of the deeper work that I've been doing. I have people who are like, oh my God, LJ has [00:14:00] changed my life. You need to talk to her. So that's been really great.
The six month connected leadership program for women, it's called shine and we spend six months really digging into how to be the best leader that you can be. A number of the participants in that program are friends or colleagues of. Other people who I've worked with in the past or that I've, that I've served in some way.
So it, it really is a community that starting to spring up. And I'm actually super curious about what's going to happen this coming year because I will run the shine program again. And so I wonder if it's going to end up being like the friends and family members and. Network of the current participants or if it's going to end up being a different demographic.
And yeah, I'm just really curious to see what what's going to happen with that, but I, I'm such a strong believer in the power of referrals and networks and having [00:15:00] conversations with people with an open mind and an open heart because it's, it's worked fantastically for my business.
Olivier Yeah, it sounds like it. I have previous guests that also talked about their tribe and how they created this happy startup school. And he was talking about the fact that most of the people that are part of that are just same people, they ended up doing most of the selling of this program for him because they talk about it. They actually bring people. And I think it's such a unique situation you're not trying to do anything. You're just getting this sort of free customers coming in because the people that are part of your tribe, so believe in what you're doing. So that's great. Now I was curious your six month program, what does it look like?
Lauren Jane (LJ): Yeah, for sure. So shine starts with a kickoff retreat this year. We did it in the thousand islands. We're actually going to do it again in the thousand islands, this coming year. Really getting to know each other, digging into like that, that first weekend. Or it was actually three days is about building connection between each [00:16:00] other and with ourselves.
And so that's how we start. Then we jump into bi-weekly. So every other week we have a 90 minute group session where. We dig into various topics. Overarching the theme of the program is connected leadership. Some of the things that we look at are things like purpose mission self-trust getting out of scarcity.
How we deal with time, like a lot of the stuff that people at large struggle with And so then we do these every other week calls. I actually pair everybody in the group up with a buddy. So they're having recurring calls with their buddy in the program. And then we're ending this year we're ending in February with a five day retreat in Costa Rica and the.
The combination of in-person and virtual I'm finding really helps with that like deep connection between the group [00:17:00] members. One of the things I really love about groups is that you don't just learn from your own experience. You get to learn from everybody else's experiences. So we are all human and humans typically all have the same problem.
And so somebody else might be going through something right now that isn't happening in your life right now, but is totally familiar to you. And so you can have a huge breakthrough from somebody else's insights and what we're building up toward the end of this group is for everyone to actually teach each other their biggest insights.
So that we can leave the program feeling super solid, super grounded, super clear, and everyone can move into their lives from this place of operating from power and possibility rather than kind of defaulting to the, the reactivity and fear that 95% of humans operate in most of the time.
that's super interesting. And I'm kind of jealous. It's only for women because I wouldn't mind [00:18:00] doing Costa Rican myself, but that's a really cool program and I bet you people really love it.
Lauren Jane (LJ): Yeah. So, so far it's, I mean, for me to have created a program that I wanted. Myself. Like I wanted this to exist in the world. And so I created it in the way that I wanted it to exist. And having the participants, even after the kickoff retreat, I had a few folks say, you know, even if I didn't do anything else, like even if this program was just three days, this has changed my life.
And knowing that we can create that. In in community together, and that these women are getting like a sisterhood effectively out of this program. People that they can rely on no matter what that they can trust implicitly, that they get to watch grow. It just feels like such a gift for me. And it makes me so happy that I, I get to create that this and that.
This is like, this really is my sort of joy, a spot in life. I've always [00:19:00] loved facilitating and bringing people together. And I think my. Leap was stepping into being this all the time, bringing my best self to my work and learning how to delegate and do the other things differently. If they're not serving me or not sort of amplifying my energy and my power.
Olivier I agree with you. I, I honestly believe that as people we need to tribe and people who can find a tribe they do so much better in business. People who are stuck in their own little islands, very difficult. So I appreciate that this program probably does amazing things for people and changes their lives.
It's really interesting.
Do you see your business in the next year? Two years and five years. Where do you see that going?
Lauren Jane (LJ): so my I'll start with five years. My five-year goal is to get to a place where we're actually creating a foundation where there are a lot more people involved. My, my big dream is to have a retreat [00:20:00] center where we're running multiple programs or multiple, multiple cohorts a year. We're bringing together business folks, coaches, and creatives.
I kind of hate that term, but, but to collaborate and kind of underpinning all of the work is this. Big push into personal growth and conscious leadership so that you can create everything you're doing from this really exciting, collaborative, positive place. So that's five years to get there. The plans are for this coming year.
I want to scale the business in a way that's more accessible for more people. So I've been primarily doing one-on-one coaching or facilitating groups and. I am planning on creating some digital programs so that people can get the same experience and content, but at a lower price point with monthly calls instead of bi-weekly [00:21:00] calls maybe having more people, but also I really believe, as we said, in the power of community.
So connecting folks from the programs with buddies or having small groups I want to train facilitators who are going to be. Doing similar work to what I'm doing so that we can run more programs and create more programs. I'm also writing a book at the moment. So that's another goal for 2022 is to an agent and a publisher and get it out there and sort of continue to grow my audience and get this work out there because it really, for me, it is such an act of love and service.
And I just want, I don't even care if I don't make money from the book. The reason I want to go with the traditional publishing route is because I want to get as big a reach as possible so that more people can. Really step into living really joyful, connected, fun, prosperous lives cause it's so possible.
And like I can, I like my own life going [00:22:00] from burnout and grinding and seeking approval and needing to control everything, to just like feeling really free and happy. It's just like, I know it's possible forever for anyone. You just need the support and guidance to get.
Olivier That sounds really interesting and good luck on the book. And when, when it's ready, let us know what it is. So we can can I also mention it here? Perfect. So now I'd like to get to know you
the entrepreneur more on personal level. So these are my next questions. What makes you really productive?
Lauren Jane (LJ): So it might sound counter-intuitive, but the way that I stay productive is by giving myself more space to do nothing. So I need to go for a long walk by the river and not have anything planned. I meditate for at least 20 minutes every morning. Time. Yeah. Time to just do nothing. Then really helps me to jump into the structure that I create for [00:23:00] myself and the rest of the day.
So I like, I, I do a lot. I just. Kind of block it into my late morning to mid-afternoon and get all of it done. I'm also a morning person. So I get up super early. So I do a lot of my creative work and reading and meditation. Between like four 30 and 6:30 AM. So that then I have more space and time to go to yoga in the morning and then go for a walk and then jump into my Workday.
So it's, I really feel, I know a lot of people talk about work-life balance and it's like, it's this impossible thing to create. I find. I need to have structure so that I know what my day's going to look like, but I also need to have enough space in that structure to be able to just be present in my own life and flowing around and not having to do stuff constantly, because if my brain is constantly turning and like telling me about all the stuff that I need to do, it actually makes me less productive because then [00:24:00] I, I get stressed and.
Take longer doing things that I, that I need to, or get distracted by stuff. That's actually not that important.
Olivier That's really interesting. So my next question was going to be what makes you unproductive, but I kind of, you kind of answered it there. I think.
Lauren Jane (LJ): Yeah, I get unproductive when I allow myself to feel overwhelmed and I deeply believe that we create overwhelm for ourselves. It's not like life is overwhelming us. We are choosing to take too much on and feel overwhelmed by it. And so getting really good at saying no. To myself, as much as to other people and really tuning into what I really want to be doing has helped a lot with that, but it's a dance and I think it can be really hard to.
I feel like you can say no to certain tasks or obligations. And so it it's really about [00:25:00] practicing with yourself. Okay. Like these are the things I really do need to do. These are the things I don't, I can give myself permission not to do these things and I can trust that it's going to be okay. I can trust myself and just like, let go of my need to control everything.
Olivier So what's one thing that you do daily that gives you an edge.
Lauren Jane (LJ): I think it's the meditation. If I had to say one thing, it's sitting down every day. Letting myself just be noticing what's going on in my body. Not being super rigid with it. Like thoughts are gonna come in that's okay. Let them go. But it's, I think my whole morning routine really is what sets me up for the day and that includes meditation and journaling and some form of movement.
And. That's what brings me back to myself and keeps me from like spinning out and being too future-focused, which I know it's important to set goals and have [00:26:00] plans, but I think if you live in that place, which is where I lived, most of my life, it can become really overwhelming and really challenging to bring yourself back.
To now and recognize like now everything's actually fantastic. So I don't need to live in a year from now in all of the worst case scenarios that I'm coming up with. I can just live right now and feel like, oh, Hey, this is really great. I have nothing to worry about. Really.
Olivier So what's one thing you spent recently that helped your business for example, like a virtual assistant. This is it, this was, I should have done this right from the start.
Lauren Jane (LJ): I can't think of a recent expense, but honestly investing in my own coach and investing in training programs. And like I did in this past year, not only did I spend more money than I've ever spent on anything on. On an executive coach, I also did a six month long facilitator training program. I did a six month long spiritual program.
I did a three [00:27:00] month co month coaching program. Like it's a coaching dojo where we practice coaching together, those investments together. But I'd say actually probably the executive coach would be the top piece. Just completely changed the way that I approached work. And so. I mean, I coach startup founders and I, I coach a lot of other humans, but I know that for me, the difference between where I was 18 months ago and where I am now is that I invested in a person and a process where I am constantly reflecting on myself and getting out of the limiting.
But I had, like a lot of my survival mechanisms were getting in the way of my really stepping into creating what I wanted to create in my life. And my coach helped me to see what they were and get out of them and continue that practice. And so that for me, feels [00:28:00] like, like, yes, it's often a really huge investment, but I don't think without that investment, I would have made multiple six figures in my first.
Olivier So investing in yourself. Yeah. I love that. All right. What's one piece of technology you can not live without
Lauren Jane (LJ): Fountain pen and a notebook. I honestly, I was thinking about this question and I feel like so much of the software is just a distraction and our computers are incredible tools, but ultimately my pen and my notebook, or my journal is where all of the best ideas come out. It's the distraction free.
Channeling of ideas that I find is perfect. So it's, it's just simplicity. It's not some like crazy fancy expensive software.
Olivier All right. Well, this is one of my favorite questions. I asked everybody this what's one [00:29:00] business related book that you've read that you recommend to everybody to read.
Lauren Jane (LJ): For me, it's definitely the 15 commitments of conscious leadership. I can actually show you my coffee because it's like, you can tell that I've read this a lot. There's like a good Jillian bookmarks. It's like it got wet. I I've taken it to so many places with me. It was one of the first books I read about conscious leadership.
It is such a great distillation of. How you can shift paradigms from working from fear and competition and needing to beat everybody. And just like the, sort of what we often think of as the normal work dynamics where there's like back-channeling or gossip or people are not feeling appreciated.
To shifting your organization or your life to a place where like, you really appreciate every situation that comes your way. You're not trying to [00:30:00] blame other people or yourself. You're not waiting for recognition. And. And it's, it's a fantastic tool for teams. Like I recommend using it, like doing a book club at your work or reading it and talking to friends about it.
There's just so many great resources, both in this book and through the conscious leadership group that I just, I, I absolutely love it and I recommend it to everyone.
Olivier Sounds amazing. One last question. What's your favorite business quote?
Lauren Jane (LJ): I don't know that I have a favorite business quote. think one of my favorite quotes in general actually comes from Eckhart. Totally. And he speaks about how our minds, our tools. Actually there's two quotes from him. One of them is that there's no, there's no problems. There's only situations. And. We we create problems.
So it's like, can you recognize, okay, this is the situation. If I can deal with it right now, I'll [00:31:00] deal with it. Now, if I can't, I can't, I'll just let go and move on. And then the other piece around using your mind as a tool or recognizing that your mind is a tool. I actually came up with an analogy yesterday, which made me laugh really hard, which is like, Letting your mind constantly run is like leaving a blender on, in the kitchen all the time.
It's just like draining energy and it's super noisy. It might be useful sometimes, but most of the time, not so much. And like that as a, as an image for me, felt really useful. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners and executives and freelancers, like you feel like your edge is that you're on all the time or you're thinking about all of the different possibilities.
But from what I've experienced, the truth is the more time you can spend just in quiet with your mind, feeling calm and relaxed, the more amazing ideas actually come through because of the noise of like, what do I have to do next? Isn't cluttering your [00:32:00] mind.
Olivier Yeah, that's really smart. So as we're coming to the end, how can people find you and reach out to you?
Lauren Jane (LJ): So you can email me is probably the easiest way as L J H at Ooh, shiny.com and Ooh. Three O's M O O H shiny.com. Otherwise I'm on Instagram at always a silver lining. And you can also find me on LinkedIn and Facebook, but. Finding somebody you might have in common with me, or just taking some time to look at my website also.
Ooh, shiny.com would give you a better idea. Maybe even better, actually. I think this is probably giving you a pretty good idea of who I am and what I do. But you can, you can connect through the website or through my email and I'll look forward to meeting new people. It's one of my favorite things and why I do the work.
Olivier Well, thank you so much. LJ was a wonderful talking to you
Lauren Jane (LJ): thanks for having me.
Olivier I want to thank you for joining us today. We hope that these podcasts [00:33:00] give you some insights from the stories and experiences of the founders, entrepreneurs, and business owners who share with us. And we hope that you find some useful takeaways that help you along your own business journey. Like always please follow and leave us a review until next time.