Facing the burnout of the corporate world as a Global Operations Consultant, Lauren Lepley left the demands of a full-time job behind to combine her passion for wellness with entrepreneurship. Known as a woman of authenticity, gravitas, hard work ethic, humour, and determination, Lauren now dedicates her time to helping entrepreneurs and startup businesses create their own success story.
Success comes from simplicity, and that can only be apparent when there is space in the brain to see the wood within the trees…
From working in the corporate world to dedicating your time to wellness to now being a Go-To mentor for entrepreneurs, what sparked this change in path? What led you to leave the corporate world behind?
Simply? Burnout and Breakdown! I have played around with a few careers, so my experience is multi-faceted!
I started out working in advertising, specifically producing TV and radio commercials, moving into branded content, actually that’s a lie – I started out selling wedding dresses and cars! I gradually moved into the operational side of the business and eventually became an operational consultant with my own small business that offered advertising, design, luxury PR and executive search!
I found myself in quite a predicament. I was doing so well, but I was internally so poorly, mentally. This led to burnout and looking back, a breakdown. I moved to Morocco and decided I no longer wanted to have anything to do with business… I was convinced it was that that destroyed my life!
I gave away money, my head was all over the place, and I decided I never wanted to return to the UK. I chose to live a life abundant in calm and security in my friendships in my newfound home.
I wanted to support the well-being of the Moroccan women, they needed a female trainer and someone qualified to support them. I returned to the UK to study to be a personal trainer, fitness instructor, and also nutrition. I spent a couple of months in the industry in the UK to qualify, after all, I would be working with people’s minds and bodies. It was during this time I met my now husband. So I didn’t return to Morocco.
I had great success as a PT with 121 clients as well as working with corporate clients. I ended up taking the lead, and after my cancer diagnosis and many required operations ahead, I moved into managing gyms across London. Then decided that I REALLY missed the business side… so voila! The old me (the good parts) returned and I jumped two feet into my wellness centre, Aleafia based in North Devon.
Knowing that I can help entrepreneurs move into a higher level of success whilst being able to better their lifestyle, combining all my personal experiences and professional expertise, is a gift, a passion and a purpose all in one. It is now, more than ever, that I am in the easiest of flow, giving the most value and personal fulfilment. It’s a win-win all around!
You have overcome numerous adversities and powered through with success in mind. Was there ever a moment you felt like giving up? How did you keep yourself motivated during these challenging times?
I think the time I wanted to ‘give up’ was early on when I didn’t feel that I had anything that I could give anyone, let alone myself. I was 19, I was at university and the year prior, I had broken up with a boyfriend, struggling to accept and allow myself to acknowledge that I had been a victim of rape. I was having a terrible time trying to piece myself together. In February 2003, I ended up in The Priory with Anorexia Nervosa and Clinical Depression. Whilst I was there, I decided that I would not need to go back, I did what was needed and got discharged, determined to take myself on a path of recovery to change things internally for the better. This was the beginning of my awareness of my resilience journey.
I always come back to re-teaching myself that I have something to give, more than just for myself, but additionally, the ability to help others on their journey. They are all the chapters in my textbook, my discovery journal if you like.
Motivation comes from discipline, so I have a well-mapped routine and like to stick to a plan (mostly my BDP causes emotional disturbance when others change plans, so this is a must for me). I have spent 2 decades learning about myself, and I continue to do so. This is my greatest power – it will be anyone’s if they are committed to the challenge.
Combining business and wellness, how important is wellness for business success?
I truly believe that we are only able to offer an energetic output to a business, to a degree of the input of energy we have stored for ourselves.
Over time working around the world for small and large businesses, I have seen time and time again a strong correlation between how one looks after themselves and the potential for success.
In your opinion, is mental health now being taken more seriously? What should the UK government do to tackle mental health more?
I think we need to do more, sooner. Not when someone has a concern and is in ‘need’ of help, but before then. I want a plan for prevention! If I was in charge, nutrition, exercise and mental health awareness would be taught from the beginning of the education system. Simple things like the awareness of how the body works, where our ‘happy hormones’ are made and distributed from, so quite obviously we would know we need a clean gut, and more importantly, how to get it! How hits of endorphins affect us and how we can build a clearer mind for the long term when created right. How false happiness can be detrimental to brain function, desires and needs.
If we are able to implement these basic educational changes, to allow more drive to what we’re good at when we’re younger, and not concentrating on what isn’t liked or a strength, the world would be full of better mental health.
We have to take it to the start, where trauma has the potential to strike, we must give access to knowledge and care from the beginning. We have become great at acknowledging variations of mental health, and that we are all on a spectrum, we must now be aware and take action of the differing levels of care and support that we can deliver to ourselves! Self-awareness sessions during education would ignite a new era of children growing up aware of how they can individually be fulfilled, therefore full of genuine joy.
How would you define wellness? How should our readers take care of their mental health? What are some techniques, courses, and training exercises that can help?
Wellness is the complete 360 of health in your mind, your body and your energy. It incorporates the internal and external factors that have an effect on your presence on the planet, and in what capacity. So we have societal and environmental wellness too.
One of my businesses is named Aleafia, it’s Arabic and means “to be in the state or condition of good physical and mental health”.
As a multi-business owner herself, living with Cancer & BDP, how do you juggle life and work? How do you recharge when things get tough?
Again, I work with prevention over cure, I manage my time and routine around my energy. I am aware of what has a negative energy expenditure as opposed to positive energy expenditure in all that I do. I know my limits! It takes time to have that level of understanding of oneself, and more than anything, the inability to connect to a deep level emotionally has a huge effect on my response vs react process in situations when emotions are peaked.
My greatest recharge is my sleep, a swim in the sea, and breathwork. Sometimes I just need to watch ‘bad’ TV…. to occupy my brain at a level of no stimulation, just enough to not allow me to think with the powerful firework style thinking I usually vibe off!
What are three pieces of advice you would give to budding entrepreneurs who are trying to breakthrough their limiting beliefs?
Take time for self-awareness, self-understanding and self-care! If you can master these three things, your business will be aligned to your natural flow state, become that little bit easier and move forward with clarity! Success comes from simplicity, and that can only be apparent when there is space in the brain to see the wood within the trees!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take a coach or mentor to lead you.
ALWAYS be in the know about your numbers… don’t be scared of them. Every business has good days and bad days… it helps to know which are which and to what extent.
Spend time at the beginning to construct and build solid values – these will be what you refer to for all your business decisions! From hiring staff, to marketing, to company structure…