My Working Day – Laura Gordon – Chair, London and Central Scotland of Vistage UK

As the leader of a company, you are there to set an example, to lead and inspire a team of individuals to achieve a series of business goals. But how do these business leaders go about their daily routine? Business Leader spoke to Laura Gordon – Chair, London and Central Scotland of Vistage UK, about her working day.

What time do you wake up?

I wake at 7 pretty much every day, weekday or weekend, and do a 20-minute yoga workout followed by 10 minutes of meditation. And I can’t start the day without reading the news. I’m a bit of a news junkie.

What do you have for breakfast?

When I have breakfast, it’s berries and yoghurt or overnight oats, and a black coffee. Or if I’m doing intermittent fasting, I’ll skip breakfast altogether and probably feel better for it!

What is your mantra for your working day?

Eat that Frog – a well-known phrase from the book by Brian Tracy. When you get all the things done you’re likely to put off. Also, the way you start your day will determine the kind of day you have.

As a business leader, is it hard to separate your business and personal life?

Yes, I have to admit it can be hard to switch off now that my office is at home. This was particularly true over lockdown when myself and most of my clients felt that rather than working from home, we were living at work. However, I have strategies in place to create a better balance and I believe it’s really important to create strict boundaries.

What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs?

If something feels scary, that’s a reason to do it and not to back off. If you have a vision and a passion for what you’re doing, don’t let others quell your enthusiasm. Follow your own path, not someone else’s, and remember, growth comes on the other side of challenge.

Who is your business idol? Why?

I admire Steve Jobs for his tenacity and perseverance, and Reid Hastings for how he’s built up Netflix. His recent book ‘No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention’ with Erin Meyer was eye-opening. I also love the work of Brene Brown. She believes leaders need to be vulnerable and authentic with those around them to get the best out of their people and encourage them to be open and honest to develop and grow. Her research is groundbreaking and sets the path for leadership in the 21st Century.

What motivates you?

The people I surround myself with. I’m very privileged to coach and run peer learning groups for business leaders and find I’m hugely motivated by them learning new ideas and strategies from each other. In turn, they can create a better environment for their own teams and people, enhancing lives as well as the performance of their businesses. Watching others blossom and excel is a real motivator.

How do you persevere through challenging times?

I am fortunate to have a great support network in my husband and family. Also, I exercise every day – resilience is as much about physical strength and wellbeing as emotional and mental. Plus, I love reading and listening to audiobooks – relaxation is so important to counterbalance stress and challenge.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a female entrepreneur?

Particularly when I was younger it was being taken seriously. I remember wearing glasses at a meeting once for that very reason. It can also be tough juggling family with a demanding career, not just fitting everything in time-wise but also the headspace it takes up. Travelling for work was always a challenge, but I always had a great support network and quite honestly am not sure I’d have managed without that.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

To consider myself an equal to everyone in the room and not allow myself to be intimidated. I’ve suffered from imposter syndrome at various stages of my career but actually, that’s served me well in that it motivated me to prepare better and work hard.

Are you hopeful about the future of female entrepreneurship in the UK? Why?

Definitely. Women have a lot more confidence nowadays and with many more women leading businesses, that empowers and encourages the next generation. Women also make great leaders! In this globalised world with technology and the gig economy, work is democratised so anyone, anywhere can start a business, working anytime, as a sole trader or building a larger enterprise. The opportunities are constantly evolving and women can participate as much as men.