Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Lara Quie

Intro Banner of Lara Quie

Lara talks about leaving a hard earned profession, reinventing herself after 40, how she’s succeeded in each of her career iterations and the impact of her breast cancer diagnosis.

Lara Quie started her career as a lawyer with Dentons LLP in the UK before becoming an entrepreneur in 2004, setting up a successful designer kitchen company. In 2011, Lara moved to Hong Kong with her family, needing to reinvent herself once again and becoming a business development and marketing professional working for various international firms. Lara now heads up Sales and Business Development for KorumLegal.

Lara talks about leaving a hard earned profession, reinventing herself after 40, how she’s succeeded in each of her career iterations and the impact of her breast cancer diagnosis.

Lara Quie started her career as a lawyer with Dentons LLP in the UK before becoming an entrepreneur in 2004, setting up a successful designer kitchen company. In 2011, Lara moved to Hong Kong with her family, needing to reinvent herself once again and becoming a business development and marketing professional working for various international firms. Lara now heads up Sales and Business Development for KorumLegal.

In addition to this, after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in her mid-40’s, Lara decided to focus her passion for helping others be their best and became an ICF certified executive coach. Lara also has a boutique executive coaching and business advisory called Lara Q Associates where she coaches lawyers, leaders and founders.

Not only that, but Lara also has two podcasts, The Legal Genie Podcast and The Coach Potatoes Podcast AND she is a 40 over 40 Singapore Inspiring Women Entrepreneur honoree 2021.

In addition to this, after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in her mid-40’s, Lara decided to focus her passion for helping others be their best and became an ICF certified executive coach. Lara also has a boutique executive coaching and business advisory called Lara Q Associates where she coaches lawyers, leaders and founders.

Not only that, but Lara also has two podcasts, The Legal Genie Podcast and The Coach Potatoes Podcast AND she is a 40 over 40 Singapore Inspiring Women Entrepreneur honoree 2021.


Lara Quie – Head of Sales and Business Development, Executive Coach and Former Lawyer

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are speaking with Lara Quie, Lara started her career as a lawyer with Dentons LLP in the UK before becoming an entrepreneur in 2004, setting up a successful designer kitchen company. In 2011, Lara moved to Hong Kong with her family, needing to reinvent herself once again and becoming a business development and marketing professional working for various international firms. Lara now heads up Sales and Business Development for KorumLegal. 

In addition to this, after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in her mid-40’s, Lara decided to focus her passion for helping others be their best and became an ICF certified executive coach. Lara also has a boutique executive coaching and business advisory called Lara Q Associates where she coaches lawyers, leaders and founders.

Not only that, but Lara also has two podcasts, The Legal Genie Podcast and The Coach Potatoes Podcast AND she is a 40 over 40 Singapore Inspiring Women Entrepreneur honoree 2021. 

I'm very excited to learn more. Thank you so much for joining us on fresh blood, please. Lara, could you tell us a little bit more about your story and getting to where you are today?

[00:01:20] Lara Quie: [00:01:20] Absolutely. Thank you Very much for having me on your show today. Journey. I'm excited to be here. So I suppose my story starts in ,  my rather international backup. So my mother is Japanese and my late father is British. So I'm a Eurasian, which is a N used to be very rare. But these days I'm certainly seeing more and more young people who are yearning.

[00:01:47]But because of that, It meant that I had a feeling that I was an international person, From the get go. And at the age of six, we moved to the south of Spain. My father was already , 

[00:02:00] a very mature man when I was born, he was retired and aged 52. So he retired to Spain and he took me and ,  my mother, who is his second wife, With him and I was an only child.

[00:02:15] And ,  so I grew up in Spain. It was a wonderful childhood. But at the age of 12, unfortunately my parents split up and I moved with my mother back to the UK. Interestingly. Yes. Interestingly, although my mum was Japanese, she found herself much more at home in a Western environment. I think she's a really free thinker, very modern woman.

[00:02:40] And so the constraints of Japanese culture meant that she wasn't keen to return to Japan. So we went to the UK and. I suppose I'll go into, so I went to university and I did French and German, which I really enjoyed. I think that was due to my international exposure when I was living in Spain.

[00:03:01]And I knew I wanted to be a lawyer because my mother had become actually an investment banker in the city and had exposed me to various. Concepts of law. And she told me how she was dealing with many lawyers from big international fans, such as Linklaters. And so I went and I did some internships at various firms and felt like law would be a very good career.

[00:03:25] And so I did qualify. It did at the time. So I qualified as a lawyer after law school. But then I was doing European competition law and I was doing merger clearance work, which is very stressful, very deadline driven. The corporate people always tell you that you're holding them back. You have to get the deal through.

[00:03:47] The ,  through the European commission in order to ,  be able to complete the merger. So although we saw ourselves as a really important and integral part of the deal, we were always seen as the brakes was always a negative feeling from the corporate people making the deal. So I didn't like that.

[00:04:05] And then also ,  we were also dealing with. Elements relating to ,  cartels. So price fixing cartel defense. So we were defending companies that were accused of ,  these cartels. And unfortunately there was a situation where one of the clients actually committed suicide. This spiraled into ,  it was a super intense.

[00:04:28] because we were working very long hours.

[00:04:30] So we were all, pretty much zombies. And then. 

[00:04:33] Jolie Downs: [00:04:33] How did you deal with that though? In that super-intense environment, how did you have any mechanisms that helped you cope in that kind of environment?

[00:04:42] Lara Quie: [00:04:42] I must say it was very hard, but it was good to know that we as a team, we're all in the same boat. So I think having colleagues who were experiencing the same thing and able to, EMP. Empathize with each other really support each other. I think that was the main thing. And yeah, and so our boss actually had a nervous breakdown and so noticing that, my colleagues and I, we noticed that, and that was what spelled the end of my Naval career, really, because I looked at him and I thought.

[00:05:17] I don't want to be going through a nervous breakdown. I could see various people, muscling in, on our group and the whole thing had just become exceedingly toxic and negative. And I just thought, you know what, actually, I don't think Laura is for me. I don't have the physical stamina to be able to be up till three or 400.

[00:05:38] All the time. I just can't, I'm not made like that. And in those days, which is a very long time ago. So 2004, there weren't things in place such as good HR or life coaches or therapists or any of that kind of support that you can get these days. It did not exist. So you were very much on your own. And Laura is a place where.

[00:06:05]You have to be a high performer. You have to really do these hours. It's all about billable hours and the pressure. So I thought  this isn't suiting me. I  why do say, at university go to all the top firms, do all the good things to end up with a life that actually you don't think is the one that you want.

[00:06:25] I thought people had said, oh, this is something to aspire to. This will be an amazing career. you will really love it. And I had enjoyed the early stages I really had. But I just ended up in an area where the whole thing meant that I thought, no, this is this I'm going to leave.

[00:06:41] Jolie Downs: [00:06:41] Good for 

[00:06:42]Lara Quie: [00:06:42] And I was lucky to be, 

[00:06:44] Jolie Downs: [00:06:44] to leave her leaving. And a lot of people

[00:06:46] Lara Quie: [00:06:46] yeah.

[00:06:47] Oh, most people stay. 99% of people will stay. And a lot of that is to do with status. A lot of people. So caught up with what it means to be a lawyer and ,  what that means about them and their identity, et cetera. But I've never been like that. I've never been someone who is particularly  caught up in all of that sort of thing, because I believe that everybody is a hundred percent born equal and that what you do on a daily basis, how you live your life and how you treat others is your worth not. No.

[00:07:25] you know what it is that you actually want, your job title is. And also that's particularly noticeable in people who are extremely important one minute, but then stripped of their job title, the next, suddenly that help us assay falls apart. The whole life falls apart. And it's but your job does not define.

[00:07:44]You just want to live to the best of your abilities. And so I thought  I thought being a lawyer was great and I enjoyed that, but I was ready to move on. So I went to evening class and I retrained as a Montessori nursery school teacher. 

[00:07:59] Jolie Downs: [00:07:59] Awesome. That's amazing. Okay. Tell me more about this. Cause that's a big, that's a really big change.

[00:08:07] Lara Quie: [00:08:07] It is a big change, but so I was, how old was I?  Nearly 30 perhaps. And I was really keen on children. Like I really wanted to be a mom and I love little children and I'd always done babysitting and nannying and all of that kind of thing.

[00:08:23] And so having children was a really big deal to me. And I came up with the idea that as a working mother, the thing that you need most is really great child. And so I started to investigate all these day nurseries and I'd visited this incredible nursery called Mary Poppins, where they even had overnight care.

[00:08:46] And so my vision was to create this incredible childcare facility of along Montessori ,  lines that would also offer evening care. For those children of parents who like me as a lawyer on a Friday night at 6:00 PM, as you're like, literally leaving the door would be told, no, you, where are you going?

[00:09:08] Excuse me. No, just had a big deal. And the deadline is Monday morning or whatever, you're going to have to work all night. I just couldn't imagine how being a parent would be compatible with the lifestyle that I had. So anyway, I thought that I would open a day nursery and night nursery like that, but actually the red tape was too much and I didn't end up opening the nursery, but I did end up qualifying as a teacher and working in an, in a nursery for a little bit, but then I had my own daughter, then I started to go to nurseries with my daughter, And

[00:09:41] then I started to realize how horrible the parents were. so then it 

[00:09:50] Jolie Downs: [00:09:50] so many aspects that you don't think about when an in a new profession, right?

[00:09:53]Lara Quie: [00:09:53] I think, I, cause I had not approached it as a parent, but then when I was a parent, I really saw it as a different kettle of fish. 

[00:10:01] Jolie Downs: [00:10:01] Yeah, it is. Yeah. There's all these different perspectives, but yes, there's lots of different parent personalities that you'd have to deal with that situation. For sure. I'm curious during the time that you did teach Montessori  what would you say was your greatest lesson that you learned from that.

[00:10:21] Lara Quie: [00:10:21] So what Montessori's main message is to follow the child. And so that's about the idea that.

[00:10:29] every human being intrinsically knows how to build themselves. So they build themselves through play and that's the way that people and children learn. So it's about. watching a child. So observation is a huge part of Montessori observing what the child is genuinely interested in which stage of learning are they at because there are periods of learning.

[00:10:56] And so understanding which bit they're in, what they're interested in and how you can nurture that genuine curiosity to, to help them to learn for themselves. So you give a very short demonstration of something. But then you let them get on with it.

[00:11:14] And it's about providing genuine practical life skills.

[00:11:20] So all sorts of interesting objects within a Montessori nursery are about real life. This is not about plastic toys. This is about using so there's this Very famous Montessori pink tower. So it's literally. 10 blocks. And they're actually the reflection of the decimal system. So the tiny block on the top is actually one centimeter.

[00:11:47] The second block is two centimeters squared, et cetera. So looking at that and the children start to play with it, they notice how. They differ in size. They notice how they can balance things. They notice the sequencing ,  they get all just goes into them. Biosimilars. They're not distracted by multi-colors.

[00:12:09] This is about it's one color, it's all pink because they don't want distraction from the color. It's about noticing the size, the weight, all of that. And so it's really, all of the materials are very clever, so that children just learn by playing and doing so it's a fantastic. 

[00:12:28] Jolie Downs: [00:12:28] Yeah. So you had your. And is that when you started your kitchen, you can do business.

[00:12:34] Lara Quie: [00:12:34] I did that. So one of my colleagues in my former law firm ,  another lawyer ,  is a Swedish lady and she wants to get a kitchen and she had this very awkward ,  apartment with all sorts of, so in London, lots of the buildings, extremely old and often converted into flats from. And her apartment was like that as well.

[00:12:57] So she had this very awkward kitchen and ,  she, had boilers and all sorts of funny things in the corners. But she went back home to Sweden and she got this local kitchen company to come over and measure up her kitchen and install is fantastic kitchen with wool, not work tops and, beautiful cabinet.

[00:13:17] I went to her place and I was stunned. I said, this is an amazing kitchen, where'd she get this? Oh, I just brought it from a recipe, shark in Sweden. And they came over and fitted. I said, this is fantastic. I need one of these as well. So she helped me get one for my apartment. Then we moved house and we did this massive kitchen extension.

[00:13:38] So we used them again. And of course, people kept saying, where did you get this amazing kitchen? And, surely this is super expensive. But we said ,  actually, because in Sweden, wooden kitchens are the norm. Because obviously there's lots of wood there. So people expect you to have a wooden kitchen of high quality, but also their ,  their VAT is 25% and they also have fairly, very high income tax, which means that people's income is quite limited.

[00:14:09] So that. The average that someone would spend on a kitchen is therefore, quite reduced compared to the UK. So we realized that by importing, because we would only pay you a UK VAT, which at the point at that point in time was only 17%. You already make a saving that. And then the fact that you could buy a good quality, solid wood kitchen ,  at ,  manufacturer's prices and bring it and then make it uplift.

[00:14:38] And because everything was bespoke, we carried no stock. 

[00:14:42] Jolie Downs: [00:14:42] Oh, 

[00:14:43] Lara Quie: [00:14:43] we would always design the kitchen. And then just sell it before we even paid the manufacturer. 

[00:14:50] Jolie Downs: [00:14:50] Wow. 

[00:14:51] Lara Quie: [00:14:51] so we were in profit immediately, so it was the most incredible thing. So we built a Swedish chalet in my garden. We use my kitchen that I had and we put in two more displays.

[00:15:03] So we had three kitchen displays and people would come to my house into our chalet. And That's how we worked. Yeah. 

[00:15:11] Jolie Downs: [00:15:11] wonderful. And what a great, what a great situation when you have a child to even, to be able to be flexible with, your work environment and what you need to do so you can take care of your kids. So that sounds amazing. 

[00:15:24] Lara Quie: [00:15:24] Yeah. 

[00:15:25] Jolie Downs: [00:15:25] And kudos on what a brilliant business plan, as far as being able to have profit right away, not have to deal with all of those, the product now, what, so what happened?

[00:15:37] I know you moved to Hong Kong. What happened there?

[00:15:39] Lara Quie: [00:15:39] Yeah. So this was in the days when there was still, the recession was really the great recession of 2007 ,  lasted for very many years, actually. And my husband's a lawyer, he was working for us fab called Sidley Austin. And he was doing pretty well, but he thought, his ,  chances of promotion to partner were pretty slim in, in the UK.

[00:16:02] So he thought ,  so he's actually half a Hong Kong, Chinese and half English. And ,  he'd been born in Singapore. So he said, look, why don't we look at Asia? A lot seems to be going on out there?

[00:16:14] This would be a good opportunity. And at that point in time, I already had two daughters and ,  my business partner, she ,  had decided not to have a family.

[00:16:24] So her ,  we were feeling a bit more unequal in terms of the business. So we were a 50 50 partnership. But she was obviously doing, she was doing more work than I was. And so it was beginning to feel unfair. And I think after four and a half years in the business, I was ready for other things actually.

[00:16:42] So I thought ,  this is great opportunity to sell my business to her. So I sold my half to her and we moved to Hong Kong. My husband got a good role in a, in ,  an English firm. And so we moved the whole family.

[00:16:57] Jolie Downs: [00:16:57] And how was that? That's a big transition. So what was that like for you?

[00:17:01] Lara Quie: [00:17:01] It was a big transition. I had only been there once. It's a very vibrant and amazing city. It's quite different now. There's been a lot of changes, but at the time it was a fantastic place to be So much energy. The thirst for commerce, for people doing business, for having fun for living life and also the landscape.

[00:17:25] So beautiful. There's so many little islands and we left in the new territory. So we didn't live on Hong Kong island, but it was very easy to get in there  on the underground train. So we lived in the beautiful by the sea and it was just amazing.

[00:17:41] Jolie Downs: [00:17:41] So if someone were feeling anxious about a big change coming up, say they were moving to a new place. Is there any advice or anything that you would give them or anything that you did that helped you acclimate to your new surroundings? Because you've clearly had to do it numerous times in your life. So is there anything that you do that help.

[00:17:59] Lara Quie: [00:17:59] I think. Some research in advance ,  especially looking at like the tourist guides. So this was in the days when ,  I found this incredible video that I got on my phone, which was a tourist video for Hong Kong, but my goodness, it showed all the highlights. It had the music, it was showing the cooking and the cuisine and the sh.

[00:18:25] And the vibrant city. And I just kept watching that video over and over, getting more and more excited thinking, wow, look at this place where I'm going to, it's amazing. And then reaching out to friends to say, Hey, I'm moving to Hong Kong. Who do you know there? Please? Can you connect me with someone who's going to, show me the ropes.

[00:18:46] And as soon as I knew that, I'd for sure I was going, I started to investigate ,  local societies and things. So I joined the American women's association. I'm not American, but Hey, it was because women had it going on. So I thought  I'll join them. And so there were various clubs and societies that I joined online before arriving, which meant that I had.

[00:19:14] The group of people to hang out with immediately and also ,  research into, where would be a good place to live, where's good for children, what schools should we apply to? And all of that. So I'd say the school issue. Quite tricky. The V the first year I spent most of my time driving my children to school because ,  the schools that we could get into was so far away.

[00:19:37]I was driving a thousand kilometers a week driving my children to schools. So that was pretty tough, but I had such Great.

[00:19:46] friends. That was a really Great.

[00:19:48] ex-pat community. So many Brits and people from all over it was so much fun. Amazing fun. I really enjoy. 

[00:19:57] Jolie Downs: [00:19:57] That's wonderful. That was fantastic advice too. And I love that you got yourself. Psyched up, got yourself excited about it. That's that's just really good advice for anything, for any kind of change that we're going into getting artist's brain ready for it, getting that excitement, because any change is scary, in any unknown, unfamiliar to can feel uncomfortable, it can feel a little scary.

[00:20:20] But then on the flip side of that same feeling is excitement. So you just got to tap into to that excitement angle. So I love. So it sounds like you had a wonderful life in Hong Kong. And then what was the change to Singapore?

[00:20:36] Lara Quie: [00:20:36] So we were in Hong Kong for three years. And during that time I was heavily influenced by all these Australian families that I was with and they all have three children. So I thought that was a good idea. And I had my third daughter as well when I was in Hong Kong. But ,  my husband ,  saw an opportunity with his firm and when they opened a brand new office in Singapore to transfer with the same firm from Hong Kong to Singapore?

[00:21:05]His fans called Simmons and Simmons. It's an English firm. They opened in Singapore and having been born in Singapore, he said, Hey, I have ,  I'm up for that? Send me over. So we got a transfer. So the whole family, we transferred across. We even brought our housekeeper with us ,  dog, we all moved over and ,  so he, set himself up there.

[00:21:26] And ,  I actually in Hong Kong had started a role in ,  business development in an orphan. I had thought to myself, Okay.

[00:21:34]I was ,  under 40 at that stage, but I was thinking, look, I'm heading towards 40. I should do something. Now, if I'm going to get some work experience again ,  and get myself back into the workplace.

[00:21:47] So I did a six month. Stint with a ,  north from where I thought  I've done business development for my own small company, and I know what it's like to be a lawyer. So this new area, which hadn't been available in, in, in the north, from when I was a lawyer, but now is a thing. I thought, okay, I could do that.

[00:22:07] And I did a contract. A very short one because of my move. But that enabled me to get the experience I needed to get a new job as soon as I moved over. I went straight into a job actually ,  when I moved to Singapore. 

[00:22:20] Jolie Downs: [00:22:20] Oh, fantastic. So you've had that lined up before you. 

[00:22:23] Lara Quie: [00:22:23] Yes. Yes. 

[00:22:25] Jolie Downs: [00:22:25] really smart. That's great. Since you've been in Singapore, you've been with the same company this whole time.

[00:22:29]Lara Quie: [00:22:29] So I was with two companies. So when I first moved over, I was at Jones day, LLP, which is an American firm. And then I moved to another American firm called Duane Morris NLP. And I was with Duane Morris for five years. So until September last year, 2020, but ,  

[00:22:47] Jolie Downs: [00:22:47] think helps you? What do you think helps you get the positions when you apply to your role?

[00:22:53] Lara Quie: [00:22:53] For me, it's about imagining yourself in that position and thinking about all of the ways in which your personality fits. And it's about showing that you're a lifelong learner and that you're somebody who's really sharp and able to learn quickly because there will always be some gaps in your CV. But the thing is that you say, you have to be honest about those.

[00:23:19] You go in and you say, look, I realize I might not have Y. But actually none of that's rocket science, I can learn it and I have the right attitude. So for me, it's about attitude. Are you enthusiastic about the role? Can you see yourself in that and what are you going to bring? So really emphasizing that, really looking hard at the job spec and ticking off the areas that you are really good at and working out, which are the priorities for the job.

[00:23:51]For me in that particular role, I was going to emphasize the fact that, look, you have to get these lawyers on board. So stakeholder engagement and relationships are everything. And so I said ,  I've been a lawyer. I understand the precious that they have. I understand the law. I understand what it's like to be in their shoes.

[00:24:10]I'm going to have the credibility. That means they will trust me to help them do what they need to do. And so that was for me the biggest part of the role. And so all of the other bits. So when you're in business development in a law firm, you have to do these ,  legal directory submissions. Now they're not difficult, but their particular thing.

[00:24:31] So if you've never done one, you can't put on your CV, but you've done one. So there were things like that were missing from my CV. But which I could say , 

[00:24:40] That isn't something I have I've done before, that's something I could easily learn. And to be honest, after just doing one, you know how to do it.

[00:24:47]So there were things like that, but I also recognize that ,  and I've really seen this many women will look at a job spec and unless they can take off 99% of things, they won't even apply. Whereas I definitely have a more male mentality in that. I'll look at it. And if I can do, let's say 60% of things and that I feel ,  secure in the main aspects of the role, the rest of it.

[00:25:16] I think I can just wing it. So for me ,  I'm very much in a sort of improviser. Would you say improviser? 

[00:25:25] Jolie Downs: [00:25:25] improvisation. Yes. It's. It's the way to go. That's how you

[00:25:29]Lara Quie: [00:25:29] Make it up. No, this is it. You just have to have self-confidence that you can go with the flow, so I don't get caught up with any of that stuff. And ,  I just go, okay ,  I'll give it a try.


[00:25:40] Jolie Downs: [00:25:40] Yes. This is one of the common threads through the stories of people who are thriving in life, who have had success in life. It is a common theme if you will. So they will go for things that they don't have experience with or what have you, there'll be that 40%, that they don't know.

[00:25:57] They're just, they just go for it and they figure it out , while they're. Figure it out as they go along  because we can't know everything. And that's what it's all about. You grow and you learn sometimes it's a little difficult. Sure. But you figure out those road bumps and you keep moving forward.

[00:26:13]You've done a lot and we haven't even gone all the way, but I'm curious because of all of the things that you've done ,  what do you feel have been one or two of your greater successes in life and what did you learn from it?

[00:26:24]Lara Quie: [00:26:24] . I would say in terms of career success, certainly in my role ,  at Duane Morris ,  that was very successful in terms of. The level of engagement, the kind of activities that we did, the awareness that I was able to create for the firm.

[00:26:44]It was a brand that five, five years ago really wasn't present in the marketplace in Singapore. But ,  after a few years, definitely people all know that from now. And it w it was the level of relationships though, that I was able to foster with all the people that, all my colleagues, but even people who didn't stay very long and who left, I continued those relationships and I grew and grew them so that I have a huge network ,  here in Singapore, but also all over the world.

[00:27:15] And I just have a genuine interest in people. I'm really naturally curious about them. And I do try to keep in touch with people, find out how they are. But I think the thing that you learn as you grow older is that actually time is one of these weird things that actually after say the age of 20, you can see someone that you haven't seen for 20 years and nothing has changed, but also 

[00:27:43] Jolie Downs: [00:27:43] wonderful. Yeah.

[00:27:45] Lara Quie: [00:27:45] My concept of time and the fact that I'm not really attached to it means that gives me freedom. so for example, if I say. Tomorrow, actually the greatest thing I ever wanted to do is to become a brain surgeon. If I literally thought that if I wanted to do that, I would just figure out, Okay.

[00:28:06] so what would I need to put in place to get that?

[00:28:09]Okay. I would need, I don't know, five years of medical school and then, several years of specialization and this and that let's say it would probably take eight to 10 years to do. And ,  But I would still think ,  you know what, I would still, I would qualify and be a brain surgeon before the age of 60.

[00:28:26] So that's still doable because you probably have a good 10 years at least ,  in the job. That's still worth it. That's the kind of mentality that I have. Whereas I think other people just get so overwhelmed by the whole thing that they wouldn't even maybe would even bother researching.

[00:28:43] I don't know. I just look up anything that I want to do and think, okay, let me look at the goal. And then what backwards and see what would be the steps that I would need to get that. 

[00:28:55] Jolie Downs: [00:28:55] Yes. And isn't that liberating to go through life. That way to look at the things that you want to do and know, what I can do that I'm I'm going to go do that actually. That's wonderful. And I, and that is that's really, my hope for this podcast is that it would inspire more people to think that way and to go after those dreams that they're thinking of.

[00:29:16] So I think thank you for that. You really quick, because you talk about relationships and connections clearly. Very strong relationships and that's a strength of yours. And this is something that is really important to having that successful fulfilled life. If you will, to have those strong connections with people and build those strong relationships, what would you say  one or two important aspects that you feel helps build those strong relationships. 

[00:29:46] Lara Quie: [00:29:46] relationships.

[00:29:47] are based on commonality. So it's having things in common with someone else. And so the key to that is having a very wide range of interests. So I was very lucky. As I mentioned earlier, I was brought up by a, a very much older father and my father was interested in everything. He was pretty fanatical about electronics, about cars, about planes, about food, about travel, about sport.

[00:30:18] So he was someone really. Interesting and could have conversations about anything and because he was retired because I was an only child, he used to take me and my mother all over the world because, so my father had been a fighter pilot in world war II and had trained  as a pilot.

[00:30:36] And so had become a pilot with British air. And so we had this incredible travel allowance. So we would get one free flight a year and then all other flights on 10% of the fair, it meant that we traveled first class all over the world for many years. And then it, and because I was, just an only child, my, my father ,  used to take me out of school quite a lot when I was there.

[00:31:04] But it meant that I really saw the world and we were very lucky. I have been very fortunate and I must acknowledge that it's exceedingly fortunate ,  that, I was from a middle-class background where we could afford things. So the things that I was exposed to as a child and also in, in ,  living in the south of Spain, which is an extreme, exceedingly wealthy area.

[00:31:28]I saw things. I meant mingled with people. Friends had yachts. I would go on yachts and. Yeah. I've been on helicopters and I've been, I've done things that I would say the average person hasn't done and that, and I'm genuinely interested in people. And because my father was so much older since childhood, I have always been speaking to much, much older people.

[00:31:52] I am not obviously an old, older person myself, but in those days as a child and as a young person, I always. Gosh on very well with people in their fifties and older, and I learned from their experiences and that those deep conversations. So I'd say that my one biggest strength is I can literally talk to anyone pretty much about anything.

[00:32:18]So that, that is the way to build relationships because you listen to what someone else wants to talk about. 

[00:32:25] Jolie Downs: [00:32:25] Yes, 

[00:32:26] Lara Quie: [00:32:26] And then you go into that conversation. So they might say ,  I'm from Portugal. Oh, wow. I've been to Portugal. I went to Lisbon and I've been to Madeira and I've had this and, we can talk about stuff that they have in their experience.

[00:32:41] And they're excited to hear that I can acknowledge that. I've been that too. Wow. These are great things about their country and all of these things. So that's what. 

[00:32:49] Jolie Downs: [00:32:49] those common connections. Wonderful. Yes. Now what about the flip side of success? Help? What about a time that you had a perceived failure or a really big challenge or a mistake? And how did you deal with it? And what'd you learn from it?

[00:33:04] Lara Quie: [00:33:04] I think that ,  when it comes to mistakes, it's so important not to get hung up on things. I'm very lucky that ,  certainly at work. I remember that was a really big, what I thought was a big mistake. As a junior lawyer, as a trainee where I think I'd done a reply all or something, one of those 

[00:33:27] Jolie Downs: [00:33:27] Ooh, lots of people are like, Ooh, 

[00:33:29] I 

[00:33:30] Lara Quie: [00:33:30] know a rookie mistake of a horrible reply or something that had  but actually when I left the building that evening, I forgot all about it. And I remember getting to my desk the following morning and switching on my email going, oh yeah, that thing. Oh ,  no. But my ability to switch off has been really good.

[00:33:48]I think, if I leave the building, my, my brain stays at my desk. 

[00:33:53] Jolie Downs: [00:33:53] That's a gift. 

[00:33:54] Lara Quie: [00:33:54] so that definitely is a guest. So I don't get hung up on that. I just move on because I just, I think, like.

[00:34:01] gone with the wind tomorrow is a new day and you wake up with a new perspective. And actually my motto at work was always ,  nobody did.

[00:34:11]Let's get this in perspective here, folks. I'm not that brain surgeon that I told you about. I'm not.

[00:34:17] so no one's died here. Let's look at the situation and let's just see how we can rectify things. If things have gone horribly wrong, apologize, own it and explain. But the thing is that provided you had the best intentions which you had, and you've just made a mistake.

[00:34:36] Humans do that. Nobody died. Let's move on. Let's try and repair it and say  so I'd say to me, I'm like, it is what it is. 

[00:34:45] Jolie Downs: [00:34:45] Yeah, 

[00:34:47] Lara Quie: [00:34:47] let's move on 

[00:34:48] Jolie Downs: [00:34:48] move on. 

[00:34:49] Lara Quie: [00:34:49] tomorrow is a new day. 

[00:34:50] Jolie Downs: [00:34:50] Yes, 

[00:34:51] Lara Quie: [00:34:51] I'll do better. I was sorry. 

[00:34:55] Jolie Downs: [00:34:55] perfect. It's all human. That's exactly what it is. And so let's finish off, let's finish off your story really quick because you mentioned that you have, you had breast cancer and this caused a shift in you, which is what led you to get your coaching license.

[00:35:11] Correct.

[00:35:12] Lara Quie: [00:35:12] Yeah.

[00:35:12] that's right. I had a friend ,  I have a friend who was very interested in coaching ,  getting an accreditation for coaching because she'd been a coach for five years. And I kept meeting people when I was networking, who kept saying that they were an executive coach and I kept the.

[00:35:28] People are sweating around all day, enjoying themselves. And they're an executive coach. What is that? What is that? And I had no idea and I thought, but these people are obviously making a living. This is very interesting. What is it? And so when my friend Susan said, Hey, I want to do this accreditation.

[00:35:45] I said, oh, I know this lady. She's got a coaching school. Why don't you meet. So I took her along to meet my friend, Jean and Jean started talking about this amazing course, how it was all online through zoom. You could do it on a Monday evening, 6:00 PM. It doesn't interfere with your work. So I thought ,  that sounds ideal.

[00:36:04] I may I'll do that then. So I signed up, but then in the meantime I found a lump and I had a triple negative breast cancer. It is very aggressive and fast growing. So literally from. Finding that on the Tuesday, the following Wednesday, I was already having chemo. It was that serious. I literally dropped them.

[00:36:29]Work were amazing. They said, look, go away, get better, come back later. So I literally dropped everything. I went into chemo, but then a couple of months into chemo, I thought, you know what? I actually needed distraction because I can't just lie around him all the time, feeling sorry.

[00:36:47] for myself.

[00:36:48] Once I had got over the shock of it and thought, you know what. Actually there might be light at the end of this tunnel. I can start to think about my future because at the time I thought ,  that's it. Then, I'm never going to be at my children's wedding. I'm this is the end. And I thought, I wasn't even, I was 45.

[00:37:09] So I thought I'm never going to even hit 50. Like why I couldn't get my head around it, all the things I had planned or, the fear I'd had for like my old age  what am I going to do? I thought, wow, I've been thinking about that stuff and it's irrelevant. And so I thought, okay ,  I'll do this because this is going to be a great way to meet new people online and to distract myself.

[00:37:37] So I did the executive coaching course. I did my hundred hours coaching all on zoom. I ,  got my accreditation and I thought. This is amazing. I could really coach people. This is so aligned to my values, which of course had changed quite significantly to a focus on live. Now folks, because you might not have tomorrow, like you.

[00:38:06] Absolutely had to live your best life now because don't put it off. If you're miserable, I can help you. Cause I realized, look, I have reinvented myself so many times. I don't care. One minute I'm a lawyer next minute. I'm you know, business development now I'm sales. Now I'm a coach. It doesn't last.

[00:38:28] I can call myself whatever I like. I'm still me. 

[00:38:32] Jolie Downs: [00:38:32] Yes, I love it. And that's the exact message that everyone needs. They need to live their lives now. And I love that you are a person that helps them do that. So I want everyone who's listening to know if you feel stuck, if you feel like you need some help, it sounds like we've got someone sitting right here who can help you.

[00:38:53] How can they find you?

[00:38:53]Lara Quie: [00:38:53] You?

[00:38:54] can find 

[00:38:57] Jolie Downs: [00:38:57] Perfect. 

[00:38:58] Lara Quie: [00:38:58] the best way. 

[00:38:59] Jolie Downs: [00:38:59] we'll, have that in the show notes too. So what would you say is your definition of success and based on that, what do you believe is key to having continued success throughout life?

[00:39:11] Lara Quie: [00:39:11] Everyone should have a personal definition of. Think about what it looks like for you personally, don't get caught up in everyone else's version because it isn't about money and it isn't about material goods. It's about you being happy with your life, whatever that might look like. Some, for some people is being Beyonce.

[00:39:34]But for other people it's. Maybe having a cottage with a garden and living off the land and being self-sufficient for another person, it might be their music and their creativity or playing in a band. What is it that brings you genuine contentment on a daily basis? And, it might be a being a stay at home, mom with your kids and watching your kids grow up.

[00:40:01] Don't let other people tell you how you should live your life?

[00:40:05] Think about what makes you happy. There's too many people living a life that other people have to find for them, particularly in ,  cultures, where your parents are very powerful and they influence you greatly. And they tell you who you should marry, what career you should have.

[00:40:23]You should be a doctor, you should be a lawyer, you should be this. And I felt very liberated in that. I thought, Yes.

[00:40:31] I should be a lawyer because I can. But actually when I decided it wasn't the fit for me. And I decided to try on all these different hats and the fact that you have hopefully a long life where every decade you can do something different because you're a different person.

[00:40:49] You've grown into something different. And what suits me today would not have suited me 20 years ago. I wouldn't have had the knowledge, the experience, the self-confidence to be a coach. You have to have that level of. I feel that I've done something, therefore, I can ask the right questions to help you get there.

[00:41:12] And I'm such a believer that you have to walk the talk. If you have not reinvented yourself several times, if you have not been an entrepreneur and if you have not done these things well, how can you really tell someone else that's what they should do? So I really, stand by that and I'm really passionate about making sure people ,  don't get caught up in society's views of things, but think for yourself, what do you enjoy?

[00:41:42] And to make every day, have a couple of elements that you look forward to, and that are for you so that if tomorrow you get a cancer diagnosis, like I did. You don't regret anything you think? Yeah.

[00:41:57] You know what I've and I've for me personally, although, I actually have recovered and I'm doing Very well, but I at least every day feel, if it all ends tomorrow, that's okay.

[00:42:09] Because I've really had a great life. 

[00:42:13] Jolie Downs: [00:42:13] That's beautiful now out of everything that you've learned. So many great things cause you just gave us a long line of wonderful lessons that were just, I wanted to plot, as you were talking, what is it that you feel is brought you the most benefit to your life? What lessons have you learned as brought the most benefit?

[00:42:36] Lara Quie: [00:42:36] It's definitely my go with the flow. 

[00:42:38]So just nip at the circumstances that are facing you Right. now. Don't think of the past. Don't worry too much about the future. Live in the present. Look at the here and now, and what can you do to make it, as good as possible for yourself, your family, and for others.

[00:42:56]So worry too much about other things that you can't control, focus on everything that you can and make your split take ownership of your situation. Don't control it like don't grumble. If you're in a situation that you're not happy with ,  okay, pick yourself up, get on with it, get out, do something else.

[00:43:20] Move on.

[00:43:21]Jolie Downs: [00:43:21] That's great advice. I know that I've that's when I was able to make change, when I caught myself in that grumbling, when I was able to see that, that's where I was in that grumbling, like who are, know when it's time to make a change and the need to actively go and make that change.

[00:43:39] So that's fantastic now. Wrapping up just a couple of quick questions. Is there any book or talk or video you've watched read, listened to that has had a very big impact on you that you think other people might benefit from as well?

[00:43:54] Lara Quie: [00:43:54] Yeah.

[00:43:55] I like a lot of different things. But very recently ,  I was reading ,  James clears, atomic habits book. And what that does is it very clearly tells you the concept of. Incremental growth and exponential growth and how doing very tiny changes to your day habits can create huge change over time.

[00:44:22] So basically if you were to just get 1% better every single day for a whole year, By the end of that year, you'd be 37% better than you are today. And so if you apply that to anything in life that you want to get better at, and that can be healthy, eating, drinking, more water, exercising, more learning, more skills were reading more, and the thing that you want to do.

[00:44:53] Don't be overwhelmed by the hugeness of the task ahead. Look at it in tiny bite-size pieces, really tiny steps. You only need to get not even 1% better every day, but just incrementally. And it's just the consistency of it. And that's the thing that people lack today because everyone wants overnight success.

[00:45:17] Everyone wants, it massive. With no effort and actually many things that we're into these days, such as social media, et cetera, are about consistency. It's about. Getting up, showing up and doing that one thing every single day. And so in this modern world where everything is on demand, everything is so immediate.

[00:45:45] People want immediate grasp gratification, fewer and fewer people are actually sticking at one point. And so that's why, Olympic athletes it's about the fact that they haven't given up. It's about the fact that they wake up, if it's raining and they will still go out in the rain and train. And so we have to do that.

[00:46:07] If we want to achieve something, if we have a goal. Look at that goal. And like I said, work backwards. What are the steps you need to get you there? What are the habits you need to build to get you there? Who do you need to become? Because your habits are about your identity. Are you someone? And this is what he teaches in the book.

[00:46:27] So do read the book it's about what does a person that you want to be do in that day? So for me, I'm rubbish and exercising. Like I just know that I am not a exercising kind of person and that's okay. But on a day when I want to motivate myself to exercise or go out for a long walk or something, I have to think to myself, what would a healthy person do?

[00:46:58]A healthy person would put a diary entry in their phone, which is what I do. I stick it on my phone so that it flashes up and it reminds me, it goes, Hey, Laura, you're supposed to go for a work to be healthy. And I'll be like, oh Yeah. healthy person will go from. Okay, what else is going to help me?

[00:47:14]I have a Fitbit on my, my wrist. Cause I like the motivation of the steps. And so what else can help motivate me? So that's how you have to think in terms of, what habits and what kind of person, am I a healthy person? Am I a fit person? Am I someone who wants to improve myself in that way? 

[00:47:34] Jolie Downs: [00:47:34] I love this advice is it's one of my favorite pieces of advice, because you can apply this to everything. Like you said, it can be applied to anything you want to learn. It can be applied to any professional goal. You want to attain any personal goal. You want to attain it's. This is how this is the way this is.

[00:47:49] This is how you get to where you want to be. 

[00:47:52] Lara Quie: [00:47:52] So you want to read more, you put books all over your house. So you want to read by the time you stick your book on top of your  so that you can't get in your bed because your book is that, and it reminds you because actually human habits, a lot of the time, it's about the fact that we're just not aware, so James, Claire says something like, you want to practice your guitar, stick it in the middle of your living room. You cannot avoid seeing it and you will see it and you'll go, oh, Hey. Yeah.

[00:48:22]I can do five minutes of practice. So you start with five minutes, but then because you've got the guitar and you get into it, next thing you've been on it for an hour.

[00:48:31]And that's the same with, oh, I want to read more. Okay. So read. Half books that you really enjoy. So there's probably, some of the books that like set up self development books and they're more dry and you probably not as motivated, but that doesn't mean punish yourself. That means do something like I do, which is I have a fun, novel, but I'm really into, a detective.

[00:48:54] The I've got on the go and I put it.

[00:48:56] in my bathroom so that when I sit down, I can read that. And then I have a self-development book as well, and I read them in tandem so that I'm reading a chapter of this nice one. And then I'm re I'm treating myself to that, but then I'm also doing some self-improvement.

[00:49:11] So just think of tactics that are going to help you achieve the things you want, but also don't punish yourself. That's. 

[00:49:19] Jolie Downs: [00:49:19] Yes, don't punish yourself. We all. And we all, I was asked this the other day, we, do you take steps back? Everyone takes steps back. The key is not punishing yourself and being like, okay, that happened now I'm taking this step forward. So when you just keep taking those steps forward, so this has been great.

[00:49:35] I loved all of this. Thank you so much. Last question before, before you go, what are you sure of in life?

[00:49:45] Lara Quie: [00:49:45] I am sure that I have the love of my loving family, my three daughters, my husband, my two dogs, my rabbit, our fish, and that tomorrow's always a new day. It's never too late to start again. Doesn't matter what you've done before. You can always reinvent yourself. Don't write yourself off. It's not about other people.

[00:50:13] It's about you. 

[00:50:15] Jolie Downs: [00:50:15] Love it. Thank you so much, Laura. I appreciate you joining us on fresh blood. 

[00:50:20] Lara Quie: [00:50:20] Thanks, Jolie, it's been a fantastic time.

I loved Lara’s story, there’s so much to learn here. Lara knew she wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up, she worked hard, went to a good school and reached her goal of becoming a corporate lawyer. Once she reached the pinnacle, she found that the work itself was creating a lifestyle she didn’t want for herself. She took a good look at the lives of the people above her, realizing that they were a glimpse of her future and what she found did not align with what she wanted for herself. So Lara made a change. 

And this is a really a big deal. 

How many people have found themselves in this exact type of situation, working so hard, putting in years of effort, pouring blood, sweat, tears and so much money towards a specific goal, only to find you are unhappy. And how many people stay unhappy, not making a change, feeling they can’t or they shouldn’t because they worked so hard, because they spent so much or suffered so much to get there. Or, because they simply can’t give up the prestige. 

I applaud Lara for having the insight to realize this was not the right role for her in life and for having the bravery to make a change and do something about it. When you are unhappy and unsatisfied in life, making the decision to make a change is the hardest part of the process. It’s scary to make a change, even when you are unhappy, at least what you are dealing with is familiar. Making a change is taking a step into the unknown, into the unfamiliar, and yes, that can feel really scary. But shouldn’t the prospect of staying in a situation where you are unhappy be even scarier?

You have endless layers of possibilities within yourself. Don’t let the familiar seduce you into believing you are one dimensional and settling for something that is less than what you deserve. As Lara said, why do all of this, go through all the things you go through, deal with all the things you deal with, only to end up with a life that you don’t want. 

So I ask you, are you living the life that you want? If not, perhaps it’s time to think about the decision you need to make. 

Lara went on to experience different roles, she became a teacher, learning the ins and outs of how to nurture genuine curiosity. When she found that profession became tiresome because of outside influences, ie. The parents, she once again re-evaluated and made a change. She then went on to become an entrepreneur starting a kitchen company out of her home. She then moved to Hong Kong, and years later moved to Singapore, taking on new corporate roles and each time having to reinvent herself all over again. Lara has built herself a successful life out of various careers and in many different countries, even when faced with a huge change, Lara has been able to re-build and soar over and over. 

How has she done this? She gave us great insights over the course of our conversation. 

First off, Lara gets herself excited about whatever is coming up – a new job, a new move, a new project, a new lesson – whatever it was she would get herself pumped up about it, researching and learning whatever she could, joining clubs and societies to connect with others who could help her become more delighted about whatever she was doing. This is a key piece of advice. Stepping into anything new is stepping into the unfamiliar, and as we have already established, the unfamliliar can feel scary. It can cause anxiety; the anxiety coming from worrying about what could go wrong. Here’s where you can take control the situation. 

The anxious feelings you are feeling are releasing hormones designed to keep you vigilant, alert and awake, these are the same exact feelings you feel when you are excited. The only difference between the two is the story you are telling yourself. Anxious feelings come from fear of things going wrong, excitement comes from anticipation of things going right. The difference between you feeling anxiety or excitement is simply making a decision on which story you are going to tell yourself. As soon as you start to feel anxious about an upcoming change, shift your mind-set from seeing this is a threat and imagining all the terrible ways this will impact your life to seeing this as an opportunity and instead, imagine all the ways this will positively impact your life. You can swap your anxious story for one of excitement, it is absolutely your choice. 

The next time you feel anxious about a situation, bring awareness to how you are feeling and then consciously make the decision to refocus your thoughts on “what if everything went right” and then stay there in that mental imagining.   

Second, Lara doesn’t wait for things to be perfect before going for it – she makes a leap even if she doesn’t have every t crossed or every I dotted, she has learned the importance of improvisation, having the self confidence to know, she can figure it out as she goes along. This Is the mark of the successful, they say yes first, and then they figure it out as they go along. 

When was the last time you said no, because you were selling yourself short. When was the last time you didn’t even try, you counted yourself out before anyone else could? Make yourself a promise right now that you will no longer create your own barriers. Moving forward, every time your mind creates a negative barrier, tear it down by replacing the image with its exact opposite. Know that you will find a way to make whatever it is work and take that step forward. 

Third, Lara learned not to get hung up on mistakes. She knows to make a mistake is human, there is no such thing as a perfect human being, and knowing this, there is only one way to deal with mistakes. Reflect on the situation, own your role, apologize for it, explain and learn from it, try to repair the situation with the best of intentions and then move on. I’m sorry, and I’ll do better. It is what it is. Tomorrow is a new day. 

As soon as you can internalize this understanding, the easier life will be. 

Fourth, Lara has figured out the winning formula for success. Whatever she wants to do, whatever she may want to accomplish, she simply evaluates the goal and then works backwards, figuring out what steps are needed to there. Then she starts taking those steps. It doesn’t need to be big movement, but just one baby step a day can make all the difference. As Lara shared, tiny incremental growth over time can lead to overall exponential growth. This is where the success happens, by showing up and doing that one thing every single day.

It really is as simple as that. So what do you want to do? The only thing stopping you is you. 

And as Lara suggests – ask yourself the question, What Kind of person do I want to be? 

Then think to yourself, what does that type of person do with their day? For example, If I want to be a healthy person, what decisions would a healthy person make today? If I want more love in my life, what decision would a loving person make today? If I want to be a world class musician, how do the best musicians spend their day?

Lara also had great advice on how to land that dream job. She advises imagining yourself in the position you want and figuring out how you can bring value to the position. This is exactly the message that needs to come across to a potential hiring manager. What they want to see is someone who wants their job, who wants their company, someone who can see themselves stepping into the role and succeeding, someone who can see themselves in their organization for years to come. When you are in the interview, you want to get a clear understanding of their goals and needs and then make correlations with your own experiences on how you can assist with those goals and needs. Hiring managers look for people who are enthusiastic with positive, can do attitudes and desire for life long learning. This is how you get their attention. 

 Finally, Lara shared one of her greatest lessons with us, the one she learned after experiencing breast cancer. The lesson she learned when she didn’t think she’d make it to the age of 50. 

You must live your best life now! 

Do not put it off! 

You never know what life will bring. 

My mother did not make it past the age of 50. My father passed away the day after his retirement at age 65. Please, do not wait another day. 

If you are feeling stuck or unhappy in some way, it is time to make a change now. No one knows how many tomorrows we have. Figure out your personal definition of success today. You must know what it means to you otherwise you will be caught in others definition of success and that is the path to misery. Success is not about money or material goods, it’s about being happy with the life you’re living. 

Spend time tonight reflecting on what you want, on what you enjoy, on what works best for you – not for your partner, not for your parents or other family members, not based on what society expects, but what is best for you – what does your soul want? 

Figure that out and then start bringing those wants into your life. 

Do not wait for the cancer diagnosis or the big universal shift to come slap you in the face to make a change, You can learn this lesson now, you can make these changes now. 

So with whatever is happening in your life, Stop Complaining, Take ownership of your situation, shift your focus to the things you can control and every day take those baby steps making the changes you need to make. This is your life. It belongs to you. 

As Lara said, It’s never too late to start again, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done before, you can always reinvent yourself. Don’t write yourself off, it’s not about other people, it’s about you. 

So that is my wish for us all, that you build and live the life that was meant for you, the one that lights you up leaving you feeling fulfilled and satisfied at the end of each day. 

Until next time,

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