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One Minute with Leadership Speaker Pauline Nguyen | Entrepreneur, Refugee & Award Winning Author - 19 October 2018

One Minute with Leadership Speaker Pauline Nguyen | Entrepreneur, Refugee & Award Winning Author

Pauline Nguyen is one of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs. Having escaped Vietnam on a boat and survived a Thai refugee camp, Pauline has overcome adverse beginnings to transform her approach to success by re-engineering her beliefs, questioning the status quo and hacking cultural norms. Pauline is the owner and co-founder of Red Lantern, the most awarded Vietnamese restaurant in the world. She is the best-selling author of 'Secrets of the Red Lantern' and her new book 'The Way of the Spiritual Entrepreneur' is due for release in February 2019.

Your achievements are endless. From being a co-founder of Red Lantern, the most awarded Vietnamese restaurant in the world, to being a best-selling Author, to winning the Telstra Australia Business Award for Medium Business. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

One of my most important life principles is to uplift those who I come into contact with and leave them with a sense of increase. This is an accomplishment that fulfils me time and time again. I cannot give only one example. I am an Activator and it is my joy to see those whom I have had the privilege of influencing, go on to accomplish big and beautiful things not only for themselves but also for others.

You have overcome extreme adversity, having escaped Vietnam on a boat and surviving a Thai refugee camp very early in your life. How has this influenced your journey?

Growing up was not fun. My father suffered terribly from PTSD as a result of the Vietnam war.  He didn’t have the tools to deal with the trauma and so he dumped his anger on us kids and my mother. There was always a lot of violence in our childhood. Mentally and physically this made us strong. Emotionally and spiritually, we were a mess. For us kids, we could have easily grown up to be ‘victims’ but we chose to be ‘beneficiaries’ of our experiences instead. I will now always choose the thoughts that bring me the most joy. I understand that my past didn’t happen ‘to me’, my past happened ‘for me’ and my future happens ‘from me and through me.’ This is how I allow my past experiences to influence my journey.

Having been named one of Australia’s Top 50 Influential Female Entrepreneurs, what do you feel makes you such an exceptional leader?

We must lead by example. Our people will always follow the calmest and most composed leader.  Calm is contagious. So is fear. What makes me an exceptional leader is not only my emotional mastery but also my energy mastery. When we are calm and in control, our intelligence and problem-solving skills cannot be robbed from us by the disempowering emotions that overtake and control us. This is a practice that needs to be cultivated. Energy management is also an important part of my ‘Weapons of Influence’ toolkit. The ‘Weapons of Influence’ are effective strategies that I teach my staff, my clients, my students and my audiences. After all, the quality of our emotions is the game of life.

My experience, learnings and teachings in this area inspired me to write a new book ‘The Way of the Spiritual Entrepreneur’. It’s an important book that is not just for Entrepreneurs and is due for release in February 2019.

You must have experienced setbacks in your entrepreneurial career, how do you deal with challenges?

We only have control over four things in our life – the thoughts we think, the images we visualise, the people we associate with, and the actions that we take. To deal with any challenge, I become the delusional optimist. I stop the disempowering emotion before it affects my neurocircuitry. I refuse to allow stress, limited states of being and toxic people to rob me of my intelligence.

I allow my vision of the future to guide me rather than being controlled by the emotions of the past. When we are in a state of stress and panic, we only use 10% of our mental and emotional and physical capabilities. By mastering more of ourselves, we have access to more of the other 90%. I make sure that the people I have around me positively influence the actions that I will take to overcome the setbacks and overturn the challenges.

In 2018, Red Lantern celebrated 17 years in business with a staff turnover of less than 10%, placing Red Lantern in the top 4% of businesses in the world that has survived over ten years in business. Why do you think the business has seen such outstanding success?

17 years is a very long time for a hospitality business. It is a fickle, challenging and competitive industry. We are still around because we never bother ourselves with what the competition is doing. We don’t waste our valuable time and energy worrying about competitors. We focus our valuable resources interrogating ourselves instead and questioning how we can improve. We are our greatest competition. We must run our own race. Where our focus goes, our energy flows. And we’re still around because we simply have more grit than anyone else we know. We understand that persistency is the new currency.  When everyone goes one way, Red Lantern goes the opposite direction – it is less crowded there.

Learn more about Pauline here.

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