Live Your Best Life: Mandy Lehto
It’s that time again when I share a conversation with an inspiring woman about what it means to live your best life. I can tell you straight away that it’s not about having it all sussed out or being perfect. We’re all bumping along in this world and if we can share with each other our stories we can inspire each other to be our best too.
I ‘met’ Mandy Lehto on Instagram a while ago, we got chatting and now she is one of my favourite people to go to for wise words, common sense and I never miss a podcast episode. Here’s what she has to say…
Hi Mandy, tell us a bit about yourself, what your life is like and the path you took to get to where you are today.
I grew up on a farm in rural Canada in the 1970s and have ended up living in London, England. In between I’ve been many things – an aerobics instructor, a marketing communications intern at Reuters, a teaching assistant at Cambridge, an investment banker, an image consultant, a coach, mama, and wife. I think what’s more interesting than the job titles is the golden thread of gumption that weaves through all of it. I’m persistent as a terrier with a stick. My mantra as a younger person was: give me a goal, any goal. That system worked beautifully until it didn’t.
At the top of my banking career, I got a slow leak in my energy. But I was too busy chasing success to listen. Then the shiitake hit the fan and I crashed completely. Severe adrenal fatigue. My body simply refused to continue with my punishing work schedule. Something had to change.
For the past three years, I’ve been having a love affair with myself. Resting. Nourishing. Meditating. Slowing down. Letting go of old stories and ways of being that no longer serve me. Slathering myself in lovely-smelling lotions. Saying nice things about my bum when I look in the mirror.
Now I coach people who are learning to trade in the hustle for something more sane. Sometimes this means leaving their jobs. More often it’s about getting their priorities aligned, and putting boundaries into place. From there, I midwife their extraordinariness.
When I’m not doing that, I’m reading, podcasting, eating chocolate, or kitchen dancing with my kids to Earth, Wind & Fire’s September.
Such a good song! As well as favourite tunes do you have any inspirational quotes that are special to you?
‘You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.’ – Cheryl Strayed
I spent so much time worrying about what other people thought, or trying to be cooler than I was. Or trying to be the expert. It was armour, all of it. I realise that now. It was a way of keeping hurt out, but it also kept love from getting in. All of this stuff that Cheryl Strayed writes about isn’t part of my life now. It IS my life – kindness and being brave and forgiveness. I’ve discovered that the more I concentrate on opening and being brave with what I discover, the more abundance I’m able to create. Funny that.
That’s a great quote. Tell me, how do you recognise when life’s getting on top of you?
It stops being fun. I get all serious and get lips like a cat’s bum. Oh and I retreat. I don’t want to see people, or do things. I just want to stay home wearing leggings, listening to Sinead O’Connor.
And what do you do to get back to how you want to feel?
I hug my husband. Then I resuscitate any practices that may have fallen down – all the soul-boosting habits that sustain me: meditation, yoga, acupuncture, eating healthily, saying NO, sleeping. And often when I get overwhelmed, I need to circle back to my planning. Feeling fried is usually a sign that my planning hasn’t been stringent enough. I tend to over-yes.
What are your plans, hopes and dreams for the future?
Here in no particular order:
• To write a book that feels good to make
• To be an extraordinary wife, mother and friend
• To astonish my clients
• To be as kind and loving to others (and to myself) as possible
• To be brave every day
Thank you for giving us your time, Mandy. Finally, what does living your best life mean to you?
Cheryl Strayed has a definition of success that resonates deeply with me. Can I say a whole-hearted YES (in caps lock) to the following questions? Have I done the work I needed to do? Did I do it as well as I could? Did I give it everything I had?
My aim is to die empty. Just not quite yet…
This goal, I find, is a place to live from, not a place to get to.
Dr. Mandy Lehto is a coach, corporate trainer, and writer who lives in London. She coaches world class people on their mindset, resilience and personal presence. When Mandy isn’t working (rare for this Type-A-Aries), she’s talking about life lift-off on her podcast, MoxieCast, or is learning about the meaning of life from her kids, Max and Nina. She’s Canadian, speaks Finnish, and her kryptonite is dark, sea-salted chocolate. You can connect with Mandy on Instagram, Twitter and at mandylehto.com.