In an exclusive interview with Saahil Mehta, best-selling author, speaker, peak performance coach, and passionate mountaineer, he shares his strategy to declutter your life and achieve optimum capacity to scale your summits of success faster!
1. Have any specific childhood experiences significantly influenced your career path and leadership style?
My family instilled in me the importance of nurturing relationships from a young age. One key lesson was about genuine client connections. Instead of typical business meetings, my father would invite clients home for meaningful conversations. This experience showcased the art of building profound relationships and effective communication.
Another pivotal lesson involved work-life integration. My father had a unique approach to blending business trips with family holidays. This allowed him to balance his professional commitments with quality family time. I learned that finding harmony between work and family is possible without keeping them entirely separate. There’s a middle ground where you can enjoy both family time and work.
2. Can you share your career trajectory and tell us if there was a defining moment or experience that led you to focus on strategic decluttering and leadership coaching
My career journey commenced as an investment banker when I joined Credit Suisse First Boston in London. However, in 2002, my life took an unexpected turn when I decided to support my father as he started his entrepreneurial journey after reaching retirement age in the diamond company where he served for over three decades. It is also customary to conduct your training in another company without pay. So I went from a high-paying, stimulating, and independent lifestyle to a nonpaying, dependent lifestyle where all I did was sort diamonds for almost two years. This was a very valuable lesson- ‘to not make important financial decisions solely on emotions, and one must really think things through and understand the impact of your choices beforehand.
Serendipitously, my analytical acumen caught the attention of a friend in the Real Estate industry, leading to a new career path while continuing to support my father in the diamond industry. But the tumultuous wave of the 2008 financial crisis marked another turning point in my life. Although we had diversified in real estate assets across three continents, the crash resulted in our liquidity going down to almost zero. It highlighted the importance of maintaining a consistent reserve of liquid assets, regardless of the prevailing global circumstances.
My entrepreneurial journey continued to evolve, taking me across various industries as I was on the search for something that was fulfilling and that I could make a career out of. In that search, I dabbled into various industries, resulting in mediocrity or failure in my ventures. The lesson here was that first, I need to have diamond-grade clarity in who I am and what I need to thrive in order to succeed in any venture.
3. Your story takes a profound turn when you transition into coaching and motivational speaking. Can you share the pivotal moment or realization that led you in this direction?
Indeed, the transition into coaching and motivational speaking was a significant shift in my journey. Despite external success, I felt something essential was missing internally. The pivotal moment came when I participated in a retreat committed to the principle of “no judgment.” This experience liberated me from the constant need to impress others. I could be my authentic self without worrying about what others think.
This transformation journey was difficult, and I faced dark moments and challenges. However, my belief in the rightness of this path kept me going. I understood that true growth often requires pain and adversity, affecting various aspects of life, including relationships and work. “No pain, no gain” became my mantra, and this realization drove me to embark on a mission to inspire and guide others.
4. You have developed a framework for personal transformation, which revolves around decluttering the mind, body, relationships, and the world. Can you explain the key principles of this framework and how it’s helped you and others in your coaching?
The framework for personal transformation is the core of my coaching approach. It centers around four key areas: the mind, the body, relationships, and the material world.
Starting with the mind, thoughts are the foundation of emotions, actions, and habits. Initiating change at the thought level sets off a positive chain reaction. It all starts with the thought.
When it comes to the body, it is a well-oiled machine that thrives on proper nutrition and self-care. Nurturing the body becomes vital for optimizing one’s capabilities.
Decluttering relationships goes beyond purging toxic connections. If someone is affecting you negatively, my advice is not to focus on them but on yourself and what is triggering you. Address unresolved issues through open communication.
The holistic approach to decluttering extends to the material world. I encourage people to evaluate their belongings and give away their items that serve no purpose to those less fortunate. By lightening the load of material possessions, you can free yourself from the weight of excess baggage and navigate your life journey more easily.
5. Your journey has inspired your best-selling book, “Break Free: A Guide to Decluttering Your Life.” Can you share the motivation behind writing the book and the key message you hope readers take away?
Writing “Break Free” was driven by a realization as I ventured into public speaking and addressed international audiences. I recognized a disparity – not everyone had access to my transformative insights. This fueled my mission to provide an affordable avenue for individuals to tap into my wisdom and decluttering principles.
6. In conclusion, what advice would you offer those striving to overcome challenges and pursue personal growth?
As a mountaineer, I’ve learned that we all strive for various aspirations in life, such as health, wealth, relationships, personal growth, and community status. However, it’s not just about adding new elements to our lives; it’s also about managing and consciously eliminating the baggage we carry along the way.
My advice to those striving to overcome challenges and pursue personal growth is to understand that every step forward, no matter how small, is a victory. Just like in mountaineering, where you need the right equipment and tools, in life, you don’t need to carry everything with you; only take what serves function or purpose on your journey. Break things down into a size that works for you, and celebrate each victory along the way.