You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, I’m Dr. Jen Riday. And I have a great episode for you today where you’ll learn all about finding your purpose through breaking the rules. Stay tuned.
Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.
Hey, my friends, it’s Jen, welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. You know a big part of being vibrant is doing the things you are meant to do, doing the things that make you feel alive. This is ultimately what it means to live your purpose, doing that next best thing that feels amazing. This inner GPS we all have, this light inside of us is our director of which path to go down. If we’re so busy and so overwhelmed that we don’t listen, we don’t take time to be quiet and hear that, then sometimes we’ll be on a path, we’ll find ourselves on a trail, or road, or way that doesn’t feel very good.
So, on this episode I’m speaking with guest, Mandy Mecham, all about finding your purpose through breaking the rules. Finding the truth, finding your inspiration inside of you rather than looking at what everyone else says you should do, what everyone else is doing, Mandy has some great stories. And these are particularly tied to flowers. So, you’re going to hear a story of Mandy walking into a florist shop and something amazing happening. And what was required was she faced a fear and she break the rules.
Now, those of you who are Upholders, referencing Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies, take a deep breath. What would happen if you broke more of the rules, let go of more of those social expectations so you could be true to yourself? We call this being a Questioner or even a Rebel, I’m particularly good at both. I don’t really have a lot of intention to please other people because I gave that up long ago like Mandy, my guest, also did.
Instead listening to our hearts and leaning into the things that bring us joy, and light, and our own pleasure. Trusting that that is ultimately our purpose and the way that we’re going to make a difference. So, this is such a fun topic, let’s go ahead and dive in.
Jen: Hey friends, I am so excited to be talking to Mandy Mecham today. Let me tell you about her. Mandy is a social worker and self-empowerment coach who uses the language of flowers to help her clients connect with themselves and to communicate with others. She lives in Idaho and has four children, two boys and two same age sibling girls. She loves helping women connect with their passions and purpose, build capacity. And she’s also the creator of the Story Bouquet. So, Mandy, everyone’s like, “What’s the story bouquet?” Tell us that first because I think this concept is so cool.
Mandy: Yeah. So, the Story Bouquet came about when I was trying to combine my love for coaching and helping women connect with themselves and my love for flowers and being a florist. So, the Story Bouquet is very unique. I love making floral bouquets and sending them to people. And I think of course people love sending flowers and people love getting flowers. But how can you take that a step further? You want to make your bouquet special, how do you do that?
Well, I love to sit down with the giver of the arrangement and talk to them, how they want to make the recipient feel, what emotions do they want to express? What are the really trying to say? What do they love about that person? How are they unique? Maybe what struggles have they gone through in their life? Maybe some funny stories that they’ve been through together in their lives?
And I take those stories, those unique qualities, and I use the language of flowers. So, I pick out certain types of flowers, certain colors, other unique things to put in the bouquet, it could be jewelry wire, or sticks, or certain kind of vessels or vases that have meaning. And I put that together in the arrangement and then I put down everything they said about that person into a story card. And that goes to the recipient, with the design, with the flowers.
So not only do they get the bouquet, but that comes along with the story of the feelings of that person and what they really wanted to say about their friend, their loved one, and it also could be difficult feelings they want to express. So, it’s been really, really fun to see those people receive those arrangements, and the power, and the emotion that really comes across with those.
Jen: It’s such a cool, cool idea. I loved when you told me about this, such a good idea. So, this is really unique. And I’m sure you have a life and a history, and things you’ve been passionate about in the past. And it all kind of came together and you are here now uniquely qualified. You are a certified coach. You were a florist in the past. You love stories. You kind of made this beautiful expression of how you show up in the world, how you’re making a difference.
So, tell us more about who you’ve been in the past and how you got to this place where you knew your unique expression of the world.
Mandy: Yeah. So, growing up, I live in Idaho, grew up in Idaho, my parents got divorced, each of them had a couple more marriages and divorces. And I kind of became that child that was the one who took that role of trying to make everything okay, make everyone happy. Kind of became a social worker. And being a good friend, that was always something I thought I’ll be good at that. I’ll be a good friend. I can be good enough there and a good enough employee. But I never felt that passion. I never felt quite my authentic self or inspired.
I was always trying to find that inspiration in other people to make that my purpose. I wanted to be like that person. And so, I walked into a floral shop one day, there was a job posting. And I always had kind of a passion, a deep down longing. I love flowers. I wanted to do that. I wanted to be that. And the owner said, “Well, show me what you have. Go get me some flowers out of the cooler and make something.” And that was terrifying because I had never done that before.
But I took a few things out of the cooler and didn’t know where to start, but threw something together and she said, “Okay, you’re hired.” And that became my part-time job. I gained a soul sister. She is my soul sister for life and that began my journey of inspiration. And I knew right then that I had found something special, found a connection to my soul. I didn’t know what to do with it at that point, but I knew there was something there. I struggled for quite a few years after that, but I had something that kept me going.
So, when I came to find the Vibrant Happy Women coaching certification, I had found your podcast, this was at a point in my life when I had been divorced again for quite a few years. And my same age sibling girls were struggling with some mental health issues. And I had found myself kind of lost and uninspired, didn’t quite know what I was doing with my life, who I was, what I wanted to, if I had a purpose at that point. And I had listened to, I think I had binged your podcast over, and over, and over.
I did a lot of travelling for my job at that time and I had heard you talk about your coaching certification. And this wasn’t like me, but I just kind of thought, you know what? I’m going to do it. This gave me some inspiration. I kind of felt that feeling again inside of me. And so, I jumped in and did it. And actually, took the time, took a lot of time for myself which was the first time I had done that in quite a while because it isn’t something you can just do.
I think to help others heal you really have to heal yourself. And that takes a lot of time, a lot of investment, a lot of inner work and it wasn’t easy. But again, that helped me to find that inspiration again in myself, not in someone else. And I think that’s how I discovered how to be authentic again and how to find who I was. I think you hear the word ‘authentic’ a lot and be authentic, be yourself. But how do you do that? How do you be authentic without being inspired?
And to be inspired I think again we tend to look to other people for inspiration. And that’s good, I think we can find inspiration in a lot of places. But I think to truly find our purpose we have to find inspiration in ourselves. I think for me, and I’ve found for other people, to truly find inspiration in ourselves doing it through the process of creativity, helps. There’s a power through being creative that leads you to that inspiration in yourself.
Jen: Yeah, it makes sense. I mean you walked past the flower store, you had this feeling like, I want that. And then with the coaching thing you were just driving around, and you were like, “Hey, I want that.” That’s kind of my experience too, just leaning into whatever sounds like ooh, that would feel good, I want to do that. And not being afraid to lean in and step in. I think that’s really key.
Mandy: Yes. And fear, I think is a lot of it.
Jen: Fear, tell me more about that. Fear stops a lot of people, why didn’t fear stop you? That had to be scary both times.
Mandy: Absolutely, yeah. And I’ve ran away from fear many times in my life and it still stops me, that’s something that I think fear in a way is such a good tool. We can look at it as a bad thing. But I think when you feel fear I think that means you’re close. You’re close to that inspiration because you can either push through that and go for it or you can run away from it. There’s un-comforts and I think that’s a sign that you know that you need to move forward.
Jen: Yeah, I love that because a lot of times, you mentioned all the different phases of your life, a couple of divorces, your parents had had that. A lot of times people get stuck in the shame of how things were wrong in their past and you just dropped that. What helped you to drop any of that shame that might have affected you and just say, “Hey, no, this is what I’m choosing now. This is the life I want.”
Mandy: Right. I think that was part of me for a long time, the shame of that. I had the idea that it wasn’t going to happen to me. And then all of a sudden here I was with two divorces, and being a single mom, and not knowing who I was. And then all of a sudden I discovered that I’m Mandy. That’s who I am. I was an identity, I was Mandy. And nothing in my life defined me. And without finding the inspiration in myself that was all in there deep inside, but I was just pushing it down.
That’s what we tend to do as women is look outside to other people looking at what we don’t have or what we think we should have and trying to work towards those roles that we think are the ideal or that we think we might want to have, or we might fit in, yeah.
Jen: How can it be as good as all these other people? How can I get the approval of all these other people? I love that you decided, I’m just Mandy, I don’t have to have a role. So, tell us who is Mandy, how does Mandy show up in life, today’s version of her?
Mandy: So today I show up as Mandy, as enough. Even in the last year I’ve had to work through, I have a chronic illness. I suffer with chronic migraines which I have had for the past 25 years. That’s another struggle that has always been a fear, something that has been shameful to me. I get afraid to talk about. But I wake up in the morning and sometimes I can go through a morning routine, sometimes I can’t. And at the very least I tell myself that I can accomplish more than I think I can today and that’s good enough.
I tell myself who I am, and that I’m loved, and that I’m enough, and that I’m strong, whatever that means today, and that I am inspired by who I am. And that’s been a battle to find. And I think who I am now is someone who wants to help other women find inspiration in themselves and who they are. We can always find inspiration in other people. That’s very easy to do. But finding inspiration in ourselves is difficult but I think once you find that inspiration in yourself, finding your purpose and finding the path that you want to be on, makes it so much easier.
And using creativity in some form is amazing. One of the things I love to do is get a group of women together and lead them through, I call them story bouquet design sessions. And everyone gets the same materials, and we sit down and talk about how everyone’s feeling. We look at the materials that is there in front of us and talk about what everyone sees. And how the different materials are making people feel. And then everyone makes something out of them.
And it’s so interesting to me, at the beginning of the class people look to each other to see what the person next to them is doing or they have that insecurity of I don’t know how to start, I don’t know what to do. All of those feelings are always at the forefront of our lives. And then once we can let that go and just start, the inspiration within us comes out and then our passion and our path is there. And then before you know it, nobody is looking to their left or to their right and they have something completely different than the person next to them.
And you can just see their faces change and you can see, because it’s the inspiration on their face of what has come from inside of them. So, I don’t think it matters what you do to be creative. Anything with your hands, I think that’s why gardening is such a popular pastime, painting, coloring books, jewelry making, anything that you can do with your hands, just for yourself. And it’s not about the end product, it’s just about you feeling that inspiration from within yourself and not judging what comes out.
Jen: It’s so good, so good. What a metaphor for life. We all have raw materials in our lives. In your floral class, I’m sure you say, “You can do whatever you want.” You don’t give them rules. And suddenly they don’t have to break rules. But unfortunately, in society we’ve created these sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken rules of what does it look like to be a good mom? And what does it look like to be a good woman, or wife? Or how long can you do things for yourself, how often? Any advice on bringing that comparison over to real life?
How do we create so freely where we’re not looking left or right, just in our lives on how we choose to live, any advice on finding that right path for us without all of the pressure of how we should do it?
Mandy: Yeah, I think starting small, choosing one thing in your life. For me, my morning routine, for a long time that was really hard for me because I did compare that to a lot of other people’s morning routines. And I got stuck for a while. Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I just have a morning routine? Why can’t I take 30 minutes a day and do a good morning routine? But because of my chronic illness, it just, you know, I would get so down on myself because I could do it for two days and then because of a migraine I couldn’t do it the next day.
Taking the hard shell off of that and making it Mandy’s morning routine. So, starting small, being inspired by your own life, and finding that inspiration. So, picking something in your day that you are maybe feeling some guilt around, or some shame around, or some difficulty around. And writing it down and changing it. Breaking all the rules around it and finding some inspiration on, I’m going to make this work for me and just trying it. And then speaking loud about it.
I think again that fear of what are other people going to think? But I think there are so many people that need to hear it and need to hear, it’s okay, it’s okay that we don’t all do it the same way.
Jen: I love how you said, breaking the rules of, part of me was like yes.
Mandy: Yes, break the rules, break the shell.
Jen: Yeah. I mean a lot of times I think about the questions we can ask to guide our focus each day like, how can I make today great? But now you inspired me, how can I do what I want today? And what rules do I need to break to get there? That feels so good to me. What rules can I break today? I love it.
Mandy: Yes, break a rule today, because I love it. I love the word ‘inspiration.’ So, find the inspiration in others but then find your inspiration and see how it matches or how it doesn’t and create what’s authentic to you. Because someone else is going to find inspiration in you. We can’t all be the same. Someone is going to be looking to you for that inspiration.
Jen: And when you went into that floral shop to get that job, you didn’t have floral training. My brain would have been stuck on, wait, what are the rules of floral design? Oh gosh, I could never do this. You threw the rules out and she just said, “What can you do?” And you just did it. Breaking the rules, so good, Mandy.
Mandy: Breaking the rules, yeah. And that was one, probably one of the most terrifying moments of my life because I was at one of my lowest points. And for someone to say, “Okay, go make something.” And so, when people come to me and they say, “Well, I’m not a florist, I can’t do that.” It’s never about you can’t. Because none of us can really do anything. We are just here and we’re trying, and we’re learning. And we’re finding our own inspiration because there is never anything that’s right.
Still to this day when I do a wedding or a bridal bouquet I have to fight myself every time because before I start it’s very difficult to get that inspiration in myself. Because I think, okay, this is their biggest moment of their life, and they’ve trusted me to make this bouquet. And I don’t know how to start. And I don’t know if it’s going to be right. And what if I’m not the right person? And what if I mess up? And I have to tell myself every time, there are no rules to this, and you know it’s never going to be the same bouquet twice, there are no rules.
And I welcome that fear every time makes me remember, okay, this means you know what you’re doing, this means you can do this. You have that, the inspiration is underneath that fear so bring the fear up and the inspiration is going to follow.
Jen: Absolutely, I love this. What a cool theme. I wonder if I’m going to title this, how to break all the rules. Yes. I love this.
Mandy: How to break all the rules. Well, I love it too. And there’s a quote that I love by Maya Angelou. And she says, “You can’t use up creativity, the more you use, the more you have.” And I love that because sometimes you feel you don’t know where to start, you don’t feel creative but just starting gets it going.
Jen: I was in a class the other day and a woman shared, a friend of mine, her name’s Juanita, she shared a story that she’s going back to art school. And they’ve been a little annoyed with their professor because he keeps making them revisit the fundamental rules of art. And they finally complained to him, they’re like, “Oh, we’re so sick of all these fundamentals and these rules.” And he said, “You have to know the rules to break them.” And so, it’s kind of an interesting bridge between our theme of breaking the rules. I don’t know.
So, everyone listening, how can you break the rules and be creative and inspired in the process like Mandy’s talking about? Yeah.
Mandy: That reminds me of I was doing a class and there was a woman who came in and she was not happy to be there. And I thought, okay, I don’t know how this is going to go. There are no rules, you can do whatever you want. And she says, “So I can cut the rose off of this and just stick the stick in?” I said, “Yes, you can. If that’s what you want to do, you can do that.” And she says, “Well, that’s how I feel.” And I said, “Well, then I would say that’s what you should do.”
And so, she cut a couple of roses off, the heads off and she stuck the sticks into the foam. That’s how she started, and I remember thinking, well, I just don’t know how this is going to end up, but I was kind of, you know, I was excited to see. And she got some emotion out and at the end she ended up kind of bunching the roses down at the bottom. And hers was one of the coolest arrangements that I had seen. And the way she talked about hers at the end was really neat because she talked about the emotion that she got out while creating her arrangement.
And that’s because she didn’t follow the rules of, well, you have to keep the flowers whole and put them in the way they’re supposed to be. She broke the rules and in the end she got an authentic design of how she was feeling, so yeah.
Jen: That’s so cool. What a beautiful story. What amazing work you’re doing in the world, Mandy, I love this. So, everyone’s I’m sure intrigued by story bouquets and your classes. Where can they learn more about all of this?
Mandy: So, they can find me on my website, it’s mandymecham.com. I am going to try to start doing some virtual classes where people can bring their own materials to a virtual class. And I also do individual coaching, self-empowerment coaching and helping women to find their inner inspiration and their authentic self. And they can also find me on Instagram @inspired.authentic.you and that is because I feel you have to, again, find that inspiration in yourself first to become authentic in yourself.
Jen: So well said, yes. Great, great job. I love what you’re doing. Thank you and I appreciate you being on the show.
I felt so inspired by Mandy. She’s doing things in the world that nobody else has ever done with these bouquets, with how she’s a coach now. She’s living her truth. And it doesn’t matter what happened in her past. It doesn’t matter what other people do. She’s doing what feels so incredible and juicy to her.
Now, if you would like help with this, I have a structure in place. It’s actually what Mandy referenced, the Vibrant Happy Life Coaching Certification where you go step by step through understanding your past, cleaning up your thinking so you can feel and listen to your feelings in a way that will guide you into your ultimate truth and purpose. Going through these steps for yourself brings clarity, brings power, it brings joy. And then through this process you become a certified coach and can help other people do the same thing.
What would our world look like if all of us or at least a large portion of us could actually know who we are and know what we’re meant to do, and know what feels good to us and do those things? The whole entire vibration of the planet would be increased, would be higher, things would feel juicier, there would be less conflict, would be amazing. You deserve that clarity, you deserve to live a life you love, everyone does.
And that’s a part of why I’m here, to help people know what they’re feeling, to trust themselves, to break the rules, do the things that no one else does, so you can be a light, an example of living your best life, of living your purpose. So, if you would like to go through that process of finding the ultimate clarity for yourself, and potentially helping others to do the same, join us in the next round of the Vibrant Happy Life Coaching Certification. We start in September. You can learn more at jenriday.com/coaching.
Alright my friends, I love that you were here. Thank you for showing up again. I hope you felt inspired, and I will see you again soon. Until then make it a vibrant and happy week. Take care.
If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and to get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at jenriday.com/join.