and less work
CEO and founder Le Gammeltoft: On the fear of stagnation and prioritizing more time for kisses and less work
Le Gammeltoft has overcome the crazy years in her 20’s, the busy baby-life in her 30’s, she has created a business from scratch, suffered from stress, gotten divorced - but now she gets to breathe. She has been in constant movement for years, and now the hard work pays off.
By Emma Kjær Lauridsen
Photographed by Stefan Wessel
Le Gammeltoft is sort of relieved to turn 43, she tells.
She might be hungover for longer than when she was younger, but Le Gammeltoft appreciates what she is doing with her life, and the people there is in it.
- I am in a good place age-wise. It is a cliché, but life gets better and better. I am enjoying being 43 much more than 23.
- It is like I have been working on a broth for the past 20 years of my life, and now I get to enjoy the extract of the good things in it.
She stands in front of Heartbeats, located on Amager, close to Copenhagen. It was once a small, not that significant music app, Le Gammeltoft created while working on hundreds of other projects years ago. Today it is an influential media platform that circles around culture and lifestyle.
As the business grows and is becoming more self-driven, Le Gammeltoft can slowly distance herself from it, which means she has to figure out what the next step is to her work-wise.
Being an entrepreneur and notable figure, she thinks about where can she use her knowledge.
- I am starting to focus on re-designing my work-life balance. Where can I get the most impact on subjects that matters to me, and are they any boards where can I use my experience?
- Also, I consider things like travelling for a month with my two girls. The past 10 years have been harsh. That is why I want to spend some time kissing and hugging my girls. Have a bit less everyday life for some time, I guess.
Le describes the past 10 years as absolutely crazy. Not only has she founded and run Heartbeats, but much has happened in a short period of time.
- I have created a business from scratch while having two kids in the meantime, suffered from stress, then gotten divorced, fallen in love again, had to figure out how to be a stepfamily, negotiated with the company and plenty of other major things, she tells.
"You have to live to learn"
You have put in the work
It has indeed been a hell of a ride, Le Gammeltoft tells. However, she is grateful for the things she has experienced.
- I am the person I am because of my actions and the things I have been through. You have to live to learn; that is just how it is, she says.
Le Gammeltoft mentions it has been though, especially in her twenties and thirties, where you have kids, a career and the other thousands of things you are pursuing in those years.
- Now, in my forties, it is easier. Calmer. The kids are older, the business is well and more self-driven, which means I get to breathe and enjoy myself more.
But that joy is not handed to you automatically when you turn 40, Le Gammeltoft emphasizes. It is only because she has done a lot of self-development for years, she believes.
- I got a philosophy that you cannot reach any kind of happiness unless you know yourself. It gets easier by the age, but only if you have put in the work, it takes to get there - which I have.
Knowing what is worth the time and what is not
Previously, she has not been clear about what is important to her, what interests her and what she appreciates until a couple of years ago.
Being aware of what makes her life meaningful makes her more independent and confident, Le Gammeltoft believes.
-I prioritize things I like and appreciate doing, and it does not necessarily have to involve other people. I am not waiting for someone else to act; I might as well just do it myself, and if someone else is keen on doing it with me, well, sure, great.
She has become more focused, Le Gammeltoft describes it.
- I do not jump around like I once did, nor am I easily tempted anymore. I know what I want and when I want it.
The decision to get divorced has been tough but good, Le Gammeltoft tells, as she has realized that she wants kisses, love and passion in a relationship. She needed to slow down and say no every few now and then protect herself from spending too much time working and running around.
- I know what is worth the time and what is not. Earlier on, I have not been able to say no, which is an essential matter to me now. You learn that from a challenging period of stress.
Le Gammeltoft does not regret how she has lived in her 20’s or 30’s because she does not think she knew what a good life was five or ten years ago.
- You cannot call 1992-Le and tell her what she is about to go through and learn from it - or to be confident, for that matter. I had to go through life to get to where I am today.
"I know what is worth the time and what is not"
Being aware of not stagnating
Le Gammeltoft finds importance in continuously asking questions.
She is always wondering what her position in the business should be further on and how she is a great mother to her kids. Questions that keep her moving somehow.
- I am very aware of not stagnating. I need to be in some sort of movement all the time. However, it can also mean staring out of the window, doing nothing, if that is what you are struggling to do.
It does not have to involve being busy. People often misread that, Le Gammeltoft thinks. The mind just needs to move in some way, she believes.
- Nothing is more important to me than gaining new knowledge and being in some sort of development, whether it is learning how to run a business or drinking water – as I am practising now, at the age of 43.
The fear of stagnation prevents her life from becoming a continuously ‘sausage of grey every day, as she calls it.
- That has really been the key to figuring out what gives my life value and meaningfulness. It is pretty damn difficult to enjoy anything if you do not know who you are. And that takes movement to get there, Le Gammeltoft says.
Turning 43 is therefore not that bad as its reputation, she expresses.
- My independence and confidence have made me calm in being me. That is the magical thing that happens as you get older if you have worked on yourself. The hard work pays off in your forties.