When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Kelli Tennant: I think about breakfast. My whole world revolves around food. And then I check my phone. I’m working on breaking that habit.
TG: What gives you energy?
KT: Being alone gives me the most energy. I am a complete introvert and because of the nature of the industry I am in, I have to be “on” constantly- entertaining, interacting- so when I am not at work, I love to be in my apartment, listening to a podcast, rolling out on my yoga mat, or cooking. That energizes me to take on the world again.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
KT: Sleep! I live with multiple autoimmune diseases, so it is really important as I fight through adrenal fatigue and chronic pain. I find that sleep (I’m talking 8-10 hours a night) is the most important thing I can do for myself. Everything else is secondary. Which leads me to my second life hack: Saying “no” more. If sleep and health are the most important things, I had to come to terms with saying no to things that didn’t serve those two priorities. I miss out on a lot of late night activities and all day events, but in the end, I know I am taking care of myself.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
KT: For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, by Jen Hatmaker. This book is a game changer. Jen does an amazing job of breaking down the ridiculous standards we hold ourselves and others to, and how horrible judgment and fear are. The ideas of living up to your own version of success and self-love became very apparent to me.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
KT: It’s very complicated. We do sleep together and I check it far too often. I take all social media apps off of it every few weeks to decompress and curb the addiction. It definitely helps. But I am a work in progress.
TG: How do you deal with email?
KT: I must answer all emails and texts immediately. I cannot even stand having one email untouched. It drives me crazy. I also delete all texts every couple days for the same reason. Just over here waving my control freak flag!
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
KT: I lay down.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
KT: I ran myself into a wall near the end of last year which sent me into stage three adrenal fatigue. My body basically shut down on me from too much work, stress and workouts. I hardly workout now and focus so much on self-care, meditation and healing myself with food. I am still struggling with this, but have definitely felt improvements. If anything, it’s been a great lesson to not forget about my health like that again.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
KT: “At the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” I love this quote from Maya Angelou. Sometimes we get so caught up in career success, attention or money, and this line reminds me that at the end, all that matters is how you treated people. If you were kind, loving, humble and gracious, that is a life well lived. I want every interaction I have with people to leave them feeling better than before we came in contact.
Kelli Tennant is a former University of Southern California women’s volleyball player turned television host and reporter for Spectrum Sportsnet and Sportsnet LA covering the Lakers, Dodgers, Galaxy and Sparks. Kelli is also the author of The Transition: Every Athlete’s Guide to Life After Sports, to aid athletes moving on from sports into the real world. She is an autoimmune warrior, wellness advocate and avid supporter of helping women grow into their most authentic, graceful selves.