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What the woman behind the poultry magnate Perdue Chicken have to say about career and self-care

Successful people are always busy, but they always protect some time of the day to practice self-care. We want to know what’s Mitzi’s essential self-care routine and what motivates her for the successful life she led. Daughter of Sheraton Hotels Co-Founders and wife to the late Chicken icon Frank Perdue, Mitzi Perdue is a businesswoman, […]

Photo by: Mitzi Perdue

Successful people are always busy, but they always protect some time of the day to practice self-care.

We want to know what’s Mitzi’s essential self-care routine and what motivates her for the successful life she led.

Daughter of Sheraton Hotels Co-Founders and wife to the late Chicken icon Frank Perdue, Mitzi Perdue is a businesswoman, author, and a master storyteller. When Mitzi is not on stage speaking to audiences about success tips, family business, and company culture—she indulges her love for writing.


1. Tell us about yourself, personally and professionally?

Today I’m a professional public speaker, but in my life, I’ve been a rice farmer, a syndicated television hostess, and producer, I’ve run a television production company, and for years was the most widely syndicated environmental columnist. Today what interests me most is family dynamics and the practical things family members can do to have a long-lasting, high-functioning family.

2. As a serial entrepreneur, how do you overcome burnout?

I’m not sure I even relate to “burnout.”  I’m energized by feeling creative, and I feel that each day isn’t long enough for all the wonderful opportunities that are often “cleverly disguised as problems.”  I have a little tiny suspicion that health issues may cause burnout, so I’m a huge believer in doing everything you can to have the healthiest possible lifestyle. That means daily vigorous exercise, getting enough sleep, being wise about alcohol consumption, and for me, eating minimally processed food.

3. What’s your essential morning routine and what motivates you for the day?

I like to start with half an hour of lifting weights, and going up and down the stairs in my 8-story apartment building several times and then, when I take a shower, I finish off with a minute or so of the coldest water my shower will provide. I find that hugely energizing. As for what motivates me for the day, I have a to-do list that I wrote the night before. I put the most challenging task first, and it feels gratifying to get the difficult task done and out of the way and not hanging over me.

Failure isn’t that you didn’t achieve your immediate goal: failure is failing because you didn’t give it all.

4. What do you do these days outside of leading Perdue?

I spend a lot of time studying for and preparing to be the most authoritative speaker I can be on my subject, encouraging high-functioning families. In the last 12 months, I’ve had 89 articles published on this subject, and that means a lot of interviewing experts and a lot of reading.

5. What’s your advice for young women when entering entrepreneurial role?

Don’t be afraid of failure. It happens to all of us. But do give it everything you’ve got! Learn the skills you’ll need, take courses, talk with people, get advice. My impression is that successful entrepreneurs work five times harder than people who have a secure job.  The successful entrepreneurs I know don’t strive for a balanced life.

6. What bad career advice that you happily disregard?

I’m not a fan of a balanced life.  That approach might be just right for some people, but personally, I get the most enjoyment out of going full-blast at whatever I’m doing.

7. What mantra has helped you achieve success in your career?

One of my favorite mantras is “Don’t fear Failure.” Failure isn’t that you didn’t achieve your immediate goal: failure is failing because you didn’t give it all.  If you don’t reach your immediate goal, but you gave it your all, you’re further along the road to success because you learned new skills, met new people, learned more and the act of giving it your all means you’ve grown. You are better positioned for the next attempt you make to scale your particular mountain.

8. What three books that changed your life?

  • “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
  • “The World of Mr. Sheraton”

My late father’s autobiography. My father was the co-founder of Sheraton Hotels, and this book tells a lot about the entrepreneurial mindset. Unfortunately, the book is out of print.

  • “Tough Man, Tender Chicken, Business, and Life Lessons From Frank Perdue.”

My husband, Frank Perdue, was the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.  I wrote his biography, and I interviewed 143 people, asking them about how Frank built a company from no employees to 22,000 today.  He was the most inspirational person I’ll ever meet. To my mind, the success of his company was due to his uncanny ability to bring out the best in people.  


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