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.
Jennifer Justice is the CEO and Founder of The Justice Dept., a women-led firm focusing on legal counsel and business strategy development for women. In her Thrive Questionnaire, she opens up about reframing failure, dealing with stress, and navigating our new normal.
TG: What strategies or tips are helping you navigate our new normal?
JJ: Forgive myself constantly. I am very type A and I cannot get this completely right: homeschooling, downloading all the tech needed, answer my emails and calls, do my work, feed my kids, clean the house, shower (that last one was a joke, kind of). And communicate with people / work calls what I am dealing with and discuss their issues too. We have to humanize this, as we are literally all in this together.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Jennifer Justice: Hug my kids and then coffee!
TG: What gives you energy?
JJ: The imagination of my kids, knowing what we are working toward at the Justice Dept is a worthy cause and coffee.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
JJ: Reminding myself as long as I have my health and healthy and happy kids, we are fine. And fake eyelashes!
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
JJ: Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman, by Gail Evans.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
JJ: Not anymore.
TG: How do you deal with email?
JJ: I am a zero inbox person. I flag those emails that take a bit more time and come back to them a couple times a week to clear them out.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
JJ: Answer the Thrive Questionnaire that has been sitting in my inbox with a flag for far too long!
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
JJ: Last week. I just took on too much at the same time.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
JJ: I fail all the time. I strategize with myself about how to change the situation and research how to do it differently next time.
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
JJ: I think about what I can do quickly to cross off the to-do list, and what can I delegate quickly.
TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?
JJ: I would say to prioritize yourself more and not feel guilty you aren’t working 24/7.
TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?
JJ: I get totally paralyzed in my thinking and I’m exhausted like I have never slept.
TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct?
JJ: I take one full day of not working (preferably on a weekend) and just be present, take a nap, don’t do the dishes or tidy up just for a day, which for my personality is very difficult.
TG: How do you reframe negative thinking?
JJ: I think about the reality of the situation, remind myself that the thinking is not necessarily realistic and put a new spin on it.
TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve the way you connect with others. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?
JJ: I stopped thinking about what I didn’t think I could give, and started listening to what other people needed. It is a conscious decision on a daily basis.
TG: What was the biggest turning point in your life?
JJ: Having my kids! Coming from the music business, which can be extremely superficial visually and in the possessions we buy/covet, I started to think about downsizing my life, thinking more sustainably, and being more financially prudent.
TG: What’s your secret time-saver in the morning?
JJ: Fake eyelashes! See a theme?
TG: What’s your evening routine that helps you unwind and go to sleep?
JJ: I put the phone away at a very reasonable hour, and enjoy a glass of wine.