Why Unplugging is Vital to This Entrepreneur’s Success

"The more you have space to think and to relax, the more you can bring to your work."

The thought of leaving a job can be scary, especially in uncertain times, but for Sarah Gibson Tuttle, leaving her 10-year-long successful career as an equity sales trader at Morgan Stanley changed her life in the best of ways. 

After moving to LA, Gibson Tuttle opened the nail salon Olive & June , which she has since expanded to become a successful at-home manicure company.

She tells Thrive her best advice on leadership and entrepreneurship, and how she manages stress. 

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? 

Sarah Gibson Tuttle: Check my phone. Ugh, I know – it’s the worst habit. I want to say meditate!

TG: What gives you energy? 

SGT: Smart, curious people. 

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 

SGT: Setting the Table by Danny Meyer. Real, genuine customer service can get you through any tough client conversation.

TG: How do you deal with email? 

SGT: Inbox zero every other day, if not every day. I delete or forward anything that I don’t need to personally respond to. I respond to everything I need to, even if it’s a one or two word response. I have learned that my time is the most valuable thing I have, so I really try to not let my email suck me in.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it? 

SGT: Read something from my “must read!” folder. I always want to learn and grow my brain. 

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why? 

SGT: The more you have space to think, to relax, and to enjoy purely fun moments in your life, the more you can bring to your work. I try to really indulge in those unplugged moments so that I’m the most energized and creative when I’m on.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

SGT: At a startup, you fail daily. I never think of these moments as failures. They are always opportunities to learn and grow.

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do? 

SGT: Lists and more lists. But I also try to make sure I’m focused on only what I need to be doing. My team is strong and they don’t need to be micromanaged on their projects.

TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress? 

SGT: Sleep, get a strong team around you, and move from a “react immediately” mindset to one where you pause before responding.

TG: Do you have any role models for living a thriving life? 

SGT: I look to people who have an inner peace with themselves, with their work, and with their family and dear friends. That is the goal.

TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted? 

SGT: I get snappy and my thoughts get pretty stale. That’s always a sign to put a pin in the conversation or just get a good night’s rest.

TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct? 

SGT: I love to talk through whatever it is with the right person. The reason they were hired is because they really know their stuff. I also lean on our advisors. I feel very grateful for the people in my life who truly support me.

TG: What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness? 

SGT: When I got married, the best advice I received was to take a step back, mid-celebration, and look around. All of the people there, in that room — they are your people and they love you. There are not many moments in life where you will feel that feeling. Bask in it! I think of that advice often now —take a step back, look around at what life has given you, and focus on gratitude. I am very fortunate.

TG: How do you reframe negative thinking? 

SGT: I’m not a particularly negative person so when I start to feel down or negative, I immediately try to see the silver lining. Sometimes it calls for jumping on the treadmill and blasting some fun music.

TG: What brings you optimism? 

SGT: The biggest joy in my life is my daughter. It’s hard to stay frustrated when she’s giggling and dancing around like a lunatic.

TG: What was the biggest turning point in your life? 

SGT: Ending my first marriage was the hardest emotional moment but it transformed me. I became less judgmental and more selfish about my own happiness. And ultimately it led me to meeting the love of my life.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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