The power of one woman and the "Do Not Disturb" Button

On avoiding burnout and remembering what is important

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? 

Jennifer Kahnweiler: I grew up with the NY Times so I open my IPAD and read the paper in order to connect to the outside world. This routine also brings back comforting images of my parents and their morning ritual.

TG:   What gives you energy? 

JK: I am an extrovert, so connecting with people is my high. I especially like a good dose of conversation after thinking and writing.

TG: What is your secret life hack? 

JK: Keeping perspective. Asking myself “How important is it?” or “Will I remember this a year from now?”

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 

JK: When I was 10 years old I read a book about the pioneering social worker, Jane Addams who founded the settlement house Hull House in Chicago. I loved reading about the power one woman could have. I knew then that I wanted to make helping people the focus of my work.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? 

JK: I often have to remember that I have the power in the relationship! I can turn it off, turn it on, use the “Do Not Disturb” function or move it to the next room. I am constantly looking for ways to manage this relationship. I admit that I do often keep it in the bedroom because I like the alarm options.

TG: How do you deal with email? 

JK: When emails have requests, I let the sender know I have received their email and when they can expect an answer. I find it frustrating when I don’t get a response to my sent emails so I try to model the behavior I would like to see in others.

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

JK: Meditate and sit quietly, preferably outside. Or a nap is nice too.

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

JK: I usually catch myself burning out before it is too late and have learned to slow down or cut back on what I am attempting to do. Getting older has helped me tune into the signs of burnout before it becomes full blown.

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

JK: I was recently on a volunteer board and was disappointed that I wasn’t able to devote more time to it. After reflecting on the experience, I recognized the value of what I was able to accomplish and remember that I am not superwoman!

TG: A favorite quote

JK: “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.” A.J. Cronin 


--

Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD, Certified Speaking Professional is an author and global speaker hailed as a “champion for introverts.” Her bestselling books The Introverted Leader, Quiet Influence, and The Genius of Opposites have been translated into 16 languages and have helped introverts throughout the world expand their leadership capacity.

Jennifer has deepened her knowledge and appreciation for the contributions of introverts through her work as a learning and development professional at such organizations as General Electric, FreddieMac, NASA, Turner Broadcasting, the US Centers for Disease Control, and the American Management Association

She has been invited to deliver keynote speeches and seminars in Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, Russia, Germany, the Netherlands, and Paraguay and her work has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

Jennifer has served on a number of professional boards and derives much joy from her roles as a mother, grandmother and mentor to professional women. She is based in Atlanta, GA.

Thrive Questionnaire

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!