Valerie Jarrett on Why Making a Positive Impact Gives Her Energy

“I pride myself on staying on top of my emails, but sometimes they are like an avalanche.”

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?
Valerie Jarrett: I try to get a workout in.

TG: What gives you energy?
VJ: Waking up every day knowing that I’m in a position to make a positive impact in someone’s life.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
VJ: Do unto others as I would have them do unto me, and always try to do better.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
VJ: Unfortunately, it does. Given the nature of my current job, I’m only able to get about five hours of sleep at night, and the first thing I do when I wake up is check my phone.

TG: How do you deal with email?
VJ: I pride myself on staying on top of my emails, but sometimes they are like an avalanche. I catch up between meetings and certainly by the end of the day.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
VJ: Rarely happens, but when it does I play Words With Friends. One way I stay in touch with my friends.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out?
VJ: I have never felt burned out. However, I am certainly looking forward to a little rest beginning at 11:59 on January 20.

TG: Share a quote that gives you strength when times are tough.
VJ: “Dig deep.”

Originally published at

Life Lessons, Inspiration, Morning, Thrive Questionnaire

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