Rothy’s COO and President Kerry Cooper and Jenna discuss how to step into our agency to make energizing and fulfilling life and career choices. Reflecting on Kerry’s career as a long-time senior executive, we chat about strategies to cope with stress, the weekly framework Kerry uses to align her priorities, and the importance of letting our minds wander.
Highlights from the Transcript
- On growing from feedback: “There are times when you hear it and want to debate that it’s not true. I always repeat to myself that feedback is a gift and continue on. It’s important for all of us to be open enough to hear it, use it to get smarter and be brave enough to share it as well. Feedback makes us all stronger.”
- On agency: “There is a constant balancing act for all of us of: Are we getting enough family time? Friendship time? Exercise time? Dog time? Partner time? Or whatever it might be. On a weekly basis, I take a step back, review what my week looks like on Sunday, and review my priorities. If you don’t check in, momentum carries you and you don’t make the progress you’re looking to make… So much of what you think other people’s expectations are are in your own head. There’s a confidence in saying no when you have thought about the trade-offs of a decision. It’s being comfortable enough to say to yourself: This is what I want.”
- On letting your mind wander: “We all spend our time thinking: How do I drive efficiency? So, we try to listen to a podcast while we exercise or pick up the next leadership book before bed. Sometimes it’s just good to let your head wander and let yourself open up. Your brain needs time to disconnect. Giving yourself the freedom to take 45 minutes to read a fiction book is so much more important in life than the next 30 emails you could have gotten through.”
- On coping with pressure: “Be gentle with yourself. Find coping mechanisms, things like exercise or spending time with friends, that help you get through hard times…It’s really lonely being a senior executive. Finding groups of people who have shared experiences and you can ask for help is really important. The only way you can get through certain challenges and try to avoid pitfalls is to talk to someone who has been through it. Be comfortable being vulnerable and saying: I really don’t know what I’m going to do here. Those work friendships can be the most valuable connections you have to get through hard times.”
- On recognizing our human-beingness: “Have the empathy to look at people and realize that they are a whole human. We are all moms, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, fathers, children, friends, and partners. How can we be thoughtful about all of the priorities people are trying to balance?”