Jenna Goudreau is a deputy editor of Business Insider, where she oversees management strategy, careers, personal finance, lists, and c-suite coverage. Previously, she was an associate editor at Entrepreneur and a leadership reporter at Forbes.
1. What is the most liberating thought you’ve ever had?
That everyone has doubts. That no one has it all figured out. That after school, the only one grading you is you, so you might as well give yourself an A.
2. What did it liberate you from?
The fear that comes with not having all the answers and thinking you should.
3. What does it mean to live a good life?
To feel secure, healthy, loved, and valued.
4. What illusion have you suffered from the most?
That everyone thinks the same way I do.
5. If you could go back and whisper in the ear of your 16-year-old self, what is the one thing you would tell them?
Relax. You’ll be fine no matter what.
6. What does love feel like? (Real love, not hormonal love or I-like-the-idea-of-you-so-I’m-on-a-high love).
Being able to identify a thousand different smiles and sighs and twitches of the nose. Not knowing where you end and the other begins, but somehow feeling more like yourself rather than less.
7. What does your daily routine look like?
I wake up at 6:30, go running, shower, and eat breakfast while watching the “Today” show. I take a 30-minute train ride from Queens to Manhattan and read email, Twitter, and the New York Times. At work, after saying hello to my team and grabbing a cup of coffee, I start with my top-priority project first, while I feel rested and fresh. I schedule meetings in the afternoons when my ability to concentrate dips. Most days, I pack up at 6 and go home to eat dinner with my husband.
8. What is your favorite thing to look at?
The sky. We all share the same sky.
9. Describe your perfect weekend.
Sleep late, have a delicious brunch, take a long walk or run, and catch up with friends.
10. What do you worry about the most?
They are difficult to predict.
12. What makes you cry?
Other people crying; pent up frustration; overwhelming pain, sorrow, or joy.
13. What do you doodle on the sides of your papers?
14. What is the most serendipitous thing that has ever happened to you?
Being born. Dr. Ali Binazir estimates that in the unlikely chain of events that are required for new life — from your mother happening to meet your father and hitting it off — the probability of you existing at all is 1 in 102,685,000.
15. How did your biggest struggles become the pathways to your greatest success?
I have been rejected, passed over, underestimated, and underpaid. But I kept showing up every day and doing my best. I’ve managed to surpass a lot of people who gave up when things got hard.
16. What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Turn off the alarm. It’s on my side of the bed.
17. What do you wish you had more of in your life?
Fun. I have to remind myself not to take things too seriously.
18. What do you find to be the most genuinely beautiful thing in the world?
The way new parents look at their children.
19. If you could be free of one thought or fear, what would it be?
That I’m too short, too fat, too this, too that. I hate that women are reduced to body parts, and that we internalize it.
20. If you had the chance to tell every single person in the world just one thing, what would it be?
You are the only one who has the power to change your life.
Image: Michael Hardgrove