Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive on the Best Advice Her Mom Ever Gave Her

And how books with strong female leads have shaped her.

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.

TG: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
CL:
Follow the scent of freshly brewed Stumptown coffee downstairs to my kitchen (pre-set alarm coffeemakers are THE BEST). Actually, that’s not completely true. I check my phone first. Am I allowed to say that on Thrive?

TG: What gives you energy? 
CL: The coffee, and exercise. When I start going a few days in a row without exercising, I really start to feel like I’m crawling.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
CL: I married someone more organized than me.

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 
CL: I don’t think I could isolate one, but I loved books with strong female leads when I was a kid — Jo March, Jane Eyre, even Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, who I think I subconsciously named my daughter after.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? CL: Oh, I know I’m supposed to say no. But yes, it’s on the bedstand. I need to buy one of those Thrive phone beds. And I have to admit that sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and if I can’t fall back asleep, find myself on my phone. Once my husband was like, “Is there a reason you liked my Facebook post at 4 AM?” Anyway, I’m working on it.

TG: How do you deal with email? 
CL: I will occasionally ignore it for a few hours at a time, and I find it reassuring that the things that were emergencies at 10 AM are frequently resolved by noon. But I’ve never been an in-box-zero person. I don’t know how people do it. It’s just an overwhelming amount of communication, which is why I think people are much more drawn to Slack or even texting right now for time-senstiive work things.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
CL:
Go have an actual conversation with my coworkers!! You can get so much more done in person than via email.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why? 
CL: Probably right now. I’m on the tail end of several weeks of traveling for work, with no weekend days, and away from my kids. But I’ve learned the hard way that you don’t get a lot of sympathy for getting to go to things like the Paris fashion shows, nor should you!

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace. 
CL: When I was 16 and crying over a boy I was afraid was going to stop liking me, my mom said to me (with some exasperation), “Sufficient unto the day is the agony thereof.” I later found out it was a Russian proverb, and honestly it’s not a particularly soothing, sweet or optimistic sentiment — it’s basically just saying there are enough things that suck; you don’t have to worry about those that don’t suck yet. (My Russian peasant ancestors were such a cheerful bunch.) But I actually found it reassuring, and as someone prone to racing ahead, I’ve thought about it, and repeated it, many times. By the way, the boy did eventually break up with me, but by that time, I didn’t really care. So good advice, Mom!


Cindi Leive is the editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine and glamour.com, which together reach one out of every eight American women, with 10 million print readers and 15 million unique users online. Under her stewardship, the magazine has launched a monthly digital edition, popular special editions, apps, and books — including two New York Times best-sellers; Lipstick.com, Glamour’s stand-alone beauty site and Condé Nast’s first-ever digital spin-off; a digital video network featuring original programming inspired by Glamour in partnership with Condé Nast Entertainment; and The Girl Project, a global philanthropic initiative.