Alison Beard: You’ve talked about “the healing power of work.” What do you mean by that?
Ruth Reichl: Nothing feels so good to human beings as having done something well. We are wired to want to accomplish things.
AB: Circling back to your career choices, how did you know when a dramatic move you were making was the right one?
RR: I always thought they were the wrong ones. When I was offered Gourmet, I told one of my adopted mothers, “It’s just not the right time. If it were a year down the road, I would do it.” And she looked at me and said, “Ruth, it’s never the right time.” It’s the best advice I’ve ever gotten. It’s the things that scare you the most that you have to do.
AB: That’s not always easy in practice, though. How do you force yourself to take those leaps?
RR: You look down the road 10 or 15 years and say, “Do I really still want to be doing what I’m doing? Don’t I want to be challenged?” One of the secrets to staying young is to always do things you don’t know how to do, to keep learning.
Interview via Harvard Business Review