Every once in a while a self-help book comes along that actually helps. Randi Zuckerberg’s New York Times Bestseller Pick Three is one of these rare gems. Penned by Randi Zuckerberg — an entrepreneur, investor (in Broadway Roulette among other companies!), creator of Facebook Live, and founder/CEO of Zuckerberg Media — Pick Three touts the theory that you can have it all… just not every day. According to Pick Three, life can be divided into five categories: work, sleep, fitness, family and friends. Each day you can pick three of those to do well. Not five. THREE.
Drawing from her impressive work experience, which ranges from blazing paths in tech to starring in Rock of Ages, the CEO and mother of two both gets and gives expert advice on how to achieve success by living a well-lopsided life. Broadway Spin caught up with Zuckerberg to hear how this book came about, her foray into Broadway, and how she responded when someone gave her the advice to “be less interesting.” (Seriously, that happened.)
Broadway Spin: There was a frenzy when you spelled out your Pick Three philosophy to the world — was that an “aha” moment, or had you been waiting to share that brilliant philosophy for a while?
Randi Zuckerberg: I had definitely been marinating in Pick Three for some time but I didn’t know I was going to go public with it until I was part of another male dominated panel where I was asked how I balance running a business and being a mother for the umpteenth time. That moment sparked the idea to put my Pick Three philosophy out there. Balance is a myth. I don’t balance. I skew. Because social media and press interviews most often show one side of the coin, I felt I owed people the honest truth about how I get things done.
BS: Early in the book, you mention that some of your mentors told you to “be less interesting” if you wanted to succeed as a female leader in tech. How did you respond to that advice?
RZ: At first I felt totally rejected and embarrassed. Had I been making a fool out of myself? Were people talking about me? I’m an introvert by nature to begin with and this “advice” made me want to crawl into a hole and hide for good. But after a few days of moping with my head hanging down, I realized, “Hey, wait. I’m interesting?” Of course I’m interesting because I’m interested. I realized that those things that were “interesting” about me actually became my biggest competitive advantages in business.
BS: Did you ever consider not taking the role in Rock of Ages when it was offered to you? Were there any moments after you began rehearsals, etc., that you regretted the decision?
RZ: I was five weeks pregnant and I was living across the country in San Francisco when I was offered the role of Regina. I knew I’d be full-on belly prego by the time I got onstage (that means on top of the stage fright and pressure of being in a Broadway show I’d be battling hormones, homesickness, and all other pregnancy side effects). So did I ever consider not taking the role because of these facts? Sure. Luckily my wonderful husband, who knows me so well, urged (if not forced) me to say yes. After that there were no regrets whatsoever.
BS: Pick Three is designed to help women break free from the guilt of not doing it all, every single day. This seems like a (very) tall order. Does it really work?
RZ: Guilt is a funny thing. We’re the ones in control of the guilt we feel, and guilt only controls us if we let it. If we do our best, and go into everything with that thought process in mind—of doing our best—we can actually accomplish a lot more than we think. Life, on the other hand, can control us, and often we have little to no say in those matters. We lose our jobs, we struggle to make ends meet, we don’t have time. Life is one giant monkey wrench thrown in our goals and dreams. I believe Pick Three, more than anything, helps to reframe our way of thinking so we don’t focus on the things that make us feel guilty or feel bad, but instead on the things that we did well and did right. Whether it really works or not is up to the person behind the picking.
BS: Who was your favorite person (or favorite people) you interviewed for Pick Three?
RZ: There are so many! I really loved Ellen Dworsky’s interview about the reasons why she chose to not have her own family. It’s such a hotly debated, personal decision and she was so open about her experiences and opinion. I also loved speaking with fitness guru Tony Horton. He’s an absolute hoot and really knows his strengths and weaknesses when it comes to staying in shape. Ramya Kumar was extremely candid discussing her reasons for leaving her high powered job to take care of her autistic son, as was Rebecca Soffer, who founded Modern Loss, in speaking about losing both her parents in a short amount of time. And, of course, I loved speaking with my own mom, Karen Zuckerberg about what it was like for her leaving her own career to raise three kids. There are so many wonderful people I spoke with! That’s only a small sampling!
Broadway Roulette’s cofounder & CEO Liz Durand Streisand will be speaking on Forbes Book Club panel TONIGHT with Randi Zuckerberg (as well as several other fabulous entrepreneurs juggling it all). You can catch the talk via Instagram live stream @Women@Forbes at 7 p.m. Eastern.