From the Introduction
“What do you do when the work you love tastes like dust?”
I first heard this question in an airy newsroom in Vancouver, during a downpour in February of 2016. TED was in town, and I was watching a YouTube talk on burnout from TV mogul Shonda Rhimes. I had pitched a segment on this phenomenon for our morning radio show the next day, and was busy trying to track down an expert to talk about the global epidemic of overwork.
Watching the video, it dawned on me that Rhimes’s story was actually my own. And that her question couldn’t have come at a better time.
I was forty years old, and had been working at breakneck speed for fifteen years. I had traveled the world, from Soweto to Bangkok and Paris to Brooklyn, interviewing authors and community leaders, rappers and philanthropists, politicians and Hollywood celebrities. I had trekked the jungles of Borneo. Visited Buckingham Palace. Experienced the thrill of sitting down with Beyoncé. And of debating with Kanye West.
But in that moment, none of it seemed to matter. I was hunched over my desk, holding my torso, racked by chest pains that I was trying—and failing—to ignore.
My drive, always my greatest asset, suddenly felt like a dangerous liability.