On the most recent episode of The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeart Radio and Sleep Number, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington, an Uber board member, sat down with Bozoma Saint John, the Chief Brand Officer at Uber. In a wide-ranging conversation, Huffington and Saint John spoke about everything from her relationship with sleep to overcoming loss and grief.
Saint John is no stranger to tragedy. She lost her first daughter the day she was born, an event that she said changed her life forever. “We have a word for when you lose a parent or parents you become an orphan, right? We have a word for when you lose a spouse, a widow or widower,” she said. “But there’s no word for the person who loses a child.”
Despite her devastating loss, Saint John knew she had to “come back and be joyful” for her second daughter, Lael. She refused to raise Lael as a “fearful mother.”
“That wouldn’t be good for her. It wouldn’t teach her the simple joys of life and how to be carefree — even when there are lots of dangers in the world,” she said. “I choose to exhibit my happiness, my joy and the carefree nature with which I move in the world, so that she can have that kind of balance and foundation.”
Saint John also lost her husband to cancer six months after his diagnosis. He was 44. His death taught her not to be afraid of making purposeful choices to “do the things that sometimes seem impossible.”
“I’m going to dance in the rain in these fabulous stilettos I have on today,” she said. “I’m going to take the trips. I’m going to do the things that I wish I would have done … because why not do them now?”
After experiencing two significant deaths in her life, Saint John learned that happiness is a daily choice: “It’s not like one day you wake up and magically you feel better.”
She added that she doesn’t hide her emotions from her daughter. It’s important to “showcase how you work through and live with grief.” Because you never get over the pain of losing a loved one, she added. “You just learn to “work it into your life.”
To hear the full conversation on iHeartRadio, click here.
You can also listen to the Thrive Global podcast internationally for free on iTunes and Stitcher.