IMBY Inspo

IMBY Inspo: Wes Kao

Our weekly blog series highlighting the women that inspire us

Wes Kao
Director, Seth Godin’s altMBA & Writer
New York, NY

RIGHT NOW: WHERE ARE YOU, WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON, AND WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ITEM YOU’RE WEARING?

I’m at my apartment in New York, working on relaxing because it’s a Sunday, and wearing an oversized black cashmere sweater.

SUM UP YOUR STYLE IN ONE SENTENCE.

Black on black on black.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT THE WORK YOU DO?

I love working on challenges with non-obvious solutions. I’m especially excited about projects that might not work. There’s an intellectual challenge about asserting something new and I’m fortunate that I get to do that daily.

HOW DO YOU LIVE ‘MINDFULLY?’

I have two quotes pinned on my refrigerator. They are daily reminders.

“All good problems” reminds me that all things considered, the problems I have aren’t so bad. It puts things into perspective.

“Bloom where planted” is about doing the best with what you have at the moment, wherever you are.

WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP?

Put in my contacts.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU TO GET READY IN THE MORNING?

Fast. My morning routine is optimized… I wear the same thing everyday on purpose. It used to be not cool to wear the same thing, but I’m glad work uniforms are socially acceptable now. It’s one less decision to make in the morning, which means having more space to think creatively when I get to work.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO WORKOUT?

I dabble in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The adrenaline rush overrides the usual pain of a great workout–you’re just thinking about how to avoid being choked. An hour later, you’re dripping in sweat and feeling good.

The one workout I can’t do is yoga. I find it stressful.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP YOUR LIFE (AND CLOSET!) A LEAN, MEAN, CLUTTER-FREE MACHINE? 

Everything has a place. I can pack for a weekend trip in 20 minutes because I have a pre-packed bag for toiletries, a checklist for what to do (Is the trash taken out? Did I turn down the thermostat?).

I only buy things I completely love. I have to be itching to wear it out of the store. The same theory of extreme excitement goes for who I hang out with, what to eat, what to read, what to do.

If you remove the cruft, it creates a lot of space for all the good stuff.

YOU’RE A BUSY BABE. HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK, HEALTH, AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?

I go full speed ahead in all areas, then listen to my body when I need to take a breather, and repeat.

WHAT PODCASTS OR BLOGS DO YOU KEEP UP WITH?

Harvard Business Review all day every day (they have the best articles), The Oatmeal for nerdy comics, A Mighty Girl’s Facebook page for learning about women who have changed history (or are changing it now).

WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?

Olivia Benson from “”Law and Order: SVU.”” She leads with equal parts firmness and empathy, and advocates for finding the best solution under complicated circumstances.

Natalie Tran, the YouTube comedian in Australia, for being so funny and articulate. She did a great talk at Brown University about her work–it’s worth watching.

Colin Kapernick is an inspiration. He spoke up when it was unpopular and hard, and is risking a hard-earned NFL career to do the right thing.

FAVORITE SPOTS FOR A HEALTHY MEAL?

My own kitchen!

WHITE HOT LIGHTENING ROUND– GO!

HEELS OR FLATS? Flats

BUSINESS OR CASUAL? Business

EARLY MORNINGS OR LATE NIGHTS? Late nights–I’m an extreme night owl.

NEW YORK OR LA? New York. I grew up in California and I’m digging the seasons on the east coast.

COFFEE, TEA, OR MATCHA? Black coffee and espressos.

COMPLETE THIS SENTENCE: LIVING INTENTIONALLY MEANS… Looking around and thinking to yourself, “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

You Might Also Like...