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Apple’s Tim Cook Shares His Simple Stress Relief Tip for Running One of the Biggest Businesses in the World—and Anyone Can Do It

Fortune April 18, 2023


Apple’s Tim Cook Shares His Simple Stress Relief Tip for Running One of the Biggest Businesses in the World—and Anyone Can Do It

Being the CEO of Apple isn’t going to come without its pressures, which is why Tim Cook has come up with what he calls a mental “palate cleanser.” Cook stepped into the shoes of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs in 2011, overseeing the company’s ballooning profits while its stock soared 1,022% within 10 years of his taking over.

Speaking to GQ, Cook said he deliberately tries to avoid letting “the urgent” take over his day, instead setting up regular meetings with teams across the business and wandering through Apple Park estate, where he has called HQ employees back to work three days a week. When the pressure does start to ramp up, Cook employs one simple trick to clear his mind: going outside.

Speaking from inside Apple Park—a complex packed with drought-resistant trees and a pond for wildlife—Cook explained: “I always think about hiking and the things that really settle my mind when I’m here.”

Going outside is like a “palate cleanser for the mind,” he added: “It’s better than any other thing you can possibly do.” “I started cycling and hiking [in North Carolina and Colorado], and then I moved to California, and it’s like, you can hike so many different places here. It’s almost a sin not to go out and enjoy it,” he said.

While nature has helped the tech giant’s former chief operating officer, Cook has also sought to give back to the environment.

In 2022 he wrote on Twitter: “Protecting the environment is a huge responsibility that we consider in everything we do.”

Going green was a priority first established by Jobs, a legacy Cook was keen to carry on.

In 2020, the company announced its aim to be carbon neutral across its entire business and manufacturing supply chain by 2030, and by 2050 to have removed the same amount of carbon as it has ever emitted from the environment.

Running Apple after Jobs

After nearly 12 years at the helm and with counterbalances to stressful days in place, it seems like Cook is at last accustomed to leading one of the highest-profile businesses in the world.

He said: “In the beginning of that life without Steve, which was six weeks after the CEO thing came up, I just felt totally gutted, totally empty.”

The intense focus on the company would pass without Jobs—a “once in a hundred years kind of individual”—in charge, Cook had believed.

“I thought that the public focus on Apple was because of Steve,” he said. “And so that was my mentality taking over the CEO role, particularly without him. After his death, I thought the fixation and so forth would go. And it didn’t.”

Cook had to “grow into” his own persona at the top of the chain, he said, adding that he’s a leader staff up and down the company can come to: “I think generally people feel comfortable approaching me.”

Fostering creativity throughout every sector of the company and welcoming new ideas is key to the iPhone maker’s success, he added.

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