When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Barbara D’Amato: I go for a run on the beach or a power jog in the neighborhood. Jumpstarting the day with exercise is a healthy habit for the mind, body and soul. Nature increases your ability to focus and think creatively. The mind responds with feelings of appreciation for life and positive energy instantly flows throughout the body.
TG: What gives you energy?
BD: Everything! I am one of those people very efficient at sourcing, harnessing, and multiplying energy. I receive energy from thoughts, breathing, drive, values, soul, nature, people, fear, obstacles, physical activity, inactivity, spirituality, healing, and humanity. All magnetism, matter, and planetary alignments effect movement -energy creation- and influence matter. Undoubtedly, the greatest source of energy is love.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
BD: People think I possess an above average memory, because I can recall the smallest detail of a conversation from years ago. Truth be told… that is my secret life hack. I add short details about most everyone I meet onto their business cards and later enter it in Outlook. Usually something they said that was interesting or unique, a trip, an accomplishment, could be anything. Details about people’s lives matter to me when building sustainable relationships. And it makes people feel special.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
BD: I haven’t read it yet. Many books have influenced my thinking, molded my upbringing, enlightened my path, but none yet has shifted my beliefs so radically to have meaningfully changed my life. None other than the Bible, that is. The only book that has above all made the most profound difference in my life is the Bible. I don’t know where I would be without it. And it is perhaps the ultimate mystery novel. Unlike most books the Bible never reaches that moment when you close it and say: “The End”. The end is the beginning. The struggles of humanity to accept that we are one, equal and worthy of love, were true thousands of years ago and are relevant still today. It is the most amazing and fascinating story of Humanity and Divinity.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
BD: No, it sleeps on the floor. Away from my peripheral vision. My phone is silenced at night, so it and I can both have a good night sleep.
TG: How do you deal with email?
BD: Very efficiently. I am good at compartmentalizing matters into dozens of folders and subfolders, rules, reminders, and automatically obliterating the rest to clear digital and brain space.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
BD: You mean Nirvana? Oh yes. I relax my mind, my eyes, and my body. #1: I give my high heels a moment of rest, change my body position, stretch. #2: I rest my eyes, finding a nice window with a view to look out into the distance. #3: I relax my mind by switching my thoughts onto a slower gear. I practice the art of doing nothing. Living in the ephemeral moment with my thoughts or a passing conversation. If I am so lucky perhaps as to enjoy a small cup of coffee, then that is a perfect “T-O”.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
BD: I get strength from hard work and accomplishment, rather than feeling burned out. I am fortunate to be passionate about everything I do and excited about my ambitious plans for the future to help create a more sustainable, connected, global ecosystem. Achievement leads to success, but without fulfillment and real impact, achievement is the ultimate failure in life. The key is to enjoy the process.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
BD: Very early in one’s life, humans -and animals- both learn how to overcome challenges and obstacles. If we don’t, we soon learn we will not survive for long. If at first you don’t succeed, fix your ponytail and try again. It is the cognitive neuroscientific coding of information -how you receive and process information- that influences and ultimately defines the outcome of your success. I don’t perceive outcomes as failures, just varying degrees of successes and setbacks. Personally, I cannot say I have experienced a true psychosomatic response as a result of a failure in a pure sense. In my view, every experience has a variant degree of salvage value. Heartbreaks, setbacks, challenges all can lead to a greater life! If you try hard enough and do your personal best to become the best you can become, then by whose standards are we judging each individual’s success or failure? The opposite can be said to be true: You have in fact “succeeded” at becoming the best you can become. In life, in order to get closer to achieving our dreams, we must take intended and calculated risks, give it our best, and in the end, persevere. That is by definition success.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
BD: A few…“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the coward does not live at all” -Anonymous
“Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this?” Gives us a thin barrier of breathing room, time enough to inhale, exhale, engage or move on, making peace with what we are not going to change, freeing ourselves to tackle the changes that really matter in our lives -Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world’s leading executive coaches, Thinkers 50
“You must create value to claim value” -Nitin Nohria – Dean of Harvard Business School. This last quote from our Dean of Harvard Business School during post graduate education, serves me as a constant reminder that in addition to a balanced combination of family values, market experience, self-discipline and a pursuit for higher education, the notion of “value creation” has helped me understand and shape my role as part of a new generation of world leaders, allowing me to develop a deeper and sharper sense of discovery and purpose.
Barbara D’Amato is an influencer and strategy director focusing on global brand development and growth for the world’s top brands. Recognized as a leading expert retail and entertainment, and cross-border partnership opportunities. A sought-after speaker globally on leadership, finance, and entrepreneurship. A visionary change agent for women and youth. A global catalyst. And a next generation global citizen. Barbara is the CEO of TRILOGY BRANDS GROUP. The quintessential ‘next generation’ global citizen recognized as a leading expert in retail and entertainment, shares her vision on courage, focus and how to think creatively to effect global change.