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?
Rebecca Lin: Pick up my phone and check my email–isn’t this what everyone does?
TG: What gives you energy?
RL: I’m an introvert, so I love time on my own to draw and read.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
RL: My phone is my second and better brain: I make reminders for everything, and use Google Drive and Calendar to organize my time and thoughts. You should see my spreadsheet for restaurants all over the world.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
RL: Can I cheat and name two? Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud, and the Bible. Both continue to change my life over the long term.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
RL: I think you can tell from my other answers that my phone does everything but sleep with me. I carry it with me everywhere, and I spend way more time with it than I do with anyone else, including my husband and child. It does have a nice spot on the lower shelf of my nightstand, which I hope is far enough away from my head to minimize any possible brain damage from radiation.
TG: How do you deal with email?
RL: I feel, like most people, I have a compulsion to keep my Inbox as small as possible. It’s a source of stress when I am too busy to answer emails. Filing away emails and responding emails is almost relaxing for me, even though it can only qualify as urgent and important sometimes.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
RL: Answering my email or looking at Apple News, Facebook, or Instagram. Clearly I need to find something more productive that I can do with small chunks of time.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
RL: Around December of last year, when I was in the midst of the run-up to the holidays. I felt like I had had too many meetings and not enough time to focus on my art. I’ve since made a resolution to cut down on meetings and other obligations that I can control. That is working itself out only slowly, but at least I’m making progress.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
RL: As an introvert, I’m always second-guessing what I have said and done and considering how I could have done better. I do try to be constructive about it, though–in that I am trying to figure out how to improve the next time a situation comes up, not just wallow in what I did wrong.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
RL: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Rebecca Lin has been an artist all her life, even when she was majoring in Physics at Harvard, managing Zappos.com’s corporate real estate needs, or storyboarding at Disney TV. She has also created pieces for clients as varied as Dodge & Cox, Community Bible Study, Presidio Knolls School, and The Nueva School.