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?
Sukey Novogratz: I wake my son, Nacho, up at 6:50. He uses the alarm on his phone, but he never hears it no matter how loud it is. He’s 15. Then I drink a glass of water.
TG: What gives you energy?
SN: Music, dancing and love.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
SN: Meditation, prayer and sound healing.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
SN: Paula by Isabele Allende. It made me think deeply about end of life and how to live everyday connected to those I love. I now write letters to those close to me that I save for later, adding more thoughts more insights as they come to me.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
SN: It charges by my bedside. I know, not ideal. My husband and I have promised to leave them out of the bedroom at night, but it still hasn’t happen. It’s a goal.
TG: How do you deal with email?
SN: I try to respond to every email that requires a response when I receive them. Even if it is just to say I will respond more fully when I have time later.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
SN: I call, text or FaceTime one of my kids.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
SN: End of year holiday craziness always gets me burned out. This year I ended up with that horrible flu and ended up unable to get out of bed after Christmas and guess what? All was good in the world. It didn’t need me after all.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
SN: I fail all the time: falling on my face in yoga class, breaking my poached egg in the boiling water for my avocado toast, and not saying what I think and feel to a friend because I don’t want to hurt her feelings or make myself uncomfortable. These are the small ways I notice how I constantly fail all the time and how if I can catch myself, let them go in that moment. It is a practice that helps me make the potential big scary failure like writing a book on meditation and trying to put it out in the world feel more doable and safe.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
“Your worst enemy cannot harm you
As much as your own thoughts, unguarded.
But once mastered,
No one can help you as much,
Not even your father or your mother.”
– Buddha, central figure in Buddhism
Sukey Novogratz is the co-author of Just Sit.