The Thrive Questionnaire//

How Sunshine and Laughter Really Are The Best Medicine

"A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear"

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? 

Fiona Donnelly: I like to peep out the window to see some light (or see it emerging) and look at the sky, as I find that uplifting. Then I wake the kids.

TG: What gives you energy? 

FD: I’m prone towards introversion, so for me, I gain energy being alone and having some quiet time to read.

TG: What’s your secret life hack? 

FD: Pacing my tasks every day to balance my mental and physical energy – If I get physically worn down, it will begin to drain my mental and emotional energy, so I am very conscious of how I arrange my week and how I allot and restore my energy.

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 

FD: The Road Less Traveled, by M.Scott Peck. One of the few books, I pick up and re-read sections of every few years.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you? 

FD: It does, but on silent and for my morning alarm mainly. I’m trying to eliminate it from my nightstand, so it’s a work in progress!

TG: How do you deal with email? 

FD: I check it in the morning, and several times daily. I try to respond to messages first thing in the morning and in late afternoon. But, it’s always present in my mind!

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it? 

FD: I’d grab a cup of tea and watch a short comedy sketch on Youtube or Facebook! Laughter really is the best medicine and I follow some Irish amateur comedians that produce short 3-5 minute videos. I really like to have a bit of a giggle over simple witty humor!

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why? 

FD: With a large family and a young business, I felt burned out around last January. There was a lot going on in every direction, the weather was cold and miserable and the lack of sunlight tends to drain my reserves. This year I am trying to alleviate this by becoming more active and by taking Vitamin D supplements. 

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

FD: I think we all face disappointments occasionally in our personal and business lives – and yes, I sometimes feel that I have failed in some way. Generally, as I am a reflector type, I will mull this over and maybe talk it out with someone close. I find that I am quite good at accepting facts or situations and figuring out what I can do to make amends or improve the next time around. I try to learn from every experience in order to move on.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace. 

FD: “A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear”. I fervently believe in this. I’m sorry I don’t know who to attribute this saying to. I think what it’s saying to a certain extent is that we can often find an answer to an in issue, within ourselves, once we quell the fear and remain calm. It gives our minds an opportunity to tap into the subconscious.


Fiona Donnelly is a management consultant in Ireland. With a background in retail entrepreneurship spanning 16 years, she changed career direction in 2012. Today, at her company www.nexusconsulting.ie, she offers consulting expertise to companies in the fields of employer branding and talent development. She also teaches management at University College Cork, and coaches female entrepreneurs. Combining a wealth of work experience with academic learning over the years, Fiona holds Master’s degree in Organizational Learning & Development and is a certified trainer. She is a mother to 5 wonderful kids!  Follow her on Twitter @FionaMDonnelly 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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