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.
Melanie Perkins is the CEO and co-founder of Canva, an online design and publishing tool which makes graphic design simple for everyone. Since launching in 2013, Canva has grown to over 15 million users across 190 countries, with more than one billion designs created — and used by more than 80 percent of the Fortune-500-plus small/medium businesses, nonprofits, teachers, and students alike. Melanie first came up with the idea for Canva while studying at the University of Western Australia. In her Thrive Questionnaire, she reveals her inspiring morning routine, her unique approach to failure, and the quote that brings her strength.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Melanie Perkins: I love reading tweets from our Canva community and have just started using the Five Minute Journal where you write the answers to a few questions such as “I am grateful for…” and “What would make today great?” It’s a lovely way to start the day and helps to ensure I’m proactively shaping my day ahead. I’ve only been doing it for a couple of weeks — but hope to keep it up!
TG: What gives you energy?
MP: I love to solve problems and feel incredibly lucky to be working with an amazing group of people doing exactly that every day. I also absolutely love seeing feedback from our community, like when we have helped them to achieve a goal — we often see people who have had no design experience surprise themselves as they create a beautiful presentation, or land a job with a stunning resume or get their business off the ground by creating awesome marketing materials. These stories inspire our whole team!
TG: What daily habit or practice helps you thrive?
MP: The Five Minute Journal has been awesome, I also recently got a rescue pup who has helped ensure that I get outside a little more as he needs to go for walks!
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
MP: Designing the Obvious by Robert Hoekman. It explains how to create apps and online experiences that people will find easy, intuitive, and enjoyable to use.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
MP: One of my personal goals this year is to get more sleep, so the answer is no!
TG: How do you deal with email?
MP: I find email inefficient and prefer to do most of my team communication on Slack, Zoom, and if it’s in another office and where possible, I prefer to meet in person.
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
MP: Write a to-do list.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
MP: Plan for our next goal.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
MP: I know it’s a little corny, but there’s very few things that I consider failure — things tend to either be progress or lessons. I certainly learn a lot of lessons every day!
TG: What advice would you give your younger self?
MP: If I’d known everything I would need to know back when I started at 19, I would probably have been a bit overwhelmed, so my advice is simple — just get started, you’ll learn everything as you go, you have no other option!
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
MP: I love the quote from Gandhi that says “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
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