How Nili Lotan Reframes Negative Thinking in an Instant

In her Thrive Questionnaire, the designer opens up about feeling inspired, prioritizing family, and finding mindfulness in what she loves.

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. Below, Nili Lotan opens up about feeling inspired, prioritizing family, and finding mindfulness in what she loves.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? 

Nili Lotan: Every morning when I wake up, with my eyes still closed, I think of each one of my children and my late mom and dad. Then I kiss my husband next to me, whether he’s asleep or awake.

TG: What gives you energy?

NL: A good conversation, being near the Mediterranean sea, creative expression. 

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

NL: The strength of my relationships with my husband and kids.

TG: In this new normal, many companies have had to pivot how they are doing business. Can you share a little about how you have pivoted?

NL: I’ve had to realign priorities and make sure that my business addresses some of the pressing needs we are seeing around us right now. I started a site called Giving Back, which sells archived collections at a lower price point and donates 10% of the profits to causes in need, like New York’s medical workers and now, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Other than that, I have shifted my energy towards my website, as it is where we are seeing all of our traffic. I am focused on creating new content that is relevant and meaningful to my community.

TG: How are you rethinking how you engage with customers? 

NL: When quarantine began, I felt the need to connect with my clients and share a more open space with them. I’ve been posting a lot of my personal life recently: what I cook at home with my husband, my thoughts, the changes in my business. In April I introduced e-styling sessions, which is a program based on my belief that a woman’s wardrobe should be timeless and practical while also reflecting her sense of self. I invite my customers to book a virtual styling appointment with one of my sales associates over Zoom. I join the appointments when I can as I love the opportunity to engage directly with these women and speak to them about their lives and their needs as they adapt to the new world around them, the sessions are an opportunity for them to make the most of my collections and find the pieces that fit their individual lifestyle needs and desires. I believe women respond to authenticity and connection and that is especially important in a moment like now when we are isolated from each other. It’s been a pleasure to see so many of my clients gain so much for these sessions.

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

NL: I run my entire business through my phone, I get inspired through my phone, and I get informed through my phone. It allows me to do what I do from anywhere in the world. When I am asleep it’s turned off on the side table by my bed.

TG: How do you deal with email?

NL: I answer my emails through my phone throughout the day. I try to answer all urgent emails as they come. I must admit I miss a few here and there. I try once a week to check if I missed anything.

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

NL: I can feel tired or overstimulated but I don’t feel burned out — I love what I do and I feel inspired even when I need a rest. 

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

NL: “Everything will be OK in the end, and if it’s not OK, it’s not the end” — John Lennon, and “Hope is a thing with feathers.”

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

NL: I identify the most important and most relevant things to do and then work my way down the list. 

TG: With so many distractions and interruptions coming at us throughout the day. What are your tips to stay focused?

NL: When I am interested in what I am doing, my days pass by like a breeze. Work through necessary issues when they arise but always get back on track to what needs to be done. Find or create an environment for yourself to work where you feel safe, motivated, and empowered, whether it’s a corner of your home, an office, your favorite chair. 

TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course-correct?

NL: I try to get eight hours of sleep, drink enough water, and breathe deep.

TG: What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness?

NL: Cooking and baking is very much a mindfulness practice for me in that it allows me to be fully present in what I am doing. I am able to zone in on the ingredients and recipe with such focus that everything else is able to pause for the time being.  

TG: How do you reframe negative thinking?

NL: I remember that everything is temporary and that there is light on the other side of the negative issue I am working through.

TG: What brings you optimism?

NL: The success and growth of my children always bring me optimism.

TG: What’s your evening routine that helps you unwind and go to sleep? 

NL: Lately I have been listening to music that I love while cooking or baking.

Check out Nili’s website here.

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