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.
For Aly Raisman, leaving an impact on future generations is about so much more than gymnastics. In 2018, the two-time Olympian made a powerful victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar — a former team doctor who was convicted of sexual abuse against numerous girls and women, including Raisman. Fighting for what she believes in is a driving force in Aly’s life. In fact, her recent entrepreneurial endeavor channels that spirit: She’s designed a sneaker line in collaboration with YORK Athletics’ “Worth the Fight” campaign, a movement to inspire people to fight for their best life.
In her Thrive Questionnaire, Raisman shares the exercise she uses to jump start her day, and the surprising piece of advice that keeps her pushing forward.
Thrive Global: What is the first thing you do in the morning? How do you set your day up for success with your morning routine?
Aly Raisman: The first thing I do in the morning is check in with how I am feeling. I am working on being aware of what I need for that day. Checking in allows me to see what kind of self-care I need for the day. Even on my busiest days, self-care is so important.
TG: Being a part of a competitive sport, how do you mentally prepare to not get overwhelmed?
AR: I think it’s really hard to not get overwhelmed when there is a big competition or event. But being nervous is normal because it shows that you care and want to do well. Competition by nature is filled with pressure, but that’s also part of the excitement. At the end of the day, I trained as hard as I could. No matter what place I finished, I gave it all I had and knew my personal best was good enough.
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
AR: I try to do a small amount each day or throughout the day. I try not to leave anything for the last minute because then I get really overwhelmed.
TG: Why did you decide to work with YORK Athletics to create a new sneaker line?
AR: I love how YORK is a Boston-based company and they are all about family and community. This is really important to me. I love their messaging about being “worth the fight” as I can really relate to it. I hope everyone has a passion and believes that they are worth the fight and their passion is worth fighting for.
TG: If you were not a gymnast, what would you want to be doing?
AR: I would probably be working with kids.
TG: What is your relationship with tech? Do you sleep with your phone?
AR: Technology offers a lot of conveniences but can also be a bit distracting. It can be hard to unplug from technology, but I know how important it is to be able to do. For example, last night I left my phone in the other room and had a great sleep. When I am with family or friends, I really try to make an effort to keep my phone in another room to avoid checking texts or emails.
TG: How do you communicate when having to deal with a difficult situation?
AR: I am a very open person so I do my best to be transparent and honest with people. It doesn’t mean that is easy. But honesty is a very important quality to me.
TG: What causes you stress and how do you alleviate it?
AR: I think stress comes in all shapes, sizes, and sources. For me, I write in a journal, meditate, use essential oils, and love gardening and being outside to counterbalance any stress. I also enjoy nature and love being around animals; those things have a very calming effect on me.
TG: Are you an organized person? What are some of your favorite organizing tips and hacks?
AR: I am definitely not an organized person! It’s more like organized chaos! I’m very type A personality, except when it comes to cleaning!
TG: What is your best tip or piece of advice when something doesn’t go your way?
AR: Learn from it. Don’t give up. Sometimes closed doors allow another door to be opened.
TG: Best advice you’ve received?
AR: “Don’t let the Olympics be the highlight of your life.”