The Simple Phrase That Helps Phillip Lim Course-Correct From Stress

In his Thrive Questionnaire, the world-renowned fashion designer talks about the small moments of mindfulness and self-awareness that help keep him grounded.

Gold House, the largest nonprofit collective of Asian cultural leaders that accelerates the inclusive representation and empowerment of Asians, announces its third annual A100 List to celebrate Asians and Asian American & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and their transformative contributions to society. The seminal 2020 A100 commences Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by spotlighting the 100 most esteemed and impactful Asians in entertainment and media, fashion and lifestyle, technology, business, and social activism. Meet this year’s Honorees at A100List.com.

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, Phillip Lim opens up about his favorite quote, the little things that give him energy, and the phrase that helps him course-correct from stress.

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

Phillip Lim: Light an incense, make a prayer of gratitude for the day and then make coffee.

TG: What gives you energy?

PL: Creativity is my fuel, this is a source of limitless possibilities.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

PL: KEEP IT MOVING….don’t spend too much time dwelling on the past.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

PL: “Start where you are,” by Pema Chodron

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

PL: It is obviously a love/hate codependency situation.   I acknowledge it is where we are in society and you either  evolve and make the best of the times or exit.  But I secretly wish a phone remained a simple phone with one function…to make calls, period.  It sleeps on my nightstand as it also is my alarm device.

TG: How do you deal with email?

PL: I have a look over, and go through what is simple and quick to reply.  For things that take time, I complete it by deadline. One thing though, the emergency emails!!! – when you see it coming consistently from the same sources, this just means that they do not have management skills, and I just wait for them to follow up.

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

PL: I just sit still, and do nothing…this is the ultimate luxury.

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

PL: Pre-covid-19.  We have gone way past sustainable in terms of input, output, expectations, value system, and over consumption.  This eventually leads to where we are now.

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

PL: Yesterday.  I couldn’t do the amount of pushups I wanted to….out of shape.   Today, I got back to it and adjusted my expectations and BOOM! Nailed it.

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

PL: “Don’t sweat it, just let it”

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

PL: Make a list and conquer it by priority. …. This works.

TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?

PL: Don’t rush to be what people think you should be.  Take your time and become yourself.

TG: Do you have any role models for living a thriving life?

PL: My mother.

TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?

PL: Being uninterested in what you are usually interested in.

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

PL: I stop.  I say no more right now.  And then I go and seek nature.

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

PL: Cooking.  the ultimate expression of love, mindfulness and gratitude.

TG: How do you reframe negative thinking?

PL: I employ empathy.  I try to take a pause and imagine a different perspective.

TG: What brings you optimism?

PL: Flowers.

TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your sleep. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

PL: I stop worrying about  how much sleep I get.  I stop using a measurement unit of hours.  Sleep is about quality, not just quantity.   Just train yourself to ease off the expectations, and you will be pleasantly surprised.

TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve the way you connect with others. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

PL: I made a decision not to feel pressured to have to ‘connect” because of guilt.  I see who I want to see, I spend with those I enjoy the company of.  Guilt is an overrated and destructive vibe.

TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve your focus. What did you do, how long did it take until it became effective, and how you sustain this habit?

PL: Make a list.  This is a good universal remedy. 

TG: What was the biggest turning point in your life?

PL: I would say right now.  It feels like we are all in the mourning process of a life we had known and expected to remain the same.  It is time to evolve and pivot into what brings you fulfillment.

TG: What’s your secret time-saver in the morning?

PL: Nespresso coffee maker.

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

PL: I am a pretty instant sleeper,  so usually just simple , old fashion exhaustion.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    The Thrive Global Questionnaire//

    The Small Habit That Helps Valerie Wong Fountain Stay Productive and Organized

    by Valerie Wong Fountain
    The Thrive Global Questionnaire//

    The Powerful Lesson Leo Wong Learned From a Major Turning Point In His Life

    by Leo Wong
    The Thrive Global Questionnaire//

    How Fashion Designer Prabal Gurung Is Helping Provide Masks to Hospitals In Need

    by Prabal Gurung

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    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

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.