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.
Bassima Mroue is the CEO and co-founder of SkinTē, the first ever collagen sparkling tea, at the intersection of beauty, food, and wellness. Recently, Bassima was President of the Sara Blakely Foundation and helped drive ecosystem strategy at Spanx. She is currently on the Board of the Sara Blakely Foundation, and is a big believer in the empowerment of women as embodied by her TEDx Portland talk in 2012 about the power of the Girl Effect.
In her Thrive Questionnaire, she opens up about the advice she’d give her younger self, her favorite stress-relief tip, and her relationship with failure.
TG: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
BM: I stretch like a cat. And I think of how grateful I am.
TG: What gives you energy?
BM: When I meet amazing people that have overcome challenges, I feel so excited about the human potential. Nothing to me is more energizing than that.
TG: What daily habit or practice helps you thrive?
BM: Epsom salt baths with lavender essential oils. This has been incredibly helpful to relax me each night and a ritual that I enjoy before sleeping. Helps my muscles relax, puts me in a gratitude state of mind, and erases any anxiety!
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
BM: So many books!!! I am a total bookworm and reading in a way is my meditation. Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive, is one of the books that had a huge impact on me. I read it when I was at Nike, and my body was breaking down. I was on my way to Stage 4 endometriosis and had to get back surgery, and the book gave me tremendous perspective at the time. I walked out of my corporate job and focused on healing myself, and that led to amazing opportunities, including a startup, SkinTē, with my two amazing co-founders.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
BM: It sleeps next to me, but not in bed. I have a love/hate relationship with my phone. I love what’s possible at my fingertips, and at the same time I dream of throwing it out the window and breaking up with it for a month.
TG: How do you deal with email?
BM: I love email, especially without a read receipt. Allows me to get things done when I want and not feel like I’m being tracked. I’m the type who likes to keep my inbox clean, and I’m an expert deleter. And the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I don’t need to respond to every email.
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
BM: I think of the top two to three things that will truly move the needle, and ignore everything else. There’s a secret part of me that likes to take care of all the little things and then get to the big ones — almost like cleaning my apartment if I’m stressed. But I learned to reverse it many years ago no matter how tempted I am… and just focus on the big three.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
BM: Stretch like a cat again.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
BM: My life is very busy, but I’m constantly balancing it with self-care to avoid the burnout. It’s been game changing for me. I will drop everything and go for a massage or physical therapy for my back. I always know that it will help me reset, even if it’s small amounts of self-care.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
BM: I have a very healthy relationship with failing. To me falling is just practice for the big wins. I fail every day.
TG: What advice would you give your younger self?
BM: Postpone the stress. There is always something to worry about. Life is so short. Often the things you think matter don’t really matter that much. Postpone worrying about something, and by the time you get to worrying about it, it just may not seem so significant.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
BM: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” by Albert Einstein. This quote has pushed me into action and woken me up over and over again when I have been stuck in a rut, and it gives me courage and strength to do things differently and try new things no matter how scary.
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