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.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Dana Cutler: Go to the bathroom and come back to bed and read my daily faith devotionals and Bible lesson.
TG: What gives you energy?
DC: Prayer, meditation and talking with my spouse about our upcoming day.
TG: What’s a daily habit or practice that helps you thrive?
DC: Being in a state of prayer or connectedness with God all day every day. Just acknowledging God’s presence in the things you see, experience, enjoy; or seeking guidance as you interact with folks; or stopping your plans to take what I call unexpected God-appointments (that usually benefit you more than the other person(s). This state of connectedness tends to keep my tongue in check, my temper low and my contentment high.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
DC: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White This book is a guide for life. The power of love and friendship. The importance of legacy. What self-sacrifice can create. Embracing diversity and being so diplomatic that you could get buy-in on projects and could get everyone to use their skill sets including the skill sets of an awful rat named Templeton.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
DC: My phone is near and dear to me. I do keep it by my bed, but from 10:30 p.m. – 8:30 a.m. it is on Do Not Disturb. I sometimes wake up and jot down notes so I can go back to sleep.
TG: How do you deal with email?
DC: It is the 800 lbs gorilla in my life. I hate it and love it at the same time. I love it because I can respond when I want, but I hate it because you can lose tone in emails and the instance of it makes clients feel like they can have access to you 24/7. I do try to limit it throughout the day so I can actually get work done.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
DC: Read articles; books (I always have 2 or 3 books I am reading at a time).
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
DC: I was last burned out about 15 years ago. I was tired of doing litigation and I was about ready to quit practicing law, when my practice slowly moved from litigation to education/charter school work. Now I love what I do and really am eager to get to the office and do what I do.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
DC: I had been asked to do something important for a dear family member and I totally dropped the ball. I overcame my failure by finally confessing my failure and seeking her forgiveness. I also had a long-term solution to correct the situation. She forgave me (truly) and she loved the solution. We are closer than ever. For me, it confirmed that humility and being willing to say I was wrong is not a sign of weakness, but strength. It also demonstrated the power of forgiveness for the Forgiver and the Forgiven—both of us were released from what had become an awkward and painful situation to love and enjoy each other again.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace. “
DC: Yes, even though I am walking through the Valley of Death, I will fear no evil. Your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a banquet for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil until my cup overruns. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the House of the Lord, forever.” Psalm 23 I love this because reminds me I don’t have anything to fear God is prepared for my valleys. God will correct me (rod) and guide me (staff), but I am comforted in knowing God cares enough to do both. God will over-provide even when my enemies are trying to take me out (can you imagine having a banquet in front of your enemies?) and that this is just not today, but I will be blessed this way my whole life and then on into eternity. And “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9