The Thrive Questionnaire with Roma Downey

The Emmy award-winning actress shares what gives her energy, a book that changed her life, and the last time she felt burned out.

Courtesy of Roma Downey 

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?
Roma Downey: As I place my first foot on the floor, I say, “thank” and “you” as I bring my second foot down. Then, as I start getting ready for my day, I continue to say “thank you” until I feel gratefulness alive and overflowing in my heart. I am a big believer in starting my day in gratitude.

TG: What gives you energy?
RD: Being outdoors gives me energy. Being in nature, seeing the ocean, trees, greenery, sunrises and sunsets. The beauty and creativity of nature inspire me—making me feel alive.

TG: What’s a daily habit or practice that helps you thrive?
RD: My morning workout. Taking time at the beginning of the day to move my body. Even a 20-minute walk in the morning is better than nothing.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
RD: I have two: The Bible and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
RD: I know it probably should be in the guest room but my phone does sit next to my bed. I use it as my morning alarm, but I try not to wake up and check it first thing. I find it a comfort having it near for my business and should my children need me.

TG: How do you deal with email?
RD: I try to respond to my emails the day they are received. I don’t like the feeling of an overly full inbox. When the emails pile up, I get overwhelmed and try to avoid that.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
RD: I stand up and move even if it’s just to walk around the office or step outside and breathe in the fresh air.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
RD: Recently, I was extremely tired after returning from my book tour. I had just released my book, Box of Butterflies and had been traveling around the country promoting it. Many hours on airplanes, in and out of time zones and not enough sleep took its toll. By the time I got back, I felt like I was running on empty. Thankfully, getting back into the routine of proper rest, food and a daily workout, helped me to feel restored in no time.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
RD: I try to not see my life in terms of failures and successes but rather as feedback. I have learned to see both as opportunities for growth. I think it’s important to not be afraid of failure. You have to keep trying, evolving and growing.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
RD: “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” I have always loved this quote because it offers hope and reminds us that we each have a part to play in improving the world. Even if it’s just one candle, it can help. I named my company LightWorkers because I believe that when we all come together and shine a light, we can make a powerful difference for good.

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