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?
Matt Pohlson: I sing what I’m grateful for. It sounds crazy, especially considering I am a terrible singer. I started doing it one morning when I was going through a rough patch and found it snapped me right out of it. It’s an invigorating and centering way to start your day. I heard Oprah on a podcast the other day say that she does the same thing. So maybe it’s not actually so crazy.
TG: What gives you energy?
MP: Laughter. Laughter is the shortest distance between two people, and I get energy from connecting with people.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
MP: Be as good a friend to yourself as you are to others. And end every morning shower with 1-minute of cold water. The health benefits are remarkable.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
MP: “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. It gives the best practical advice on entrepreneurship, but is also an honest exploration of the spiritual journey it demands.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
MP: I keep it out of sight as much as possible. It doesn’t sleep with me. I put in the next room so when the alarm goes off I have to get out of bed to go turn it off.
TG: How do you deal with email?
MP: I work through my emails in isolated 30 minute blocks throughout the day. I always get to zero before I go to bed.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
MP: If I’m in the office I try to go chat with someone new to get to know them better. If I’m alone, I usually listen to a podcast.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
MP: I haven’t felt truly burned out since starting Omaze. I did some consulting work in between my first and second year of business school and remember feeling burned by 11am every day. But I would go home at night and work on a show I was doing from 12-3am every night and suddenly feel energized. That’s when I realized that after you’ve had a calling, you can never have a job.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
MP: I used to feel that I failed on a daily or weekly basis. Then I learned to focus less on the outcome, and more on improving my process to achieve the outcome I wanted. I only consider something a failure now if I haven’t put my best foot forward.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
MP: “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” We all spend so much time being scared. High-performing people call it stress, but it’s essentially fear of some future state we’ve imagined for ourselves and yet can’t control. When we face it, and then overcome it by being present, we get everything we want.
Matt Pohlson is the CEO and co-founder of Omaze, the online fundraising platform that offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences and exclusive merchandise to support nonprofits. Omaze campaigns bring together influencers, nonprofits and donors around the world to enable real, lasting impact.