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?
Natalie Ellis: Check my Oura ring score — I love tracking my sleep and every morning I wake up excited to see how well I did. I think you can gather a lot about my personality from that… 😉
TG: What gives you energy?
NE: My work. I love what we do. We’re changing the lives of women around the world every single day and this fuels me like no amount of coffee could.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
NE: Focus. Whether it’s on one project at a time, or doing one thing at a time. I believe that being focused gets you results.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
NE: The four hour work week.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
NE: We have a pretty intimate relationship, I gotta be honest. It sleeps close by but always on Airplane mode… it helps with that Oura sleep score, y’know?
TG: How do you deal with email?
NE: Twice a day.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
NE: Meditate, reply to Instagram DMs or call my business partner for a quick catch-up.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
NE: Last year. I was saying yes to so many things that I was actually saying no to taking care of myself. I vowed to never let that happen again and have since upped my boundaries.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
NE: I fail a lot, honestly. Whether it’s not communicating something clearly enough to the team, having to turn down an invitation I previously said yes to or not hitting company goals. I don’t feel like it’s something I need to overcome, I just try to practice self compassion, learn from it and move on quickly.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
NE: If they can do it, you can too.
Whenever I’m in a place of self doubt, I love to look up to people who’ve been there and done something similar. It shows me that it’s possible. We’re all human beings with the same amount of time, we can all achieve things if we try hard enough.
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
NE: I make a massive list and review it, crossing out things that could be deleted or delegated. From there, I number them in order of priorities and work through them one by one.
TG: What advice would you give your younger self about reducing stress?
NE: Know that it’s not the end of the world, even though it might seem like it. Take a deep breath, maybe have a glass of wine and get a google sleep. You’ll wake up feeling better and there’s nothing you can’t overcome.
TG: Do you have any role models for living a thriving life?
NE: Sara Blakely is definitely one of my role models. I love seeing women crush it at work and still find time to have a great family life.
TG: What’s your personal warning sign that you’re depleted?
NE: Not being able to concentrate properly is definitely a sign for me.
TG: When you notice you’re getting too stressed, what do you do to course correct?
NE: I try and take things off my plate, confide in my husband or business partner and do something that slows me down a little. I love baths, massages and binge watching Netflix.
TG: What’s a surprising way you practice mindfulness?
NE: Binge watching Netflix. Does that count as being fully present in the moment?
TG: How do you reframe negative thinking?
NE: I step back from it and question the thinking. Do I absolutely know this to be true?
TG: What brings you optimism?
NE: Waking up every day, fresh air, great people, good food…
NE: I love life. I’m optimistic and trusting about everything that’s unfolding.
TG: Fill in the blanks: People think I/I’m _______, but really I/I’m ______.
NE: People think I’m really extroverted, but really I can be shy in social situations where I don’t know many people.
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?
NE: I turn off lights about 8pm and use candle light. I also wear red light glasses if I’m watching TV late. You notice a really big difference right away, and of course, I track my sleep score so that helps me maintain the habit. Sleep is so important to me, if I get a good sleep, I can accomplish anything.
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?
NE: I text my friends whenever I’m thinking about them or haven’t chatted to them in a while. Just a quick message to let them know I care.
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?
NE: I love Lions Mane. I don’t know if it’s placebo or if it truly works, but if I mix some of that into my smoothie or coffee in a morning, my focus is off the charts.
TG: What was the biggest turning point in your life?
NE: I said no to an incredible corporate job straight out of University that would’ve helped me to pay off all of my student debt, become financially independent and move to London (I’m from the North of England). Instead, I took a leap and decided to go figure out what it would look like to start my own business. It took many years of trial and error before I found any traction, but saying no meant I had serious pressure on myself to figure something out.
TG: What’s your secret time-saver in the morning?
NE: Never pressing the snooze button.
TG: What’s your evening routine that helps you unwind and go to sleep?
NE: I love to come home, dim the lights and cook a healthy dinner. That helps me transition from work mode into “home” mode.
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