The Thrive Questionnaire with Nikki Reed

The award-winning actress and socially conscious jewelry entrepreneur reveals how setting boundaries with work and technology makes her a better business leader, wife and parent.

Courtesy of Nikki Reed/Bayou with Love
Courtesy of Nikki Reed/Bayou with Love

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.

Launching a new business requires focus, determination and drive — but it doesn’t mean you have to give up other aspects of your life that bring you happiness. Nikki Reed, the award-winning actress (The Twilight saga, Thirteen) and socially conscious jewelry designer of her new line, Bayou With Love, opens up to us about setting boundaries with work and technology, and how she prioritizes her family — and herself — while building her company.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? 

Nikki Reed: I try to drink an eight ounce glass of room temperature water before anything else! 

TG: What gives you energy?

NR: I love to move my body. I feel energized by focus based sports. Using my body and my mind is more like a meditation than it is a workout. I train hard and spend as much time as possible on my favorite sport, acro yoga.

TG: What daily habit or practice helps you thrive?

NR: Remembering to read. I used to read a book a week. I come from a family of readers, and I was a voracious reader until Bayou technically took over. Running and building your own company means very little sleep and being available 24/7. The time I used to spend reading is now spent putting together strategy emails and product development. Lately, I have been very diligent about making sure I spend time with a book as well. It’s so important for the soul to escape one chapter at a time. 

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

NR: The Fall by Albert Camus, and How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De Botton.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?  

NR: NO! No way. I don’t allow technology in the bedroom at all at night. I am sure we will find out in 10 years that technology was much more harmful than any of us realize. I use a mini tripod to hold my phone because I don’t even want it in my hands as much as it inevitably is, and I use speak text as much as possible to minimize texting. I am super appreciative of all that technology has offered us. We have grown as a species and evolved tremendously because of technology, but it has to be used cautiously. The more connected we become to technology the more disconnected we are as humans. I believe the pendulum will swing back and the next generation will rebel against it. 

TG: How do you deal with email?

NR: I can’t say I have done the best job balancing it, because I love my company and I feel energized by it. I will say that I have been setting boundaries for myself, and having an almost 2-year-old really helps with that. We become what we see, and I want her to see her Mama looking up at the world, not down at her phone. I try to set proper hours for work when possible, so I am not working 24 hours a day. I also try to stay present when I am with my daughter, without a phone, and we don’t allow phones while we are having meals. Meal time is for talking, and laughing, and connecting. The truth is we have to set boundaries for ourselves but we also have to feel comfortable communicating those desires to our friends, family and co-workers. Texting and emailing has become the norm in terms of communication, so in order for people to not feel ignored from a lack of response, you have to communicate upfront about how you want to communicate. Everyone in my life knows that I don’t enjoy connecting that way. If they want to have a conversation, a phone call is always best! 

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

NR: I make a list… the old fashioned way! 

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

NR: I meditate. But that never happens! If I had 15 minutes uninterrupted I would probably take a bath or meditate. Ha! 

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

NR: I am building a company and raising a tiny human, so I am ok with feeling overextended. I love it. If I feel burned out beyond what I can handle, I literally tell the world I am turning my phone off for a day and we go into nature. Taking a day to hike, or be outside can immediately replenish you. 

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?

NR: Wow, I suppose I try to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I don’t know. It’s easy to feel like you’ve failed, or you can feel like you’ve learned something instead.

TG:  What advice would you give your younger self?

NR: That life goes so fast. Enjoy every second of it. All we have is a series of memories. Having a baby has made me hold on to every single moment with joy.

TG: What is your formula for a healthy marriage?

NR: Do it your own way! There is no formula. My husband (Ian Somerhalder) and I try to laugh, make time for each other, support each other’s dreams, and remember to go on dates. 

TG: What is the most challenging thing about starting your own company?

NR: Everything! I am involved in every single aspect of the company from product development, to web design, to web copy, to photography, to digital marketing. You name it, I am in it. Multitasking is hard for the brain. I love having a lot on my plate, but I also have to remember that the list of to-do’s is endless so there’s no need to complete everything in a day. 

TG: What is your management style and how do you set your team up for success?

NR: I love highlighting everyone’s talents. The best thing you can do as a leader is to start with the positive when you’re giving notes, and remember to compliment people on their work. We are a very hardworking group of passionate women, and I want everyone to know how valued they are. 

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

NR: If it’s not personal, don’t take it personally. My favorite from my dad. 


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