The Thrive Questionnaire//

Dempsey Marks: ‘There’s A Silver Lining In Every Situation, You Just Have To Know To Look For It’

The personal trainer and yoga instructor on why her work gives her energy.

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?
Dempsey Marks: Even before I get out of bed, I make an effort to start my day on a positive note by thinking about something I’m grateful for or that makes me happy. It could be something small, like a nice text a co-worker sent me, or something bigger, like my friend who flew 3,000 miles to surprise me on my birthday. Our minds are so powerful, which is why I try to keep my thoughts positive. Gratitude is essential. There’s a silver lining in every situation, you just have to know to look for it.

TG: What gives you energy?
DM: Doing something I love. It’s so cliche, but I am absolutely 100 percent in love with what I do for a living. Even if I’m low on sleep or a little burned out, knowing that I get to wake up and do something that I am passionate about makes everything worth it. I am blessed beyond belief to be pursuing my passion.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
DM: Laughter. I try not to take life so seriously. In the most absurd, stressful situations, I’m notorious for saying “Wait. Let’s take a minute and just realize how crazy this is,” and just laughing. I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine. If I’m overwhelmed, I try to laugh at the situation or watch something funny on TV. You really feel so much better when you can just take a breath and laugh!!

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
DM: The Power of Now. I’d been meaning to read it for years, and I finally picked it up when I was going through a hard time about 2 years ago. It helped me to work on getting out of my head and into the present moment. I’m guilty of constantly focusing on the past or what “could” happen in the future. I learned a lot about mindfulness, presence, acceptance, and even just breathing.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
DM: I used to be attached to my phone – I took it everywhere, was constantly checking it, texting, on social media, etc. It was my dad that eventually called me out and showed me studies on the effects that mobile devices can have on your health. Since then, I’ve tried to be conscious of how much I use my phone. I still keep it with me for emergencies, but I’ve turned all notifications off (especially social media!!) and keep it put away when I’m with people. It’s so important to be present and if someone is dedicating their time to you, it’s common courtesy to give them your attention. I obviously am not anti-phones, but I think it’s incredibly important to be aware of how much time you spend on your phone and how it impacts your quality of life. Put your phone away for a few hours at night! It feels amazing!!

TG: How do you deal with email?
DM: I don’t have a particular process for responding to emails, but I find what works best is setting aside just an hour each day to handle them. I definitely will check my emails throughout the day and respond if it’s urgent, but overall I think having a period of time dedicated specifically for emails is important.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
DM: It depends on the type of day I’m having, because no two days are alike for me. But 9 times out of 10, I’ll go outside for a quick walk. It’s refreshing to get some fresh air and people don’t realize how much they sit during the day! A 15 minute walk does so much for my productivity, focus, and happiness.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
DM: Actually not too long ago – maybe a month or so. I was just trying to do too much. I think as a society, we’ve become obsessed with over-working and as a result over-tired, almost like it’s a sign of success or hard work – a badge of honor. But it isn’t. I was saying yes to everything and stopped prioritizing my physical, mental, and social health. I got away with it for a few months, but it caught up with me. I was only sleeping 4 hours a night, didn’t take the weekends off, and I was constantly working or I trying to help others personally and professionally. It caught up with me and I remember coming home one day and thinking “I’ve put everything above myself for the past 6 months and my health is finally taking a hit.” Since then, I’ve tried to make an effort to put myself first – not all the time, but when I need to. You need to know when to take some time to recharge and there’s absolutely no shame in doing so.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
DM: I had started this new job and I was so excited. On my first shift, to make a very long story short, I got scammed and gave away $100. Essentially this guy lied to me and told me he needed the money to pay a car locksmith and that he was family with the people I worked with. What’s funny is that he only asked me for $63 and I gave him $100 because that’s all I had. When I realized I’d been scammed, I felt like a complete failure (and idiot!). I had to tell my boss and just felt terrible. How could I be SO stupid?! I honestly overcame it by laughing at myself. A few co-workers and my boss pointed out that even though I was a little gullible, the situation showed that I cared and that I saw the good in people. It taught me that even the most embarrassing of situations have a silver lining. It’s become a running joke – don’t let Dempsey handle the money because she’ll give it all away!

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
DM: “We rise by lifting others.”

Dempsey Marks is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, competitor and the creator of PREGAME FIT, a one-of-a-kind exercise and lifestyle system that addresses the three key barriers that prevent people from exercising – space, time and money. Committed to enjoying all life has to offer, Dempsey designs her programs to encourage a fun, spontaneous life that can still include indulgences while maintaining health, fitness and physique.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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