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.

TG: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed
ML: The very first thing I do is let my dogs out and feed them. Then, I check email and think about what the day has in store for me.

TG: What gives you energy?
ML: People. Spending time with people with whom I have just one thing in common is good enough to re-energize me.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
ML: Dogs. They love sleeping a full 8 hours at night. They get you out of bed in the morning. They get you out for a walk every day. They love you unconditionally.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
ML: The Magus by John Fowles. I read this book in university as part of a literary criticism class. It freaked so many of us out that we questioned everything in our lives. I think it expanded my mind into questioning things people say and do.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
ML: Not with me, but right next to me! We are very close, but I think we might need to break up.

TG: How do you deal with email?
ML: I file new emails into folders based on content and sender, but only after I respond. So, in order to keep a nice clean inbox, I respond as soon as I can – usually right away.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
ML: My to do list is long and constant. With an extra 15 minutes, I do something on my list. I’ve always believed that if you can do something in the next 2 minutes, do it!

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
ML: I regularly feel burned out and it’s usually because I work too many days in a row. With no guaranteed days off, this can happen quite often, but a couple days off usually fixes this.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
ML: I don’t believe in failure, I just believe it’s just part of the process. One door closes so that the next door can open.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
ML: There’s no quote that I live by, but I do believe in two things: gratitude and kindness. With these two values, you can’t go wrong. They are the answer to every question.

Meredith Laurence, the Blue Jean Chef, is a best-selling author and chef committed to helping all home cooks feel more confident and comfortable in the kitchen with her casual and unpretentious cooking style – as comfortable as wearing your favorite jeans. She is the author of five cookbooks selling over 650,000 copies including Blue Jean Chef: Comfortable in the Kitchen, Blue Jean Chef: Delicious Under Pressure and her upcoming Air Fry GENIUS, the follow-up to her bestselling Air Fry Everything, available this November.