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?

Shannon Vaughn: Before my feet touch the ground, I say THREE things I am grateful for, then I get out of bed and drink 1 liter of water.

TG: What gives you energy?

SV: I am very project driven. So, when I’m building or creating something new that I’m passionate about, whether it’s pertaining to my business or working on my farm, I am energized.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

SV: Drinking lots of water, regular 2x per year detoxes, and a daily spiritual practice.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

SV: It’s really tough to choose a book. I would have to say what changed my life was more something I read in a book a long time ago. It was the longest book I read when I was a teenager. I never felt that a book could inspire me and evoke such a feeling, until I read this – “These too are of a burning color–not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of the poppies.” — John Steinbeck, East of Eden.

These words inspired me to see natural beauty all over the world. It has manifested itself in the work I currently do. Traveling the globe to see farmers and cultivators of the ingredients we use in our products at Pursoma. I now work with rich soil, using ingredients created by sun and sea. Forever this vision of creamy golden poppies lives in my mind, wherever I go.

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

SV: Uh-no, I know better. Sleeping with your phone disrupts your sleep due to the radiation that it emits, in addition to the social disengagement it causes. It’s basically like going to sleep with a third person in the room, one who is not invited.

TG: How do you deal with email?

SV: I tackle it daily. I also have my team note in the email subject line (or text me) if something is urgent. This way if I’m in the middle of a project or task, I know what’s most important. This allows me to not feel pressured to go through all emails constantly to make sure I don’t miss time sensitive emails. The reality is that in modern day communication you will never be caught up because everyone can reach you all the time.

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

SV: I pace, or walk, and think.

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

SV: Burning out is the end. It’s implied in the term, so I don’t go there. I sometimes am overtired or stretched too thin, so then I just take some things off my plate that are not as important as others.

I prioritize so I can avoid being overwhelmed.

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

SV: Probably 5 minutes ago, I experience a sense of failure constantly, but I don’t feel defeated, I feel it’s more of a lag of success rather than a lack of, meaning the success is coming, there is just an obstacle to overcome, or problem to solve.

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

SV: “The unexamined life is not worth living,” — Socrates, Plato’s Apology.

I was a philosophy major in school and what struck me the most was the deep love of knowledge and wisdom that philosophers held – whether it was for science, creation, religion, or the self.

It was this deep and curious search of knowledge that always stuck with me. My nature is that I am a curious person, and with curiosity comes a lot of great discoveries. It’s the discovery that keeps me alive.

Shannon Vaughn, Pursoma founder, transitioned into wellness after suffering from a major health crisis, which led her down the path of self-care to heal her mind and body. Shannon started traveling the world studying the science of detox, Ayurvedic medicine and yogic philosophy at some of the most prestigious alternative medicine institutions in the world. Inspired, Shannon continued to explore the effects of detoxification via the skin, until she formulated the Pursoma beauty wellness treatments. Today, Shannon leads the beauty wellness movement behind “digital minimalism” and “digital detox,” and continues to seek out ingredients that advance the effectiveness of her products. She lives with her family in New York City and Maryland, where she owns a working farm on the Chesapeake Bay and runs Pursoma’s operations.