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?
Elizabeth Novogratz: Make coffee and write for 30 minutes – I’ve been doing that for over 20 years. I like to think it keeps me sane.

TG: What gives you energy?
EN: I pretend it’s the numerous cups of coffee, but I’m probably immune to it.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
EN: Meditation, running, and as much nature as possible (all 3 are equal).

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
EN: When I was 18 or 19, I read Demian about 30 times. It changed my life so much so that for the next few years, I named everything I loved Sinclair. Sinclair the car, Sinclair the crush I had at the time, I signed letters to my best friend from Sinclair. Actually, It’s her daughter’s/my god daughter’s middle name. The best part about books that have that kind of impact (especially during those years) – the magic only lasts for a certain time. I have no idea now why it was so transformative.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
EN: The relationship is way too codependent for my liking at the moment.

TG: How do you deal with email?
EN: Try to answer as it comes.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
EN: Read, write, meditate, catch up with someone, pet my dog…

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
EN: Every time that I try to avoid the difficult stuff I end up depleted / burnt out: The difficult feelings, the difficult emails, difficult conversations, confrontations…all of it. Sadly, I’ll still run from things way more often than I should. Although, the beauty of all the meditation is that now I usually catch myself as I attempt to flee.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
EN: I feel like I may have failed with a friend a few days ago. I feel like I failed myself early this morning. I feel it all the time. I think the overcoming of it comes from the feeling it (and apologizing when necessary) and letting it go. Of course, that is way easier said than done.

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

O snail

Climb Mount Fuji,

But slowly, slowly!

-Kobayashi Issa

Elizabeth Novogratz is the co-author of Just Sit