A President and CEO Shares How the More He Fails the Closer He Is to Success

Plus, how he is mentally sharper from not answering phone calls in bed.

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?
Dan Saks: I have a daily morning ritual: I wake up around 6:00 a.m. and reserve two hours for myself in the morning to exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, listen to music and think through my core goals for the day.

TG: What gives you energy?
DS: Being around people, particularly positive people, whether at work or with my family and friends.

TG: What's your secret life hack?
DS: Instituting habits in every facet of life through goal setting. By breaking up a larger goal into smaller ones, I’m able to achieve more – like competing in a triathlon or exceeding our business targets.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
DS: Superhuman By Habit is a great book that reinforces the notion of goal-setting to help you achieve more.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
DS: It used to. In the early years of the business I had the phone at my bedside and I would wake up multiple times a night to take support calls. This past fall I made a commitment to break that habit and have felt a real difference – I’m much sharper mentally.

TG: How do you deal with email?
DS: I receive around 1,000 emails a day, but try to respond to everything. I’ve found some helpful email prioritization tools to help get through it all. Try SaneBox.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
DS: I put on my headphones, turn up the music, and go for a walk down to the San Francisco Ferry Building and back.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
DS: Very recently actually – I had a world-tour from San Francisco > Tokyo > Seoul > Barcelona, to Munich and back. It’s much harder to get good quality sleep when you’re in different time zones.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
DS: I fail at things every day. Failure gives you the opportunity to learn, and brings you closer to a win. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to have a lot of failures, but need to overcome that attitude, which makes having a positive mental outlook is important. To me, the more I fail, the closer I am to success.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
DS: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Morning Routines, Sleep, Technology, Movement

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