Nana Adae: ‘Why Not Carry Around Some Happiness?’

The Managing Director and Investment Specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank on reaching her email tipping point and why failure isn’t fatal.

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?
Nana Adae: Say “Thank You.”

TG: What gives you energy?
NA: I’m a list person, accomplishing anything on my list for the day pumps me up.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
NA: Gratitude journaling. It’s amazing all the good things you find in your day ‘hiding’ in plain sight. It’s so much easier for me to stay present when I know I’m going to write “Actually had exact change for cabdriver” in my journal. I know that guy is psyched that I didn’t make him break another $20 bill — it’s little, but so is the perceived slight that we all carry around with us for weeks. Why not carry around some happiness?

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
NA: Richard Branson’s “Losing my Virginity.” I’m not a huge fan of biographies, so that is saying a lot! Drive AND follow through are the keys to success — most people just give up, they never get to the intersection with luck.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?NA: Cordial, although there are times we border on unhealthy co-dependency. Even with that, we sleep in separate rooms, have for years.

TG: How do you deal with email?
NA: Not great. But I’ve finally reached my tipping point; I’m tired of it overwhelming me. I’m regrouping and trying to figure out a new system.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?NA: On to the next task.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
NA: Last job change. Moving to a different city meant losing a lot of my daily structure and inherent support — you go through a lot of energy trying to stabilize things.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
NA: In my new role, I have failures all the time. After a big failure after college, I learned that failure wasn’t fatal. No one was taking away my birthday; things kept moving. I was the only one standing still, wallowing in my failure. I try to remember that each time something doesn’t work out the way I plan.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
NA: “Your playing small does not serve the world.” — Marianne Williamson


Nana Adae is a Managing Director and Investment Specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.