Thrive Questionnaire With John Olavarria and Chris Bradley Hager

The Creators of John O Designs share how they deal with an abundance of emails and unplug.

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.

John O is a legendary makeup artist who has painted the faces of high-profile celebrities as diverse in stature as Bill Clinton and Kate Moss. John O started out illustrating for top fashion houses and later transitioned from pencil to brush and mastered makeup and hairstyling. He then enthusiastically took on the job of a full-service bridal stylist. In 2009, he opened his atelier—a service designed to provide custom looks for brides.

Chris has a unique jewelry line steeped in his passion and professional love of horses.  A former champion on the quarter horse circuit, equine flair shows in every one-of-a-kind piece – each with its own personality. Using vintage scraps from chaps, bridles, snaffle bits and irons as the foundation, Wicked Pony Jewelry has been worn by models and celebrities and has been featured in glossy print ads for Ralph Lauren.

When artists John Olavarria and Chris Bradley Hager joined forces to create a buzzy fashion line, John O Designs, their pedigree was already in place. Touted as “casualous;” this comfortable line of lifestyle chic is easily transformable from a work out to an evening out with no need for a wardrobe change. This design duo has just finished their highly anticipated line of luxury robes and active wear.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

John Olavarria: I meditate for ten minutes in order to clear my head and take on the day’s challenges…And then I make my bed.

Chris Bradley Hager: I take our dog for a walk and it’s here I get clarity, say my prayers and set my mind for the day. 

TG: What gives you energy?

JO: I get my energy from optimism and how I embrace the challenge in making my goals come to fruition. Mental clarity and exercising my creativity opens up brain space. 

CBH: Pushing the limits in the gym; really maximizing my body’s potential…Really defying age, defying gravity and making sure to challenge my brain and my body. We only get one vessel and we need to maintain it.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?

JO: Knowing you always have a second chance on self-improvement by drawing inspiration from people, places, things, and my loving family who support me even when I’m not my best self.

CBH: Being gracious and living in a world of perpetual gratitude

TG: Name a book that changed your life. 

JO: Oh the Places You Will Go…Dr. Seuss

CBH: The Bible.

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

JO: No, I don’t sleep with it and use it only for communication.

CBH: I don’t sleep with it and I have a love/hate relationship with my phone. I run my business through it, but the phone ultimately distracts me from life.

TG: How do you deal with email?

JO: I’m constantly aware of emails for updates on my work schedule.

CBH: I respond immediately and move on. I don’t sit on them, and immediately delete them.

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

JO: I’m a history buff so I Google biographies and attempt to learn more about people’s backstories.

CBH: I check in on my social media to further monitor my business.

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

JO: I love my work and love that I get to travel for a living, but I miss my partner and my dog which induces stress and lends itself to emotional burnout.

CBH: Very recently…Having a day job that supports “The Dream” becomes overwhelming both physically and mentally. I want to satisfy my clients, keep my word and deliver on point and on time, while keeping organized, but there is often not enough hours in the day. As a creature of habit, when that routine becomes unbalanced it really upsets my universe.

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

JO: A client of mine told me that she would hire me more often if I were faster. Being a hair and make up artist I pride myself on perfection and I like to go the extra yard, however, when your client is on a time schedule you sometimes don’t have that luxury. It made me much more efficient and really changed the way I work. I rose to the challenge and I became a better artist because of it without compromising the integrity of my work.

CBH: I received a negative review on one of my products. It bothered me so much that I removed the entire line, profusely apologized, offered a replacement and have diversified my vendors. It changed the way I do business.

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

JO: A Good friend of mine asks this question often and it really resonates with me.. “What would you do if you weren’t afraid”

CBH: “Never let the lack of money hold you back from achieving your dreams.”

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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