Imagine being one of the most successful women in the world, by any traditional measure. Then imagine being so exhausted and sleep-deprived that you collapse and break your cheekbone. As you’re going from brain MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, you wonder, is this really what success really feels like?
What if it’s time to redefine success altogether? This is where Arianna Huffington found herself when she sat down to write her book, Thrive.
Welcome to my very first post in a series all about the must-read business books I recommend to my clients and anyone who wants to experience a career-changing breakthrough in their industry.
I’ll review these books and sum up each one into an easily-digestible blog post. Basically, I read them so you don’t have to (although I absolutely recommend reading them!).
Today we’re diving into Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. With great passion, Arianna makes a powerful case for why we need to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world.
Thrive had me at hello. From the first line, I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks. My mental and physical exhaustion was never as bad as Arianna’s but when I discovered the book, I knew I was at a point where major life changes were no longer a nice thing to do someday. They were a must-do. Now.
Arianna delves right into how the average human measures success by only power and money. This is like living your life on a two-legged stool. “You can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over,” she writes.
Too often we find ourselves near the point of toppling over. This is true for both genders, but especially for women. Did you know that women in stressful jobs have a nearly 40% increased risk of heart disease and a 60% greater risk of diabetes? Neither did I, until I read Thrive.
So how do we refocus our minds on the all-important three-legged stool? Can we find the balance between money, power and well-being?
Let’s start our journey of working through Thrive this month in section one of the book, Well-Being.
Thrive offers a road map of ideas about how to build your own personal third leg to your “stool” of life. Arianna refers to it as the “Third Metric – wisdom, wonder and giving.”
Well-being is not only finding the right balance in life for yourself – it’s about doing the work to maintain that balance. This isn’t a one-and-done, but a process of building healthy practices and setting manageable boundaries.
This takes dedication and focus, but it will always, always be worth it. Is there anything more important than your mental and physical health?
Meditation is a recommendation we’ve all heard before. Many of us have tried meditation – I certainly have. I love trying new meditation apps and yes, I often fall asleep. Let’s just say I’m still working on my meditation skills!
The recommendation that caught my attention was “mindfulness meditation.” Mark Williams’ and Danny Penman’s practices are highlighted as an example in the book. It’s about focusing your mind as you complete daily tasks to allow yourself to feel more awake, more alive.
No matter what type of mediation is right for you, simply spending time with your thoughts, breathing, and calming your spirit will move you closer to a healthy state of well-being.
“Sleep is the most under-rated healthy habit.”-Dr. Michael Roizen
Can I make a confession? I know my body needs sleep, but for me it’s always felt like a waste of time! Time I could spend working, learning something new, enjoying a movie, getting housework done, and so much more.
Thrive helped me change my views. Sleep is never a waste of time. Sleep is when the body heals itself.
I also learned that women need more sleep than men and sleep deprivation has even more negative mental and physical effects on us. Duke Medical Center researchers found that sleep-deprived women are at a greater risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression, psychological distress, and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger.
I love how Arianna doesn’t refer to movement as “exercise” as most of us do. It’s more of an opportunity to allow your body to feel connected to your mind. It’s a chance to wake up your organs to allow a clear and fresh perspective.
There are countless ways to add movement into our daily lives. Taking the time to stretch throughout the day, an afternoon walk break, yoga, Tai chi, walking your dog, etc. The question is, how can you add more movement into your daily routines?
As we end the first section of the book, I’ll leave you with three questions you need to answer for yourself to improve your well-being.
- How can I bring more mindfulness into my life? What method works for me and how will I commit to it?
- What am I willing to change in my daily and weekly habits to get more quality sleep?
- What is the one thing I can add to my daily routine that will offer my body more movement?
Spend the next week focusing on these questions. Try new things, discuss them with a friend, make commitments to yourself and those you love.
Don’t forget to visit me here on the blog next week as we continue our well-being journey with Thrive by Arianna Huffington. We’ll be talking about wisdom – I’ll see you there!