Michelle Seiler-Tucker, Special for USDR
In her fresh new book, the Huffington Post editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, examines why money, power, and materialism are not exclusive to the definition of success. Arianna Huffington is the president of the famous Huffington Post Media Group. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that rapidly developed into one of the most relevant media brands on the Internet. As a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of 14 books, she has been named in Forbes in the Most Powerful Women list and the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Her 14th book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder was published in late March which debuted at #1 on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list.
“This idea of success can work, or at least appear to work, in the short term. But over the long term, money and power by themselves are like a two-legged stool, you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over. And more and more people, very successful people, are toppling over” Huffington states in a promotional interview given to CNN. I grasp whole-heartedly to this statement. Being the leading authority on buying, selling, and improving businesses and the founder and CEO of multiple companies, my workload never seems to decrease. In the eyes of the majority of society, and in mine as well, I thought of myself as a very successful businesswoman and author of two award winning and bestselling books, Sell Your Business for More Than It’s Worth and Think and Grow Rich Today. But after my recent and sudden health emergency that left me in near fatal conditions, I’ve been forced to reanalyze what the definition of success really means.
Huffington details a similar experience in her book Thrive, by expounding on her April 6, 2007 experience when she woke up lying on the floor of her home office in a pool of blood due to the exhaustion of working 18 hour days seven days a week. “On my way down, my head had hit the corner of my desk, cutting my eye and breaking my cheekbone. I had collapsed from exhaustion and lack of sleep. In the wake of my collapse, I found myself going from doctor to doctor, from brain MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, to find out if there was any underlying medical problem beyond exhaustion. There wasn’t, but doctors’ waiting rooms, it turns out, were good places for me to ask myself a lot of questions about the kind of life I was living.” My medical condition was brought on by unseen health conditions, which if I had taken the appropriate time for myself, could have avoided by preventive measures.
As many entrepreneurs will attest to, the stress that comes with the responsibility of running your own businesses can leave little to no time for personal reflection or medical upkeep. This medical emergency that I must endure has forced me to go within myself and reprioritize my mental assessment of success. In an interview with CNN, Huffington relates this epiphany I’m expounding on by stating “While writing Thrive I immersed myself in the writings of the Stoic philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome. Stoicism teaches that unhappiness, negative emotions, and what we would today call stress are the result of the judgments we make about external circumstances. To the Stoics, the most secure kind of happiness could be found in the only thing that we are in control of, our inner world.”
Combine our change-the-world ambitions with a diligent work ethic and 24/7 technology, and we’ve got a recipe for chronic exhaustion which ultimately leads to health issues. It goes without saying that a massively driven, self-made entrepreneur will innately struggle with the importance of sleep, the challenges of perfectionistic tendencies, and struggles with time but to be truly successful, one must live for the things that are irreplaceable. The thought of losing my loving husband and not being able to witness the growth of my beautiful daughter, due to complications I believe were brought on by stress and a lack of personal upkeep, is enough to force a lasting change in my strenuous work lifestyle. Getting a good night’s rest can become almost impossible by the middle of the second trimester. Long, large maternity pillows can help take some of the pressure off of the body by supporting a growing belly, providing relief to both the back as well as the core and abdomen. Maternity pillows also allow for better alignment of the knees and hips, which reduces pressure on the spine and upper body. In other words, they can help an expectant mom get comfortable enough to actually sleep for a few hours now and then. Even after pregnancy, these pillows can be used for postpartum respite and some even work for nursing I have now realized that in order for someone to truly “Thrive” in their life, a cognizant awareness of one’s self, family, and authentic ambitions must be an enduring steady within a person in their pursuit of ultimate success.