'The Key To Success Is Knowing Your Limits': Important Life Lessons From Women We Admire

'The Key To Success Is Knowing Your Limits'

In the world of work it's often tempting to be in the office until 6pm, answer emails on mobile until 9pm, then 'network' until the early hours in the hope that your super-human effort will get you noticed by the boss.

But keep living by this unsustainable 'play hard but work harder' mantra and it won't be long before you're utterly burnt out and exhausted.

It's important to know your limits - as founder and president of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington says: "We need to learn that 'no' is a full sentence...you can complete a project by dropping it."

Knowing your limits was the key message delivered by Arianna, along with founder of the Everyday Sexism Project Laura Bates and comedian, disability campaigner and writer Francesca Martinez when the three spoke at Stylist Magazine's Life Lessons event on Tuesday.

The inspirational speakers, interviewed by Stylist's Gemma Crisp, were asked to share their own life-changing experiences that they believe all women can learn from.

Laura's speech centred on not being afraid to try something new, Francesca urged us to stop judging ourselves by society's standards and Arianna told the room that we can only truly thrive when we stop to make time for ourselves.

But the recurring theme of the evening was the importance of knowing your own limits and, perhaps more significantly, the importance of sticking to them.

Francesca found herself attending more and more events after she rose to fame with her stand up show about life with cerebral palsy - or as she prefers to call it "life being wobbly". Eventually she became exhausted and sank deep into depression, to the extent that she couldn't even pick up a phone.

"We need to tune into our own capacities and realise what we can and can't do," she said. "You don't have anything without your health."

Francesca said we should all acknowledge our limits and make our wellbeing a priority.

Laura also said that looking after your health, whether that be physical or emotional, is key.

As the Everyday Sexism Project grew, so did opposition to Laura's ideas about gender equality.

Speaking at the event, Laura revealed that over recent months she has received hoards of graphic death and rape threats.

The abuse left Laura having sleepless nights ("I'd wake up in the night screaming") until she went to her GP to seek advice on how to cope with the situation.

"We need to be aware that's it's OK to say you need help," she said.

Looking after your wellbeing (which includes knowing your limits) is key to Arianna's Third Metric ethos.

Arianna told the room how she woke up in a pool of blood after collapsing through exhaustion and breaking her cheek bone when HuffPost was in its infancy.

The company may have been doing well in terms of power and money, but as Arianna said "by any sane definition of success, I was not successful".

"Companies are starting to realise that you pay employees for their creativity and performance, not stamina," she added.

All three speakers agreed that once we've acknowledged where our limit lies, we need to empower ourselves by learning that sometimes it's OK to say 'no'.

The event taught us all that sometimes, putting ourselves first is key - we all have our limits, even three women as influential as Arianna Huffington, Francesca Martinez and Laura Bates.