Arianna Huffington's Thrive is a book after my own heart. I had originally planned to "photo read" it but became so enthralled by Arianna's personal story in the introduction that I quickly abandoned that idea and opted for full, in-depth reading instead.
And I was glad I did!
Arianna Huffington - Image courtesy of The Huffington Post
What appealed to me most about Thrive was the complete and utter congruence that I felt with its core message - personally and professionally. I have a decidedly left-brained approach to life and fully appreciated the scientific evidence that Arianna presented to support her beliefs and assertions. But she could have omitted all of this content and I still would have absorbed this book like a sponge absorbs water.
... "complete" a project by simply dropping it.
The better people are at taking care of themselves, the more effective they'll be in taking care of others...
We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.
When your inner voice speaks, shut up and listen!
These ideas, all of which Arianna expresses in Thrive, are principles that I fervently embrace and teach to women CEOs running businesses with 20 or fewer employees who are, or aspire to be, self-made millionaires. Many of them are "corporate escapees" who have experienced most - if not all - of what Arianna describes as the pitfalls of being a high-performing woman in the corporate world. And they drive themselves just as hard in their own businesses as they did when they worked for someone else.
These women know that their businesses are not the sole source of their fulfillment - they understand that attention to self-care, family, leisure, and community is fundamental to their well-being. Yet they often "miss the mark" with regard to devoting time and energy to these elements of their lives because of the way they operate their businesses. The information that Arianna presents in Thrive has the power to release them from the limiting, old-school paradigms that keep them from realizing that their businesses can and should provide them with the time as well as the financial freedom to enjoy their ideal lifestyle.
I believe that three of the four pillars of Arianna's Third Metric - Well-being, Wonder, and Wisdom - should be everyone's motivation in life. These "3 Ws" are what I ask my clients to place front and center when they revisit the BIG WHY for their businesses. The fourth pillar - Giving (read "volunteering," "community service," or some other form of philanthropy) - is one of the things I help them make more time for by refining their business systems and up-leveling their team.
Even though the word "productive" appears nine times and the word "productivity" appears fifteen times in Thrive, I do not believe Arianna considers her book to be about productivity. Yet it completely encompasses my definition of productivity, which is "knowing what matters and getting it done." This pertains not only to work, but to each and every aspect of our lives. Defining "what matters" is something that each of us must undertake on our own and Thrive opens the perfect path of reflection for this task.
Arianna evokes the notion of "what matters" in the section called "Evicting the Obnoxious Roommate in Your Head," when she says:
Educating our obnoxious roommate requires redefining success and what it means to live a life that matters, which will be different for each of us, according to our own values and goals (and not those imposed upon us by society).
And throughout Thrive, she gives us a beautifully detailed blueprint of what matters in life and how we can accomplish it.
Mindfulness - the concept of being present in the moment and appreciating each moment - is something I believe is essential to living an ideal lifestyle. It is another theme that Arianna thoroughly explores in Thrive:
But remember that while the world provides plenty of insistent, flashing, high-volume signals directing us to make more money and climb higher up the ladder, there are almost no worldly signals reminding us to stay connected to the essence of who we are, to take care of ourselves along the way, to reach out to others, to pause to wonder, and to connect to that place from which everything is possible.
I requested follow-up for this article. Here are Arianna's expanded thoughts on the topic:
Mindfulness makes us aware of our lives as we're living them. ...In other words, it gives us a heightened sense of being alive, of living our lives. It's like getting the premium tier on cable, or flying first class. By making you present to what's going on, it gives you the VIP version of your own life.
I consider Thrive to be a "must-read" for every woman who is growing a business, whose business is currently "running her instead of her running it," or who is looking for validation as she thinks about turning her attention away from her fine-tuned business to jump-start or nurture another aspect of her life. Arianna's Third Metric is a lifeline to which you want to keep firmly attached at all times!
If you want to organize your business activities so that you can find more time for Giving - the fourth pillar of Arianna's Third Metric - click here.