“When we take care of ourselves, we are only going to be better at everything,” proclaimed Arianna Huffington at a Business Chicks event in Sydney. Huffington is promoting her new book “Thrive” and her new lifestyle of doing less, not more. “Drop the things that no longer serve you,” she says.
After collapsing in her office due to sheer exhaustion in 2007, she committed to getting a full eight hours of sleep a night and abandoning a life of chronic busyness and unfinished aspirations, like wanting to be good skier. “I’m never going to invest the time and energy to become a good skier so it was liberating to complete that project by dropping it.”
Imagine allowing yourself the freedom to gracefully say “no” to things that, though they may have been on the “important but not urgent” list for years, are not important to you now. Things change, priorities change, and as Arianna says, “We need to remember that ‘no’ is a full sentence” that needs no further explanation.
When we say “No” to something, we are also saying “Yes” to something else. There are projects and goals that we should consider removing from our mental or tangible to-do list in order to provide time and energy for things that really matter to us, like personal well-being.
A New Definition of Success
Growing numbers of people are realizing that the old, traditional metrics of success (money and power) are not always what bring us the most happiness or fulfillment and, in fact may leave us more burned out than ever.
We are waking up to a wider perspective of success that is not gained at the expense of our health, our relationships and our passions outside of work. Arianna says, “Our current definition of success is literally killing us. We need a new way forward.”
Upwards, Onwards, and Inwards
So how do we do it? How do we create this new, more balanced, more fulfilling life? Ms. Huffington says the path to this new way of life means “dragging employers, companies, and institutions into a new era.” Yes, we must continue to go upwards, and onwards, but she challenges us to also go inwards, to find the space in our lives to reconnect to ourselves and the wisdom that comes from within.
There’s only one way to achieve a new kind of success, and that is to add in what Arianna calls “the third metric”: wisdom and well-being. If you can relate to feeling burned out and stressed out, you can take a step toward a more balanced, fulfilling life by trying what many famous celebrities and leaders throughout history have found keeps them healthy, creative and productive-- exercise and meditation. You can even create a happier brain through mindfulness meditation. When you change your habits to devote more time to your own wellness, you will start to feel successful in a new, more meaningful and sustainable way. Decide what you want to say “No” to, so you can say “Yes” to a healthier, happier you.