The woman who turned a blogging site into a global media powerhouse has a lot more on her plate than HuffPo. For one thing, she wants us all to get more sleep.
Inc. Magazine recently spoke with Arianna Huffington about her new book, Thrive, and the ideas behind it.
In your new book, you encourage people to think about a "third metric" of success. What are the first two?
Money and power, or recognition. Those are the conventional metrics. And I had those. But two years into launching The Huffington Post--on April 6, 2007, to be exact--I collapsed from exhaustion. I broke my cheekbone and needed four stitches over one eye. By any sane definition, if you find yourself lying in a pool of blood on your office floor, you are not "successful."
What's the third metric?
It's a combination of four things: health, wisdom, a capacity for wonder, and giving.
In the book, you devote a lot of space to the impact that burnout has on decision making. Why?
The most important thing that we entrepreneurs have is our human capital. If we exhaust it, we make bad decisions. Three-quarters of startups fail, and many of the people who start them are burning the candle at both ends, so maybe it's time to reconsider the collective delusion that the only way to succeed is to work 24/7.
Do you really think we can move away from that attitude?
We're at an interesting cultural moment, similar to the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, where the barbaric daily behaviors that we've grown used to are starting to change. We take better care of our smartphones than we do of ourselves--the phones are always recharged! But at the same time, 35 percent of midsize and large companies now have stress-reduction programs, and they have found a positive impact on the bottom line.
Could you have built HuffPo so well if you hadn't worked as hard?
I would have been as successful if not more so. Who knows what else I might have done if I hadn't paid such a price in terms of stress, anxiety, and the impact that had on my health and my relationships?