If you read The Huffington Post often you've likely seen stories devoted to Arianna Huffington's Third Metric, her idea that centers on redefining the meaning of success. Ms. Huffington has explained that the Third Metric's origins trace back to the Greek philosophers who believed that a "good life" is "defined by two metrics: money and power." But if you really consider our lives today, she says it is "very clear that these two metrics alone" do not define a fulfilling life. She says a good life should also include a third metric: happiness.
I like that phrase: The Good Life. It's not pretentious or unattainable, but something we can realistically strive for. I think this is partly why the Third Metric mission has received such an overwhelming response. Its content and ideas draw upon the desire among professional women to obtain a more sustainable view of what success and happiness look like on their own terms, not based on society's view of the two. As a result, the Third Metric has grown into a global initiative with events already taking place in London, Munich and Hawaii. No small accomplishment for a first-year program to be sure.
Like Ms. Huffington, I've been open about my own journey of discovery. I felt I was living the "good life" which included to some degree the Grecian formula of money and power. Then having kids (now three young boys) took me off that path. I had a difficult time handling the demands my personal and professional lives threw at me. I didn't consider them working in tandem, and they were always at odds.
I took a step back, not only to give myself a chance to breathe, but also to identify the variables in my life I could control to achieve better work-life satisfaction (a term I now prefer over "balance"). When I looked for help nearly 10 years ago, there really wasn't any. The success of Third Metric leads me to believe there is a persistent need for conversation around identifying solutions for better aligning work and life. To find satisfaction in the way both aspects of our lives here can work together. As women, in particular, we feel a responsibility to do it all and be everything to everyone to be successful. However, all we end up doing is burning out. I experienced this firsthand and it was the motivation for starting my company.
Part of what my team and I "do" professionally is find work for people who need or want an alternative to what has been the office job norm for decades. Because as a country we've changed - our way of living has changed, our daily obligations have changed, but professional work hasn't. When people talk about having more flexibility, it's often only in terms of a career. However, it is critical that we look at our lives holistically instead of only addressing half of the equation. Being happy and successful in the workplace and in life are not mutually exclusive. We simply can't compartmentalize our lives that way.
It is in that vein that we are launching an online community this week for professionals seeking support and expert resources for better integrating their professional and personal lives. Mom Corps YOU is a catalyst for conversation and new ideas, for discussion and education on how to own the different aspects of your life and bring them together cohesively. To create a "good life."
Work-life satisfaction is best achieved when you can take ownership of several key areas of your life, including career, finances, and health and wellness, so we are primarily focusing content in these areas. Jean Chatzky, author and financial expert for NBC's TODAY Show, will kick off the expert speaker series with a webinar titled, "Women and Money," at 1:00 p.m. on Jan. 30. And on Feb. 20, Jennifer Owens from Working Mother Foundation hosts a career panel of prominent working mothers about how they made the transition back to work.
Creating a support system is one of the most important things we can do as professional women. By sharing best practices, new ideas and obstacles overcome, we continue the momentum for finding work-life satisfaction. Ms. Huffington recently described the Third Metric as starting "the process of changing habits and changing lives." We need all of these programs and discussions to make that happen. What is it that you want to learn, discuss, share? Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power," which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.
Follow Allison O'Kelly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AllisonOKelly