As I read the introduction to Arianna's story, about how she woke up in a pool of blood after collapsing in her office, I felt like I was back in my car and at that intersection. I could feel my lips trembling and my hands shaking as if I were literally transported back in time. My wake-up call came in the form of a rolling stop that almost landed me in the middle of an active intersection. Dazed and confused, I thought I was pressing the break -- but apparently not hard enough. Thanks to the loud horn of a driver passing by, I was jolted out of my trance and, although quite disoriented, managed to save a few lives -- including my own.
This is a story I haven't shared with anyone until now, perhaps, due to the sheer embarrassment and disappointment I feel when I say the words out loud: I was driving half asleep. To be brutally honest, I was living life half asleep. A late night and early morning -- one too many in a row -- and a serious venture into the world of sleep deprivation could've left my children motherless. What was worth that potential price? My ambitions. My startup, the six-figure job I awake at 4 a.m. to commute to, the brand I'm building and the craft I'm honing. But that could never be worth giving up my life. Surely I don't work this hard to be a vague memory of myself.
I didn't start out with that goal in mind. I never said: "I want to wear myself out to the point where I liken the walking dead -- minus the gore and goo." But the result was the same, nonetheless. And my definition of success needed a serious kick in the rear. Enter: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington. This book helped me to see a better way, to chart a path that includes my goals but also takes care of me in the process.
I've read the book three times since its release about a month ago. The message resonates with me on the deepest level because I was there. I was sitting in my car as I rolled towards the intersection -- saved only by the jolt of someone's horn. What if that person hadn't honked? What if I kept rolling and caused a car crash that affected not only me and my family but also the lives of others? The thought is so scary -- but it was almost a reality.
How I'm going to thrive:
I'm going to thrive by giving myself time to sleep, to detox from the digital world, to recharge and reconnect through meditation and relaxation, to see the good in everything, to delight in every moment I have with my children, family and friends and to be mindful -- to experience life -- and not just go through the motions. I'm going to thrive by defining success beyond how many followers I have on social media, how late I worked to put out new content or how many people have bought my latest book. I'm going to thrive by living a full life -- and not sacrificing myself in the process.
One of my favorite quotes from Thrive is: "In that quiet center there is perspective and balance and a recognition of what really matters." Thanks to Thrive, I'm spending ample time getting comfortable in that quiet center. And I hope you will too.
Carin Kilby Clark shares lifestyle and parenting insights inspired by faith, family, and joy on her personal blog: Memoirs of a Clueless Woman. Join her community and get your free resource sheet with The Top 5 Productivity Tools Every Busy Mom Needs.