THE BLOG

Defining Success

06/05/2013 05:47 pm ET | Updated Aug 03, 2013

I like the idea of a "third metric," but first let me say that power and money were never my first two metrics. Maybe they should have been, because I would have liked the power to end the "Orphan Crisis" and I would have liked more money to financially support both my foundation and myself so I'd be less stressed about making ends meet.

I am driven and not in balance, as if I were seeking power and money.

Since I was a very little girl at the age of 3, I have endeavored to serve. My great uncle, Joe, was a doctor who provided medical care to Native Americans and Africans. He was a Tuberculosis expert, which in his time was comparable in medical mystery to today's HIV. I loved my uncle Joe and wanted to be just like him for as long as I can remember.

My father, Harold Aronson, was actually my role model for "service." He owned a grocery store in South Jamaica, Queens, and sold pig's knuckles, collared greens, black-eyed peas, Carolina white rice and brown bags of white potatoes to African-American families who lived on food stamps and welfare. He was in effect giving local aid in his community. He provided food security and psycho-social support to very impoverished adults and children. If my father's clients couldn't pay him, he still filled their orders and then collected his fee when their checks arrived, with home visits he took me on from time to time.

I had a destiny and I followed it through all my life, even before I became a doctor. I was a "candy striper" at a hospital and then a volunteer for anti-Vietnam War demonstrations. I marched against "that war" in Washington, DC in the '60s and worked with underprivileged kids on Long Island during the summers when I was in high school. I taught in a middle school in Chelsea in New York until a student in my class brought a gun in his lunch bag one day.

I entered medical school at 31 because I had a date with destiny. Finally, I was going to be my uncles's and my father's daughter. All during medical school, I served the poor in cities like Newark and New York. And then I became an HIV/AIDS physician for children.

Here I am today, a pediatrician, a social entrepreneur, child advocate and CEO of Worldwide Orphans, serving poor children and families in distant countries. I feel compelled and driven in my work. I am passionate about it to the point that nothing else matters, I guess. It provides me with a great sense of satisfaction and I know that the work has great value to the orphans we serve around the world, but my life is not in balance.

I have two teenage boys who need more of me and I have friends and family I love who would be happier if I looked less tired and troubled.

I would be happier to sleep more and to be less agitated, stressed and isolated. I am getting divorced and though I know this isn't all my fault, I was likely too involved in my work to see that the marriage was over a long time ago.

I might as well be achieving power and money with how out of wack my life has become with overwork and consuming ambition to make the world a better place for orphans.

I likely need the "third metric," which would include more sleep, rest, relaxation and spirituality. I tried to take a stress reduction and mindfulness course at The Open Center and I didn't have enough time to meditate, which was the purpose of the course.

I am excited about June 6 because I need to step off my treadmill and take better care of myself so I can be a better parent, family member, friend and leader.

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 will take 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.

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