A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Thrive: A Third Metric Live Event, hosted by Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski at the New York City Center. Throughout the day, I was thrilled to listen to the information being shared by the presenters. They all spoke on a topic that is near and dear to my heart and part of the core of the work I do.
The mission of the event was to share the belief that we need to redefine what it is to be a success. Traditionally, and for way too long, we've defined success by two metrics: money and power. Reaching success according to this definition can come at a high cost, a deterioration of health and happiness and a fast track to burnout.
The "Third Metric," as defined by Arianna in her book Thrive, represents the neglected measure of success, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving. If we can find a way to be equally strong in all three metrics, then, and only then, can we say we are truly successful. After all, if we have money and power, but we are sick, unhappy and exhausted, what good is it? Really, what's it all for?
I hadn't thought of the work I do as helping individuals to solidify the "Third Metric." This is an interesting and new way to think about it. Perhaps it's semantics, but the underlying message is the same.
I passionately believe that our health and well-being are the foundation in which everything that is important and meaningful in our lives must be built upon. Without health, we can't accomplish anything we set out to do or be there for those we love and care about. In this complicated world in which we live, if we want to thrive, not merely survive, we must elevate self-care to the highest priority of our days.
When I began my wellness coaching practice and set out to network and market my business, I started mingling with entrepreneurs and business professionals from diverse industries. The more professionals I met, the more an all too common theme began to emerge. Despite being incredibly successful professionally, brilliant and creative, most were not thriving!
Too many are working way too hard, way too many hours, addicted to their technology, sorely neglecting their self-care, not spending enough time with family and friends and worrying about their health and happiness. It didn't take me long to realize these were the folks I wanted to help.
The faulty thinking that there is no time for self-care while on the road to success needs to be turned around -- self-care is the road to success. For when you are vibrant and energized, your body and your brain are working to its full potential. And performing at our full potential is the best way to get wherever it is we want to go.
The past few years have been a wonderful time for my profession. Since the early days when Kenneth Cooper coined the term "aerobics," we have had the science to back us up when telling folks that how we take care of our bodies and minds can significantly impact our cardiovascular and metabolic health. However, preaching that nutritious foods, meditation, sleep, exercise, etc. can impact our happiness, productivity and ultimately a business' bottom line, has mostly been based on our intuitive beliefs. Now, thanks to researchers such as Dr. Richard Davidson, Dr. Daniel Siegel and Jon Kabat-Zin, (all presenters at Thrive); we have the brain research to back up our claims.
The advent of the fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), which measures brain activity by detecting associated changes in blood flow, suggests that our analytical, problem solving, creative brain reaches its full potential when we are taking care of our bodies and emotional health. We also know that our brains have a limited capacity to function optimally and require rest and rejuvenation to reload. In other words, working non-stop, being sleep deprived or skipping meals is counterproductive to highly effective and efficient work.
As I looked around and chatted with many conference attendees, I felt inspired and optimistic. The camaraderie of like-minded souls was palatable. However, part of me also felt sad. In many ways, the excellent speakers were preaching to the choir.
That auditorium was filled with so many individuals who already have embraced the message that self-care is not selfish but essential. Yes, we all walked away with a few pointers on how to do better and with a shot of adrenaline to keep working at solidifying our own Third Metric. However, those that need to hear these messages the most, were sorely missing.
I am left with so many questions. How can we reach people who would never take a full day away from business to attend a conference dedicated to self-care? How can we change the employee unless we change the corporate culture? How do we reach all those individuals who are overwhelmed and running on empty, not stopping long enough to figure out how to get off the treadmill of a too busy, too stressful life? How can we help those who truly need help the most?
For me, I'll just keep doing the work I do, grateful to make a positive impact on those I connect with. I'll blog sharing tips you can easily incorporate into your life to help you achieve more energy, productivity, improved health and happiness.
Arianna and Mika will continue to spread the message through their books and television appearances. My colleagues in the health and wellness industry will continue to be the messengers in their own corners.
Hopefully, together, we'll shift the mindset of business professionals and corporate America so that taking care of you equates to taking care of business. And one day, we will have a new definition of success: one that includes well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.
Please comment below and share how you are successful at taking care of yourself while still taking care of business. Perhaps your ideas will inspire and impact one another.