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'How I Thrive,' From the Recent Grad

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As soon as I get home for a holiday, winter break, spring break, etc., I look forward to that moment when I get to fall on my bed and just breathe, that moment when I thrive. After four years of spending my undergraduate career at Bryant University, I guess you could say I looked forward to coming home to a relaxing weekend away from my business courses, endless amount of group meetings, various organization events and executive board meetings.

The act of "thriving" has a lot of concrete definitions. It is not good enough, though, to simply have one definition. How you may interpret it is different than how I may, for instance. To me, thriving is living to the fullest, where you are satisfying all of your metrics which define your life. Not everything makes you thrive, though. A good test to see what makes you thrive is to realize and understand what sets the fire in your eyes, the excitement, lights up your soul, makes you feel warm inside. Thriving is beneficial to your well-being: People who thrive have reduced stress, better relationships and an overall better quality of life.

I thrive by coming back to my hometown along the shore of Connecticut, strolling along the beach with my dog during the day, playing Scrabble with my family with wine at night and falling asleep in my bed. I thrive by scrapbooking on the weekends and spending a girls' night in the city. Thriving to me is when I am able to fulfill my metric of relaxation and well-being. It benefits me. It satisfies and completes my four pillars of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

It is extremely easy to find a million ways to thrive, but it is almost impossible to find the time. Not until recently have I realized the importance of giving yourself the time to ensure you thrive. Arianna Huffington got it right when she said:

Our relentless pursuit of the two traditional metrics of success -- money and power -- has led to an epidemic of burnout and stress-related illnesses, and an erosion in the quality of our relationships, family life, and, ironically, our careers.

For just about half of my undergraduate studies at Bryant, it was a constant reminder that we are all one day going to be managers of our own companies, on the executive team of large corporations, running not just one but multiple start-ups at the same time and being the best venture capitalists Wall Street had ever seen. Why? Because that's how success is measured. But it was not until I began taking my senior seminar classes when the happiness, health and well-being "card" was thrown into the picture. By all means, this is not a backlash to Bryant -- in fact, most of what I do and most of who I am is owed to Bryant. However, it is interesting to see extremely educated people, astounding universities and profitable companies just catching onto the idea that living a well-rounded life, capped off with a third metric of success, is just as important as continuing the pursuit for financial and social success.

It is hard to find the time to relax, calm down and thrive. Start off small. My friends and I began creating phone towers when we went out for dinner or drinks. Literally, piled our phones in the middle of the table and whoever touched it first was forced to pay the bill. It may have been "thriving" against their will (joking), but it was still thriving. It was our way to disconnect ourselves from the regular connectedness that seems to fill us with stress and just enjoy a $2 beer with friends. By starting off small and finding small ways in which you can personally thrive, you will soon find yourself ensuring that each day there is time set aside for thriving.

As I begin my post-graduation life, and anticipate starting my career in July, I begin to truly look up to the women and men in my life who have been role-models all along. Are they thriving, and if so, how? How can I emulate them? I think I am already on the right track, and I look forward to thriving for my co-workers, my sister, my future children, my parents, my managers and one day, my own company.