10/09/2013 10:48 am ET Updated Dec 09, 2013

How I Found The Third Metric

Workaholism 2008

My head feels like steel wool. There is no one left in the office again. Asia should be coming online soon. Hope this meeting ends before 10:00 p.m. What am I going to eat for dinner? Ugh -- I have to get back into shape. I have to start something. There's pizza in the break room I think. I don't want to cook anything later. But I am so hungry. But it is so late. When is this call going to start? I am so tired. No plans this weekend again. Cooking for one is such a waste. I should leave the Blackberry in the office. No, because what if... Gotta stay online just in case my team needs me. Gotta stay visible and accessible. I am so tired. I wish I weren't alone. Need to exercise, date and hang out again. Shoot -- I should probably come in this weekend just to get some more emails done.

Mindfulness 2013

Sound familiar? I have been able to do many things in my career -- travel, build teams, manage -- and enjoy a comfortable living. But back in 2008 I was also burned out, overweight and unhappy -- running on my little hamster wheel of fumes. I guess I was successful by all measures -- good company, good job -- and my traditional Chinese mother was proud. But I was screaming on the inside and my body was taking the brunt.

Not long after, I left my job to find my life. Drastic? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Well thought out? Not really. I became a Bikram yoga instructor and French pastry chef for four years. And I met a wonderful man and got married.

I took a huge step into the unknown -- dropped off the grid like I was in witness protection. But frankly, I had no choice. I had to save my own life because no one else was going to do to it for me.

And those uncharted years were not smooth sailing by any means. I was wracked with self-doubt and scrutiny. How irresponsible of me! Yoga teacher? What a complete flake! My old school mom couldn't have been more confused and scared. How was I going to keep paying my bills? What about my future?! Friends? They were cheerleaders for a minute -- living vicariously through my rebellion -- but slowly lost touch because they couldn't compute my choice. My identity was in constant question. Was it me? Was it New York? I wasn't exactly living the dream -- but I knew this was my journey and somehow everything would be ok.

And I was fit, healthy and with a great guy.

Without having the words, without knowing the zeitgeist, I was searching for my Third Metric life.

I'm back at my old company again -- happily. Really -- I look forward to work every day. I did gain a little bit of weight back. But I still practice yoga and bake, and the laptop stays at the office. And when I get in early to the office now, it's to run on the treadmill, not to check email.

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.

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