In a recent NBC 4 joint interview, I had the opportunity to discuss the topic of redefining success and implementation of a "third metric" with editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of the new book, Thrive Arianna Huffington.
By society's definition, and as Arianna addresses in her book, success is primarily defined by two key metrics: "money and power." She emphasizes the impact of this (common, but unhealthy) approach, as if someone were sitting on a "two-legged stool." She says those who are living their lives this way are: "... determined to never get off that treadmill, despite the cost in terms of their well-being, relationships, and happiness."
Although we briefly touched on my story of redefining success for myself and my decision to change my career from the medical field to fashion, I wanted to share the elements of my journey to finding a successful life. My hope is that this story could help even just one person, who may be facing similar decisions.
For the first half of my life, like many women of my generation, I focused my energy on growing my career. I spent over 12 years in the medical field, and I worked my way up the ladder while earning a lucrative salary and completing a Doctorate in Pharmacy. And for a long time, I thought this was the way to achieve a happy and fruitful life.
Then about two years ago, my husband was offered a new job in Washington, D.C., and we had an opportunity to relocate our family from Boston, Mass. I decided to use this chance to reflect and reevaluate if the career path I had chosen was the one I wanted for my future. I began asking myself questions, similar to those that Arianna asked herself when she had her wake-up call and fell down as a direct result of sleep deprivation. I wondered:
Had I really found a work-life balance?
Did money and power really equal success for me?
Was this the right path for me?
The answer was simply no to all three questions. It was then that I realized I was burnt out, and I had lost the passion I once found which drove my ambition to succeed.
And as Arianna explains in her book, I was missing "The Third Metric," which included four elements: well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving back to others.
I had a choice to make, I could stay right where I was in my life and continue with this version and approach to success, or I could take this opportunity to redefine my success for the better. The answer was clear, my mind and body wanted to find a new way to live.
As a motivated and ambitious person, I've always had an entrepreneurial spark within me. So we moved to D.C., and I decided start my career again in my mid-30s in the fashion market. When I started my business, STYLE'N, it was initially just a lifestyle and fashion blog. This satisfied my "wonder" of creativity, temporarily.
Soon, I found my friends and family were constantly asking me to help them style their wardrobes for special occasions and give them general trend tips on pulling outfits together. Before I knew it, I was appearing on local TV segments and had transitioned from hobbyist to full-time entrepreneur. In "Thrive," Arianna identifies the key differentiator to changing redefining your image of success is realizing:"It's not what do I want to do in my career, it's what kind of life do I want to have?"
I knew that wanted to experience more creativity, to spend more time with my family and to set forth my own path and direction for the future. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and my own boss. In the process, I realized a new personal mission for myself:
It isn't just about building a successful career, it's about having a successful life.
While on this journey of evaluation, I uncovered a new meaning for success within myself, and I was no longer going to let my job dictate my path. As a result, I have found my passion again and I have more energy than ever. Every day, I have an opportunity to work with my clients -- one-on-one -- and get to know them personally. The work I do now, in styling looks and making recommendations for attire and accessories, isn't just about the clothes they are wearing.
The way I see it is style is an outward expression of one's inner self and spirit, and when you are confident and feel good on this inside, you look even better on the outside.
In my new career as a Fashion Stylist, I have been able to help women find their signature style, and empower them to be the best version of themselves.
I feel fulfilled and satisfied -- as though I am "paying it forward" to share the lessons I've learned and the happiness I found unto others -- so they can do the same with their lives.
As a result of my decision, my clients have also realized a new level of confidence and positive outlook on life, after I work with them. This has directly impacted their lives, contributed to their success and also helped them to find uncover their own "third metric" of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving back.
I have realized that for me, success is not only about money and power, it's about finding the "third metric." And as a result of finding my "third metric," I am happier, more balanced and living a successful life. I am sleeping eight hours a night, and I exercise regularly; I take more time to stop and listen to my intuition and inner wisdom; I live in the moment and I am present with my daughter, Ariyana and my family; I work with several non-profit organizations to share my lessons learned with others.
As the well-known dancer and choreographer, Mikhail Baryshnikov, reminds us: "Do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself."
One of the main reasons Thrive resonated so much with me, is because it is precisely where I am in my life right now. So in parting, my advice to others experiencing something similar to me, is simply to be yourself, and find your own path that leads to your own vision of success.