14 November 2016 will forever be etched in my memory as the day that my dream – since Wits days – was realized. I was given the opportunity to fulfill a dream I had always shared with my Corporate Finance lecturer, both of us would briefly discuss the summit and what it would mean to attend. Unfortunately, for both of us neither of our bank balances – and time – would allow for the realization of our discussions. However, through the grace of God, on Monday I found myself seated among the enthused audience awaiting to hear what the selected thought leaders were going to share about the theme of the day: Inspiring Minds. Even though, I was there to listen to everyone, the one person I was truly looking forward to was Arianna Huffington.
But before I share on the lessons from Arianna’s talk I need to bring to your attention something important; that is she was the only female speaker on a panelist of 12. It’s interesting since there were many women in the audience, that ranged from all ethnicity and age groups, yet there was only one woman speaker. Hopefully in future more women speakers will grace the Discovery podium to share their thoughts.
The Huffington Post
I first learnt about The Huffington Post when I came across these two viral videos below on my Facebook timeline. Initially, I paid them no mind since I thought it was just another video sharing platform; secondly, I wasn’t that curious to know who founded The Huffington Post. However every Sunday when I searched for the new episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday then Arianna’s episode would always pop-up. Again, I paid it no mind. But that soon changed when I heard she was coming to the Summit. Her interview teaches one about the lessons she learnt from overworking and burning out; leading her to write Thrive. Today, after selling The Huffington Post to AOL, she is pioneering a new movement called Thrive Global based on her new bestseller The Sleep Revolution.
Her bestseller Thrive was inspired by a day she burnt out and collapsed onto her desk only to wake up lying in her own pool of blood. Thus she began to question whether being constantly connected to everything, except herself, was the true answer to what success meant. “We are all living in this collective delusion that in order to succeed we have to burn out” she said. After her collapse she changed the way she ran The Huffington Post by creating nap rooms to improve the productivity of staff and to stop them from also running on empty. The success of her nap rooms lead to her studying the benefits of sleep and the effects on employees, ultimately leading to her writing The Sleep Revolution and beginning her new business venture Thrive Global.
Thrive Global intends to end “the delusion of burn out” by providing training, e-courses, coaching and ongoing support based on the scientific findings from various specialists on sleep. Through sleep she aims to connect people back to themselves, others, and the infinite intelligence within them. Thus unlocking the creativity, empathy, gratitude, and wisdom that unveils itself from the dormant spiritual void within us. She recommends that the first step towards achieving this new habit is by practicing to leave your phone in another room or switch if off at a specific time. Therefore declaring to your conscious that the day has ended and it’s time to recharge i.e. “a digital detox”.
Along with the other three steps to achieving a full digital detox she says “we as women need to stop the voice of doubt in our minds and forgetting to be present”, especially with our constant desire to multi-task. A symptom that leads us to be unfocused, burn out quicker, and distracted from the gift of being present to the moment.
I personally have been trying this digital detox and getting more hours of sleep ( recommendation is between 7-8 hours), but I will confess that I stay waking up early. However I have been keeping my phone at bay in order to reconnect with myself, whether that’s always done through sleep is debatable. I completely understand the message and lesson behind Arianna’s movement. She is simply saying that the zombies we have become are in serious need of a revitalization of human connections instead of digital disconnectedness.
“Building a staircase is about letting things happen and letting go” a simple yet powerful message she left us with. You could surprise yourself with the results of taking the first step towards building and climbing a new staircase.
P.S. If you have a story of burn out that you’d like to share with Arianna, then you can email her on firstname.lastname@example.org. Then she can better guide you on ways to combat your burn out.
Love and Happiness,