To say Arianna Huffington is a busy lady would be an understatement. The author, mother of two, and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post embodies the modern career woman (or man). But that lifestyle that can lead to burnout in both our professional and personal lives. Huffington recently stopped by the Michelangelo Signorile show to discuss her new book, Thrive, and the importance of taking care of ourselves in our 24-7 workaholic culture.
“As machines are going to take over more and more of the robotic functions we can do even when we are sleep deprived, what is going to matter more is our own creativity… good ideas, and that is what will distinguish us from machines,” Huffington said. “And that is killed when we are exhausted.”
Despite her success as a media maven, Huffington herself is not immune to burnout. In fact, her own incident with burnout inspired her to write Thrive and reassess her own approach to living well.
“[Thrive is] really like an intersection between my own personal journey and what’s happening in the world at large because right now… ‘Burnout’ has been called civilization’s disease,” she said. “We are, as it happened to me, not even conscious when we are burnt out… seven years ago, the way I start the book, is that I collapsed from exhaustion and sleep deprivation and broke my cheekbone, got four stitches on my right eye, and as I was coming to, I had to ask myself the question, ‘Is this really success?’”
To Huffington, being successful lies in being true to ourselves. She cited comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and her coming out process as an example.
“When we completely define our identity with our job, we operate from fear, and it often stops us from being true to ourselves,” Huffington said. “[Ellen DeGeneres] said if she had completely identified with her success as a sitcom star, she would not have come out because she would not have risked what happened… It was a different time than now. Her show was cancelled. She said the phone did not ring for three years. But now, she’s truly thriving, living her truth, and is more successful than ever.”