Getting to Know B Team Leader Arianna Huffington

10/30/2017
Arianna Huffington

What inspires you?

Helping people engage with themselves, their lives and their world. That’s been the through-line to my entire career, including at the Huffington Post and now at Thrive Global. And I continue to be inspired by the hunger people all over the world have to live lives of meaning and purpose and real connection, even as our world becomes noisier, more stressed and more distracted.

Which B Team challenge or initiative are you motivated by most, and how is your company/organization helping to lead on the issue?

I’m passionate about the B Team’s mission of leading the business world to put purpose over profit and create a more sustainable culture, both for people and the planet. At Thrive Global, we’re dedicated to ending the stress and burnout epidemic by giving businesses tools and strategies that not only enhance the wellbeing of employees but also the long-term health of their bottom line.

What convinced you to take on this challenge?  Why do you believe that it cannot be achieved without business engagement and leadership?

As I went around the world talking about my two books, Thrive and The Sleep Revolution, and the issues of stress and burnout, I saw how deeply people want to change their lives. So I wanted to go beyond just speaking out and raising awareness and do something real and tangible that would begin to help people change their daily lives. And that led to founding Thrive Global.

Business leaders are absolutely vital in this culture shift because the way we work is increasingly driving this stress and burnout epidemic. People are doing what they can in their individual lives, but real change can only come if there are large scale changes in the business world.

What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned on this journey?

I’ve learned that in order to be at our best for others, for our work and for whatever causes we care about, we first need to take care of ourselves. It’s like what they say on airplanes – secure your own oxygen mask first. It’s easy to lose yourself in a mission, or in a job, but we’re at our best when we take the time to unplug and recharge.

What is the first thing you read every morning?

The first thing I do when I wake up is meditate or do some breathing exercises. Only then will I reach for my phone. And my first reading of the day is probably texts or email from my daughters. After that, I’ll check The New York Times, HuffPost and work emails.

What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur seeking to start a new company today?

They have to remember that success is more about quality of work than quantity. They should realize that taking care of their human capital is just as important as whatever new product or service or company they’re launching. Leading a sustainable life, and making sure their employees do too, is the best way for an entrepreneur to make sure their business will be sustainable for the long-term.

If there is one big change you could make in the world today, what would it be?

That more people realize the truth that burnout is not the price you have to pay for success. Very often, people attribute their success to their willingness to have burned themselves out for years and years, when, in fact, they’re actually successful in spite of their burnout, not because of it.

If you were given an extra day next week, how would you spend it?

Sleep, take a walk, and, my favorite thing to do on Sunday, lay in bed and read the New York Times section by section. Since I can never get through it, an extra day might mean I could one day finish an entire Sunday edition.

What one thing would you change to help more companies go further, faster, towards sustainable business?

To help their employees have a healthier relationship with technology. Right now we’re at an inflection point in this relationship. We’re all addicted and technology is accelerating the pace of our lives beyond our capacity to keep up. This isn’t just a workplace matter, but businesses that can help their employees take control of this relationship are going to be set up to win the future.

This interview is part of a series to help you get to know the B Team leaders, what they are working on and what they are passionate about. You can read Richard Branson’s interview here, Yolanda Kakabadse’s interview here, Sharan Burrow’s interview here, Bob Collymore’s interview here, David Crane’s here, Christiana Figueres’ here, Arif Naqvi’s here and expect a new one each month.

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