Arianna Huffington is the definition of a serial entrepreneur. In 2005 she changed the media landscape by co-founding the Huffington Post, which AOL later purchased for a cool $315 million. Arianna served as the President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group until 2016, and then stepped down to focus on her new startup, Thrive Global. She’s also ran as a candidate for governor of California, written several books, and lectured all over the globe about entrepreneurship, media, and wellness.
At the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival Arianna Huffington mined her years of entrepreneurial experience to dispense wit, wisdom, and advice to the crowd. Here’s her best advice for entrepreneurs, founders, and innovators:
In 2007 Arianna collapsed in her office from exhaustion, burnout, and sleep deprivation. She hit her head on the desk, broke her cheekbone, and came to in a pool of blood. Once awake, she asked herself: “Is this what success really looks like?”
After her collapse, Arianna dramatically changed her lifestyle and began to focus on integrating health, wellness, rest, and self-care into her daily routine. She now urges other entrepreneurs to do the same.
“I learned the hard way that being driven has to go hand in hand with taking care of yourself, otherwise you burn out,” Arianna said. “The paradigm is that to be successful in business, you have to be on 24/7. But that’s a delusion. The question to ask is: what are you doing every day to take care of yourself?”
Entrepreneurship is a tough business, but it’s an impossible career path to follow if you’re afraid of rejection, failure, or being turned down.
“If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re afraid of failing, get another job,” Arianna said. “As my mom said, failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is the stepping stone to success.”
Taking a positive viewpoint of failure will help you navigate the rocky ups and downs of launching a business with courage, resilience, and flexibility – and ultimately persevere to success.
Want to succeed in business? Try putting your phone down. The decreased screen time could help boost your creativity and focus.
“We’re so busy staring down at our phones, we forget to look up and wonder at the magic of life,” Arianna said. “We miss out on life because we’re so busy multitasking – which you can’t even really do. You can’t be really creative when you’re texting and emailing all the time.”
To become more present, creative, and innovative in daily life, try stowing your phone away when it’s time to buckle down, focus, and work on important tasks. And at night, switch devices off before bed, and charge everything outside of your bedroom, to create a truly restful and relaxing environment.
“If you sleep with your phone by your bed, and you wake up in the middle of the night, you’re going to be tempted to answer texts, to go down the rabbit hole of social media. And that’s such a useless way to spend your night,” Arianna said. “When you wake up from a restful night’s sleep, you’re fully recharged and ready to take on the day.”
Bottom line? Less phone time equals a more present, more creative, and more rested you.
Fear is a natural and normal part of the entrepreneur’s journey. Unfortunately, when we’re afraid, the stress hormone cortisol sends the body into fight or flight mode. And once in fight or flight mode, it’s more difficult to make good decisions for yourself and your business. The next time you’re feeling stressed, Arianna recommends a simple exercise: focus on your breath.
“What if anytime you felt stressed or afraid during the day, you focused on your breath for 30 seconds?” Arianna said. “Close your eyes, and take a deep, long inhale in. Then, with your eyes still closed, take a slow exhale.”
Focusing on your breath is a great way to slow racing thoughts down, force a momentary pause, and create a little mental space for yourself. Then, from this calmer place, you can make a decision out of peace and power, not fear.
“We have to remember we all have a place of wisdom, strength, resilience, and power within us. But, most of the time we’re not connected to it because we’re so distracted,” Arianna said. “We’re so busy trying to make it, we forget we’d actually make it much faster if we just slowed down.”
Watch highlights from Arianna's talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:
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