Arianna Huffington is back in start-up mode with her latest venture, Thrive Global, but don’t expect her to pull a bunch of all-nighters or stuff her face with vending machine snacks.
With a business focused on well-being, sleep and productivity, Huffington is making sure that she — and her 70 staff members — are taking care of themselves.
“It’s actually amazing to compare myself now to myself in 2005 when I launched the Huffington Post, two years before I collapsed from burnout,” she says. “It’s just amazing to see how much more effective I am, how much faster we are growing, and how much more joyful, how much more I’m loving the experience than the first time.”
Even as she launches a new e-learning series, apps and products, she takes time for personal rituals, like a moment in the morning to set her intention for the day before checking her phone, when you “put yourself at the mercy of whatever it is that people want of you.” At night, she puts her phone away half an hour before bed — Thrive is even selling phone-bed charging stations to encourage people to tuck their phones in. She takes a hot bath, takes note of her gratitude and spends time with a book that has nothing to do with work.
And she wants to share what she’s learned about better living with the world. Starting Wednesday, a series of six lessons on LinkedIn Learning will take viewers through small steps that Huffington says take people “from simply surviving and merely succeeding to actually thriving.”
Watch the first lesson here: Discovering Meditation and Sleep.
Each lesson can be broken into “daily bites,” and makes use of unexpected guest teachers — think Kobe Bryant on sleep, or Selena Gomez on her digital detox.
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“The reason we picked Kobe Bryant is because we wanted to make the connection between sleep and meditation and performance — that in fact they are performance enhancers,” Huffington says. She notes that Jeff Bezos talks about how getting eight hours of sleep is good for Amazon shareholders, because it improves his thinking.
Huffington wants to put an end to “the delusion that has plagued us for decades that in order to succeed, you have to burn out in the process.”
With the choice of LinkedIn Learning, the job networking site’s recently launched online learning platform, Huffington is reaching out to professionals with an interest in their careers, and she hopes to show them that “what determines what we achieve is not time, but energy.”
Courses can be accessed by anyone with a premium account, or those whose employers provide access. And Huffington hopes to reach those employers, too.
“I think for employers, what I hope they take a way is that when they have employees prioritize their well-being, that is good for the bottom line,” she says. “It is not a soft benefit, it is not a nice-to-have. It affects healthcare costs, it affects productivity and it affects recruitment and retention.”
For the Thrive staff, that means healthy snacks, nap pods, a treadmill desk, walking meetings — and the chance to take time to recover after any extra-long days.
She’s not swearing off all-nighters entirely. It is a start-up after all.
“If you have to pull an all-nighter and then you make time to recharge quickly, that’s not a problem, that’s part of life,” she says. “But if you think that’s the way to live, that’s the problem.”