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For this month’s Live Happier Book Club we are reading the book Thrive by Arianna Huffington. If you live in the Columbus area please join us this Saturday at the Live Happier Loft from 11:30am-1pm for the Live Happier Book Club and for what I am SURE will be a great discussion (even if you haven’t read the book).
The book begins with Arianna (the founder of the Huffington Post) sharing her story of success. At least success as defined by US standards, fame, money, power etc. While she had all the fame, money, power she was exhausted, depleted and had basically lost herself. Her final wake up call came when she woke up on the floor of her office after falling due to total exhaustion. She defined this as her final wake up call because she had others that she had chosen to ignore.
I am a big believer in the wake up calls in life. They can start small like getting a cold to remind us to slow down and regroup and they can grow to passing out in your office due to exhaustion.
Wake up calls exist to remind us that we are off track, we are incongruent, or we are living by someone else’s rules. Our bodies are such amazing forces because they will certainly tell us if we are living out of balance. If you are ignoring the values and needs that are most important to you for the sake of what others thinks or because you believe you SHOULD be living a certain way. Your body will speak to you…and if you ignore it long enough it will show up in other ways…the wake up calls keep coming.
So how do you live a life that is genuine and congruent when all the messages are telling you something else? The idea of success being power, money, productivity and striving vs. relationships, love, showing up and being fully present, in my opinion is a slightly messed up. Not even slightly—it is VERY messed up.
True confession…one of my favorite ways to unwind is to watch Real Housewives on Bravo. I love starting my day with a cup of coffee and some Real Housewives. Recently on an episode a wife was upset because her husband had made dinner plans with her and then was late because ‘duty called at work’. He didn’t call her to tell her he would be late, and even yelled at her for being upset. Her (totally justified) argument was that if she was a business associate who he had a meeting with, he would have definitely called to tell her that he was late but because she was ‘just his wife’ there was no need to call her. He looked at her dumbfounded like she was a complete idiot because of course business will ALWAYS come first. And in this society that is true….but is it truly how we want to live?
Do we truly want to be treating the strangers in our lives better than we treat those closest to us?
Do we truly want to be giving to other people to the detriment of ourselves?
Do we truly want to be chasing after some proverbial carrot to the point that we have lost connection with ourselves?
When you lay it out rationally it makes no sense as to why our priorities are so backwards. But showing up, being present, being accountable and ‘leaning in’ to the relationships in our lives takes work. It takes vulnerability. It takes going against cultural norms and for many of us our brain’s hard wiring. As I have grown and changed on my Live Happier journey…as I have leaned in, worked less, invested more in relationships and less in the bottom line, my life has grown and expanded ten fold. It has become more bright and full. More full of moments and less full of angst. My natural pull is towards the traditional model of ‘success’ so I have to remind myself on occasion as to what is most important to me and what I value.
One of my favorite exercises for checking in with myself is looking at My Values–Download the PDF here. If you have already completed this sheet in the past, I encourage you to look at it again. Re-visiting what is most important to you will most definitely allow you to Thrive.
And because I just love a good commencement speech…Check out Arianna’s Commencement Speech where she talks about some of the principles in Thrive.