Arianna Huffington has had plenty of lofty titles in her career, but her preferred one these days is “sleep evangelist.”
Huffington now preaches full-time about the benefits of rest for the relentlessly busy professional, the hyper multi-tasker and the general striver trying to make it in a 24/7 workaholic culture.
“Sleep, or how little of it we need, has become a symbol of our prowess,” Huffington has said. But, she added, “there’s practically no element of our lives that’s not improved by getting adequate sleep. And there is no element of life that’s not diminished by a lack of sleep.”
Of course, Huffington only came to the epiphany that humans need rest after burning herself out building a diverse and successful career in the public eye. She’s been a best-selling author, lecturer, columnist, political wife, political candidate, conservative-turned-liberal and, with her creation of The Huffington Post, entrepreneur and media mogul.
Unsurprisingly, Huffington has turned her evangelism for rest and renewal into a company called Thrive Global, which she launched in 2016.
Its stated mission: Provide companies and individuals with “sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance well-being, performance, and purpose, and create a healthier relationship with technology.”
CNNMoney asked Huffington to share a bit about what drives and inspires her.
What was your inspiration for Thrive Global?
My inspiration came while I was on tour for my books about burnout and sleep and saw how deeply people want to change the way they work and live.
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
It would be … to not buy into the delusion that the necessary price to become successful is burnout and exhaustion.
What brings you the most joy?
Helping people realize they really do have the power to change their lives. And my two daughters!
If you could have dinner with any influential person from any time period, who would it be?
Marcus Aurelius, because his Stoic approach to life — that we can’t control what happens in the external world, but we can control how we respond — has never been more relevant.
How would you like to be remembered?
I’m really not concerned with how I’ll be remembered. I’m far more interested in any impact that I can have right now.
What don’t people know about you?
My love of country music.
What would you do if you weren’t CEO of Thrive?
I would be going door-to-door telling people how to unplug, recharge, de-stress and get more sleep because I’ve seen firsthand the cost of our epidemic of burnout. Or, I would be a neuroscientist trying to develop new ways to help people adopt healthy habits.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is from my mother, that failure isn’t the opposite of success, but a stepping stone.
What’s your advice to people searching for inspiration?
Find a way to reconnect to your sense of wonder. Countless things in our daily lives can awaken the almost constant state of wonder we knew as children. But sometimes to see them we must look through a different set of eyes. We have to be present enough to experience them.
Shannon Gupta contributed to this report