Finally she slept. But this was not the restorative snooze Arianna Huffington had hoped to slip into during the early hours of April 6, 2007, following a workaholic bender. This was sleep the hard way. The bloody way.
Arianna, who was then attempting to power her toddler-age news site and blog The Huffington Post through sheer personal force, had given way to exhaustion. The 18-hour workdays finally caught up to her. As she collapsed in her office, her head crashed against her desk on the way to the ground, breaking her cheekbone.
By most measures, the media magnate was an American success story, a Greek immigrant who had rebounded from divorce a decade earlier to become virtually a household name in her mid-50s. But very few people who wake up in a pool of their own blood feel great about themselves. “I was not living a successful life by any sane definition,” she writes in her 2014 book, Thrive.
Arianna realized that the ghastly scare in her office was a clear sign that she needed to change. In the years since, she has taken better care of herself by managing her stress and sleep and never forgetting to seek joy. She has devoted herself to helping the people close to her find health and peace as well. And because of this, rather than despite it, she argues, The Huffington Post has grown to unimaginable heights. Arianna sold the site to AOL in 2011 for $315 million and cut a deal to remain on hand as the leader. HuffPo was valued at as much as $1 billion by tech insiders following AOL’s sale to Verizon in March 2015.
A month after the AOL-Verizon deal, she explained the nuts and bolts of her powerful personal transformation in a Success magazine cover story. At first, Arianna recalled, she needed to learn to ask the right questions about her life. What is living well? What steps must be taken to achieve it?
“If you think about it, success in the beginning was really about having a good life. ‘What is a good life?’ the philosophers would ask. And then we shrunk it down to these two metrics—money and power. And that’s really shrinking the definition of what it means to be human.”