When you think of success you think of building a company from the ground up. You think of happiness. Freedom. You think about making gobs of money.
You don't think about waking up under your desk lying in a pool of your own blood.
There's little disputing the success of media powerhouse Arianna Huffington. The Greek-American author and vocal political commentator co-founded news site The Huffington Post in 2005. After growing the site to nearly 25 million unique monthly visitors, Huffington and her partners sold the site to AOL for $315 million in 2011.
Huffington, who now serves as president and editor-in-chief at The Huffington Post Media Group within AOL, recently sat down with talk-show legend Oprah Winfrey to discuss a surprising wake-up call that shifted her perception of success. One day in April 2007, two years after launching The Huffington Post, Huffington collapsed from exhaustion. She was working so hard to build her site she physically pushed her body to its limit.
"I hit my head on my desk, broke my cheek bone, got four stitches on my right eye," Huffington tells Oprah. "I was very lucky I didn't lose my eye."
In her ambitious effort to achieve success, Huffington worked herself to the point of breaking down. "[Doctors] discovered there was nothing medically wrong with me but just about everything wrong with the way I was leading my life and what I was prioritizing," she says. "By any sane definition of success, if you are lying in your own pool of blood on your office floor, you're not successful."
Here's a clip from the episode:
In the episode, Huffington and Oprah also talk about why it’s critical to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world as well as Huffington's new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating A Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder (Harmony, 2014).
Huffington's story is a stark reminder that in our quest for pushing boundaries and achieving our dreams, we also need to care for our most important asset: ourselves.
The episode, called "Super Soul Sunday - Oprah & Arianna Huffington: Her Big Wake-up Call," is set to air Sunday, May 11 at 11 a.m. EST on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.