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How Arianna Huffington Inspired Me to "Sleep" My Way to the Top

10/02/2013 08:56 EDT | Updated 12/02/2013 05:12 EST

Last Wednesday, Arianna Huffington delivered an inspiring speech at the Women of Influence Luncheon Series in Toronto. I had the pleasure of not only being there to hear her speak, but also of spending a few moments with her before the event.

Broad Reach is a proud sponsor of Women of Influence Luncheon Series, as well as its PR agency of record. This put my team and I in the very fortunate position of organizing a number of high profile media interviews for Arianna while she was in Toronto and briefly chatting with her off the record.

While we were speaking, I told Arianna about the Broad Reach model and how well I think it fits her concept of The Third Metric. I told her that many of Broad Reach's associates are refugees from big PR agencies who no longer wanted to put in 14-hour days. They were exhausted from never seeing the light of day -- never mind their family and friends.

At Broad Reach, we take a completely different approach. Our associates can decide how many hours they want to work, as long as they meet our client commitments and deadlines. They also decide when and where they work. I think this offers a wonderful work-life balance, and when we spoke, Arianna graciously agreed.

So did Carolyn Lawrence, president and CEO of Women of Influence Inc. who explained, "I view Broad Reach's business model as an example for professional services firms around the world to follow. As more organizations begin to see the value of encouraging talented women to enjoy both fulfilling careers and rewarding personal lives, Broad Reach's model will undoubtedly become increasingly prevalent. It's not only the future of work; it makes great business sense."

If you're not familiar with The Third Metric, you may be wondering what all of this has to do with Arianna Huffington. The Third Metric is about getting away from the "traditional" model of success, which praises long hours, sleep deprivation and working ourselves into the ground.

It's about redefining success to find a way to climb the corporate ladder while taking care of yourself and focusing on your well-being -- get more sleep, meditate, practise yoga, spend time with your friends and family, do whatever you need to do. Arianna introduced this concept at the Third Metric Conference, and spoke more about it at the Women of Influence event last week.

She also calls this the "third women's revolution." (Arianna says the first revolution was getting the right to vote, and the second was working toward workplace equality.) What makes this a revolution? In her view, men created the workplace and the current definition of success, and since it's not working, it's up to women to redefine it.

It makes so much sense, and it's something I instinctively knew when I founded Broad Reach. But what does this have to do with the title of my post?

Although I completely believe in The Third Metric, I haven't quite won my own third revolution. In fact, I struggle with it myself. I find it hard to turn down interesting client work and I've been known to burn the midnight oil night after night to fuel the growth of my business and meet client deadlines.

But what I learned from Arianna is that the risk of burning out is far greater than the risk of not growing fast enough or not agreeing to unrealistic deadlines. So, I'm committing to far fewer late nights at work. I'm committing to grow my business while taking better care of myself and my family.

So if you happen to send me an email late at night, you will hopefully not get a response. If all goes well, I will be focused on "sleeping" my way to the top.

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