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I consider myself a lucky girl to have received the new Fitbit Charge for Christmas. I see so many people wearing one or a similar device, and of course I was intrigued! And as a personal leadership and wellbeing coach I have to admit I was experiencing a some FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!

So how has this magical device helped me, and how can it help you? Here’s what I’ve learned and loved so far:

1. Say goodbye to being sedentary! Did you know that the majority of Americans are considered sedentary? One of my favorite wellness books, Eat. Move. Sleep. by Tom Rath details this very clearly for us. Pay attention folks! People who walk fewer than 5,500 steps are considered sedentary, and the average American falls below this sedentary line!!! Being sedentary brings on a host of health issues which we won’t get into today, but 10,000 steps are considered a good target for overall activity and equates to about 5 miles. With Fitbit you can set a daily steps goal, and the minimum recommended to get us above and beyond that sedentary line is 10,000. In comparison to Americans, Australians average 9,695 steps per day. Their obesity rate is just 16% compared to our 34%! I don’t know about you, but I want to beat those Aussie’s!!

2. Say hello to accountability! The online Fitbit Dashboard and App gives you a multitude of ways to hold yourself accountable. First, you can find friends who also own one and challenge yourself to take more steps than they do daily! With the Fitbit you also can set alarms to remind you to get up and move. Also according to Tom Rath, and as I have learned as well, you can easily achieve 3,000 steps by just taking a daily lunch break and walking/climbing steps. Since I work on a beautiful campus, this allows me to not only walk, but achieve my mindful goal, which I love to do via walking and sensing the world around me. Oh, and, I just love that Fitbit sends me all these badges when I’ve achieved something super cool! (I love recognition!!)5 ways the Fitbit has rocked my world!

 

3. Here comes motivation! Let me be really clear. Achieving 10,000 steps daily is no easy feat. You have to want to do it, and you have to strategize how you’re going to do it. If you spend a lot of time in your office and on the computer, it’s almost impossible to achieve! Without a tool like Fitbit to be an ever-present reminder you’d need to create another source of accountability. As you begin to use it and visit your dashboard daily, you begin to understand the best way to achieve 10,000 steps or more each day. For me, if I’m not able to get out for lunch, I know that I need to get across campus for some reason, like visiting a colleague. Or, perhaps I will need to fit in an evening walk around my neighborhood, or a Zumba class. I also know that I have to take a break from sitting every hour, even if it means just getting up for a stretch, glass of water, or a short walk across the hall. Anything to not sit for so long. Bottom line, once you understand how you can reach 10,000 each day, and how very critical it is for your health, your motivation skyrockets!

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4. Wellness as a whole increases! We know that there are other strategies that we can use to help keep us healthy, like logging what we eat, our daily exercise, and how much water we drink. You also can do this on Fitbit’s dashboard. It’s a one stop shop! As the saying goes, what you focus on becomes a reality! Entering and looking at this data daily definitely helps you achieve a sense of wellbeing in a variety of areas.Screenshot 2015-01-12 10.48.11

5. Bring on the Zzzzs! One of the main reasons why I was interested in the Fitbit was it’s ability to track my sleeping patterns. As some of you know, over the summer I blogged about Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. In the book she identifies sleep as one of the metrics for success and wellbeing. In it she states that just 30 more minutes of sleep will immediately improve your health, creativity, productivity and sense of well-being. (I agree!!) She recommends to either go to bed earlier, get up later, or take 2 short naps a day. In the book, Bill Clinton admitted, “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.”

I believe that each of us intuitively knows what those health levers are for us. Over the years I have realized that for me, sleep is critical. It is also one of the areas most challenging for me to improve. The Fitbit tracks the number of times I am restless or awakened while I sleep, therefore giving me a true picture of the total number of hours I am actually at rest. Well, it’s kind of scary! With this information, I’m able to better understand my sleep patterns and continue to make adjustments to help me figure out the very best way for me to get a minimum of 7 hours of true sleep each night.

And just to throw in one extra PLUS… for those of you who have been trying not to sleep with your phone next to you, but have to because your alarm is your phone, well the Fitbit takes care of that! I no longer rely on my phone to wake me. My Fitbit gently buzzes me when it’s time to wake, and it also notifies me when I receive a call. So, I’m no longer a hostage to my cell! BONUS!!!

I don’t sell Fitbits and I don’t make a commission off of them! I simply love sharing products or resources for busy people who want to make their wellbeing a priority.

How has Fitbit or another tool help you achieve your wellbeing goals? I’d love to hear from you.

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

 

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It’s Week 4 of Summer of Well-Being!

If you’re new to our community, WELCOME! WE ARE SO HAPPY TO HAVE YOU! You can find all previous blogs/vlogs here.

On Thursday we welcome a vlog by Mike Rosenfeld, Peak Performance Coach who works with CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and Athletes/Olympians. Mike is going to teach us how to access our “Brilliant Zone!” I can’t wait for his video! His energy is CONTAGIOUS, and I know you’ll appreciate what he has to offer us this week.

Today, I close out my blogging about Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. This book is truly a gift for everyone, but in my opinion, more specifically for high-achieving and successful professionals and executives who know in their gut that there is a “better way” to operate and to define success, and certainly, a better way to feel about our work, our impact, our relationships, and our well-being. I’ve been picking parts of the book that resonate strongly for me, and I invite you to do the same for yourself.

The last chapter in Thrive is all about giving. In the very beginning of the chapter Arianna states,

“Well-being, Wisdom, Wonder: All are critical to redefining success and thriving, but they are incomplete without the fourth element of the Third Metric: Giving.”

I believe that most of us intuitively understand the importance of giving, caring, empathy and compassion, because of our spirituality, religious practices, or simply by how we were raised, or the role models in our lives. I also believe that for some, giving is in their DNA. Now, with Social Entrepreneurship growing in popularity, it’s easier to integrate our desire to help others with our desire to be financially “well”. We even see this trend with the Millennials who lead the way in volunteering, with 43% of them engaged in service. And, universities have been on to this for quite some time, folding-in service learning and leadership into the fabric of college life. Here, at FIU, it is directly tied to our strategy, to the experience we want our students to have, and to the impact we want them to make in our communities once they graduate. Even companies and innovative start-ups are realizing that by providing their employees with the opportunity to serve others and be impactful in ways they decide helps them to stay engaged in their work and even increase their productivity and longevity with the company. Here are some numbers to back this up, based on a 2013 study by UnitedHealth group about employees who volunteered:

  • More than 75% of the employees said they felt healthier.

  • More than 90% said volunteering had put them in a better mood.

  • More than 75% reported experiencing less stress.

  • More than 95% said that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life (which, in turn, has been found to strengthen immune function!)

  • Employees who volunteered reported improved time-management skills and enhanced ability to connect with peers.

Regardless of the trends and stats, however, do we truly understand the capacity to which giving not only helps others and the world we are connected to, but the capacity to which it CHANGES US? Again, intrinsically I feel we do, but where’s the proof that Giving is the Miracle Drug? If you’re like me, you’ll get emotional, and even shed a tear or two when you see people doing good. I just can’t help it! Have you seen the Pay It Forward commercials by Liberty Mutual? I just love them! You can view one of them here. This is the intrinsic stuff I’m talking about. You watch this commercial and you immediately feel better, and perhaps you want to go out and pay it forward.

How do we pay it forward more often, and how is paying it forward directly linked to our wellness? Here’s some MORE good info Arianna shares in Thrive:

  • One study demonstrated that volunteering at least once a week yields improvements to well-being tantamount to your salary increasing from $20k to $75k.

  • A Harvard Business School study showed that “donating to charity has a similar relationship to subjective well-being as a doubling of household income.”

  • A study by scientists from the University of North Carolina and UCLA found that participants whose happiness was mostly hedonic (i.e., focused on self-gratification) had high levels of biological markers that promote inflammation, which is linked to diabetes, cancer, and other conditions. Those whose happiness included service to others had health profiles showing reduced levels of these markers.

  • A 2013 study led by Dr. Suzanne Richards of the University of Exeter Medical School found that volunteering was connected to lower rates of depression, higher reports of well-being, and a significant reduction in mortality risk.

  • In Give and Take, by Wharton Professor Adam Grant, “Those who give of their time and effort to others end up achieving more success than those who don’t.”

Pretty interesting, yes? We can read all the studies in the world and believe in their results, but at the end of the day, we must pay attention to what we feel and what we know. For me, I have no doubt that these links are true, based on my own experiences of philanthropy and compassionate actions. In fact, in my courses and coaching about Energy Leadership, we look at the benefits of shifting our thoughts and actions from Level 2 (conflict and competition) to Level 4 (compassion and others focus) and what that does for our energy, whole-life well-being, and how we lead others. What’s your experience?

Now let’s look briefly at how focusing on our well-being can increase our capacity to be giving and compassionate!

  • A 2013 study by researches from Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Massachusetts General Hospital found that “meditation enhances compassionate responding,” providing “scientific credence to ancient Buddhist teachings that meditation increases spontaneous compassionate behavior.”

  • Oxytocin, known as the “love hormone”, when released can promotes empathy and giving. It increases the compassion toward one’s family and the groups one identifies with. Oxytocin is in a constant battle with cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which increases in our bodies when we are exhibiting behaviors related to: judgment, fierce/negative competition, stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, fatigue, etc.

Small shifts in our well-being, then, as we have been promoting these last few weeks during our Summer of Well-Being, can help us lead more compassionate and caring lives, which clearly boomerangs right back to us with a greater sense of wellness. It’s a full circle!

I agree with Arianna that compassionate behavior is something that can be cultivated through certain wellness practices–not only for ourselves, but for our children–how we educate them and teach them how to feel better and solve problems.

So how do we learn to give each day? To live outside ourselves and not what’s important only to us? How do we find opportunities to give and to tap into the amazing healing power that it has?

I like this view, by John Burroughs,

“The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, everyplace is the center of the world.”

Yes, the opportunity to give and to care is always right where we are. As in the commercial I shared above, small gestures go just as far for others and for us as do the large, intricate ones.

How will you pay it forward today? I’d love to hear your thoughts around Giving as the Miracle Drug. Chime in below.

It’s your life. Lead it well!

Namaste,

Monique

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Welcome to Week 3 of Summer of Well-Being! If you’ve been following our last few blogs, you know that I’m reading and writing about Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder.

Each week we also have been featuring a guest expert to share a tip on improving your well-being. If you missed those, make sure to check out Mary Trontz’ blog about Strengthening your Core, and Davis Mitchell’s vlog about Hydration.

This Thursday you’ll hear from Lina Acosta Sandaal about Emotional Well-Being. So much of what I teach through my courses and coaching has emotional intelligence at its core.  You simply cannot lead your life well or lead others successfully and meaningfully without having or acquiring this skill through practice. It’s one of the most difficult skills to master, because you have to be aware and in tune almost all the time. Lina teaches us a great way to practice this skill!

Last week we discussed the importance of Wonder for our wellness. I promised I’d report back on all the wonder I discovered on my vacation, and my promise to myself that I would not head to the office first thing on Monday with so much stress that my vacation would have been pointless!

Well, the vacation did not come without stress. My daughter ended up in one of the Bahamas’ medical centers, day 1, with what we thought was an eye infection. And, on day 4, she slammed into the pool wall, injuring her chin! Luckily, she is healing nicely and had lots of love and support during both incidents. I have to say that I kept it together and focused on all the positives, which were many! Being intentional about how I wanted to feel during and after my vacation really helped! In fact, I’d love to share with you my video below of the two dolphins—Exhuma and Robella, who were the cause of much WONDER and joy during our trip! We actually got to swim and play with them in the open ocean and experience their beauty and brilliance. And, it is my first morning back to work and I’m feeling great! A bit tired, but staying focused on getting things done with a Caribbean state of mind.


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Wisdom and Success

This week, I’d like to focus on the importance of Wisdom on our journey toward well being. In Thrive, Arianna Huffington describes it in this way:

“Wisdom frees us from the narrow reality we’re trapped in—a reality consumed by the first two metrics of success, money and power, long after they have ceased to fulfill us. Indeed, we continue to pull the levers not only after their diminishing returns have been exhausted, but even after it’s clear they’re actually causing us harm in terms of our health, our peace of mind, and our relationships. Wisdom is about recognizing what we’re really seeking: connection and love. But in order to find them, we need to drop our relentless pursuit of success as society defines it for something for genuine, more meaningful, and more fulfilling.”

When I read this I naturally want to question, “What is success, then, and how do we redefine it, understanding that the majority of our waking hours are spent trying to achieve ‘it’?” Maybe you have struggled with this question as well? In reading one of my favorite blogs—Sources of Insight, Zig Ziglar’s definition of success is:

“…closing the door on your office at the end of the day knowing that you did a good job and knowing that those that interacted with you had a positive experience.”

“…looking forward to getting home and seeing the people you love.”

“…turning out the lights and saying to yourself it just doesn’t get much better than this.”

When I read this definition I get excited! Yes, success should be measured (daily) by how we affect other’s lives positively, connecting with and loving others, being purpose-driven in all that we do, and being grateful. You with me?!!! All of these concepts are found in Thrive.

 

Wisdom and Time

In Thrive, Arianna refers to the epidemic of “time famine” and how it sucks the wonder and wisdom out of our lives. She shares,

“In order to manage our time—or what we delude ourselves into thinking of as managing time—we rigidly schedule ourselves, rushing from meeting to meeting, event to event, constantly trying to save a bit of time here, a bit there. We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing. But there are no rollover minutes in life. We don’t get to keep all that time we ‘saved’. It’s actually a very costly way to live.”

How can “time famine” affect our well-being? A study led by Lijing L. Yan at Northwestern University found that young adults exhibiting time urgency and impatience had a higher risk of developing hypertension and weight gain. No surprise here! If this study measures young adults, can you imagine how adults who live unconsciously this way year after year are affected over time?

 

Wisdom and Habits

So much of wisdom is tuning into our minds, our hearts and our intuition. How can we put ourselves on a path to well-being if we are not aware of what is working and what is not working in our lives? In the book, Arianna shares what poet Mark Nepo says about this understanding:

 “(Sacrifice is) giving up with reverence and compassion what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.” Arianna adds, “So recognizing when habits are no longer working for us and sacrificing them is a cornerstone of wisdom.”

I also appreciate what Arianna shares about “Keystone Habits” from Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit:

“Reprogramming the autopilot (in each of us) takes different amounts of time. What makes it easier is focusing on ‘keystone habits’; when you change one of them, it makes changing other habits easier. (This) starts a process that, over time, transforms everything. Keystone habits say that success doesn’t depend on getting every single thing right, but instead relies on identifying a few key priorities and fashioning them into powerful levers.”

Arianna’s keystone habit was and continues to be sleep. By getting more sleep regularly she is able to more easily create other new well-being habits, such as meditation and exercise.

 

Finding Your Thread

In closing, I love a Greek Mythology story that Arianna shares about Ariadne (also Arianna’s given name), in which Theseus could be saved and free to return to Athens only if he entered the labyrinth and slew the Minotaur (monster, or our old habits!). All who had gone before him had perished, but Theseus, guided by the thread Ariadne had given him (what guides us back to our center; our core sacred being), was able to make his way into the labyrinth and come out of it alive and victorious. What a great analogy, huh?

So, here’s my challenge to you this week:

  1. What is your Keystone Habit? That one thing that you can do that will be the foundation for your path to well-being?
  2. Create one small action step to begin creating that Keystone Habit.
  3. Take a piece of thread that will remind you of your step and tie it around your wrist as a reminder.

Here’s a picture of mine! My Keystone Habit is movement! I’ve noticed the difference in every aspect of my life (especially how I sleep!) when I move—whether it’s yoga, walking, biking, dancing, etc. My step is to do a minimum of 20 minutes a day.

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Please share what your Keystone Habit is below, and I’d love for you to share a picture of your Thread! Thanks for tuning in today. “-)

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

Photo courtesy of Neerav Bhatt

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WELCOME TO WEEK 2 OF SUMMER OF WELL-BEING!

I’m excited to continue our conversation about achieving increased well-being in our lives on small step at a time. Today, I continue to blog about Ariana Huffington’s new book, Thrive, and the magic of wonder in our lives. And, on Thursday, you’ll meet our next guest expert, Davis Mitchell! You won’t want to miss her vlog, so make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already!


“We forget we’re mostly water till the rain falls and every atom in our body starts to go home.”

This thought provides me with a great way to begin today’s blog about Wonder, one of the ways Arianna Huffington suggests we can achieve the “Third Metric” of success in her new book, Thrive. Arianna believes that,

“Wonder is not just a product of what we see—of how beautiful or mysterious or singular or incomprehensible something may be. It’s just as much a product of our state of mind, our being, the perspective from which we are looking at the world.”

 

Singing in the Rain.

I am honored to be a part of a wonderful mastermind group, Smart Women Making Money, led by fellow speaker and coach, Mina Shahwho also will be one of our featured experts for our Summer of Well-Being. Last month, one of our assignments was to select a person in our lives who we wanted to spend more focused, purposeful time with. I chose my daughter, Nia, who is 9 years old, and not coincidentally, full of wonder!

I realize daily that spending more focused moments with her allows our bond to grow deeper, in a way that we are both seeking. One of the commitments I made to this goal was to say “yes” to her more, rather than hearing the words “not right now” float out of my mouth almost unconsciously. One of those moments in which I said “yes” was last weekend, when she wanted to ride bikes to the park. Instead of reading, or doing more work, which are both very easy for me, I said “yes” and off we were.

I enjoy these times together more and more. I notice how her confidence is building as she rides her bike, which takes me back to my childhood; riding my bike was one of my favorite past times! She rides with one hand instead of two, speeds up and brings her legs up onto the handle bars and says, “look at what I can do, Mom!” She feels strong, and I love that. We notice lots of little things we never would otherwise, like how all the lizards seems to jump out in front of us just as we are about to pass, a scary thought for Nia, since she never wants to harm another living thing. She sees and hears the birds and knows the name of each and every one. I’m supposed to teach her, I think to myself, but she is teaching me. Wonder is everywhere!

The best part of this ride, though, is what came next. We were at the park exercising and playing when it started sprinkling. Little by little all the people in the park disappeared into their cars and left. A downpour ensued and the only refuge we had was a small 3 x 4 space under the dinosaur slide. I don’t know how we fit under there, but we made it work! We took cover for a bit, until we realized the rain wasn’t stopping and our bikes were soaked anyway. Like excited little girls, giggling, we decided to go for it!

Out we ran to our bikes and off we were into the rain, heading back home. The water felt refreshing, and the giggling never ended! We rode through puddles, sang songs, and laughed at all the passerby’s feeling sorry for us. The best part was getting home and hearing Nia say, “Mom, we have to do this again!”

I wondered, “What if I hadn’t said yes?” Our experience was filled with wonder that I would not have had otherwise; an experience I wouldn’t change for the world.

This is just one example of how wonder can fill our moments and give more meaning to our lives. For many reasons, including the personal story I shared with you last week in The Accident that Woke me Up, I continue to redefine what success truly means for me, and create more and more moments to experience the wonder in my life.

The meaning of success also was addressed in this part of Thrive, when Arianna shares what one very expensive study showed about success.

            “And now we have the empirical data to back up what the songs and sacred texts have told us. As Professor George Vaillant, who oversaw the Harvard Grant Study, which followed the lives of 268 male Harvard undergraduates beginning in 1938, put it, ‘The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points, at least to me, to a straightforward five-word conclusion: Happiness is love. Full stop.’ It is the same conclusion reached without spending seventy-five years and $20 million by the English poet Ted Hughes: ‘The only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.’”

This also reminds me of a video I saw on the Today Show, celebrating D-Day, where the then 18-year-old Coast Guard officer who led one of the ships full of “boys” to Omaha Beach emotionally shared, “There’s a fallacy that when men die they call for God. They don’t, they say Mamma.”

Wow. As a Mom, this was so powerful for me; making me crave more and more wondrous moments with my son and daughter.

Now, when thinking of success, I think no one says it better than Paulo Coelho:

“What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.”

 

When vacation causes more stress!

In Thrive, Arianna shares a study by Fierce Inc., which states that 58% of workers feel absolutely no reduction in stress from their vacations, and 28% return even more stressed than they were before they left.”

Yikes! I can relate to this, can you? It just so happens that as this blog posts, I’ll be on a boat with my family—on our way to a week-long vacation. You can bet that on my mind will be WONDER and how I can be open to it and seek it actively while on vacation, ensuring I’m not one of the statistics, this time!

Taking this further, I ask myself, and I ask you, “What’s the point of reading all these blogs and books that will help us live better lives if we don’t take action?”

I believe in action in small bites. Try something new. Assess it. If it makes you feel good, try to make it a new habit. Otherwise, seek the next small bite. For my vacation this week, this is what will be my inspiration,

“No matter where you go, there you are.” –Buckaroo Banzai

 

Life’s Secret Door to Wonder

I love that Arianna discusses coincidences, and being open to them, as a way to seek wonder in our lives. She shares,

“We don’t have to know what coincidences mean, or arrive at some grand conclusion when we encounter them. But they serve as sporadic reminders to maintain our sense of wonder, to stop every now and again and allow ourselves to be fully present in the moment and open to life’s mystery. They’re a sort of forced reboot.”

Because I study strengths and personality traits, I know that some of us are better built for expecting wondrous things to happen. Many of us naturally wake up each morning and say to ourselves, “I can’t wait to see what life shows me today!” I don’t know about you, but that life view certainly will create more wondrous moments versus, “Oh no, not another day!”

What’s your perspective, and can shifting toward expecting wonder and coincidences reduce the daily stress you feel and lighten things up?

This week, I encourage you as a part of your path toward well-being to challenge yourself to seek the wonder…the coincidences and see how your overall energy changes and lifts. I’d love for you to share with me below what you notice and new meaningful moments of wonder you’ve created.

I also invite you to subscribe to our Summer of Well-Being if you haven’t done so already. On Thursday you’ll receive a vlog from our next expert, Davis Mitchell, who will share another great wellness tip with you to consider incorporating into your life. I know you’re just going to love her! She is beautiful inside and out.

Davis Mitchell

I’d love to read your comments below.

Namaste, my friends!

Monique

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And so it begins …The Summer of Well-Being Program launches today, and runs through the end of August. Each Tuesday you will receive my personal blog, and each Thursday you’ll receive our Guest Expert’s blog — both focused on helping you think about what well-being means to you, and what small shifts can help you increase it.

Thank you for joining us on this journey! I’m excited. I hope you are too!

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If you watched my intro video to our Summer of Well-Being, you’ll know that part of the time I’ll be blogging about Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive. In the book, we learn that Arianna’s journey into wellness started at a very young age, with her mother imparting wisdom, practices and values that would help her make those necessary changes at those most crucial moments. One of those moments for her was when she was burning the candle at both ends; trying to do it all and do it best. She was running on fumes, which was the norm for her, but on this day she couldn’t power through; on this day she landed on the floor with a broken cheek-bone and gash over her eye. This was her wake-up call. That inner wisdom kicked in, the small changes began and what has emerged is a new Arianna who has continued to “thrive,” but not just with the usual two success metrics of money and power, but with the addition of a third metric she has created, one of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

In the book we learn that 60-90 percent of doctor visits are to treat stress-related conditions. Women in stressful jobs have a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease, and a 60 percent greater risk of diabetes. And, as women have made substantial strides in the workplace, self-reported levels of stress have gone up by 18 percent. Arianna shares:

“The Western workplace culture — exported to many other parts of the world — is particularly fueled by stress, sleep deprivation and burnout. I had to come face-to-face, or face-to-floor, with the problem when I collapsed.”

But, of course, it’s not just a problem for women. In the book, former president of Google China, Lee Kai-Fu, shares about being diagnosed with cancer in 2013:

“I naively used to compete with others to see who could sleep less. I made ‘fighting to the death’ a personal motto … It’s only now, when I’m suddenly faced with possibly losing 30 years of my life, that I’ve been able to calm down and reconsider. That sort of persistence may have been a mistake.” He shares that his new plan includes, “Sleep enough, adjust my diet and start exercising again.”

 

My Accident.

In 2007 I had a similar experience that really began a transformation for me — one that challenged my idea of what was truly important, and mostly, how I wanted to feel about myself and the world I lived in every day. It challenged all of my decisions, as well as my knowing of what impact I wanted to make; legacy I wanted to leave. That’s why this book resonates so strongly with me.

I remember that day vividly. I was devastated and embarrassed. I asked myself, “Did I really do this?” My schedule was so hectic during that time, by choice. I was striving for a level of success (and a definition of success) that just wasn’t achievable, sustainable or purposeful. I would come home from a full day of working, kiss my family, change clothes, and leave again to tackle a side job 40 minutes away. Intuitively, I knew I had made some terrible decisions, but I did not want to fail. I was in rush-hour traffic, and I was exhausted, as I always was those days. Well, I didn’t make it to where I was going that evening, because I fell asleep while driving and struck the car in front of me. I woke up when I hit her, and I woke up in many other ways as well.

Just from that one incident I was able to clearly see that I was off purpose and vision, operating in a way that would continue to damage my health, career and my family life. I also learned that my lack of sleep and diet was contributing to my exhaustion. I made immediate changes that made a huge difference. That was 7 years ago, and I’m still learning daily and finding the right techniques and tools that work best to help me accomplish my life goals.

 

Success Redefined.

You don’t have to fall on your face, get diagnosed with a disease, or fall asleep at the wheel to make changes. My hope for all of us is quite the opposite. My hope is that we all will be proactive in making small, better choices that will help us redefine success — from the inside out — and think about “Third Metric” living! As Arianna states:

“This book is designed to help us move from knowing what to do to actually doing it … practical daily practices, tools and techniques that are easy to incorporate in our lives … to reconnect with ourselves, our loved ones and our community — in one word, to thrive.”

 

Simple Steps.

In part one of Thrive, Arianna provides a lot of research and data that suggests that there are three simple things we can begin to do to have dramatic effects on our well-being:

  1. Get just 30 more minutes of sleep to immediately improve your health, creativity, productivity and sense of well-being. Either go to bed earlier, get up later, or take 2 short naps a day. In the book, Bill Clinton admitted, “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.”
  2. Move your body, in any way, anytime! Walk, run, stretch, do yoga, dance, etc.
  3. Introduce five minutes of meditation into your day. Build up from there.

 

Commit.

During the Summer of Well-being you will learn great ways to do what Arianna is suggesting from our experts. You are invited to try what calls to you. In the book I was drawn to a concept by Thoreau called “Shake off the village,” referring to freeing ourselves from the distractions that are constantly begging for our attention, and fully experience the world around us. Thoreau says:

“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit … What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”

The idea of shaking things off mentally, physically, emotionally, etc., feels so freeing to me. It is the one thing I do every day without fail. I happen to be on a beautiful campus surrounded by awe-inspiring trees, lakes, birds, etc., that it has become a daily mindful retreat for me. I feel the moment when it’s necessary and take to the outdoors for my mindful walk. I shake it all off! And then I am back, refreshed, recharged and ready to keep things moving.

So, I hope you will join me and the multitudes of others who have joined in on our Summer of Well-Being, to take small meaningful action toward a life well led.

Please share with me along the way what steps you’re taking. I can’t wait to hear what tips resonate for you, and how you are feeling.

On Thursday, we welcome Mary P. Trontz, a Certified Fitness Trainer and an Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach. She spends her time as a bootcamp instructor, personal trainer, fitness coach and nutrition consultant. She’s going to teach us how to live well, starting with our core!

Mary P

If you still haven’t joined our Summer of Well-being, do so today! Just subscribe on this page (upper right-hand corner) to make sure you receive our weekly tips!

Namaste,

Monique

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage by considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them; every day begin the task anew.” — Francis de Sales