What's been your most significant "I've made it" moment in your career?
"Over time, my definition of 'I’ve made it' moments has changed pretty dramatically, especially after I had my OMG moment in 2007, when I fainted from exhaustion and suffered a broken cheekbone and five stitches under my eyebrow. That was the moment I knew I had to make a change. And since then, I’ve redefined my definition of success and prioritized living a life that’s more sustainable and fueled by real energy, rather than adrenaline and burnout."
In your commencement speech to the Smith '13 class, you also spoke about redefining success. What's your definition and how do you measure it?
"Our society's current definition of success is largely composed of two parts: money and power. But it’s time for a third metric, beyond money and power — one founded on our well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder, and to give back. It’s not just my personal definition of success; it’s a definition that’s being embraced by individuals and companies across every field — including a quarter of large companies in America, which have introduced some sort of stress-management program."
What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
"My mother told me, 'Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a stepping stone to success.'”
So, what's been the worst?
"The worst advice — and the worst fears — have often come from inside my head. I call that voice of doubt the obnoxious roommate living in my head, and it’s so important not to let that obnoxious roommate have the last word. Because, as Montaigne said, 'There were many [terrible] things in my life, but most of them never happened.'”
What makes you most excited to get out of bed each morning?
"The chance to work with our amazing team of reporters and editors (a truly global group now, since we have editions on four continents), my frequent check-ins with my daughters (in person, by phone, by email, by text, and occasional snooping via Instagram), and, in the midst of overseeing a 24/7 news operation, taking the time to unplug, recharge, and renew myself with some meditation, yoga, walks, and seven-to-eight hours sleep a night."
What do you wear that makes you feel truly empowered?
"My favorite thing to wear is a very simple Nanette Lepore dress. (It's black, Italian lace, and I have added a wide, black, patent leather belt and many different color slips — blue, gray, white, black, etc.) It never creases, no matter how I cram it into my carry-ons when traveling. When I was younger, I would have worried about wearing it an unacceptable number of times. But forget that — I've worn it again, and again, and again, and refuse to retire it!"
If you could teach your younger self any lesson — that you wish you didn't learn the hard way — what would it be?
"The advice I would give to my younger self is very, very simple: Stop burning the candle at both ends and renew your estranged relationship with sleep — you will be more productive, more effective, more creative, and more likely to enjoy your life."
Photo: Courtesy of Arianna Huffington