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The secrets for thriving & finding focus

The powerful business executive Arianna Huffington about the importance of self-care to become a successful entrepreneur at #bits20

We are living in times right now where lots of people feel more stressed and anxious than ever, and that affects not just productivity and performance, but also health itself. Joining us at this year’s Bits & Pretzels Networking Week from her office in Los Angeles, Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post and founder & CEO of Thrive Global, shared her best tips on how to decrease stress and increase productivity and creativity.

In 2016, Arianna started Thrive Global, a company that aims to change people’s behavior by science-based solutions for challenges like stress and or states like burnout. But changing behavior and habits is pretty hard sometimes. Arianna thinks that this has a historical background because people thought for decades that it would be necessary to minimize downsets to compete with machines and software. “We need to realize that the human operating system is not a machine. That for the human operating system, downtime is not a bug, it's a feature,” she stresses.

Self-care as a key to success

One of the most important things is to take time to recharge, as it’s the key to be successful. “Sleep is not optional”, according to Arianna. On our podcast, she already talked about the importance of sleep. At her virtual talk with Bits & Pretzels Editor-In-Chief Britta Weddeling, she also shared a little exercise to do during the day: “Just take 60 seconds to reset - focus on your breath, on what you are grateful for, anything that is an antidote for stress.

Being 70 years old now, Arianna had a long and impressive career so far. Looking back, she learned that “life is a combination of making it happen and letting it happen.” And she doesn’t have to do everything herself, as that is impossible. “It’s like in fairytales when you have helpful animals [...]. Well, in our own lives, it’s the people who help us, and we need to be open to that,” she said. 

Key qualities to become a successful leader

As a leader, one of the most important things is to learn the distinction between what is truly urgent, what is important and what you can delegate,” Arianna said, because setting priorities is a key quality to become successful in leadership.

If you can recognize how you can stay connected to what really matters, even during a crisis, it’s the first step to good and successful leadership, explains Arianna. “Taking care of yourself, doing the few things that mean you’ll be showing up at your best, is not self-indulgent, it’s an essential leadership quality,” she stresses as well.

To find the balance between authenticity and being a motivational leader during a crisis isn’t simple, she admits. Arianna believes that compassionate directness is a good way to gain the trust of your employees - even in challenging times.