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Arianna Huffington preaches the importance of workplace well-being at NJPAC

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Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, at an event in 2008.
Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, at an event in 2008. - ()

For Arianna Huffington, the worst mistakes she's ever made have come when she "was sleep-deprived, exhausted and operating from reaction, rather than action."

That's one reason the self-described "sleep evangelist" has plenty to say when it comes to well-being in the workplace.

"If we don't have our well-being and health, what does success matter?" said Huffington, the president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post. "Is it really worth having a heart attack in your 50s because of the way you've lived your life to succeed?"

That was one of the key themes today when she spoke to Newark-area business leaders and professionals, delivering the message of one of her signature causes in recent months: redefining success "beyond the first two metrics of money and power." Speaking at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Huffington laid out the pillars of "the third metric" — a combination of well-being, wisdom, wondering and giving back, she said.

It's an idea behind an editorial initiative on Huffington's website, but it's something she has been living for several years, she said. In 2007, the media mogul fainted from exhaustion, hit her head on her desk and broke her cheek bone.

Since then, Huffington has crusaded against sleep deprivation and developed what is now one of the main elements of the third metric. Another element is recognizing the connection "between peak performance and taking time to reconnect with ourselves," whether it's through meditation, fly fishing, or simply finding "some type of stillness and the ability to really connect with ourselves."

Huffington put it in terms many attendees would understand best: 25 percent of corporate America has introduced some form of mindfulness program, she said. That means efforts such as opening nap rooms at the Huffington Post's New York office about three years ago or offering midday yoga classes at the General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis.

"As the world changes so fast, successful businesses will be increasingly the ones that can attract the best talent, the most creative people, and people who are able to quickly change as things are changing," she said. "There's no question that changing the way workplace functions is going to be an essential part of that."

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