#InBound13: Arianna Huffington, From Politics to the Boardroom: Fearless Leadership... Or...

Posted by Energy Wire on August 22, 2013 at 5:05 AM

After the thrill of seeing Seth Godin speak, and on top of that, the engaging, inspiring and amazing nature of that speech, I'll admit that I was less psyched to see Arianna Huffington. I was intrigued, because she's obviously a leader in her field who has worked hard and achieved a lot. But honestly, to me she seems cold. Like Martha Stewart with an accent.

Boy was I wrong.

This woman is the opposite of cold. She is charming, from the moment she steps on stage. Self-deprecating and funny, continuously dropping her notes and then asking, from a wide empty stage (that she is commanding) "Who is doing that?"

She talks about creativity and management, and decisively tells us, "You cannot manage creativity, you can only manage FOR creativity." She talks about combining ancient wisdom with modern sensibilities. The woman quoted Rumi, Archimedes, Steve Jobs, and her own Mom, for God's sake.

This is charm. This is personality. This woman is a leader.
She talked about redefining success. For too long success has equaled money + power. Arianna Huffington challenged us to think about what we are eulogized for. Kindness. Generosity. "No one ever says, 'and he was an SVP. Amazing.'"
Redefine success to include health, wisdom, well-being, happiness, and you will have all the time in the world you need to achieve what needs to be done.
She jokes about sex, and sleep, and bad decisions. Everything is connected, from your businesses marketing habits to your sleep habits. "Sleep is a leadership tool. A performance enhancement tool."
Turns out, you really can, and should, sleep your way to the top.
To create a culture where people are always "on" is to create a culture of burnout. And a culture of burnout can never be a culture of creativity.
And the message comes through loud and clear, resonating from the hallways and the artwork and the speakers at this conference. To be successful, be human. Be painstakingly, ridiculously human. Be quirky. To create, tell stories. Tell your story, or someone elses that you believe in. Believe in things. Have feelings, and dare to talk about them. Lead with your heart. Have a life that includes more than your work. Make time for your family, whatever form they take. Sleep. Take care of yourself and your business will thrive too.
I can't wait to get back to the office and start living all of this.

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