Women in Biz

Reflecting on how women define success

This was written last year after being captivated at a luncheon talk given by the Arianna Huffingtonmessage of Arianna Huffington, founder and editor of Huffington Post.

In Toronto , some 800 women, who probably shared ambition and the desire to move ahead in their careers, attended a Women of Influence lunch sponsored by Deloitte and were lucky enough to hear some extremely inspiring (and honest) words from keynote speaker Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post.

At the meeting, she introduced her concept of The Third Metric. Money and power are considered the first two metrics—the essentials in the traditional work environment.

What women may bring to the mix, elements that she referred to as the Third Metric and seemed to be deliberately loosely defined—are wisdom, wonder, and the concepts of giving and well-being, (says a summary report in The Huffington Post).

Do you need to keep working 24/7?

A piece on AH’s blog from a conference on The Third Metric held in London explained. Instead of following the existing (male) ethic of working 24/7 and congratulating each other for competing and succeeding and devoting our lives to getting ahead, we (women) should be looking at redefining success. We should have a rethink on how women measure success that means something to us and to achieve it on our terms.

A key take home concept was that leaving a project can be a way forward. We don’t have to knock ourselves out trying to finish or do something we no longer have time or need for —simply stop doing it. Simply because it’s on your To Do list–doesn’t mean it has to stay there.

Edit your “To Do” list

We don’t want to think of ourselves as quitters. So we go on and on, long after we’ve lost interest. Or we may be working so much overtime that life has lost its pleasure. Many of us forget that “life is not a dress rehearsal.” A weekend spent staring at a computer screen instead of with your friends or family—is a weekend that’s gone forever. Such intriguing takeaways resonated with many of the women in the audience. Continuously adding more items to our To Do lists isn’t the route to well being. You don’t have to follow through on every idle plan or half-baked project—you don’t have to learn German or how to ski, said Arianna. Drop them. This frees time and leaves more energy for what is most important to you.

Say no

Another comment that probably stuck in many memories, judging by the audience reaction, was the comment that NO is a sentence. Women tend to say, “No, because…” Men rarely do. This strong take home message was that women may need to change their ways and stop making excuses or thinking up reasons when we don’t want to do something. No is sufficient. However high we may have advanced career-wise, most of us still say, “No, because…, as in, No, I can’t finish that project at home tonight because the computer is on the fritz and my husband is in Dubai and the kids all have flu…”