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Thrive's Arianna Huffington Gives Tips For Overcoming Burnout to Achieve Success


In IVP's Hyper-Growth Podcast series, IVP investors talk with CEOs from the fastest growing companies to understand the ins and outs of company building in the hyper-growth environment.

In our seventh episode, IVP's Somesh Dash sits down with Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global, to talk about her humble beginnings, how the uncharted territories of her life gave her character through her discoveries, and how burnout has led to her success with Thrive.

Arianna's influence in the space of wellness is unparalleled. She launched The Huffington Post in 2005 and has since been named to Time Magazine's list of the Worlds' 100 Most Influential People, as well as Forbes Most Powerful Women in Business, all while serving on the boards of Uber (Nasdaq: UBER) and Global Citizen. Her vision with Thrive is uniquely positioned to change behavior by reaching people at home, at work, and through the technology, they already use to encourage success in modern work.

IVP led a $30M Series B investment in December 2017 to help catalyze the company's growth prospects. Listen to Somesh and Arianna's discussion and a few high points from their discussion below:

UNDERSTAND THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WELL-BEING AND PERFORMANCE. THEN PRACTICE IT TO OVERCOME ANY FAILURE. I think we are aware of a turning point because of the amazing contributions of science and the fact that more and more people are realizing that, in fact, well-being and performance are closely connected. That's why we don't use the term work-life balance at Thrive because it's not a balance. The two things rise or fall in tandem.

Arianna then goes on to discuss the challenges for iconic founders like Elon Musk. Elon's created a whole company based on new uses of energy for cars. Even though he's a great visionary and entrepreneur living and working in a scientific way, he's misusing human energy, and it does damage to his brand. As a leader or entrepreneur, it's critical to take pulse on your people, their well being, and how that's creating a company culture.

She also speaks to failure, which she sees as a stepping stone to success, helping entrepreneurs be more realistic and comfortable with the ebbs and flows of their path.

Arianna's journey took her into writing and her first book, The Female Women, published when she was just 23, launching her writing career. Her second book was rejected by 36 publishers because it was a controversial book on the crisis in political leadership that nobody wanted to publish. This led to self-doubt, partly causing her to believe that her first book may have been a fluke. However, her instincts told her to keep writing, finding a loan, and continuing on her path.

Arianna's origin story behind Thrive Global: trying to be a supermom and also a founder-led to her collapsing from exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and burnout, hitting her head on her desk and breaking her cheekbone.

Her hope with Thrive is to create a behavior change platform that helps entrepreneurs go from knowing what to do to actually doing it as she acts as a mirror and cultural shapeshifter.

CREATE A POSITIVE COMPANY CULTURE AND TECHNOLOGY BOUNDARIES. At Thrive, we say that a company's culture is the company's immune system. If you don't protect it, then the culture is not strong enough to withhold and to withstand, you know, that toxic human behavior.

When Arianna gave her first speech at an Uber all-hands after the well-documented cultural crisis, she made sure that the board promised the employees no brilliant jerks will be allowed in the future. This theme is something that companies need to embrace if they want to create a thriving and moral culture.

Arianna believes we should celebrate technology while at the same time learn to set certain boundaries around it in order to protect our humanity.

Here's an example: Let's say you're having dinner with your family and you don't want to be interrupted. If somebody texts you, they'll get a text back that you are in Thrive mode until a certain time. And it also gives you a dashboard of your social media and game consumption so you can moderate the amount of time you're spending. Thus, the app helps entrepreneurs create boundaries that can help. And this behavior should extend beyond her app into the mindset of founders creating boundaries with tech and their employees.

Lessons learned from Arianna: be open with employees, embrace honest conversations, and create change through reinforced values and honest human stories.

People are much more likely to change their minds and be convinced by honest human stories than by data. The microcosm of the individual entrepreneur sets the tone and blueprint for the company culture or macrocosm, and that starts with the individual embracing wisdom, balance, morality, and humanity, setting the broader tone that impacts the company at large.

Full transcript below.

To hear more, listen on iTunes or SoundCloud.

TRANSCRIPT Narrator: Welcome to IVP's Hyper-Growth Podcast. In this series, we talk with CEOs of the fastest-growing companies and discuss the ins-and-outs of company building in the hyper-growth environment. If you like what you hear, consider following us on SoundCloud or subscribing to our podcast on iTunes. Thanks, and enjoy the show.

Narrator: Today's episode of IVP's Hyper-Growth Podcast is recorded in front of a live audience. IVP's Somesh Dash interviewed Thrive Global founder and CEO, Arianna Huffington. Arianna has a remarkable background, including launching The Huffington Post in 2005, one of the most frequently cited media brands on the Internet that won Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. She has been named to Time Magazine's list of the Worlds' 100 Most Influential People and
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