Why “The Third Metric” Success Conversation Has Just Started

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Last month, on June 6th, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking at Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski’s inaugural “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power” conference.  

The panel on which I spoke (above) was “Re-Working Work.”  It’s an important topic because, if we want to rethink the traditional definition of success, then the way we work and spend much of our day has to adapt and become more flexible.

I shared my thoughts about “How Success Flexibility Creates Opportunity, On and Off the Job” in a pre-conference blog post on The Huffington Post:

“I’m often asked, ‘If you had to give one piece of advice, what would it be?’ After I say, ‘See the countless possible ways work can flexibly fit into your life,’ I add, ‘But be sure that you redefine success related to money, prestige, advancement and caregiving to match the unique fit you have chosen. If you don’t, you will feel bad about the choice and give up.’

We covered a lot of territory in one day at The Third Metric conference.  And bonus: one of my quotes from the panel was included in the highlights of quotes from the day (check out slide #10)!

Speakers and attendees made headway identifying the changes that would help make physical, mental, and spiritual well-being a larger part of the way we collectively define “success.”  But the conversation is far from over.  It has just started.  Why?

Everyone gathered that day in Arianna Huffington’s beautiful apartment–from the CEO’s of large corporation (Aetna), leading doctors, entreprenuers, journalists, to the television personalities–agreed that the path we are all on is unsustainable because:

  • It’s hurting us personally.  We are stressed, sick, eating poorly, not exercising, not sleeping and not performing our best in all of the areas of our lives.
  • It’s hurting our families and friends.  We aren’t maintaining and nurturing the personal relationships that matter and renew us.
  • It’s hurting our businesses.  Health care costs are soaring and workplace engagement is at historically low levels which hurts profit.

Any criticism I read of The Third Metric conference related to a feeling that it didn’t adequately acknowledge the realities of lower income workers, especially women, who don’t have the luxury to think about these issues while trying to hold down three jobs.

I was encouraged by how many conference speakers did reinforce the often difficult day-to-day work and life realities that many, many people face.  Certainly these concerns need to remain a primary focus.  However, change and dialogue have to start somewhere, and the conversation at The Third Metric was a smart and sincere beginning.  But can’t stop at one meeting or at one group.

I am very hopeful that the passion and commitment both Huffington and Brzezinski brought to their first conference will continue to move the needle.  I look forward to seeing what they decide to do next as they encourage us all to expand our definition of success beyond simply money and power to find the modern, “third metric.”

How do you think we need to expand our definition of success beyond money and power?