Arianna Huffington had a huge wakeup call when she woke up in a pool of blood on the floor of her home office.

She had collapsed from exhaustion and hit her head on the corner of her desk, breaking her cheekbone and cutting her eye.

She  had been working 18 hours a day, seven days a week, trying to grow The Huffington Post. While she was waiting to be treated in her doctor’s office, she began questioning her lifestyle.

This was a pivotal moment in Arianna’s life that she shared in her powerful book, Thrive.  She sums up the important lessons she learned in what she calls “The Third Metric.” Basically, it means…

Real success doesn’t mean working yourself to the bone.

On today’s episode of Fierce Feminine Leadership, I’ll be discussing three important reasons why overwork and success do NOT go hand-in-hand AND why you shouldn’t let your FEAR of overwork kill your ambition.

Listen here.

This is the first in a month-long podcast series we’re doing that will reveal the lessons powerhouse women had to UNLEARN to unleash their ultimate potential. Each is packed with vital tips and practical advice that will help YOU take the next step forward in your career. Don’t miss out.

Full Podcast Transcript Below

Eleanor Beaton: You are listening to Fierce Feminine Leadership. Episode number 259. Why your fear of overwork is killing your ambition.

Welcome to Fierce Feminine Leadership. The Success Podcast for women in business. Each week we feature interviews and advice to help you step into your power and lead your way. Now here’s your host, women’s leadership expert Eleanor Beaton.

Hey there Fierce Ones. Welcome back to Fierce Feminine Leadership, the success podcast for ambitious women in business.

This is episode number 259 and today we’re going to talk about why your fear of overwork is killing your ambition. Now if you are new to Fierce Feminine Leadership, welcome to the show and thank you so much for tuning in. And if you are one of our loyal fierce tribe members thank you so much for listening in. Week after week for being a loyal listener and lending me your valuable time and attention we do not take it lightly and we strive to produce the very best most useful practical insightful and attitudinal content to help you get out there smash the glass ceiling and step into your power. Now whether you are a loyal listener, or a very new listener, please go ahead on over to iTunes subscribe to the show and leave us a review. I appreciate it so much more than you know.

For those of you who do not know me my name is Eleanor Beaton. I am a women’s leadership development mentor and the creator of The Leadership Lab which is the world’s premier development program for ambitious women leaders who are ready to smash the glass ceiling step into their power and take their seats at the tables where the big deals and decisions are made. What we teach in the leadership lab are the practical skills you need to not only have a seat at those tables but also to have the strong voice that you need in order to be able to share your ideas and really drive meaningful change inside your career, your organisation and the world.

So today we’re doing a four week series on the five lessons powerhouse women leaders had to learn to unleash their ultimate potential.

So this really stems from the fact that the world of work and business as we know it today was really built for, and by, men. And so this isn’t a knock on men. I mean this is just the way our world worked and was set up until quite recently. And what we have found is that many women get to a certain level of success by following this blueprint by following the rules for a world of work that doesn’t really suit us all that well. This is one of the reasons why so many organizations struggle to retain women at the very top levels of success. And it’s one of the reasons why so few women entrepreneurs are able to crack the seven figure mark in business.

We get to where we are by following this blueprint but the system doesn’t really serve us and my mission and the mission of my team inside our organization is to get women into top level leadership positions inside their organization. Other people’s organizations and act like a true CEO inside your own business so that we can innovate change and really make the system so that it works not only for men but also for women.

This is hard work and it means unlearning the limiting beliefs that we’ve picked up over the course of our lifetimes. So if you’re at the beginning of your career, just a little caveat, it is about learning the rules and working hard and really following those rules and following the proven systems. In the beginning it is about that. But for those of you who are listening who have reached a level of success already unlocking your full potential is about on learning the rules of the game and truly innovating and leading.

Now I want you to make sure that you listen till the end of this episode to learn more about the other four lessons you need to learn to unleash your ultimate potential.

But if you’re super impatient like I am and you just want all of the info right away, always, head on over to Eleanor Beaton dot com forward slash unlearn, Eleanor Beaton dot com forward slash unlearn. Again, you need to know what lessons powerhouse women have unlearned in order to unlock their ultimate potential and that’s what this PDF is all about. It really takes you through some of the unconscious ways you may be sabotaging your success. Some of the unconscious beliefs and rules that you are following that are actually preventing you from not only creating the success that you want but enjoying it. So much of what we do is happening at the unconscious level. So that’s what this PDF does. It really makes visible what feels invisible. It shows you places that you may be unconsciously sabotaging yourself. And it really unlocks using the experience as a powerhouse women leaders. Five of the critical lessons they had to unlearn to really drive enormous success and to do it in a way that made them happy and that they loved. So Eleanor Beaton dot com forward slash unlearn. It is a three PDF. Super high value. Get over there and get that for yourself.

But today we’re discussing just one of those lessons and it is: how you need to get over your fear that more success equals more work. Right? That’s an old rule that you need to unlearn – your fear that more success is going to equal more work.

I call this the fear that if I pursue my ambition it’s going to eat my heart out and destroy my family and destroy my life. And it sounds a little bit dramatic but the reality is that this fear certainly drives many women. We are afraid that if we lean into the promotion, if we go after the multiple 7 figures, that it is actually going to wreak havoc on our home lives and personal lives. And this might sound familiar to you. You know one of the most common fears women have is that succeeding in your career or accelerating the growth of your business is going to come at a huge cost to your work life balance and the mentality is this:

If I succeed I’ll have to work even harder. I’ll be at work all day and night I’m going to have no social life. My kids are going to hate me, I’m going to get divorced, I won’t have time for the things that I love, I’m never gonna see my family, and to top it all off I’m going to burn out from working too hard which means I’m going to fail miserably and my career or business are going to fall apart. So I guess I’ll just stay small. I guess I’ll just stay where I’m at.

Now, don’t get me wrong. As a group we as women can absolutely be overworked. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

Now in her book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington describes a pivotal event in her life.

It’s 2017. She wakes up on the floor of her home office in a pool of blood . She’d collapsed from exhaustion. She’d hit her face on the corner of her desk, breaking her cheekbone, cutting her eye, It was a pretty traumatic incident and it had come on the heels of Arianna working 18 hour days, seven days a week, trying to grow her behemoth, The Huffington Post. Now, in her book, Thrive, she describes waiting in her doctor’s office and really questioning her life and she had a wakeup call that she’s now sharing the world.

She calls it the third metric and it basically means: real success doesn’t mean working yourself to the bone. Real success means fulfillment, means thriving. OK.

And what she understood is that she didn’t have to work that way to create the success that she wanted. Now it’s easy for you to say, look, I’m not in Arianna’s position,she’s the boss of a major organization, she’s a wealthy woman, she can set the rules.

I totally get it. But the point here is that overwork is not a benefit to a powerhouse woman’s career. And do they work hard? Sure. You know, powerhouse women, they do put in the time, but they also understand that work and hard work, can get you even more hard work. And in fact it’s about leverage.

So here are three important reasons that hard work won’t take you to the next level.

So point number one: it gets you in the door but it won’t up level you. So in the beginning of your career as a leader entrepreneur hard work is an important competitive advantage that puts you ahead of the pack. In fact, most powerhouse women leaders report outworking their peers early on in their careers. But as you advance hard work is no longer a competitive advantage. It’s just table stakes. And people have reached a high level of success are not necessarily overworked because being at that level means getting stuff done with as little effort as possible. We’re going to touch on that point again in a couple of minutes.

But I want to move on to point two: overwork really undermines your leadership presence because you’re tired and low energy. So at your stage, what’s really important and what you can accomplish a lot through is your presence. And the research is clear on this – people do not work effectively when they’re coping with long demanding hours. In the book “What got you here won’t get you there”, author Marshall Goldsmith describes the net negative impact of overwork on leaders.

Basically when you start your career you’re measured by how hard you work because it shows that you can manage yourself. But as you progress, you’re typically measured by how you manage others. So your ability to excel now depends on your interpersonal skills. And when you’re run down or burnt out your interpersonal skills do not function properly. In fact, studies have shown that being exhausted actually makes us read other people’s facial expressions as more negative. So it’s not necessarily… that person who you think is giving you resting B face may not be giving you resting B face at all. You’re just tired and overworked and can’t see properly. And this of course can make us much quicker to lash out at other people. Exhaustion has also been shown to impair our judgment and if you are functioning at a high level you obviously need to make a lot of important decisions, confidently, and you’re going to struggle to make those decisions if your mental energy is tapped out. You probably know this stuff intellectually but you need to get it at a deeper level.

Overwork is hard on our body. Research has shown that overworking is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and if you’re overworking you might not be making time for exercise, a good diet, which further impedes your energy levels.

Okay so this is yet another reason why overwork is not the answer to your next level of success. In fact if you’re relying on overwork to get you to your next level of success, that’s actually being mentally lazy.

When you’re overworked, point number three here is: that when you’re overworked it’s hard to be strategic because you don’t have time to follow up on opportunities or you could be too busy to see opportunity in the first place. So if you’re overworked you just don’t have time to, say, cultivate your political savvy which could leave you behind in the competition for that upcoming promotion. You can’t identify or follow up on opportunities because you’ve got your nose to the grindstone, and so many women are sitting on a goldmine of opportunity inside their networks. Because of this you don’t want the right project or take the new job that’s going to accelerate your career. If you’re overworked you’re probably not making time to socialize or network. So you’re missing out on opportunities to build connections, to deepen existing relationships, to get referrals and sponsorship from people who can really move the needle for you.

So, the point is: overwork is not the answer. But the question you probably still have is – OK, with more responsibilities how do we avoid overworking? And here’s the answer: If you want to generate more results from the same amount of time then you’ve got to unlearn the more success equals more work lesson and rather you’ve got to understand that success is not the result of your labour. Success is the result of your leverage. You’ve got to embrace the rule of leverage. Powerhouse women look for leverage wherever they can in order to manage their workload and get results. Okay, so what you’re looking for remember: success does not equal more labor. Success equals more leverage. And to do that you’ve got to work smart. You’ve got to work strategically. That’s how powerhouse women leaders operate and that, my fierce friend, is how you are going to unlock that next level of success. Not through more labor, through more leverage.

So we could do an entire show dedicated to that. But we like to keep these episodes concise. So if you want more you want to learn more about the law of leverage than I encourage you to download my FREE White Paper. Five Lessons Powerhouse Women Leaders had to Unlearn to Unleash their Ultimate Potential. And you can get that at Eleanor Beaton dot com forward slash unlearn. That’s where you’re going to get a lot more detail on leverage. What leverage is and how powerhouse women leaders have used it to create disproportionate success. Based on disproportionate working hours. Got it.

So remember if you want more in this series, we’re taking a look at five lessons powerhouse women leaders had to unlearn. This is the first episode in a month long series. Make sure you keep an eye out for episode number 260 and on. In order to get the rest of the juice on this five lessons were powerhouse women leaders needed to unlearn.

Now if you know of a great woman who is ambitious who is looking to lean in and is really looking to do it in a way that complements the rest of her life and is a more holistic approach, I encourage you to share this podcast with her or tell her to go to Eleanor Beaton dot com for Slash unlearn.

You know my mission is to provide as much valuable free training resources for the next generation of women leaders out there. And you can help me in my mission by really spreading the word so you can you can say hey look you know here’s a really interesting resource on five lessons powerhouse women leaders need to unlearn. This woman Eleanor has a great podcast you can check it out. But why don’t you go to Eleanor Beaton dot com forward slash unlearn. So if you’d be willing to share that with one woman it can really help us fulfill our mission of making powerful women leadership development accessible to as many women out there as possible. All right thank you so much for listening. I value your time and attention. I want the very best for you, I want you to create success on your terms. Thank you so much for next time, stay fierce.

Voice Over: Fierce Feminine Leadership is executive produced and hosted by Eleanor Beaton. Technical producer is Kate Astrakhan. Content producers are Adrianne Alexander and Marie Hanifen. Special thanks to Kelly Fillman and Amy Bleser. Find Eleanor on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram @ Eleanor Beaton. Thank you for listening. Stay fierce.

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