What I Learned at the Thrive Event with Arianna and Mika

Thrive Arianna Huffington Mika Brzezinski

After just attending the Thrive conference in NYC with Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski, I walked away with many thoughts, but the main one was…..

If we could gather all the brilliant women on stage and in the audience, we could have the world’s problems fixed in, like, 3 days.

What was the purpose of Thrive?

Hosted by Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the two-day event features conversations with influencers and luminaries on topics related to the four pillars of the Third Metric: Well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

It was a stellar line-up of amazing people sharing stories, ideas and practical tips on how to thrive in life.

While the event was mainly focused on women, I need to give a big shout-out to the men involved in Thrive, both on stage and in the audience.  They were not only wise, but also incredibly open.   In an informal poll, Panache Desai’s talk was rated one of the most moving of the conference.

And as one man I talked with in the audience said,

“I wasn’t planning on coming, but wow am I glad I did.   I thought it would be just for women, but so much of this applies to me.” 

Highlights from Thrive

The relationship between Mika and Arianna

Arianna Huffington teasing Mika Brzezinski about her phone addiction

Arianna Huffington teasing Mika Brzezinski about her phone addiction

For me, the best part of the whole event was the interaction between Mika Brzenzinski and Arianna Huffington.  The two have a genuine friendship and that totally came through on stage.

Mika Brzezinski and Arianna Hufington Thrive

Mika Brzezinski and Arianna Huffington rocking it in their PJ’s

So often the media portrays women’s relationships with each other as hostile (can you say Real Housewives anyone?)  It is wonderfully refreshing to see two successful amazing women genuinely supporting each other.

The whole audience had an “aha” moment when Arianna lovingly addressed Mika’s phone addiction saying, “You can’t live your life in response to texts and emails.”   We all need a good girlfriend to share that kind of wisdom

Arianna also focused on how we are all suffering from lack of sleep.  Since Mika had to get up at 3 am, half-way through the day Arianna sent her off to take a nap.

This is why I love conferences lead by women.   As Arianna pointed out, for men, lack of sleep is almost a badge of honor.  She shared the story of dining with a gentleman who bragged about only getting four hours of sleep the night before.  She thought to herself, “Dinner would have been more interesting if you’d had five.”

I have to give Mika especially high marks for being open about some of the challenges she has faced.  I had so many, “OMG, that’s me!” moments.  Which is, I suspect, the whole point of the conference – to feel like the people up on stage are telling your story.  You’d be surprised how rarely that happens.  So thank you Mika!

I wish we had more time with just the two of them on stage sharing their stories and talking to each other.

(And yes, you heard right….Mika and Arianna did open Friday’s conference in bed together.  One of the best conference openers I’ve ever seen.  You can see more pictures from Thrive here. )

Empathy rather than Ego

There were so many big names at this conference – Katie Couric, Tory Burch, Kenneth Cole, Julianne Moore, Alanis Morissette, Ali Wentworth, Dr. Mark Hyman, Brad Meltzer, and that’s just to name a few.

Yet almost no one talked about their business or career or their “success.”  Instead, they talked about their passions, and their lives outside of work, and new research, and what really matters to them, and specific things they do that make their lives not only better, but more meaningful.  As a result, Thrive was rich in insights, aha moments, inspiration and ideas I found very applicable.

So many conferences are about “doing.”   Thrive was about “being.”   We are a doing obsessed culture.  And women are especially famous for multi-tasking.

As Arianna so beautifully pointed out, “You can complete a project by dropping it.”

Love that.

Arianna also pointed out – “Eulogies have nothing to do with our LinkedIn profiles.”   Amen.

No judgment zone

Panache Desai had a wonderful quote to the effect of….”We make judgment more important than the truth.”

Women face tremendous judgment not just from others, but from ourselves.    The whole conference was about quieting that “judgmental voice” and being exactly who you are.

Holistic approach

There was exercise, meditation, laughter (Ali Wentworth alone was worth the price of admission), and music (run, don’t walk to listen to Miri Ben-Ari.)

The amazing Miri Ben-Ari

The amazing Miri Ben-Ari

Thrive was an experience, a conversation, a holistic look at how all the parts of our lives effect each other.    It was about how we define an achieve “success.”

Arianna and Moore quote


The number one reason why Thrive was so different and so impactful for me was because I saw myself in the people on stage.  It felt like a conversation, not a lecture.

Thrive - bed interview

As I pointed out before, I suspect, the whole point of the conference was – to feel like the people up on stage are telling your story.

So thank you Mika Brzezinski

Thrive Mika Brzezinski

and Arianna Huffington.

Thrive - Arianna Huffington

I already loo forward to next year.

Get more great quotes from Thrive  – go to Twitter and search #Thrive.







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