On Monday night, I stood up from my audience seat at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto and excitedly tried to contain my smile as I was addressed by Arianna Huffington.
There were a number of moments that led up to that one. The first was, of course, almost two years ago when I started this blog. The second was a few months ago, when my dad texted me asking if I would like to see Arianna Huffington speak. The third was when my dad and I were in our seats in the theatre, holding our programs.
As I was leafing through the program, I noticed that there was a question and answer card. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to write down a question so I enlisted the help of my dad. My question was: ‘What advice would you give to a high school student who is an aspiring journalist?’ I signed my name, and then added a post script: ‘I’m a blogger!’ followed by my blog address.
My dad gave the card to one of the ushers, and this is when my nerves set in. What if she didn’t read it? What if she did?
Arianna Huffington co-founded the incredibly successful Huffington Post, an online news blog which contains blog posts, news pieces and original writing about a variety of topics including lifestyle, politics, entertainment, and local news. Arianna is also the author of several books, her latest of which Thrive focuses on redefining success to embody more than money and success.
The Third Metric, as she calls it, was the topic of her speech on Monday evening. After an introduction with several humorous anecdotes about her accent – she was born in Greece – Arianna began speaking of the events in her life that led to her discovering the importance of a life beyond money and success. One such event was when she woke up in a pool of her own blood, having collapsed from burn out. This led her to embrace well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving, as new ways to achieve success.
After her speech was finished, the host came onstage with her hands full of the question cards. She asked a few questions of her own, which Arianna answered, and then she began asking some of the questions from audience members. When I heard her read my question, I felt my skin tingle. “Oh, and she’s a blogger!” the host added enthusiastically. “Her WordPress is here; I’ll give this to you after,” she said to Arianna.
“Is she here?” Arianna asked.
I stood up.
Heads turned to see who I was.
Arianna prefaced her answer to my question by saying that she hopes I take things from my blog and submit them to HuffPost, and that if I emailed her she would set me up with a password for the site. Then, she answered my question. For an aspiring journalist, she said, it is important to try to “redefine journalism” to give a more accurate picture of the world (and not just focus on negative things).
“Write about solutions,” she told me, and I thought of my post ‘5 Easy Ways to Change the World’ which, in my mind, is a post of solutions.
After I sat down, I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face. I had just been addressed by my blogging idol, Arianna Huffington herself. Standing up in a theatre of people, hearing Arianna’s kind words reaffirmed in my mind what now seems to be reaffirmed for me quite often: that I am on the right track with my aspirations, actions, and life.
The events that happened after that evening are equally as amazing. I emailed Arianna, and was surprised to have a reply from her the next day. She connected me to a HuffPost Teen Editor and, long story short, I am now a Huffington Post Teen blogger!
Arianna Huffington is redefining success, and I hope to join her in that journey. I will start by, as she said, redefining journalism and providing solutions. The solution that I embodied on Monday night when I wrote the note to her was simple: don’t let the fear of failure stand in your way of success.
The only true failure is not trying. As Arianna said in her speech, “failure is not the opposite of success.” In my mind, not trying is the opposite of success. Sometimes, trying doesn’t pay off. But sometimes, as it did for me on Monday night, it does. When you try, regardless of the possibility of failure, amazing things can happen.