For many years I have been inspired by the words of Arianna Huffington. After the last few months of deep diving into my spiritual journey, I finally decided to send this letter.
It is my most sincere hope that you will read these words of mine. I have read so many of your works, and I have been so touched, so moved and made so many changes, all for the better.
I have recently found myself traveling along a very profound and spiritual path, much to the credit of your book Thrive, and I would truly love to tell you about my journey.
Let me first introduce myself. My name is Sandy McClenahan and I am 25 years old. I have spent the early part of my 20’s doing what most 20 something’s do, flailed around and tried to find myself. Most of this seeking has had an outward approach as I had not realized the answers I really sought could only be found by looking inward, in an honest and loving way.
By most standards, this has been a typical experience for someone my age. The difference for me is that I have always felt and known deep down, that my soul has lived many lives. As a result, I have always felt just a bit off, just a little bit out of place with my peers.
For many years I have tried to hide from this truth. Burying it under logic, perfectionism and over achieving. Accepted it as “being mature for my age” and “so poised for someone so young.” As much as I tried to take pride in these statements and in the achievements that tend to come along with these traits, something never quite felt “right.”
As I grew up and went to college, I once again fund myself not quite fitting in. Not feeling any desire to drink or do drugs, finding no interest in frat parties. This is probably the time where my feelings of isolation and depression were at their peak. So what did I do? I continued to bury myself in studies and logic and living what I have started to call the “SHOULD life.” I SHOULD get this grade and I SHOULD spend time with these people, I SHOULD get this job in the Silicon Valley. I SHOULD be happy.
For the next 3.5 years after college I continued on this path of the SHOULD life. Doing all those things society, my childhood, and my misconceptions of social media told me I should be doing to be happier, prettier, more successful, etc. I worked the overtime, I played the corporate politics, I moved from “good” job to “good” job, I bought the new car. So I should be happy now right? Look at me succeeding for a 20 something just out of college. Unfortunately not so much. I was still hiding from my authentic self by all the should-ing I was doing.
When Thrive came out in 2014 I was so inspired by your words, but I was still too caught up in my depression, overworking, hiding from my poor buried old soul to make any real changes. I hit some low points in 2014-2015, with work and friends and life as a whole, until things started to shift as if by magic.
Without even realizing it, I was starting to embody the Third Metric and as if overnight these last 6 months life has become so much brighter, so much more driven, so much more exciting!
My life truly started changing when I finally started going to yoga that was offered at my office. I was no longer forcing myself to work out, I was just craving the peace and the movement and the presence.
I became a student of life again, but on my own terms for once. Looking down a spiritual path I never imagined for myself, I started to expand my mind in so many different areas. Enter Wisdom and Wonder.
I adopted a dog from a wonderful non profit and have found myself loving every contribution I can make to this organization. Hello Giving.
While I’ve been reading through Thrive for the second time, I’m finding myself wanting to pick up the Third Metric metaphorical torch. If there is anywhere that truly needs to make a change, it is here in the Silicon Valley where we’re too stressed out to eat our lunch away from our desks most days. And the meaning of PTO is “no one expects an answer in five minutes, at least I have until the evening to respond.”
As someone who has always followed the Should life, I am both terrified and exhilarated by the Entrepreneurial ideas flying through my head as of late. Most of them revolving around how to tackle the Burnout Culture I’m surrounded by here, and many ideas that are inspired straight out of the pages of your book.
I have very recently decided that my next step is to become a Life Coach, and I’m so excited to begin a program in the upcoming months. I plan to focus on helping people find greater purpose and balance in their lives, as my life has been completely transformed by my recent discovery of my purpose.
My hope is that one person at a time, and perhaps one group or company at a time, I can begin to bring change to the Silicon Valley and help people learn how much more productive we can be when we get enough sleep and take the time to recharge our minds, bodies and souls.
For the first time in I can’t remember how long, I’m truly looking forward with excitement and confidence. I cannot thank you enough for your influence on my spiritual journey. I hope someday our paths will cross in a less metaphorical more physical realm. Until then, my deepest thanks.