What kind of woman would think she could beat Arnold Schwarzenegger?
It would take unbeatable confidence. Poise. Fearlessness. And a healthy dose of ego.
Ariana Huffington had it all … in spades.
Where does ANY woman get the confidence that would make her think she’d even stand a chance against the Terminator?
Do you have to be born with it?
Is it something your parents teach you?
Or does it come naturally when you’re that talented and successful?
Ariana Huffington is best known as founder of news and opinion site The Huffington Post. But that’s just one scene from her extraordinary life story.
She was born in Greece and educated in England before moving to America, where she married a staunchly Republican Texas oil billionaire.
She had it all. Money. Education. Political connections. An international lifestyle.
No wonder she had the courage to run for governor of California in 2003. Arnie beat her, but she’d made her point.
Nothing could stop Ariana.
Confident women are a force of nature.
They make choices that leave the rest of us open-mouthed.
From the outside, they look nothing like the rest of us. They never show self-doubt. They cut a swath in their power suits. Not a trickle of sweat shows as they face reporters waving microphones.
But that’s just what we see.
Behind the scenes, they’re sweating. They’re lying awake at night, turning over their decisions in their mind. They’re wondering whether they’re raising their children right and worrying about their marriages.
There’s only one difference between them and everyone else:
They’re willing to stand up and take a swing.
There is such power in saying, “I’m going to try that.”
Even if you’re not as qualified as you’d like to be.
Even if no one like you has done it before.
Even if you might fail.
That’s where Ariana Huffington had an advantage.
Growing up, she explains, her mother “made me believe that I could try whatever I wanted, and that if I failed she wouldn’t love me any less.” 
That didn’t mean Ariana feared nothing. Absolutely not. As a kid, she’d wonder, “How attractive am I? Do people like me? Should I speak up?” 
But something inside her pushed past those fears. She was able to feel the fear and do it anyway.
Many of us grow up believing that our job is to find out what we believe in and stick to it.
Ariana Huffington didn’t get that memo.
She’s made some extraordinary U-turns in her career, and she’s unapologetic. She has the right to change her mind. (That takes confidence!)
Her first big U-turn was switching from right-wing Republican darling to liberal media darling.
Given that the Huffington Post is known for its liberal viewpoint, it might come as a surprise to know that Ariana made her political debut as a Republican. Newt Gingrich loved her.
But then her marriage dissolved. Her ex-husband came out as gay. And she began to question everything, including the role of government in solving social issues.
She made a similar U-turn when she began to question the corporate culture around her.
Were stress and sleep deprivation really badges of honor? Wasn’t there more to life than money and power? Weren’t health and wellbeing just as important?
She tells the story of a moment in 2007 when she woke up on the floor of her home office in a pool of blood. She’d collapsed from exhaustion, hitting the corner of the desk on the way down. The broken cheekbone would heal, but inside it left a scar.
Ariana realized she couldn’t do it anymore. The 18-hour days, 7 days a week. Devoting everything to her business and the barest minimum to self-care. She had two teenage daughters, and she didn’t want them to end up like this.
So she decided to change.
She proposed a Third Metric to measure success, beyond money and power.
She wrote a book on sleeping. She installed nap rooms in the offices at the Huffington Post and offered yoga and breathing classes to employees.
Then, she took the next logical step.
She quit corporate life for a start-up.
Today, Ariana runs Thrive Global, which promotes emotional and physical well-being in the workplace. If you’re going to be successful, you shouldn’t have to give up your life and kill yourself to do it.
What can we learn from this queen of new media?
Maybe courage means not being afraid to change directions.
Maybe courage means not being ashamed of your mistakes.
Maybe courage means asking the question no one around you is asking.
Or, as Ariana says:
It’s not ‘What do I want to do?’ It’s ‘What kind of life do I want to have?’”
 On Becoming Fearless…in Love, Work, and Life. Little, Brown and Company: 2007.
Stay Tuned for More #BrilliantBabe Profiles
Here at Your Brilliance, we believe the best way to figure out how bright you’re able to shine is to look up to other woman who are doing what you’ve always wanted to do.
The women you see featured in glossy magazines, climbing sheer rock cliffs and heading Fortune 500 businesses and crafting unique Etsy art from the comfort of their own homes, got there on guts and faith.
They didn’t know if they’d be able to succeed at their dream. But each and every one made the decision to take the first step. And the second. And the third.
We hope these profiles of brilliant women inspire you to reach for your dreams.