Work Life Harmony

Work Life Balance

A recent client conversation turned to the desire for better work-life balance. During the conversation about setting intention, this conscious leadership coaching client told me that he was being advised to improve his work-life balance, implying work less, live more. The idea of balancing work and life has always been uncomfortable for me. I recall those scales used during chemistry lessons, the brass apothecary balance scales, where a few grams would take the scales out of balance. Another image is that of the see-saw, or the teeter totter, where again, a small shift in weight or position can dramatically affect the balance. This tension between one state and another creates stress and reduces performance.

Balance associated with work and life implies that we must divide our time and energy equally between work life and home life. This isn’t necessarily the case and may even be impossible. How can we shift the weights on opposite sides of the scales so the two can be equal? Can we really achieve work-life balance? The fact is that we can’t, at least not for long. Balance is an unattainable standard that can result in constant feelings of failure.

Perhaps balance isn’t the right word. Rather than trying to balance everything all of the time, with the associated tension and frustration, it’s time to think of something that reduces tension. Maybe it is time to shift our intention from work-life balance to work life harmony. This image brings to mind harmonious music, where different notes from different instruments are played together to create a beautiful sound.

Becoming more conscious about our relationships at work and at home, and between work life and home life, can help us with setting intentions for how we wish to show up everywhere and to encourage work life harmony. To consider work life harmony, I invite you to consider the following questions: What aspects of my life are having the most positive and most negative influences on my work?  What aspects of my work are having the most positive or negative influences on my life?  What are the stress points? Where is there dissonance? What actions can I take to shift from dissonance to harmony? It is time to seek harmony, to play beautiful harmonious music.

Royal Albert Hall with Conscious Leadership Book

Conscious Leadership: a practice not a destination

We have all heard that the answer to the question, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” is practice, practice, practice; but it’s not that easy. Have you ever tried to learn to play a musical instrument? If so, you’ll know how difficult that can be. So, what do you do? You find a teacher, mentor, or coach who can provide a path to success. Although Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall shown in the picture, or any other notorious music hall may be a destination to which we as musicians may aspire, it is the journey rather than the destination that can be most rewarding.

In our home growing up, we had a pedal organ, sometimes referred to as a pump organ or harmonium, requiring constant pedaling to pump air to generate the sound when the keys were pressed. This was eventually replaced with an electric reed organ, and ultimately with a modern electronic keyboard. While I was stumbling over the notes as I learned to read music, my mother would always say, “Practice makes perfect.” I gave up on perfection long ago but I’m still practicing!

In the same way, leading consciously requires practice. Although we may not become conscious leaders in all aspects of our lives, being attentive to the practices for leading consciously can support our journey towards conscious leadership. Whether it is learning relentlessly, living mindfully, exploring purposefully, speaking candidly, or any of the other practices for leading consciously, practicing the specific behaviors of aspiring conscious leaders, can change negative habits into positive habits. What you practice, you become. With practice we can shift from unconscious incompetence where we are unaware of our bad habits, through conscious incompetence, to conscious competence, and ultimately unconscious competence where our good habits become practices residing in our unconscious mind. Conscious leadership is a practice not a destination. Enjoy the journey!

Sun rising over the new year

Setting Intentions for a Conscious New Year

As the sun rises over the early days of the new year, this is a time to pause and reflect on our progress so far and to begin setting intentions for the next steps on our journey. Exploring purposefully, thinking possibility, and committing to action are the three practices for leading consciously within the theme of setting intention in the book, The Inner Journey to Conscious LeadershipMaking the seemingly impossible dreams become reality starts with belief. Will you be like the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast? What is possible for you this year?

Knowing our purpose and believing in possibility can lead us to committing to action. Possibility thinking is powerful, it is the force that has transformed the world; it is possibility thinking that has allowed us to go to the moon and to invent the Internet, and it is this possibility thinking that has allowed us to seek new vistas, to find the most amazing love affairs, and to become more than we ever thought possible. Be inspired to be more of a possibility thinker this year and commit to acting responsibly for the good of all. But we know that commitment alone is not enough.

The bridge from commitment to responsible action is about our personal responsibility for making a positive difference in the world; converting intention into action. Wherever you are on your inner journey to conscious leadership, if you are looking for an accountability partner, let me know via the contact page. For a limited time, as my gift to you, I am offering support for you as your Conscious Leadership Accountability Partner during the coming year.

Best wishes for a Conscious New Year.

Winter Solstice Post

Winter Solstice and the Yule Log


As we celebrate the winter solstice and prepare to eat Yule Log Cake over the holidays, this is good time to think about leaving some of our recent dark experiences behind and beginning to set positive intentions for a brighter new year. Although my memories of the yule log are dominated by the taste of chocolate cake, a deeper story is worth exploring. Read more

Sunset with book

Leading Above the Line


Conscious leaders respond mindfully to situations in ways that generate desired outcomes, often leading from above the line rather than below the line. You may already be familiar with the success formula advocated by Jack Canfield, author of the Success Principles: E + O = R or Event plus Response equals Outcome. How do you respond to situations and events Read more

Guda for FSF

Living Mindfully

Mindfulness in this digital age of emails, instance messaging, and social media alerts is challenging to say the least. Distractions are everywhere. Not only external distractions but also the internal distractions found in our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Rather than seeing the negative quality of the distraction and trying to avoid being distracted, can we reframe the distraction as a mindfulness messenger?

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Relentless Learning FSF Blog picture

Relentless Learning

We can all recall times in our lives when we experienced dramatic growth and learned something significant about ourselves or about life—an “aha!” moment. These moments often occur during challenging times or periods of adversity. One such moment for me was on a men’s wilderness journey, an expedition in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area within the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota, close to the Canadian border.

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Buddy Bench with Loverly Sheridan 2

Workplace Bullying


Schoolyard bullying has garnered publicity recently with all too many cases of mental illness and even suicide as a result of being bullied at school. But what about workplace bullying? What is workplace bullying and how is it different to bullying at school? The Workplace Bullying Institute uses this description: “Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. It is abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating Read more

Stephane Conversation Picture Page Cropped

Conscious Leadership Conversation

Conscious Leadership Conversation: Stephane Leblanc with Paul Ward: The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership.

Conscious leadership is gaining increasing visibility but what is conscious leadership? Yes, it is mindful awareness with responsible action but what are the practices of conscious leaders? This conscious leadership conversation begins to answer these questions.

Stephane Leblanc, Founder and CEO of the International Centre of Conscious Leadership is dedicated to being a catalyst for the transformation of leaders and organizations and the elevation of consciousness in business throughout the world. In this conversation, Paul and Stephan explore the evolution of the book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership, and some of the practices for leading consciously within the three themes of noticing what is going on, setting intention, and acting responsibly. To see the video, visit the Conscious Leadership Conversation.


Shaping our future as if we will live forever

Inspired by the movie, The Bucket List, and the song, Live Like You Were Dying, I hope this mantra of “Shaping our future as if we will live forever, yet living today as if we will die tomorrow” will serve as a guide for the new year. This mantra is from my soon-to-be-published book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership. The three major themes in the book are: noticing what is going on, setting intention, and acting responsibly. Read more