The 7 Secrets to Work-Life Harmony

It’s not as elusive as you may think it is.

By Dr. Ivan Misner

Finding time for family, your business, leisure time and BNI can be challenging.  It’s difficult to do it all.  So, I thought you might like the secret to balance.  Are you ready?  Here it is…

Forget about balance. It’s an illusion.  Balance assumes that we spend an equal amount of time in all or most areas of our life.  It is like the image of the “scales” where everything is completely in balance and equal.  It assumes that we must spend a certain portion of each week devoted in some equal measure to every item important in our life.

The problem with that is that almost no businessperson can actually achieve that.  We tend to live such hectic, busy lives it is incredibly difficult to fit it all in.

So, what do we do about this?  For me, it’s about creating harmony, not balance.  This is more than semantics – it is a different way of looking at life.  While life can’t be fully in balance, it is possible to create a life that is in harmony with your vision of who you are and what you want to do.  If that resonates with you – try these simple techniques:

1. Wherever you are – be there.  Here are three simple words that can begin to make a huge difference in creating harmony in your life: be here now.  Wherever you are – be there.  If you are at work, don’t be thinking about the time you didn’t spend with the family the night before, or what you should be doing with your “significant other” right now.  When you are at home, don’t be thinking about the work you have to do at the office.  Wherever you are – be there, fully and completely. This includes a BNI meeting – step away from the mobile devices and be fully present to the members in your group.

2. Be creative (about how you manage your time). If you have a big project at work that has to be done and you want to spend time with the family one evening – get creative. I used to spend the evening with the family, and when everyone went to bed, I sat down to write my first book. I finished the book without taking any time away from the family. Be creative and inventive in finding ways that you can accomplish what you need to do yet still allow you to spend time doing the other things in your life that bring you harmony.

3, Integrate various elements of your life.  For many years, I spent a couple weeks working remotely from a small lake house.  Now that I have more room, I bring up my staff and management team for short retreat/work days.  It is a great way to combine my work life into a leisure environment.   Then, the last week or so, I take off completely and spend the time with the family.  By integrating my two worlds, I create a sense of harmony. Look for ways to integrate elements of your life whenever possible.

4. Practice “letting go” and “holding on.” Contrary to popular belief, I do not think it is possible to “have it all.” Unfortunately, life involves making choices. Practice understanding what things to say “no” to and then letting go of them. At the same time think about the things that are truly important in your life and hold on to them with all your might.

5. Be intentional (about who you “let in your room.”) Imagine that you live your entire life in one room and that room had only one door and that door was an “Enter Only” door. Anyone who gets in – is  there for life. If that were true, would you be more selective about who you let into your room? Everyone I ask says a resounding “YES!” Well, luckily this is only a metaphor. However, when we do let people into our lives that are caustic or difficult, it is very difficult to get them out. If you want harmony in your life, be more selective about who you let in your room.

6. Create margins. Life for an entrepreneur is crazy-busy. Create a life that has margin. Build in free time, family time, personal time into the margins of your day-to- day existence. You’ll be happier for it – I promise.

7. Work in your flame not your wax.  When an entrepreneur is doing things they hate to do they are in their wax – meaning they are doing things that are sapping their energy. When an entrepreneur is doing things that they love to do – they are in their flame. They are energized and excited. If you want harmony, strive to do things that are in your flame and not in your wax.

The truth is that when you are 70 years old, you are not going to wish you spent more time at the office.  You don’t need to be a workaholic to be successful.  Focus on creating harmony in your life.  Be creative.  Find ideas that work for you and the life you live.  Make the time and be innovative.  Harmony is created where harmony is sought.

I would love to hear how you have sought and found harmony in your life. What actions did you take, and how did it positively change your business and personal life?

Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author.  He is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI (, the world’s largest business networking organization.  His book, Networking Like a Pro can be viewed at  Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company ( 


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