This past week poet, author, corporate magician David Whyte wove his spell as part of the Remarkable Leadership Series held twice a year in Toronto. People came from across the US and Canada to immerse in something they were seeking but could not name.

David quickly dove below the surface of everyday busyness and habitual conversation to take the 42 participants to the core of the matter. He named the exhaustion that leaders experience from trying to hold together some ill-conceived idea of “work/life balance.”

What we all need is to connect with a more reflective way in that doesn’t rely on the directionality of the strategic mind. Our almost total engagement in a business context in the extraverted world rarely, if ever, invites room for reflection. David’s focus in these two days was on “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship” Central to this theme is the idea that all three of these realms can be seen as “separate yet interwoven threads” and that how we typically hold them sets them up to be in exhausting competition with each other.

Some of the impact of this incubator-esque experience is hard to articulate. I was speaking to a man whose eyes were sparkling and dancing at the end of day two. That was the norm not the exception. The reconnect to the self through immersing in the fierce conversation demanded by the poetic showed on the faces of all the attendees- enlivening eyes and erasing worn frowns. People were prepared to enter the external world from an entirely new place that was shaped from the inside out.

My thought was that having a mechanism for reflection such attending this twice yearly series was worth it’s weight in gold.

Category: Leadership
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