An IIT graduate, Kishna Pendyala is currently the Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer of Choice Ladder. He previously worked with congressional representative Tim Ryan at the Mindful Nation Foundation, which offers wellness services for Veterans and their family, education, and healthcare. He’s had a very diverse career from founding technology companies to being a COO and coach at a financial firm. 

In this edition of the Grow Your Firm podcast, we’re replaying Krishna’s session at the Lift Customer Conference, held earlier this year. In this talk, Krishna focuses on ways in which we can bring mindfulness and awareness into various sectors of the workforce.



  • A Metaphorical Experience
  • VUCA
  • The Great Escape: Unplugging
  • Lifespace Reconciliation


A Metaphorical Experience

One day, Krishna went to a lake with his wife. They were having dinner in the evening, sitting close to the exhaust fan. Suddenly they noticed another couple dart away from their table, which was, of course, odd.

Krishna’s senses piqued, and he heard a faint voice saying, “Help, Help! Can anyone hear me?” With the permission of his wife, he went to investigate the source of the cry. A gentleman who had earlier left the table had reached the man who was seeking help, as he was flailing in the lake after having fallen off of his boat. 

The other couple who had left eventually returned, and Krishna inquired what had happened. The man who had fallen was working on the motor of his boat when he leaned on an unsecure railing. The railing broke, and he fell into the water. The man was holding onto the lid of the motor, which filled up with water, and he could not get out of the lake. 

There are several metaphorical insights to glean from this experience. There were several other options the man could have taken, such as letting go of the motor and returning to the scene to retrieve it another day, for the water was shallow enough to make the option possible. Of course, we also have to consider how much this year was believed to be stable, only to realize how feeble it actually is just like the railing. The prevailing theme of 2020 seems to be “Help, Help, can anyone hear me?!” 


Our ability to reason is a hallmark of progress, a gift from historical periods of Enlightenment. However, in the shadow of panic, all of such reasoning goes out the window because of fear. In April 2020, Krishna provided tips on how to navigate uncertainty and set priorities so that a business may overcome the pandemic.

However, he emphasises that we were never truly in a state of “balance.” In matter of fact, Krishna asserts that balance is near impossible to achieve. Instead, he says that we are always in VUCA times. With technology at our fingertips more than ever, Krishna describes society’s current style of living as:

  1. Volatile
  2. Uncertain
  3. Complex
  4. Ambiguous 

Tony Robbins once said, “Where attention goes, energy flows.” In a similar sense, Krishna explains that because we are so fixated on the object of our panic, or even the state of panic itself, we are constantly on high alert at all times. “We are depleting…energy,” he says, “much more than we probably even realize. We don’t have a gas gauge to tell how much energy we have.”

Krishna double downs on this point. If you are depleted of energy from the previous day, how well are you going to perform the following day? Furthermore, how will the quality of decisions be affected by fear and panic? During periods of stress that trigger the freeze, fight, or flight response, one should take a time-out before acting rashly, allowing the mind to cool down.

The Great Escape: Unplugging

Media can often contribute to the drain and panic but so can work and cellphone use. In modern days, many of us work hard in anticipation for their break; however, our break is seldom ever used to rejuvenate our minds. Instead, we shift our attention to a new subject of addition, usually our cell phone. 

It’s not just enough to limit cell phone use. Krishna says, “I have gotten rid of my devices. I’ve turned off all notifications. I go look at it only when I want to. And weekends, they’re totally off simply because that’s the only way I can limit.” We have to look at how to protect our mind from certain kinds of information. Thus, taking exceptional care of communication practices to limit the quality of information coming into the mind is pivotal to redirecting one’s attention and energy into meaningful spaces.

Lifespace Reconciliation

As we negotiate how we engage in our spaces, it is worth reiterating that work-life balance—or any balance at all—is nearly impossible. The average person sleeps between 6 to 8 hours per day (if they’re able to do so) and works up to 12 hours per day. This does not leave much time for a personal life. To make things a little more complicated, life shifts and changes shape differently for everyone, so instead of a work-life balance, Krishna encourages “lifespace reconciliation.” Krishna has identified 6 lifespaces in his book Beyond the PIG and the APE:

  1. The Self
  2. Your Partner
  3. Your Friends, which includes relatives and community
  4. Your work
  5. Your money
  6. Your kids, pets, parents etc.

Often, people try to interact in each of these spaces every day. “In accounting, you might say, I want to reconcile balance or reconcile my books every so often. And you can define that time period in life spaces. You can do the same, but it can be a different time period for each lifespace for yourself,” Krishna explains. 

A working person with teenage kids, like Krishna, is less likely to engage in a lot of spare time with their children than another person who may have to care for younger kids. A person who focuses on work and family may have a weaker lifespace for friendships. Krishna explains that there is a time, or a season if you will, to cultivate each of these lifespaces, and the key is being able to give each space its due diligence at the right time.
There was a lot of valuable information in the presentation, and we encourage you to listen to the podcast or watch the video recap. Krishna is always trying to enrich the lives of those around him, and he has offered a free infographic for boosting your energy by replenishing your immune system. To receive this infographic, text the word VALUES to the number 233777.

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