I got to thinking about the Power of Pause while sharing a cappuccino with Laura Berland, CMO of Star Talk Radio starring super scientist Neill deGrasse Tyson. The value of pausing may seem insignificant to most; but as Laura pointed out to me, it can have a powerful impact.
A digital strategist and yoga teacher, Laura lives in two different worlds that are polar opposites. Digital strategy requires moving FAST and yoga is about S-L-O-W-I-N-G D-O-W-N and being mindful. Both movements are important and timely. Laura combines the FAST with the S-L-O-W very effectively. We have a lot to learn from her. She says we need to move FAST with innovation because the speed of change is upon us. However, for that innovation to succeed, we need to pause to allow thinking, listening and change to occur.
Over the years I have learned to consciously pause before I speak. When I do this (and sometimes I forget), it gives me a moment to consider what I am going to say before I say it. In nanoseconds I can consider the impact my words or the tone of my voice will have on others before they come out of my mouth. Pausing in a conversation stops our knee-jerk reaction to what we may have heard the other person say, which can set off an emotional, negative or defensive comment damaging to the conversation.
Moving FAST comes easy to most of us. But how do we pause and impact our life positively? Here’s 4 ways to add the Power of Pause to your life:
- Pause and listen. Focus on what people are saying. Stop thinking about what you are going to say back to them while they are speaking. Hear them out. Take it all in and breathe. Then respond. Never interrupt.
- Take a walk. When you find yourself working fast and furiously. STOP. Take a brief, slow walk – up and down the hall or outdoors. Empty your mind of what you are working on. This allows ideas to come forward and reduces stress.
- Start the day with a pause. Meditate for 5 -10 minutes before running out the door. Allow yourself to empty your mind before you fill it with the busyness of the day. It will help you think clearly and put a smile on your face.
- Breathe now and then. We take breathing for granted. Put a sign that says ‘Pause’ or ‘Breathe’ in front of your desk or your work area. Pause and breathe whenever you catch a glance of that sign. When we focus on our breath and pause, it energizes us and calms us at the same time.
Try out these 4 action steps now and you may find yourself in a new state of mind and much more effective before you can say ‘Neill deGrasse Tyson’.
—Leslie Grossman, Vistage Chair to CEOs, author, LINK OUT — www.lesliegrossmanleadership.com