Learning to pause made such a crucial difference in my own success, especially with choices, decisions, and pivots.
Lately, I’ve been sharing with leaders why and how to pause. Following are a few highlights that I hope cause you to start pausing more, or pausing more intentionally.
Pausing can help you get clearer about an uncomfortable current state or what’s possible for the future.
Two types of getting clear
There are two types of “getting clear:” one is getting clear about something that has happened in the past, so that it is solved, and so that, with best laid plans carried out, it does not happen again in the future.
The other is getting clear about what’s possible for the future, regardless of what happened in the past or what is your state in the present. It’s this type of “getting clear” that I’ll address.
Three ways to pause to get clearer about the future
I created a video that covers this post and the next. To view the first part of the video, covering pausing when getting clear, watch from 0:28 to 6:26.
All of these require enough time to pause. But that time will vary based on your intention.
Awe is like curiosity but more expansive and open. When getting curious, we often want to figure something out; we are interested only until we have our answer. With awe, we are entirely open to wherever our mind is going that feels so compelling.
Give yourself at least 30 minutes to explore awe. It may take a few minutes to release whatever was on your mind before your pause, and then several minutes to let your mind explore possibilities.
Practice awe without judgment or conclusion. You are not figuring something out. You are becoming inspired.
It is normal that your practice gets interrupted by your thoughts. That is, you are feeling inspired… until your mind starts trying to make sense of it or discounts it as not possible. Then, practice the next step—interruption.
Become comfortable with having a negative thought pop into your mind, and grow in your ability to simply let that thought pass by without dwelling on or expanding the negativity. Thoughts such as “I’ve tried that before,” “Who do I think I am to be able to do that?” or “I’ll be put down when I share this.”
What I do when a negative thought stops my flow is think to myself: “Isn’t that interesting?” (Interesting that this negative thought popped up.) And then I let it go. My next thought is not wondering why I had the negative thought, or putting myself down in any way for having it. My next thought is back on the awe-creating possibilities I was in the midst of exploring.
Interruption is there and gone as quickly as you can say to yourself “Isn’t that interesting?” With practice over time, you’ll find that you go easier on yourself after an interruption each time. You deserve to have positive thoughts about you, and all that you find inspiring.
Let your unconscious mind help you move away negative thoughts. In addition to awe and interruption, practice recovery.
Recovery is a pause that requires no thought. In fact, in its purest form, you will have your conscious mind turned off.
Recovery can be as quick as a deep breath before responding to what someone said that has triggered unpleasant emotion in you, or as long as a good sleep.
Allow rest and recovery to create more positivity in your life by being grateful and in awe before you rest, and thankful when you arise.