Do You Know How to Engage the Power of Pause? It’s Transformational!
Shelly, a client, is a person of action. Her brain is constantly whirling, and she always has something to say, which often causes her to superficially listen to others. And while she gets a lot done personally, she tends to either micromanage or shift between projects so fast it makes her team scratch their heads wondering what’s going on. To bring more balance to her life, together we worked out that she needed to engage The Power Of Pause to be more mindfully aware and present, thereby keeping her team in step with her. As a result, now they’re working cohesively and are accomplishing the goals they’ve set for themselves.
Could you benefit from using The Power Of Pause more often? Well, if you feel stressed (Who doesn’t?) or have said or done something you regret, then the answer is “Yes!” I think we all feel better when we mindfully learn to use this superpower more often.
We live in times of distraction and difficult decisions. To keep our heads above water, it feels like we have to constantly be doing something, filling every empty space with action or words.
Sometimes this happens because we have unresolved issues we don’t want to face. Other times, it’s because life is complex and demands much of us. We’re constantly learning new technology and taking in an accelerating amount of new information every day. A number of online sites say we consume 34 gigabytes of information and data every day. Forbes reports:
“Global online content consumption is soaring in 2020. The average daily time spent consuming content is now six hours and 59 minutes, which includes phone, TV, and other forms of digital media.”
As circumstances change, (and haven’t there been a lot of changes in the last year!) we strive to stay in control. Yet the more we control, the less room there is for spontaneity or creativity. It squeezes the joy out of life.
The Power of Pause interrupts this cycle of reaction. It lets the mind sift through what is real and what is merely a story you’ve picked up along the way, from either your own interpretations of a situation or from what others say and do. This pause allows you to identify how things really are, not how you’d like them to be. And if you’re prone to taking things to the negative side, which creates damaging self-talk, you can stop that before it takes hold of your mind and heart.
A mindful pause allows you to be present and more aware of how your body is reacting somatically, storing your experiences in the very fiber of your being. It gives you time to be the Observer, suspending judgment, fully experiencing the moment and learning what it has to teach you. I appreciate how Tara Brach expresses this thought:
“Through the sacred art of pausing, we develop the capacity to stop hiding, to stop running away from our experience. We begin to trust in our natural intelligence, in our naturally wise heart, in our capacity to open to whatever arises.”
Your natural intelligence, your somatic or embodied intelligence is found within a deep understanding of your mind/body connection. Not only does The Power of Pause facilitate this deep understanding, it expands that intelligence to encompass and understand what others are saying, doing, thinking and feeling.
How do you engage the Power of Pause?
This might seem like an insignificant practice, but don’t let it fool you. Over time, these seven simple steps will shift the way your brain functions, which subsequently changes how you act and speak. It will change who you are and how you lead other people.
- Multiple times during the day, stop what you’re doing or what you’re about to say.
- Take a deep breath and slowly release it through your nose.
- Silently begin counting to 10.
- Mindfully tune in to the present — what you’re experiencing and how it’s affecting others.
- Observe your body sensations and what they’re telling you about the situation.
- Observe the body language of those around you.
- At the end of each day, review what each Pause revealed to you.
For Shelly, the Power of Pause became a leadership superpower, especially when she coupled it with newly-learned deep listening skills. The same will work for you! Once we slow down enough to consider the other person, we can truly listen to what they’re saying. It leads us to ask questions to clarify meanings, so everyone is on the same page.
If you’d like to explore the topic of mindfulness and developing a practice of embodiment further, please download my free report, 10 Steps to an Embodied Practice. Even if you’re not coaching clients or leading a team, the principles apply to all aspects of life.