Why you lead better when you understand different ways to Pause

July 31, 2020
Laura Thomas

The journey of slowing down, connecting more deeply to yourself and becoming more conscious is unique to each individual.

With the fallout arising from the global pandemic, there’s more focus on mental health in the workplace than ever before. At the same time, the pressure on teams and organisations feels heavier, with performance critical and creating culture remotely ever pressing. People are working harder in the name of job security, and every move, communication and decision a leader makes are heavily scrutinised. For many leaders we know this pressure is going to escalate in the coming months, the leaders who will stand out positively are those who can make the tough decisions with consciousness, empathy and an open heart.

Only in recent weeks Brian Chesky’s open letter announcing a 25% cut has been praised by some as ‘a masterclass in compassion and empathy’, whilst Donald Trump’s communications have been ridiculed and widely criticised. Jacinda Arden demonstrated the benefit of prioritised decision making and swift action, whilst others hesitated in the hope of more information delaying crucial decisions or even worse, reacted in a knee jerk fashion.

We must come up for air

For everyone with any form of responsibility and pressure, it’s natural to be heads down with a relentless focus getting things done and keeping all the plates spinning.

Yet as we’ve seen with the examples of leadership - conscious communication and decision making are critical to life-changing outcomes, and yet when leading at pace staying clear and conscious isn't always easy.

Quite simply, for the better of all, we need to slow down and pause. Pausing isn’t just a luxury - a once a year holiday or spa day in the name of ‘self-care’, pausing needs to be a practice.

A daily, weekly, and annual practice. A rhythm. A way of raising consciousness. A way of being.

How do we learn to pause more powerfully? How can we slow down to speed up?

Like any new skill, pausing takes trial and error. The journey of slowing down, connecting more deeply to yourself and becoming more conscious is unique to each individual. As we become more confident and well versed in Pause techniques, we experiment with deeper practices that take us further into our intuition and inner knowing. The power of Pause is that the deeper you go within, the more able you will be to shift the system you lead.

Mentors, books, practitioners may all share commonly touted methods such as meditation, yoga, or a retreat, but more important than the methods, is the understanding that a pause practice has different dimensions and to what extent we can navigate within each one.

Could it be that the secret between leaders who become shining examples to all, versus those that turn into mocking memes, is that they are able to pause in different ways and to use that time and space to really know themselves?

The pause capabilities that have rung true in my work

Over the years, I have witnessed hundreds of leaders talk through their experiences and reflect on their pause practices.

Five key capabilities and themes started to emerge that could help me understand the strengths of different leaders that aided their journey of profound transformation.

I now define them as the following categories and today function as The Pause Method

No alt text provided for this image

In all my coaching, retreats and work with organisations, these categories help me assess individuals and their pause capability in a structured way that can highlight the strengths and weaknesses that can direct future development.

Where someone might be strong in slowing down, they possibly aren’t going as deep into self-enquiry which is essential to understanding our inner world.

Alternatively, an individual could be familiar with the power of a walk in nature or the benefits exercise can give them, but they find their engagement with the activities sporadic and compromised by an underlying achievement anxiety.

It’s time to take pausing more seriously

It seems the world is putting everyone’s pause practice to the test. Time is of the essence.

We decided we wanted to create something to help people evaluate where they are today with pausing, and identify where they can step up to the next level, so we created the Pause Score Card - a dynamic online tool to discover, align, and mobilise your personal pause practice. After answering a set of thought-provoking questions, you’ll be scored against each of the Pause Method categories and receive a personalised report of results and Pause recommendations.

We hope that with everyone improving their ability to pause, the world will navigate the inevitable changes of the future with grace and calm. A new way driven from the power of our inner worlds of wisdom.

Take the Pause Scorecard here or share with your team to identify how you can further develop a pause culture at work.

Be well Danielle.

About Pause Global

Pause is a global movement with a mission to inspire people and raise consciousness with the simple power of pausing. Offering bespoke retreats, content and coaching, Pause Global gives leaders, managers and organisations the one thing money can’t buy and HR can’t provide - time.

The Pause method is based on the best-selling book by Danielle North who has been coaching and running retreats worldwide since 2013. Danielle has inspired individuals to pause in the UK, Italy, Singapore, Bali and Australia, working with leaders from HSBC, Mars, BP and the United Nations.

The philosophy of the Pause is simple, if you're going to perform in a world that's speeding up, sometimes you need to slow down...

If you want to get in touch with the team at Pause Global we'd love connect, send a note to hello@pauseglobal.com

What's your pause score?

Take the test