P is for The Power Of Pausing

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There are many tools for make sense of things and achieving success. One method is to incorporate the pause approach into your life and work.

Looking back on your life, can you think of a time when you paused properly and this led to doing something successfully? You may have chosen to pause and:

To think carefully before answering a question

To breathe properly before going on stage.

To take time to appreciate the good things in life.

To collect your thoughts when tackling a difficult crisis.

To consider the possible options before making a key decision.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the past when you took the time to pause properly and it worked successfully.

Describe the specific things you did then to pause properly.

Describe the specific things that happened as a result of pausing properly.

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Different people use different methods to follow the pause approach. Some get into the habit of pausing before answering a question. They find this increases the quality of their answer. They are then able:

To make sure they have heard the question properly.

To take time to go deep within themselves and tap into their experience before formulating an answer.

To consider how they can answer the question in a way that the listener finds relevant and rewarding.

Kevin Cashman highlights the value of pausing in his book The Pause Principle. Below is an excerpt from his website and a video of him talking about this approach. You can discover more via the following link.



We live and lead in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. But paradoxically, Kevin Cashman contends that leaders today must not merely act more quickly but pause more deeply. 

Rather than merely doing more, we must learn to pause and to do things differently in order to grow, achieve and innovate. All of these practices lead to purposeful change, and contribution, an essential part of a leader’s everyday life. 

Daniel Forrester encourages people to pause before making decisions. He explains this approach in his book Consider: Harnessing the power of reflective thinking in your organization.

Some decisions need to be made quickly. But there is often time to consider the options and improving the chances of success. Here is some background from Daniel’s website.


About Daniel

He has worked with the top leaders of organizations from every facet of American life and commerce.

He frames and facilitates moments of profound reflection where disruptive initiatives are imagined and then launched; or, he helps organizations question their relevancy, plan for the future and often re-frame the language and ideas that bolster why they exist.

Forrester is the author of Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking in Your Organization published by Palgrave Macmillan.

This original work distilled the lessons in leadership and habits of reflective thinking that made the difference within the recent financial crisis, war in Iraq and in recovering from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Consider has been celebrated as a top non-fiction title impacting the lives and work habits of leaders within small and large organizations from around the world.


About The Book


This is the warning Dr. Robert Bea drills into his Civil and Environmental Engineering students at the University of California in Berkeley.

Bea wants to dramatize what he terms the inevitable “oh shit” moments that present themselves-before an actual engineering calamity like the Deepwater Horizon/BP disaster happens.

There’s an intangible and invisible marketplace within our lives today where the products traded are four fold: attention, distraction, data and meaning.

The stories and examples within Consider demonstrate that the best decisions, insights, ideas and outcomes result when we take sufficient time to think and reflect.

While technology allows us to act and react more quickly than ever before, we are taking increasingly less time to consider our decisions before we make them.

Reflection supplies an arsenal of ideas and solutions to the right problems.

… Forrester shows us that taking time and giving ourselves the mental space for reflection can mean the difference between total success and total failure.

Carl Honoré hit a chord with his book In Praise of Slow. More recently he has produced The Slow Fix. He believes that human beings can enrich their lives by doing some things more slowly.

Many people have become addicted to cramming in as many activities as possible within a finite time. Sometimes this is necessary, sometimes it is counter-productive.

Carl believes it is vital to get the right balance between fast thinking and slow thinking. Fast thinking generates the pieces of the jigsaw, but slow thinking is needed to make sense of the whole picture. Many of our epiphanies come as a result of slow thinking.

Below is a video of Carl explaining these ideas. You can discover more at his website.


Some people create time to pause and consider the possible routes they want to follow in their lives. A person may choose to take a step back from what they are doing, for example and gain some perspective.

Looking at their life and work, they may ask some of the following questions regarding their future possibilities.

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Different people use the pause approach in different ways. They may use it to re-centre in their daily lives, to reflect when making a decision or to rehearse before tackling a difficult challenge. You will use it in your own way. 

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to take the time to pause properly.

Describe the specific things you can do then to pause properly.

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of pausing properly.

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