Dr. Rita's Blog
A few years ago, when I would get into a rush, my good friend, Allan Milham, loved to make the comment, “Maybe you need to go slow to go fast.” I trusted his judgment, but I never really “got it.” After all, I prided myself on being a type-A personality. I could be depended upon to be responsible and get things done.
Now that I’ve been practicing what Kevin Cashman calls “pausing” for the past 19 months, I have a visceral understanding of the wisdom in Allan’s statement. Slowing down and pausing helps us quiet our own inner chatter and reconnect with ourselves. Then we allow ourselves to really listen to our own inner voice about what is important and meaningful.
When we listen deeply to ourselves, we can then listen more genuinely to others and contribute more generously. Our confidence grows because we’ve taken time to make sense of what we are doing. And we are more connected to our inner being and are less likely to fall prey to knee-jerk reactions.
What Successful Leaders Do
Leaders Karen Kimsey-House, CEO of Coaches Training Institute, and Pablo Gaito, VP of HR at Cargill, among others create pause in their work life by doing the following things.
• At the beginning of staff meetings, ask for a moment of silence and invite people to take a moment to follow their breath and collect their thoughts. This will be a welcome respite.
• Write to gather your own thoughts, reflect and discover new understandings so you can make clearer decisions.
• Practice daily meditation or just sit still for a few minutes and let your emotions and spirit catch up to you.
• Have a daily exercise routine. Work out, walk, go for a run, do yoga or tai chi. Physical movement helps your brain as much as it does other parts of your body.
• Retreat from your regular routines and commitments for a few hours or a few days to walk in nature, sit by a lake or stream, listen to the breeze, watch the squirrels or birds and just “be.”
It Seems Hard
In my coaching work and when facilitating the Executive Women’s Change Leadership Roundtables, getting leaders to take time out to pause or do reflective thinking, as I like to call it, is one of the hardest things to ask of my clients.
Stopping to think and reflect is one of the most important things we can do for our well being, productivity and creativity. And surprisingly, stopping is the first step.
Give it a try. Even 5-10 minutes to just stop and sit quietly can help you relax, lower your stress and gain clarity that will be amazingly helpful.
Don’t be surprised if the first couple times you stop to pause and reflect, your mind goes crazy trying to convince you to get up and do something. That is normal for most people. As you continue to practice, your mind will eventually settle down.
Let me know what you try and how it goes for you.
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