When I encourage people to give themselves permission to pause™, reactions vary. Some folks embrace the idea with enthusiasm. It fits with their view of life and their everyday practice. Others resist with every bone in their body.
- An acquaintance acknowledged that he had heard about the weekly PAUSE newsletter, but that he didn’t have time to read it. In fact, he broke off our conversation saying he had to get to a meeting that very moment.
- A newsletter subscriber signed on for a weekly PAUSE because the invitation and sample made it clear that it could be read in 60 seconds or less. He thought he could spare one minute a week – but no more than that – before getting back to cracking the whip on self and others.
- A friend, when gifted with a keytag inscribed with the word PAUSE, expressed her irritation. She saw the suggestion as a criticism of her fast paced approach to life. It was only after she was tagged with a very expensive ticket for absent mindedly passing a police cruiser at outrageous speed that she acknowledged there could be something to this idea of being present to the moment.
These are some of the common beliefs that create resistance to the idea of pausing.
- Nonstop action is the only honorable approach to life and work. If you’re not doing something productive every moment of the day, then you’re not worth much. You should always be pushing forward, getting better, making progress. Standing still is sliding backwards. Climbing and struggling are good. Sliding and coasting are bad.
- If you just keep moving, you won’t have to deal with any of those pesky doubts and irritations that rise to the top in moments of stillness. Move fast enough and all that messy anxiety will be left in the dust.
- It might be okay to treat yourself to a break as a special treat – but just once in a while, not too often, and not too long. After all you’ve got to earn a ‘time off’. There are needs to meet, people to see, and places to go; and you won’t get there if you’re sitting here.
- Your body will let you know when it’s time for a pause. You’ll catch a cold, come down the flu, or sprain your ankle as you race down the steps. Or maybe you’ll be hit with an even bigger wake up call – a bleeding ulcer or a heart attack. Till one of those things happens, it’s safe to just keep running.
- If you take the time to pause, it will take too long to get up to speed again. You can’t afford to slow down and lose momentum. You won’t be a player and you won’t win the race.
- Your job is to set the pace for others. Everybody knows the pacesetter can’t afford to take a break. If you take one, others will, too. Then, before you know it, nobody is getting anything done.
If you find yourself caught in a nonstop frenzy of activity, challenge some of the beliefs that drive your practice. See if one or more of these alternate views might help you shift gears.
- Accomplishment is not the only thing in life that matters. There is value in the moment, the process and the experience as well as the outcome.
- You are more than what you do. In a busy life, you need to consciously carve out space and time to allow your own voice and original thoughts about who you are and who you could be to rise to the top of your awareness.
- Everybody moves to the beat of a different drummer. You may be comfortable with a different pace and tempo than those around you. Part of life’s challenge is realizing and honoring your own needs and preferences and allowing others the same courtesy.
- The higher you climb the more difficult it can be to catch your breath. High performance breeds even higher expectations. Before you know it, you may be caught in an upward spiral that makes pausing seem impossible. Do yourself a favour and model the way for those who follow in your path. Pause to appreciate the view, celebrate success, and gather energy for the next leg of your journey.
- Races are won and lost through timing and pacing, not just momentum and speed. Nonstop action doesn’t guarantee success. Strong timing and pacing require feedback, evaluation and adjustments as you go. Pause to learn along the way.
- You can bet that ignoring regular maintenance and renewal will lead you to run out of gas and crash – if not now, then soon. Taking time out for renewal is an investment in being able to sustain the pace. Even Indy 500 racers make frequent pit stops.
Pause, now, to think about it. It’s okay … really it is! In fact, it’s more than okay…it’s essential!
© Patricia Katz MCE CHRP of Optimus Consulting is a speaker, author and consultant who helps individuals and organizations restore the rhythm of renewal to work and life. To bring Patricia’s expertise to your organization, contact her at www.patkatz.com or toll free at (877) 728-5289