How do you know whether you are experiencing a temporary pause or a permanent hold? Pauses and holds look the same on the outside. In both cases, it appears to others that you’re doing absolutely nothing. But they are experienced very differently from the inside out.
Holding patterns are sometimes inflicted by external forces. A backup at an airport forces planes into a holding pattern – tracing circles around and around high above the city. Delays or overbooking at a doctor’s office forces patients into a holding situation – idly flipping through old magazines and daytime soap and talk show channels. Heavy demands on a customer support call center force callers into a holding situation – assaulted with repetitious messages avowing how much the organization values the call and the caller.
Occasionally, we place ourselves into holding patterns. We wait for the perfect time or circumstances to make a change. We buzz around in circles in our minds licking old wounds and repeating old excuses. We are indecisive – chasing and weighing pros and cons but never drawing conclusions.
Holding patterns are characterized by twiddling, circling, repetition, a lack of progress, a lack of clarity, and rising levels of frustration. Semi-permanent holds are demoralizing, sapping energy and enthusiasm.
A pause is a different creature.
You step outside for a breath of fresh air. You stop to admire a view or the expression on the face of passer by. You close your eyes and clear your mind. You ignore the burping, buzzing, screaming machines around you as you sit for a moment to collect your thoughts.
Though it looks for all the world like you’re on hold, you are not. You are purposefully ‘on pause’.
Pausing refreshes you. It opens you to possibilities of the moment that you may have been overlooking in a frenzy of activity and distraction.
By pausing to look more closely at a situation, you dig deeper and clarify your thoughts. You connect more directly to your feelings. You surface more of the beliefs and assumptions behind your reactions.
It’s in the pause that creativity and innovation work their magic, suggesting new ideas and directions.
Pauses are an energizing and refreshing source of invigoration and renewal. Pauses return you to your work challenges eager to engage, more at ease with yourself, and more at peace with your circumstances.
The good news is that it’s possible to create a pause within a holding pattern. When you find yourself vibrating on hold, look to your options. Appreciate the moment for what it has to offer. Understand that you can choose to continue to feel stuck or you can create an entirely different experience of the moment – one that will renew and move you forward.
© 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