When I was younger, I thought being responsive was a strength. As more and more things demanded action, it became more and more difficult to respond, and more and more frustrating to me when I was unable to do so. Discussing it with my coach, I found that taking a brief pause gave me space to make a conscious decision about how, or even if, I respond.
This is one of the ways I practice mindfulness, which I also bring into conversations with clients. When I introduce the idea with them, I explore different ways of expressing it so it feels comfortable. It’s a way of letting our old habits or reactions be present for observation rather than becoming a call to action.
The pause has become a powerful tool for me. I found that once I had begun to use it, the world around me was a nicer place. And I started to see other things in my life I wanted to change. I also saw the impact of sharing my experience with clients who struggled to understand or practice it regularly.
Mindfulness isn’t a magic wand I can wield from time to time, but a decision I must make consistently in response to things that stir up frustration, anger, or disbelief in my mind. As I become better at managing those things, I notice how comfortable I am in the pause. It also means I have to be honest with myself about how easily I react to the things that stir up unsettling emotions.
One of my clients recently told me how she had come to appreciate the pause. She is working in a new field and finds herself facing the realities of workplace relationships. When she takes a moment to pause, she sees for herself what options she has rather than defaulting to a response that’s mindless and automatic. She’s now helping others in her office see the same options for themselves. I’d call that a success!
What’s keeping you from accessing the power of the pause?
About the Author
Bradley K. Ward, ACC is Principal Coach and Consultant at The Mission Coach, LLC in Palm Springs, CA. Visit Brad’s website to find out how coaching can help you do what you do, better!