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Power of Pause - Now

Power of Pause - Now

It’s only been a few days since the start of the new year, since heading back to work, and already it seems like you have never been away. Leaders at this time are under constant pressure. Pressure to have answers, pressures to know what to do when the future seems uncertain. There is a lot of pressure on your shoulders and as leader you feel responsible for the safety, wellbeing and direction of others.

Over the last six weeks we have looked at 6 ‘power of pause’. 6 ways to press pause from what is happening in order to empower you.

R - Reflection - Take time to reflect and journal about yourself or the situation to plan improvement

E - Energise - Use exercise, rest or mindfulness to recharge your mind, body & spirit

G - Gratitude – Use a rhythm of thankfulness to reduce stress & gain perspective

A - Awe - Take time to reflect on the moment or nature and use awe to gain perspective

I - Inspire - Take time to read, watch or listen to replenish your thinking, knowledge and wisdom

N - Now – Use the power of pausing to notice your senses, your body, to be in the moment, the present to replenish the mind

At the start of this year, with all the carry forward from 2020, it is so important to learn about the last of the six powers of pause of ‘pause for now’.

There is a lie that we tell ourselves, ‘it is too busy for me to stop’. Now, it’s true that in some moments you need to work intently to solve an immediate danger, but even in the midst of highly challenging times, taking just 2 minutes to pause for ‘now’ can be empowering.

In a crisis

If you have ever been in the midst of a crisis, there can be an intense Cortisol flood that restricts some cognitive processing. It can feel very frightening as you literally struggle to decide what to do. Pausing for ‘now’ is what is needed in those moment. How do you do that?

Pause. Breathe in slowly for 6 seconds, hold for 6 seconds and breathe out slowly for 6 seconds. Repeat this 6 times. As you do this, notice your physical breathing movements, your chest rise. Listen to your breath, listen to your heart beat and notice it slow down as you repeat the cycle. Listen to the things around you. Look for things around you. Notice their colours, shape, pattern. All of this can be done in under 2 minutes. At the end of those 2 minutes, you will notice you are calmer. The challenge will still be there but your thinking will be a little clearer.

Proactive Pause

Pausing for ‘now’ can also be done proactively. The same patterns of breathing in for 6, hold for 6 and out for 6, 6 times, can be done each morning, at a lunch time or as you finish work. Building this rhythm in, building in times to just stop and notice things around you, can bring calm. It gives you mind a rest. It takes back control for you, as you choose to stop, rather than the situation control you. You can work into your day, little moments to see nature or watch things going on in your work place and just pause and watch and notice. When I was a headteacher, I would often visit classrooms, particularly of the youngest children and watch them engage and play and enjoy. Being in the moment with them. As a leader now, I sometimes stand by my window in my office and look at what is happening in the fields, on the road in the distance. Just being in the moment, allowing my mind to take a break.

Next Steps

As you start 2021, it will have challenges. Try to plan in some proactive pause for ‘noticing the now’. It might just help you manage what 2021 brings.

Do contact me directly at if you are finding it particularly challenging and would like some coaching to help you. If you would like to move from survive to thrive then please contact me.


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