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Returning to ready, aim, fire: The power of the pause

3 min read


With our seemingly never-ending to-do lists and 9-to-5 back-to-back meetings, we are navigating at breakneck speeds in our work days to attempt to keep it all together.

The ability to prepare and carefully take aim before firing (in making the right decision or taking the right action) has collapsed into a default of constant action, with little time to reflect and pause to create a more accurate course of action.

The speed of business for many has created a culture of fast-paced decisions and actions often resulting in leaders missing the mark because they have no time to reflect or ponder prior to taking action.

Imagine having access to a remote control where you (metaphorically) hit the pause button to gain more clarity on the situation or issue before moving to action. Who else may benefit from being a part of the solution? What other information may be required prior to pulling the trigger to an action? With many people having a tendency towards extraversion, there is a natural energy for this part of the population to be in action, as taking action provides a kind of adrenaline rush. We can learn from our introversion counterparts to slow it down, reflect and inquire before taking action.


In other words, remember to hit the pause button.

Evoking a pause — be it for a minute or 24 hours — provides time for deeper reflection on issues, allowing you to listen to your intuition and then respond. Consider downhill skiing and the chairlift. The chairlift moves quickly up and down mountains transporting skiers quickly to their desired destination. However, as it approaches the skier, it slows down to ensure the skier is able to properly get seated and secure before picking up speed to the desired destination.

Using the power of the pause helps to guarantee the same precision in daily decision-making.

Reflect on your daily pace at work. How fast do you move and how often do you evoke the pause? Many times, what is being asked of you is important, but not necessarily urgent, and a pause allows time for reflection. How prone are you to be in action for action’s sake? If we arrive to our work with our foot on the accelerator and do not release until we get home, not only will it result in our reserve tank flashing red as we arrive home, but we will possess less energy for our personal lives.

The power of the pause allows for better energy management throughout the day. Pauses can have a huge impact on our decision-making capability, with increased judgment, more reflective thinking and better results.

Allan Milham brings high-energy and passion as a senior leadership and performance strategist. He has logged over 10,000 hours working with top performer since 1998. In addition to “Out of the Question: How Curious Leaders Win,” Milham is also the co-author of “Who Are You … When You Are Big?” and “Bold Moves: Jump to Outstanding Self-Managed Action.”

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