How to Hear (and Heed) Your Own Voice

How to Hear (and Heed) Your Own Voice

If you’re a feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the offers, incentives and possibilities out there, I have a suggestion.

Stop shifting into perpetual fifth gear, trying to keep up or reach for more, and start remembering how to shift into neutral.

Pause. Pause is where your pulse lives.Tweet: Pause. Pause is where your pulse lives. @coachgailg

Funny thing…for years, I believed in the opposite, in the supreme power of motion. Continuous motion. I’ve come to learn, it’s not about “either-or.” It is about “yes-and,” when it comes to the relationship between action and absence of action. Each speed is essential to cultivating a decision-making process that feels aligned and true.

Mindful action is deeply informed by what I call the Pause Principle.

Everything we do has the potential to be infused with greater resonance and alignment when combined with pause.

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” –Mark TwainTweet: “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” –Mark Twain @coachgailg

Here’s a personal story where pausing before taking action literally saved me thousands of dollars and made room for a better-fitting alternative. A highly publicized program came to my ATTENTION. You know, the message blast that comes at you from all directions, invitations and incentives galore, inferring you will be left in the dust if you don’t sign up?

I’m not often one to succumb to FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. But this one got through my radar. The course deadline loomed. Primitive instincts move into high gear. Adrenaline races. I reach for dark chocolate.

Is the program something I needed or even wanted? At that time, I was not searching for this kind of program. I set out to make an empowering decision, using the Pause Principle.

First, I took a look at the program. Then I put a question to trusted friends and colleagues on a professional forum to see what they knew. Next, I step away from external data, dial my attention inward to become aware of my own physical cues. (Note I did not say to see what I “think.” More about this in a later post.) I become quiet. Notice tight breath and chest, indicating some resistance. Soft focus allows me to get in touch with what my business needs now. I realize it is not this. Instead, I want to dig in to resources I already have and focus on implementing high value actions I already have on my radar. The result: I feel empowered by my choice and validated by my process.

Opportunities abound to infuse the Pause Principle. These examples provide insight and access to pause for decision-making when you need out of the muddy middle, and need to get clear, get calm and prioritize:

  • A client tells me that one of his key takeaways from our coaching was “not to rush” into problem solving; to take time to pause, observe and assess first.
  • Loretta, my yoga instructor says, “The challenge is in the pause of each pose. The pause is what strengthens us.”
  • My coach colleague, Laura, says, “I pause to check inside. Then I push it [the question or challenge] away and keep checking back [for what’s true].“

Do you get a sense of spaciousness from the examples above? How can you use the Pause Principle next time you’re your vision’s fogged with Fear of Missing Out?

We know too well the cumulative impact of racing toward nothing, reaching for more, putting too much emphasis on what and who’s out there. A very effective antidote is becoming quiet, shifting to that place of pause.

What are one or two ways you can apply the pause principle to your business and life?

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