In uncertain and resource constrained times, paradoxically slowing down rather than speeding up is the best course of action. In some cases even pulling over for a pause to reflect and consider the best way forward is required. When we feel lost, it takes courage to pull over, get feedback and consider the best way forward. However it’s only when we pull over to reflect that things become clear. Pulling over and looking at the big picture is often the best way forward.
Many of us work in environments setup to encourage people to transact, rather than to pause and think. This makes it difficult to get meaningful work done. There’s too much going on, the pace is frantic and unfocused.
“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.” – Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne, 1926
When last did you set aside time to think about how and why you’re doing what you’re doing? When last did you really take the time to stop and think? We often get lost in the day to day noise of work and life. Taking the time to stop and reflect is a critical leadership practice.
- Unless we pause it’s difficult to keep our life and work in its right perspective.
- Unless we pause we forget who we are, why we’re here and what we stand for.
- Unless we pause we forget what matters!
- Unless we pause we fail to learn from our experiences and are doomed to repeat our mistakes.
- Unless we pause we remain reactive, falling victim to life’s circumstances.
The real work of leadership requires deep thinking. Our behaviour, action and results are the products of our thinking. If we are not happy with the results we are getting we need to stop and think about what needs to change. It helps to retreat to a coffee shop or to go for a walk. Changing the pace to reclaim your thinking space helps to bring back clarity and perspective.
All change begins with a shift in thinking. A change in thinking requires time alone to consider one’s purpose and actions and how these might need to change. This requires us to slow down, to pull over to and pause and think.
“‘The world we have created is a product of our way of thinking,’ said Einstein. Nothing will change in the future without fundamentally new ways of thinking. This is the real work of leadership.” – Peter Senge
It’s important that we set aside time to pause and reflect, as busyness has a way of creeping in over time. The challenge for leaders is to decide what to do less of and what to stop doing altogether. This requires we step back and get perspective as to what matters and make the necessary adjustments.
It’s only when we pause to reflect that we gain the space we need to regroup and move forward. To keep on track with your vision and goals requires you set aside regular time to pause, think and reflect.
Why not block time out regular time your schedule to pause and review?