What is a Pause?
To pause is to stop all action.
To pause is embracing your inner stillness.
No words and no movement, except for your eyes taking in the scene at hand.
How long is the pause?
A pause can be anywhere from 1 to 5 seconds.
5-seconds can feel like an eternity when there is chaos present and that is why a Pause is so powerful. It allows us to stop time, if only for a moment.
An effective Pause can make a room full of people notice you. If you don’t believe me go ahead and practice pausing at a doorway before entering a room. It can be a room full of people that know you or maybe they don’t know you. Either way you will be noticed. We humans are very perceptive and quite spatially oriented. We perceive, whether we are cognizant or not, when something is not following the normal flow of action in a room.
I recommend smiling if you practice the Pause at the entrance to your family room, so that you invite calm instead of inciting discomfort.
Teachers are experts at the Perfect Pause and we can take their lesson to heart. Think about it. Who doesn’t remember their grade school teacher using a “Standing Pause” just inside the doorway of the classroom to get our attention. Yes indeed! Teachers rule. By using a standing pause they got our attention without saying a word. Which is a perfect example of Leading Chaos safely and effectively.
Are you the boss? Do you own your own business? If so, take the stage and provide the leadership that your work team deserves. Take time to Pause before the next office meeting. Your Standing Pause will provide you with an opportunity to project authority.
To merely begin speaking, without savoring your Pause is to dismiss your own authority. Dear Leaders set the workplace pace. Use your Pause. It is the perfect opportunity to project, calm, clarity, and authority.
3- Key Reason Why Your “Standing Pause” is Powerful
#3 – A Standing Pause makes YOU Stand Out
In my 2010 Revised Edition of my book: Leading Chaos; An Essential Guide To Conflict Management , I provide numerous short stories about how I have led chaos as an EMT, good Samaritan, and Aikidoist. In Chapter 2 – pager 48, I wrote about “Self Control at Car Accident”.
The scene involved two cars. One car was burning, there was a baby at the scene, and four Chinese exchange students who spoke very little English. I was the very first, professional responder at the site, being that I was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician.
After I got out of my car and grabbed my jump kit, I ran to the scene. After arriving the first thing I did was to take a moment to Pause, to slow myself down and to take in and assess the scene at hand.
Not only did the Pause help me, but also I learned later after the injured were transported to the hospital, that it also helped the other good Samaritans feel reassured and calm that someone was stepping forward to take leadership at a time of crisis and chaos.
# 2 – The Pause Creates the Exhale
In the last episode of this podcast, I discussed what I called the #1 Leading Chaos Technique, which is to Exhale. The truth is, we need to first Pause, so that we can actually Exhale. The two have a symbiotic relationship enabling us to garner self-control. We might be able to let out an Exhale while we are running to assist someone at a chaotic scene, but that exhale will be a lot more valuable if we do it in concert with a 1-2 second Pause.
Certainly when chaos is present, you owe it to yourself to be as competent and clear headed as possible. Without clarity and a full dose of oxygen, your ability to think clearly will be compromised. In the Response Training Programs Crisis Intervention Curriculum, the Pause is the first act we take when arriving at a chaotic scene. We Pause and then Exhale. If you would like more info on the Curriculum click this link.
#1 Reason to Pause– A Pause Can Save Your Life
When chaos is really reigning down self-control and clarity is your best friend. If you run head into chaos without a strategy or goal, in other words you are winging it, you are putting yourself at risk and likely any team members who are working with you.
Sure 5-seconds can feel like an eternity, but so is death or a critical injury. Take personal responsibility for your actions and take time to Pause, Exhale, and Set Your Goal.
Rarely is a Pause detrimental to you or someone else. More often than not, it is the lack of a Pause that makes a dangerous scene even more dangerous. Without taking time to pause, we are risking our safely and then must rely on other to rescue us.
And I would be avoiding the obvious to not mention that while Pausing is a fantastic tool to use when leading chaos and it is also a great tool to use when life is less than chaotic. Do take time to smell the roses. Take time today to Pause. Your deserve it. 1-2-3 Pause, now Exhale.
Perfect! Time to pause and listen to this episode: