A year before I started my coaching certification, I was listening to a podcast and there was an analogy that stuck with me, so much that I shared it in my leadership training and to help teams create winning strategies for business performance. The analogy was about riding a bike to reach your destination, and you are pedaling away, going as fast as you can, and if you would just stop and get off the bike and into the car, you would reach your destination so much faster.
Fast forward to today, where I have completed my certification, launched my coaching practice and continued to teach business leaders this concept, which I call Pause for Progress. The basic premise of the concept is that we are often moving through life with what we believe is consistent action, and that we believe if we stop, we will lose momentum or slow down our progress, when I teach that exactly the opposite can be true. But, we are often so focused on the action we are in, that we fail to see that there are other paths or opportunities to achieve our results, often faster and more efficiently.
I have taught this concept to dozens of teams over the last two years, helping them to create stronger leadership actions through prioritizing their time and being focused on the entire journey of goal achievement, including the importance of pauses. When we start to embrace the pause, we can discover opportunities that we did not see when we were in constant motion – think about the difference between being the driver and the passenger in a car – how often have you marveled at what you notice when you are the passenger and are not in a state of constant action?
The importance of being intentional with your pause cannot be overstated – when we take pauses without intention, some may call it buffering, others procrastination, but the outcome is the same – we do not use the pause with intention and just end up staying exactly where we are, albeit with a little distraction thrown in! Pausing with intention takes practice – and probably a few failures along the way – but it allows us to go further in the long run.
The best part about learning to pause is the realization that you can use it in all parts of your life – personal relationships, health and wellness, professional roles and financial goals are just a few examples of how taking an intentional pause can improve your outcomes in each area. Learning to pause with intention taught me how to change my future and I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach others how to create their future by taking time to pause.
One of the parts of Pause for Progress that can often trip people up is the concept of roadblocks. Roadblocks are the thoughts and actions that unintentionally stop your progress. The key to using the pauses to your advantage are that they need to be intentional, not unintentional. Think about the last goal or project you were working on and where you got stuck or hung up, and let that moment disrupt your focus or derail you from achieving your outcome. You probably felt frustrated, tried to force alternatives to work, instead of taking an intentional break to determine your next best decision. When we allow the roadblocks to determine the outcomes, we end up with results that often fall short of what we were trying to achieve. So, here are two tips that I use to help you consider the roadblock, and allow yourself the time to pause and consider how you want to maneuver around it.
Schedule 15 minutes to write down every thought you have about your goal – the good, the bad, the uncomfortable. Write them all down. This helps you get the thoughts out of your head, and helps you clear space to see what thoughts are creating your roadblocks. Often, this simple exercise can uncover a thought that you didn’t even know was creating your roadblock.
After you have written all the thoughts (don’t be surprised if you have to use more than one page!), pick out the first 5 that really stand out to you as recurring thoughts, or ones that you absolutely believe are true. Then, spend a few minutes on each thought writing down the answers to these two questions:
‘what if this was not true?’
‘what are some alternatives to this thought that I could believe?’
You will be amazed at what you uncover as you do this exercise and it is a critical step in identifying your path to achieving your goal. Consider for a moment how you would look at the roadblock differently if you saw it as forcing you to pause, instead of forcing you to go out of your way to avoid it?
The Pause for Progress post is part of an ongoing blog series from Molly Kurth, an experienced corporate business leader, who is also a certified coach, and loves helping people uncover their potential and achieve their goals as leaders. You can find more information about her and opportunities to work with her at www.mollykurth.com or www.leadfromintention.com.
If you are interested in getting the worksheet, you can email Molly at email@example.com and she will send you the FREE download of Pause for Progress worksheet, so that you can start your own discovery of learning where the pause can actually help you get to your results!