As the summer begins to unfold and you dream of lazy days by the pool, consider how an intentional pause might improve your conversations at work and in the world. In the same way a weekend getaway can refresh your perspective or adjust your attitude, a meaningful pause in a conversation can give you a moment to really digest what you’re hearing. That information sets you up to respond with purpose rather than react from instinct. Take a look below for three situations in which a thoughtful pause may serve you well.

When You’re on Autopilot

You know the drill: you’re at another meeting or chitchatting in the break room and you’re just going through the motions. You’re hearing but really listening. You’re parroting back the same responses you would give in any situation. You’re not reallyhere for this conversation. On occasion, it can really pay off to stop all the noise in your head and really listen to those around you. Is your co-worker presenting an idea that’s great but not getting traction? If you’re listening, you can step in and help.

When the View is Good

So often we zip past the good stuff and go on to the next item on the agenda. Take the time to press pause to recognize what a friend means to you and how your life is better or different because of their influence. Use a few of your precious minutes to compliment a new hire on a job well done or to notice the effort of a colleague. Delivering meaningful words costs nothing but time and can create ripples of positivity that extend far beyond your line of sight.

When You Hit Overwhelm

Sometime the world is just too much. You can’t possibly get to all those emails and phones messages, never mind the oil change, the house repair and picking up the prescriptions. Life moves fast and one way to feel a little more in control is to take a micro-break. Simply stop whatever you’re doing, turn your attention away from external stimulus and focus on your breath. Inhale deeply and think about the air travelling through your body. Imagine clean, fresh energy pouring throughout your system to re-ignite your energy and focus.

Taking a moment can help you see things a little differently, spread some goodwill, or find your center again.  Keep the power of the pause in your tool kit all year long.

Talk to you next week,

Amber D. Nelson