What if the key to resilience and peak performance isn’t consistently pushing harder to get through? What if it is to listen more?

Of course, we often don’t think we have time to listen when we are busy, and we push our own emotions aside to keep our attention on what matters… but actually, it’s more like we keep our focus on what’s urgent and don’t pause to consider if we are chasing the right problem.

When was the last time you paused to listen to yourself and your needs? When did you last have a good chat with yourself?

I mean a really good chat, a kind and curious one? Were you paused for just a moment to check in with your body? Your emotions? Mind? Soul? When’s the last time you paused to consider what’s going on inside and you asked yourself, “How am I doing in there? And what do I need right now so that I can get through this challenge?”

My guess is it’s been a long time because of the reality we live in and because we tend to think the answer is somewhere outside of ourselves.
And let’s face it; most people have not been taught to pause as the way to achieve peak performance. On top of this, many of us view resilience as sucking it up and always pushing through. When problems arise, we put our work first, relationships second, and if there’s time left-over, maybe we reserve some time to care about ourselves.


What if the key to resilience and peak performance isn’t consistently pushing through?

What if the key to resilience and peak performance is to learn to pause, listen, and ask better questions — a tool I call “Power-Pausing.”

If we what to do work that matters, we must consistently put care first.
Power-Pausing is a brief moment in time that allows you to come back home to yourself. To dare to listen inside and reconnect with what matters and what you care about.

It’s giving yourself the space to ask, “How am I in there right now? What do I need so that I can better face what’s in front of me?” Instead of defaulting to reacting, a pause becomes a small window of opportunity where you choose how you want to respond and act.

“Power-Pausing” opens the door for curiosity and change to take place, giving you back the power of choice.

But it’s not just me spreading the benefits of pausing. The Microsoft Human Factor Lab performed a study where they conducted brain scans to learn what happens to our nervous system when we attend back-to-back meetings.

The brain scans show our mind and nervous system “overheat” when we don’t pause and disconnect between meetings or tasks. However, we remain cool-headed when we pause to step away for a moment. In the scans, you can see how stress builds up if we don’t take time to pause and release it. Their findings demonstrate — despite our culture’s belief — we cannot be engaged 24/7 or deal with constant input, decision-making, or even pay attention. 


The key to making “Power-Pausing” work isn’t to use the time in-between tasks or meetings to check up on email or scramble to make a quick client call. The key is to give yourself the gift of space and to use the five or ten minutes to pause, listen and ask yourself “How am I doing in there? What do I need to be at my best in the upcoming meeting.”

Maybe it’s to grab some water, go for a quick walk or do some stretching. Or maybe it’s to sit quietly and ground yourself in your breathing or allowing your mind to let go of the meeting you just had so you can be present in the next one.

There is no right or wrong answer, just the one that works best for you.
In our fast-paced world, harnessing our human advantage begins with a pause. It allows us to change the outcome by providing the space to listen to ourselves and ask better questions — and for me, that’s what care is all about — asking better questions.

Ask yourself, “What could change if you would pause more?”

Good things happen when we dare to listen so that we can be proactive about not being reactive.