In a recent coaching session, I asked my client for permission to invite another perspective into the conversation. I told her it would still be confidential, but I had a feeling that another presence might help move her forward more quickly. Always open, she said, “okay, who is it?”

My response was “silence.”

You see, like many of us, she hadn’t been giving herself time to think. And, she was frustrated with her lack of clarity. What’s more, she felt uncomfortable with downtime because she feels like she “isn’t doing anything.” (Most of us can relate to this feeling!)

So, with her permission, we invited silence into our conversation and she took the opportunity to pause, think and listen to herself.

It was emotional. It was informative. And, it was a catalyst. In the pause between my questions and her responses, and in the pauses between her responses and her deeper reflection, growth and clarity emerged. It was there all the time, waiting for a pause.

We can see the power of the pause with our kids, too. My oldest son often has so much to say that the words get jumbled on the way out. (Gee! I wonder where he gets that from?!) He is always so relieved when I say, “It’s okay, take all the time you need.” He’ll usually take a breath, close his eyes and when he finally talks again, his voice will be deeper, calmer. He just needs permission to pause and get clear on what he wants to say.

It has been several months since I’ve sent out a newsletter. Lots of big things are swirling in my personal life, and lots of big opportunities are taking my attention and energy in my business. I’ve been writing a lot, but I haven’t shared it in a newsletter. Without consciously realizing it, I was taking a pause. I was using the time to journal, move projects forward, and to reflect. And, I was taking care of myself and my family: coping, regrouping, planning and reflecting everything that was unfolding in my life.

And in the midst of all this, I wondered about the original goal I set for this newsletter. I was frustrated to break the rhythm I had planned. And not surprisingly, that kept me stuck. The frustration didn’t serve me. It wasn’t until I reframed my perspective and accepted the pause with grace and compassion that I realized I needed this time to grow for my own clarity.

When you find yourself resisting, get curious. Get quiet. Pause. Honor yourself by giving space around what you really want and how you feel.

What is hiding in the pause for you?  What permission do you need to give yourself to pause? Are you brave enough to pause and listen?

December is a great time to take an intentional pause. January will be here before we know it. I’ll be here, too. I hope the final weeks of 2016 have plenty of space for you to feel the power of the pause.


“You can dance in a hurricane, but only if you’re standing in the eye.”
“The Eye” by Brandie Carlile