How the Power of the Pause Can Change Our Life.
Recently, I felt it. Waves of overwhelm, a feast of cortisol in my system, a real adrenal drain. I felt tired and yet restless, I was in need of a break. I was experiencing stormy nights, of the insomnia kind, and my own weapons of self-humiliation were standing to attention.
I needed a break. I had to get out, run away, stop and pause. Life does that to you, I told myself. But I knew I had let the stress take over, wind me down, reduce me to gravel, or crumbs. Let me tell you, my resistance was low. Dis-ease was just around the corner.
Taking a break, a furlough or sabbatical has been diagnosed as the best medicine (alongside laughter) and yet we resist it. We deny ourselves the best medicine because…because of a thousand and one reasons that really are more like weak excuses.
We forget about the healing benefits of pausing or having some down time in our lives. We advise our friends and colleagues to take breaks go on holiday or just to take a day off. But do we follow this good counsel? Seldom. Instead, we fill our heads with guilt and other foolish – false -work -ethic phrases from another century.
We convince ourselves we don’t need it, don’t deserve it, it’s not possible and in the process fall deeper into that swirling pit of guilt and shame. Then, on Monday morning, we turn to the person next to us and say; “Come on (insert name of best friend) time to take a break, have a holiday, go somewhere nice.”
Breaking the Waves
I started small, taking walks, sleeping an extra 30 minutes, reading and movie sessions. But it wasn’t enough. The waves of overwhelm kept rolling in. My hectic lifestyle was sapping out my verve and vim and my zip and zing as well.
Then, one day, standing in a queue waiting to pay for some shopping, I remembered the fabulous feeling I experience when I go swimming. It was just a simple reverie. For a moment, I could feel the water streaming over my head and my body. My senses were encased in blue reflections from the sky, bubbles of air from my breath and that freshness of transparent liquid sliding all over me.
The sensation of gliding in another dimension was so relaxing, it was almost as if I slipped out of that frantic skin of work mania and kicked off the monkey boss on my shoulder at the same time.
That’s all it took to wake me up to taking more than a coffee break from work, from my screwball pace of living.
A Pause is not just for Christmas
As a speaker coach, I love to observe and listen to others. I often catch speakers rushing through their pitches and speeches without taking that magic pause. Last week, I watched someone give a stirring and heartfelt speech but it was exhausting to watch. He didn’t pause once. He ran through his presentation like a high-speed train, he even looked breathless at the end of it!
Connecting with a Cool Vibe
As speakers and entrepreneurs, whether we are doing live streams or on stage, being cool, calm and connected is how we would like to appear and make our mark. But how often do we blitz through it instead of flow? How easy it is to forget that the person or people watching and listening, need a moment to digest your offer, understand your meaning or simply appreciate your point of view. Nowadays, many things run at a pepped up and pumped up pace and, let’s be honest, a lot of it we don’t tune into. We switch off and faze out.
Two Ears One Mouth
The art of listening is truly a wondrous skill for all of us to develop but the speaker has to pace the speech for us to comprehend the content. If there is a lot of information and data and the person is racing through their words, we are strained and stressed to understand.
There is no time to review and consider the words. And, we all know what happens when we disconnect…we stop listening, we switch on our phones and search online for the nearest bar.
The Real Power of the Pause
The power of the pause is essential for an audience, to reflect a poignant message, even to consider or reason an opinion.
When you ask your audience or your business associate a question, do you pause and wait for an answer? Do you stop and look for a nod or other sign of acknowledgement? We are talking about moments, a breath or two. That is the golden moment of silence where the listener can take in the context, the sense, and the nuance of your words.
The speaker also welcomes that glorious pause, to retain confidence, to recollect their thoughts, even to remember the next line and to enjoy the audience.
As in our daily life, a pause is essential for good health, energy and efficiency. In writing we have punctuation, in music we call it a ‘rest’, in speaking, we have the magic pause.
Georgia Varjas is a speaker coach who helps female entrepreneurs really Step Up & Stand Out through developing excellent writing and speaking skills, so she can be heard, understood and believed.
She offers free advice and learning in her Facebook Community
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