Last week I had a video chat with my friend and colleague Jen. I met Jen 2 years ago when she presented at a women’s retreat I hosted. Her background is eclectic. Jen is a salsa dancer/instructor, mindfulness teacher and career coach. She is compassionate and grounded. In a short period of time, we’ve learned a lot from each other.
And last week proved no different.
You see, Jen and I hadn’t talked in a while, so we had lots to catch up on. Jen started. I followed her every word. It’s exciting to talk with women who have big ideas and are taking action on them. Here’s what I noticed during our conversation. Every two or three sentences Jen stopped talking, put her hand on her heart and took a deep breath. Then she said, “I don’t want to overwhelm you. I’m going to pause and breathe for a moment.”
I didn’t feel overwhelmed. Yet her pause made me pause. Jen finished her update, took another pause, and then asked me about my business.
Although I’ve slowed down quite a bit over the years, I still talk fast, especially when I’m excited about something. And right now I’m excited about my business re-brand (full launch in 2019). So as I explained it to Jen, I barely took a breath in between sentences. All the while her words to pause and breathe echoed in the back of my mind.
When I stopped talking, Jen took another big breath in and out and said, “I want to pause, breathe and receive what you just told me.”
Pause, breathe and receive
Whoa. The word receive caught my attention and made me pause.
I practice yoga and meditation, so I can pause and breathe. Like many people I know, I move fast, talk fast and think fast. Can you relate?
Yet what I rarely do is pause, breathe AND receive. Here are a few examples:
- At networking events, when someone asks what I do, I answer and then move quickly on to them. I don’t let my answer sink in and allow for further conversation.
- When I hear a compliment, I say thank you and quickly turn it over to the other person, complimenting them on something. I don’t fully receive the compliment.
- In the beginning years of my business, when a client thanked me for a job well done, I’d second guess and think about all the ways I could have delivered the program better. I didn’t fully receive the thank you.
Why the struggle with receiving? Lots of reasons, including false beliefs, not wanting the spotlight on me, wanting to make sure everyone feels included.
Has this ever happened to you?
Why it’s important to pause, breathe, receive
The ability to pause breathe and receive is a powerful communication and leadership tool.
- We create space for conversation.
- We create space for new thoughts and ideas to emerge.
- We create space for new voices to be heard.
- We create space for clarity and focus – in our business and in life.
- We are more present when interacting with others.
- We feel more confident and in control when we slow down a little.
- The person making the “offer” feels seen and heard.
Your Presence is a Gift
As we head into the holiday season, I invite you to pause, breathe and receive. No, I’m not suggesting you give up your bubbly personality. That would NOT be a gift. Instead, it’s an invitation to pause, breathe and receive the client thank you, the holiday gift with gratitude, the invitation to connect, the last minute Amazon package delivery.
‘Tis the season to give and receive gifts. Why not give the gift of presence? Pause, breathe, receive.
Your voice matters. Keep shining.
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