The Power of the Pause


Once a year, for a week in August, I go quiet. My responsibilities throughout the year require that I put myself out there -- speaking, teaching, writing, leading. But for one week in August, I pause to be quiet -- to listen, to take in, to refresh, and to restore. Part of this week is spent attending the  Global Leadership Summit, a two-day leadership event that is telecast live from Willow Creek Church near Chicago, IL to the  more than 300 locations in North America. Throughout the fall, Summit events take place in an additional 350+ cities, 105 countries—translated into 50 languages.

Now, I know that I just lost half of you because the GLS takes place in a church. Hang in with me for a few more sentences. The GLS attracts speakers such as Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, Jack Welch, Colin Powell, Horst Schulze, Ed Catmull, Brene Brown, and Adam Grant.  It operates from the belief that, according to senior pastor Bill Hybels, "armed with enough humility, leaders can learn from everyone."  The Marketplace can learn from the Church, and the Church can learn from the Marketplace.

Over the next several days I'll be sharing insights from the Summit with you. Perhaps you'll be inspired to make the GLS the appointment it has been for me for the past eight years. Even if you do not see the value that I do in the GLS, I encourage you to find your pause. Maybe it's a retreat. Maybe it's a class. Maybe it's taking a week off from work during the same week the kids are at camp.

The point is, we're all running around like idiots most of the time. Just one more client. One more conference call. Let me just check my e-mail. I don't need that whole day off, I'll just sleep in a little and see you at noon. Sure, I can do lunch. I can meet you for that drink. I'll take that spin class. The kids. The carpools. The parents. The appointments. The meetings...

Find your pause. And then, take it one step further.

No speaking. No teaching. No writing. No leading.

Do you hear that? It's a wondrous phenomenon called silence. Couple it with solitude and you've got a powerful combination that will soothe your soul.


Be still.

Unplug. Create white space.

Be still.

Put down the book. Turn off the iPod. Put away the laptop.

Be still.

Take a break from the chaos. Hear your own internal voice. Hear the murmur of your soul.

Be still.

Listen. Take in. Refresh. Restore.

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