I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my initial response to most emotion-evoking situations is anger. I get angry about the situation, the person creating it and/or myself for being part of it. My anger response results in the desire to lash out at whatever caused the stressor. I want to gripe them out. I want to tell them exactly what I think. I know this is a terrible idea.
While I’m not proud of it, I’m glad I understand my initial response and recognize that it’s emotional, not logical.
The pause means recognizing that your initial response might not be best and waiting to respond.
The pause gives you time to reflect on the situation and make a rational decision about how to respond.
I was explaining the pause to my husband, and he said he uses the approach a lot. He frequently fires off email responses, then saves them instead of sending them. He reads and edits the response the next day before he presses send.
I asked him if he worries that he may accidentally send the original email, but he said no. It’s never happened and he’s careful that it doesn’t.
He recognized the power of the pause and was practicing it without giving it a name.
I’ve been using the power of the pause for years. It’s saved me from many potentially embarrassing situations where my emotions jaded the way I viewed an issue. I still have close friends who I may share my initial responses with, but they also are trusted advisers who validate my feelings while questioning other points of view that might be equally valid. In other words, they let me vent and help me calm down so I can respond professionally.
Everyone, regardless of your initial response to issues, should embrace the power of the pause. It’s really just about being professional.