Pause to Reflect on What’s Important

Signs you may need to take a "minute" and pause at work: 1. You are in a constant state of reaction, rather than planning 2. You make decisions to get them off your plate rather than to address the problem...

Two Deer in the WoodsMy wife and I both had to be in the office early. We’d gotten our 20 month old son ready for daycare, but were running late and feeling the pressure. Tension was thick, fuses were short and it was a poor way to start the day.

As I rushed outside in the still dark morning, a shuffling of leaves by the door made me pause. I stopped to let my eyes adjust and found myself practically within arms reach of two beautiful deer. One was bracing to sprint, but the other seemed calm and curious. Impressed by the pleasant surprise, I took in the moment. Then, backing away slowly, I loaded the car. In the small magic of that moment, my new friends reminded me to focus on what was important. Had I been “on time” I would have missed that special experience. I then realized I needed to make the time to serve my family by helping them start their day right.  I also needed to serve my colleagues by ensuring my mind was focused on the right topics and preparation for our meeting on my drive in.

I went back inside, more calm now, strolled up to wife and kissed her gently on the forehead. I then smiled at my son, tickled him a little and slowly carried him into his awaiting car seat. My deer friends had gone, but I was content. My morning was set right. I made it to the office just in time and was in the right state of mind to lead the important dialogue that morning.  Afterward, I thought to myself what a difference those few extra minutes made for my family, ultimately my colleagues and how important it was to foresee the need for a moment of pause at work as well. As a result, I compiled a few…

Signs you may need to take a “minute” and pause at work:

1. You are in a constant state of reaction, rather than planning

2. You make decisions to get them off your plate rather than to address the problem

3. You delegate without full guidance and communication of the situation to the recipient

4. You know you could do a better job, “if you only had more time”

5. You find your team questioning your decisions more than normal and you don’t understand why

We’ve all been there before.  While you won’t have the benefit of deer roaming through your office, these signs may remind you to stop and focus on what matters. You owe it to those you serve to make the time to get it right.

Question: When did you find a moment to pause at the office, or at home, helped?


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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