4 Steps to Productive Pauses
Busy-ness is the standard operating procedure for SBOs (small business owners). Get it done. Get it done. Make a decision. Get it done.
Sometimes, though, you need to pause and think. In reality, more businesses would be more successful if the owners and leaders took more time to pause and think. John Maxwell suggests that there are four basic directions your thinking should go in the moments you pause:
- Investigation. (I have to include the story about two guys cleaning out a stable. Up to their ankles in manure, one turns to the other and says, “There must be a horse around here somewhere.”) Some things are so obvious and don’t require reflection, but others require a little detective work. A pause gives you time to figure out what the problem really is so you can find the appropriate solution. Continual growth only occurs when we discover insights and truths within them and that comes from investigation.
- Incubation. Maxwell says incubation is “taking an experience of life and putting it into the slow cooker of your mind to simmer it for a while. Give ideas enough time to simmer until you have an insight.
- Illumination. These are the “aha!” moments. Jim Rohn said, “At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you.” That’s illumination. Such moments are the reward for committing time and effort to pausing and reflecting, according to Maxwell.
- Illustration. An idea is great, but usually it’s like a skeleton – doesn’t have a lot of meat on it. And, until it gets that meat, it isn’t very useful. Add the substance to the idea and all of a sudden the idea comes to life.
Be intentional about pausing to reflect and learning catches up with you. Use the above four I’s to make a pause worthwhile and fruitful.
To Your Success!