Time for a Pause
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Have you ever thought about the value of a pause? A fermata, or pause in music, adds so much to a musical arrangement. It concludes the previous section and draws attention to the measures that follow. Without the fermata the piece is not nearly as interesting. Used well, the fermata builds an emotional connection with the listener. As we wind down 2022, and we begin to set the table for 2023, taking a pause to reflect and make necessary adjustments is a critical tool for any leader.

In a leader’s journey, intentional pauses offer us time to look around, take note of where we are, and compare our results with our plan. A pause isn’t an empty space that is there for no reason, it’s a priceless opportunity to stop and think. Just as the fermata in music, it allows us to conclude the previous year, create a list of takeaways, and establish the emotional connection that will propel us into the coming year. As I plan my year-end pause, here are a few things I will look for:

What are my key learnings? I’ve been reflecting each day throughout the year. Some days I have some significant learnings and other days not so much. In this end of year pause, I will go back through and review the learnings and pull out the key ones. Which learnings can I leverage in the new year to an even greater level. It won’t be a long list, maybe four or five at the most. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t value all the learnings, just that some will be much more useful going forward.

What hasn’t worked? This might actually surprise you. I often say that we learn more from failure than we do from success, and I stand behind that statement. Some things that didn’t work simply aren’t worth reworking. It may have seemed like a great idea when I started, and others may have agreed with me, but in the end, it brought little value for the amount of time and effort. Time is so precious that knowing what to stop doing can be one of our most critical takeaways.

What were my most rewarding moments? As I approach my 62nd birthday, spending time doing things that are most rewarding or things that bring joy to others and to myself, become even more important. Perhaps it’s the realization that I have less days ahead than I have behind, but I want to make sure each day counts. When our daily actions are in line with our values life becomes so much richer and fulfilling. We wake up energized and ready to take on the day.

I could go on for many more paragraphs, but you have read about my reflection time over and over. Start with just these three reflection questions and you will be amazed at what you will find. Next week we will look at tips for setting up your calendar for 2023.

It is my prayer that each of you will have a very blessed Christmas, a happy holiday season, and a prosperous new year.