I listen to a leadership expert named Tim Kight. He talks about the importance of pausing before responding to challenges and situations in the world.

Pause. Gather yourself. Then respond. Reacting spontaneously has its risks. If you can pause, you ought to do so.

Kight digs deeper, by describing three distinct types of pauses.

1. “Proactive” Pause. Take a proactive pause before a situation arises, considering beforehand how the situation may play out. Create an intentional plan. Begin with the end in mind. Choose the habits that will increase your effectiveness. Develop skills.

During the proactive pause, you’ve thought through the situation in advance and discover later that you were glad you did.

2. “Situational” Pause. However you plan, the situation will change. We’re experiencing this right now in this pandemic. We wake up and encounter something new. We have to devise a different approach.

The situational pause is that moment when you stop and think before reacting. We don’t begin with our gut or impulse. We pause to consider the new circumstance and what it requires now.

3. “Reflective” Pause. When things settle down, the day comes to an end, the project is completed, a conflict resolved, it’s good to pause and reflect. What worked? What didn’t? What must you repeat? What needs to change? What needs to go away?

I’ve often considered the virtue of a pause and try to practice using them. Until now, I’ve never really considered the nature of the pause and what we try to accomplish with them:

· Proactive – Prepare.
· Situational – Choices rather than reaction.
· Reflection – Learning and improving.