Pause: Actively, Strategically, Courageously.

“Times of transition and change create unprecedented opportunities to mindfully curate the lives, careers and businesses we (really) want. With impact, meaning and joy.” 

I’ve been saying this since 2003 when I began working as a professional interim CEO. It’s what guided me to launch my business as a Next Chapter coach in 2016, and even in a pandemic, it remains true.

There are some caveats. Or rather, there are strategies to create the possibilty for this statement to be true.

One centers around the strategic need to pause.

In navigating change, the impulse is to take action to get us “through it” or “back to normal” as quickly as possible, and there is a dis-comfort in being where we are.   

Taking action is certainly needed. As Covid-19 hit the United States, leaders frenetically and caringly jumped into action to figure out what to do, when and how. And there was alot to do – both on the personal and professional fronts. Setting up home offices and new family schedules, creating plans when nothing was known, running the dismal financial forecasts as events had to be cancelled, and doing what ever it took to ensure the safety of others. The adreneline rush of checking off the tasks, feeling that you were doing as much as you could, counteracted (somewhat) the fatigue, worry, self-doubt and grief.

As the pandemic contiinues to unfold, the leaders I talk with and coach are starting to feel a shift.  The initial frenzy has passed. 

We’re moving into a new phase.  Or, I invite you to consider that we are.

We’re now at the stage of transition where “Pausing” – with the intention to reflect, look inward, and explore –  is what creates new opportunities to re-affirm that our purpose (and value) is defined in our impact, not in the particular method of delivery that we feel we must sustain at all costs.

In “normal” times we believe we are much too busy to do this kind of inward-looking, creative and foundational thinking.

  • Each day is measured by the endorphins released when we cross off items on our “To-Do” list… rather than observing the impact that occurs when we choose the actions that will truly move the needle, even transform.
  • We follow organizational models and management frameworks that are comfortable, established, even considered best practices… and then complain about the declining results. 
  • We write cover letters and do interviews that highlight our skills and experience, and then when someone else gets the offer, bemoan the fact that there’s too much competition between professionals with similiar skills and experience.

Times of change and transition –  crossroad moments – are the times to embrace and create the space to look inward, to pause before taking action, to ask questions that create possibility, to expand definitions of our (and our organization’s) identity, value, mission and purpose, from what we DO to the impact we aim to have – which can be acheived in limitless ways.

For the DO-ers reading this, shift the way you think about “pausing.”  I certainly don’t mean to sit and do nothing!

Pause. Actively. Strategically. Courageously.   

How will YOU choose to pause, and why?   Please let me know how you are doing, and how you are ACTIVELY and intentionally pausing during this time of change. I love hearing from you! 

And, if you’d like to connect with a proven process and proactively use this time to look inward and connect with your true value, and learn how to leverage and monetize your superpowers, registration for The “Path Forward” Coaching Package is open [Includes The Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy PLUS 1 month in the Mindful Leadership Cohort]  

be well,


Kathryn R Martin,
“Next Chapter” Coach
Creator of The Career (Life!) Breakthrough Academy

Leadership Transition Strategist & Professional Interim CEO

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