Leaders: Take a Purposeful Pause

Image copyright © Dan Nielsen

Image copyright © Dan Nielsen

Last month Shawn Ellis, host of the Better Life/Better Business Podcast, interviewed Janice Marturano, author of the new book, Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership. In the interview they discussed the concept of mindful leadership and its role in the pursuit of leadership excellence.

Marturano, who is the founder of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, believes that “whether you’re leading a global organization or leading your household, leadership is something we all can aspire to.” Mindful leadership is about learning to live and lead in the present moment.

“We’re so over-connected, over-scheduled, over-busy, that our minds are in a state of continuous partial attention; we’re always distracted. We almost never can be fully in ‘this moment.’ And as a result, we rarely ever bring our best selves, because we go into a kind of autopilot.”

There are three pieces to Marturano’s mindful leadership training program: meditations, purposeful pauses, and reflections. While each piece of the mindful leadership training is important, Marturano noted that the simplest thing somebody could start right now is to practice taking purposeful pauses throughout the day. She explained,

“[Purposeful pauses] are the mini-training you can do all during the day with routine events like brushing your teeth or having a cup of coffee or walking down a hallway.”

For example, you might take a few moments while sitting at your desk to focus on feeling your feet grounded to the floor, or to take notice of the sensation of breathing in and out.

“When you practice with a body sensation like that, and aim and sustain your attention on the sensations—not changing them, not searching for them, but just being open and noticing them—you are bringing yourself to the present moment. Because the only place sensations can be felt is in the present… If you can feel it in the body you bring yourself here. And oftentimes, when we feel ourselves spinning out of control, it’s because our minds, our emotions, have taken us far away from right here. And so the first step is bring yourself back here.”

Mindfulness doesn’t fix all your problems or make all the challenges of leadership go away, but it helps you meet and handle those challenges more effectively. By practicing mindful leadership and making simple adjustments in your day­—like taking advantage of everyday moments and making them into purposeful pauses—you can make a difference.

How about you, what moments in your day can you turn into purposeful pauses?


To see the full interview by Shawn Ellis, please click here.


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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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