I work in a fast moving consumer goods business, so I am constantly asking, “What’s next?” This important question defines the vision and pace for our team. But I have learned that it is equally valuable to PAUSE and ask a different question, “Where am I—personally—right now?”

The ability to step back from the day to day and pause does not come naturally. Reprioritizing other folks and activities with urgent deadlines is an easy trap to fall into. Pausing, however, is absolutely critical for me to stay grounded in my values and development priorities. Looking into this personal mirror lets me ask myself some important questions: How am I showing up at work and home? Am I being my authentic self? Are the places I invest energy aligned with my vision for myself, my team, my family? How am I connecting to my values? What is inspiring me?

When I pause, I gain insights into where I am leveraging my best self and where I need to course correct. Sometimes the adjustments required are small and, other times, they’re much more significant. The first time I consciously paused, I realized that despite a rewarding role and a fantastic manager, I was not living my personal life vision. A change was vital. With the outcome uncertain, I took the risk of relocating geographically and tackling a new role. When I began to live my total life vision, I unlocked personal energy and creativity that changed my professional performance. And I was offered new and exciting career opportunities that accelerated my development.

Pausing enables me to have a clear and conscious plan for becoming a more effective leader, to build stronger business relationships, to do meaningful work, and to ensure I am making the best choices for my family.

On the Person Who Has Had The Most Profound Influence In My Life
Early in my career, a female manager in my organization shared her personal philosophy: “Regardless of the message, aim for every interaction to build the relationship.” While at times it can be a challenge, applying her coaching was vital for me to cultivate my network over my career. I am honored that these talented individuals invest their time to help me sort through business issues, provide candid feedback when required, and encourage me to push through my comfort zone to keep developing.

On the Most Valuable Advice I Could Offer
Be mindful to learn whenever there are opportunities; be courageous to hear feedback; be conscious to build a personal board for support, and above all, enjoy the adventure!