A few weeks back I was composing an email which had some bite to it. It was one of those interactions that had gone back and forth too many times, and the person didn’t want to get on the phone to discuss. I always default to a phone call when the conversation starts going sideways. As I was putting my final touches on this beautifully composed email with just enough frustration expressed to make me feel better, but not enough to break things, my boss called. Rather than hitting send, I took a pause and chatted with my boss. Our phone call was super encouraging and set me on a different path that day. When I went back to the email, I had to start over with a whole new tone. I was grateful for the interrupting phone call that forced me to take a beat before hitting send.

There is something to “the pause,” to taking a break, to stepping back before proceeding, or not forcing what isn’t ready. Most of the time I’m thankful for the perspective I gain when I give something a chance to breathe. Having patience with the process is so hard, but when we let it grow at the pace it’s supposed to grow we often find the fruit of waiting is so much sweeter. Our fig tree in the backyard has 1000’s of figs right now, and all of them are green and hard. In October, they will be a sweet treat because they have matured and ripened. There’s no way to speed up the maturation process, I just have to wait. I have to pause and give the fruit a chance to grow.

Taking a beat is sometimes the perfect response to being stuck, to being overly emotional about a situation, for bringing perspective to the project, relationship or situation. I have read that sleep (especially mid-day naps) can be the perfect remedy for solving the puzzle. Sleep gives our brain a moment to reset and it brings perspective. A few months back, I lost my mind when I saw my daughter’s plummeting grades. It took several laps around the block to bring some internal calm to my soul before going back and entering the fray of finding solutions to her grades (thankfully, her grades shot back up in the following few weeks and we’re still on speaking terms :).

What in your life needs to breathe right now? What situation needs to be put down just for a moment to gain a little perspective, what project has stalled out that needs a nap or maybe needs to ripen a little before it’s ready to harvest? Taking a break before returning can be the best thing to help us break-through our barriers.

Co-Founder of CirrusMD Elliot Sands