The power of stopping
Can you remember a time in your life when something just clicked? Like an “uh huh” moment. Some people refer to this as a light bulb moment. A time in your life when everything else freezes and what you really want becomes crystal clear.
I think it’s bonkers to believe this only happens to us once. It’s more likely we have these moments multiple times in our life, and these become our reason for change. Each moment catapulting us forward, shaking us up and shaping our journey.
Now, I’m not talking about those little moments of realisation. Like the time you spilt coffee down your white work pants and vowed you would never, ever wear white pants again. Or, the time you finally realised after months of heartache, that your jerk of a boyfriend needed the red-hot boot! While these moments are crucial, because, white pants and jerks for boyfriends are no good for anyone, they aren’t really life altering moments.
What I’m really talking about are those self-realising, soul searching, massive moments. The kind where, if you were on the set of a musical the entire choir would be singing “hallelujah” as you summersault your way across the stage.
The kind that makes you stop the car on the freeway to catch your breath. The kind that fills your body with a nervous energy because you have finally realised something awesome.
The kind that forces you to re-think your current way of doing, living, being. The kind that drives you into action. The kind that seems both exhilarating and scary at the same time. The kind that says, “You can do this.”
One of my first and most memorable “uh huh” moments was just a few years out of university. I was young, and I’d started working in a team leadership role in a multi-million-dollar organisation. It was fast pace, there were long hours and I felt sick almost daily. I was unhappy and in my heart of hearts I knew that I needed to be doing something that was far more meaningful to me and that aligned with my values.
My biggest reason for quitting and taking a mini employment break, was to figure out exactly where I need to be in order for my career to be meaningful and fruitful. It wasn’t about money, or position or travelling, it was solely about ME.
I spent the next couple of months recharging. It was during this time of rest I became acutely aware of where I wanted to be. The moment dawned on me after searching for work, everything I felt strongly connected to were charity organisations or not-for-profits. I just knew I’d be happier there.
My little period of “nothingness” had given me insight into who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go. This moment of clarity wouldn’t have been apparent, if I hadn’t taken the opportunity to stop.
Stopping isn’t possible for everyone, I’m now a mum with three kids and understand that there are bills to pay and people to feed. But I strongly believe that our best moments of realisation are often found in the aftermath of chaos. The craziness might carry on, but when we step to the side of it, or put a pause on things, peace can occur.
Today’s society strongly perpetuates being “busy” as the norm, so it can feel stupid or wrong to stop. But there is only so much a body can take before something has to give. So, allow yourself the chance to catch some peace. To pause for a moment. To stop. Because through silence can come clarity.
A path unknown, might end up being your best destination yet!