The pause makes the music

As a rose gardener, there is an entire season where it doesn’t look like my roses are doing much, or like I’m not doing much to nurture my roses.


The season of rest and taking a break plays a key role in the process of creation. Humans, like nature, need to pause.

(I was going to say unlike machines, but that’s not entirely true. Even machines need rest and repair).

We’re coming to the end of the year, and that creates the perfect opportunity to take that rest. At least from working and thinking about work, if not from socialising and menu planning.

I’m not going to give you a recipe for how to rest because rest is different for everyone. So lean into what your body and mind are drawing you towards. Yes, you are allowed to spend an afternoon watching TV reruns or reading that book, even if the weather is absolutely perfect for a swim or a picnic.

But I do want to remind you of WHY you should absolutely take that break, so you’re not tempted to skip it, and come back in January needing a holiday.

Take stock

As leaders, we can get caught up in moving from goal to goal, and often don’t get a chance to stop and reflect. We need to make that happen intentionally and sit with how the year went, but also how it felt. So stop. And reflect on these questions: What are you proud of achieving this year? What could you have done differently? How do you want next year to feel, and how can you create it intentionally?

Quality time with loved ones

Work is not all life is about. We’re used to juggling and balancing many responsibilities, but the end of the year might be when the balance sways deeply in favour of personal time. Take advantage of it, create memories, and replenish your energy.

And there’s another great reason why I personally value time with the people I love. It’s because how I am as a leader is not just something that I lock away, for use only during work hours. I often learn things about myself as a leader when I’m socialising and just being with family – because my leadership style is closely intertwined with my personality. Enjoy this time, and the lessons will emerge as you need them.


When I’m not in the midst of everything, running a business, a household, a family (complete with two energetic dogs)…things become clearer. I realise that I can stop doing the things I thought I had to keep doing. Things that bothered me suddenly become amusing or unimportant with some distance. Entire problem solving pathways come to me just because there is room for them.

Such is the power of taking a break, and the best thing is that it’s not something you have to be skilled at, or that you need to pay someone to show you how to do it. It’s easily accessible.

So take that pause, see what it teaches you, and I’ll see you on the other side, rested and ready to start the engine once again.

PS: There’s no denying that creating the time and the space we need to look after ourselves can be difficult. But it all goes back to putting that oxygen mask on first. Mel Kettle makes a fabulous case for looking after ourselves in her new book, Fully Connected. You can listen to my interview with her here.

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