Leadership Growth Through Intentional Pauses with Rachael O’Meara, Ep #2

Leadership growth is not something that happens automatically. In fact, it’s one of the many things we leaders have to be extremely intentional about – for our own health and for the sake of those we lead. But few of us recognize the value of pausing, taking breaks to refuel or recharge. But I want to assure you, periodic breaks are vital to every leader’s growth.

For this episode, I wanted to speak with someone who understands this need for a break and could communicate it clearly. I immediately thought of Rachael O’Meara. Rachael is a transformation leadership and executive coach as well as a vital member of the team at Google. Her book, “Pause” was named one of 2017’s top business books and was featured in the New York Times and on WSJ.com.

If you’ll take the time to listen to our conversation, you’ll hear Rachael’s personal story of coming to the end of herself, hitting the pause button in her own life, and the journey that unfolded as she dug into her own health as a leader and discovered many principles and practices that have made all the difference.

#Leadership growth through intentional pauses with @ROmeara, author of the book “Pause,” on this episode Click To Tweet

Tired of putting your best foot forward and repeatedly missing the mark?

All of us fail. It’s part of leadership and it’s part of life. But repeated failures in spite of valiant efforts are an indicator that something is wrong on a deeper level. Rachael O’Meara says there came a time in her life when her efforts as part of the team at Google were becoming an ongoing source of frustration. She put her best foot forward repeatedly but continued to miss the mark. That’s not just her assessment, it’s what her supervisor was saying to her week after week.

In this recording, Rachael explains why she took a 3-month unpaid leave from her role at Google to assess what was going on in her own soul – and how she discovered that the simple act of pausing opened her up to a level of leadership growth she didn’t know she was missing. The pause gave her time to reflect, time to learn, and time to apply her learning. You’ll hear some of the insights gained from that season of her life – and advice to those who may be considering a pause of their own, on this episode.

Tired of putting your best foot forward and repeatedly missing the mark? Learn how #leaders can grow from intentional pauses, with @ROmeara, author of the book “Pause” on this episode Click To Tweet


Don’t expect leadership growth in up and coming leaders if you are not growing

Senior leaders are responsible for so much more than the direction of their organizations. They are responsible to see that junior leaders have opportunities for leadership and personal growth. Rachael O’Meara points out that leaders can’t expect those they are leading to grow if they are not growing themselves. In her words, “Things trickle down from you as a leader.” It’s up to you to set the example.

That means you can’t expect junior leaders to take wise and needed breaks for the sake of leadership growth if you continually push to your limits without taking a pause yourself. You’ve got to practice what you preach and set the pace for your organization. People will do what you do, not what you say. The insights Rachael shares on this episode are priceless, be sure you listen.

Try something different: That’s where the magic happens

Many leaders feel that taking time for personal reflection and growth is too touchy-feely. They’ve done alright so far, why should they make a change in their personal habits now? Rachael encourages those who don’t really believe in pausing to allow time for personal growth to consider one thing… a growth mindset is characterized by openness and curiosity. If you’re going to shut down the idea of a pause simply because it’s unfamiliar, you could be shutting down the very thing you need to move to your next level.

Try something different. Rachael says it’s in the unfamiliar things that life-changing discoveries are made because they enable you to see things from a new perspective. Your growth as a leader and the leadership growth of those in your organization could depend on you stepping outside what is normal and trying a new approach. As a leader, don’t be the bottleneck in our organization, be the doorway to new opportunities.

Try something different: That’s where the magic happens for #leaders. Learn how senior leaders can grow from intentional pauses, with @ROmeara, author of the book “Pause,” on this episode Click To Tweet


Outline of This Episode

  • [1:52] What are “Google Talks?” – Rachael is one of the hosts
  • [3:32] The life issues that led Rachael to feel the need for her book, “Pause”
  • [7:39] Advice about taking a pause for leaders who are committed to growth
  • [10:29] Trying new things on is one of the best ways to assess your need for a pause
  • [13:09] Unsung qualities that are beneficial for growth
  • [20:03] 3 key takeaways from this conversation
  • [22:56] One thing leaders can to do promote pauses in their emerging leaders
  • [24:37] Know that you are able to create new things and adjust your state of being

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Rachael O’Meara

Connect With Bruce

Subscribe to The Development Exponent on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher


Don’t expect #leadership growth in up and coming #leaders if you are not growing as a senior #leader. Growth from intentional pauses, with @ROmeara, author of the book “Pause,” on this episode Click To Tweet
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