Day 21: Maintain the Pause Habit

Sally-Anne, 21.04.20

Welcome to Day 21, our final day of 21 Days on the Mountain. 

I’m reflecting on this Power of Pause video series, and the intention I started out with, to bring the mountains and the Alpine nature to you during this time of lockdown. 

But also to share my work with you. These simple techniques of pausing, of breathing consciously, of reflecting, of care and compassion for ourselves and others, and of connecting with nature, is the work I do every day in our Evolving Leadership programme. Teaching leaders to think more clearly, to speak and act on purpose, and to practise Mindful Command – the ability to hold space and become clear, courageous, grounded and compassionate in their leadership. 

So before I ask you to join me today for our final Power of Pause video, let me just remind you of the five habits that we talked about back on Day 1, to help you literally create a pathway in your nervous system which will enable you to pause more automatically as time goes on, so that it becomes part of the fabric of what you do, a new habit. 

1. Firstly, know your why – you need to answer that for yourself. 

2. Concentrate – when you’re pausing in that moment, give it your full attention. 

3. Be consistent. Practise the Pause Habit every day, as often as you like in that day, but at least once a day. 

4. Start small, don’t make it too big a deal. Take it day by day, a few minutes once a day is fine. 

5. And finally, enjoy it. Find the joy in pausing, breathing and listening inside, so that you can think more clearly, and speak and act on purpose. 

Video Transcript

Hello and welcome to this, our last day of 21 Days On The Mountain. And it’s cooled off a lot. We’ve just, you know, we’ve had a run of extraordinary weather for most of this period of this series actually. And even, you know, two days ago I was in our garden feeling very hot when I spoke to you from there. But today I’m standing in what is for me perhaps, the most beautiful spot in our village. I just love it. 

I’m literally surrounded by mountains, as if they were forming a magical circle, framed up here by the Pointe de Sales which overlooks our house, and here by a ridge which is a ridge just before a big mountain called the Dents de Verreu. And behind me a mountain you’ve seen before, which I’ve talked about, is the most majestic in my view of our entire valley: the Tenneverge, which is a little shrouded by cloud, it’s coming and going. And we’ll show you some shots of that during this video I’m sure. 

So thinking about this series, I’ve been reflecting on it today, coming into this last day, I remembered four weeks ago which then was the first week of lockdown for the Coronavirus in France, I remember thinking: what can we do? What can we do from our confinement in this small village at the end of a valley in the French Alps? What can we offer to those people who normally, like you, might want to actually come and at the moment can’t. 

So the first thought was to do something where we could bring the mountains, bring this Alpine nature to you. And then I thought, well, what about the work that I do? What about the work that I do with leaders? What are the practices that I share with leaders to help them think more clearly, to speak and act on purpose, which is so terribly important? What about that? And what could we create with my amazing team, without whose help I couldn’t have done this. What can we together create that brings to you something useful, helpful, meaningful at this time? 

So this series was the result of that thinking. And what we’ve been doing together for the last 21 days, in these moments, has been a few simple things. In all the locations that we’ve chosen around our house, near our house, these simple practices of pausing, of breathing consciously, of reflecting, of care and compassion for ourselves and others, and of connecting with nature. 

So I’ve been touched and quite deeply touched by the number of individual messages I’ve had from you, from many of you, sharing with me the effect, the impact of watching these videos. Some of you have talked about resolving a conflict, others about being able to write clearly and compassionately a difficult and sensitive email that you’d been putting off. Even one seven-year-old girl sharing with me how she was looking at her favorite cuddly toy through different eyes, through new eyes. And some of you very kindly saying that actually it was just about listening to my voice, and relaxing and allowing the images and the voice just to kind of flow over you for a few minutes. And a couple of days ago I had a message from someone who said ‘when these 21 days are over what am I going to do? What do I do next?’ And then shortly afterwards another message which said ‘Oh I know, I’ll just start again’. 

These practices that we’ve been doing together are timeless. This series may have been provoked in my mind because of the situation that we’re in, because of wanting to offer something. But what we’ve been doing here is timeless; as I said earlier, it is the work that I do with leaders every day. So yeah, for sure, if you’ve found joy and support and something helpful in this series, by all means go back and start again. And if these images of this Alpine nature have brought you something extra special over and above the practices, then for sure, please, pick your favourite videos and go back again. 

And as I mentioned earlier you know this is the co-creation, the collaboration with me and our small team. There’s absolutely no way a single one of these videos would have been possible without their help. So firstly our cameraman Simon, my partner. And behind the scenes the wonderfully talented Polly – without her work we couldn’t have done this. So thinking about, you know, if you do decide to go back to the beginning of this series and start again, it’ll be a little different second time around. You’ll notice that. 

But what you’re doing there is helping your habit, helping your habit of pausing if you like, to kind of, you know, ground itself, to get into your system, to literally create a pathway in your nervous system which will enable you to pause more automatically as time goes on, so that it becomes part of the fabric of what you do, a new habit. 

And I just thought that in this last moment together that I would just remind you of those five habits that I shared with you in the second video. Let’s just run through them again. So the first one is why – you need to answer that for yourself. The second one is concentrate, yeah when you’re doing the pause, when you’re pausing in that moment, give it your full attention. The third one is be consistent, do it every   day, as often as you like in that day, but at least once a day. The fourth is don’t be too ambitious, you know start small, don’t make it too big a deal, don’t say ‘right I have to do this for the next three months otherwise I’ve failed’. No no, just take it day by day, once a day is fine. Start small. And most importantly number five, enjoy it. Find the joy in pausing and breathing and listening inside, and knowing that when you do, you think more clearly, and you speak and act on purpose. 

So we’ve come to the moment of our last pause together in this series, live in this series, they’re there forever – the 21 days – for you to return to. But this last one together now on the 21st day, if you like. 

So let’s remember the three steps; pause, internal pause button, bring your awareness into this space between your sternum and your navel, and begin to consciously breathe, bringing your full attention and your full awareness into your breath. Breathing in, and breathing out, following the passage of your breath in and out of your body, its life-giving force. 

I’m going to close my eyes as I always do to help me concentrate, and on this 21st day I invite you to do the same. We’re going to pause for three minutes in silence. Enjoy. 


And when you’re ready, on your next breath, gently open your eyes. 

So thank you for joining me today, and any of the other days that you’ve joined me, and for some of you I know it’s been all 21. And, you know, if there’s anything that you feel I can help you explore directly with me, please just get in touch. And meanwhile I wish you and those dear to you health and love and happiness. Thank you.

21 Days on the Mountain

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