The Power of The Pause

Sep 01, 2022

What’s a simple way to reduce people-pleasing that you could start today?

The skill of adding a PAUSE before you say yes to things. 

Adding a pause is a simple, yet extraordinarily effective way to give yourself time to think about what you really want, and decide how you’ll respond. It’s a way to take your “yes” off of auto-pilot. And to check yourself for your interest, energy, and bandwidth to agree to something else.

I know it can be scary to pause, and not say yes right away.

Here are 6 ideas about how you could give yourself a pause.

1. Share What You're Working on

Give the person the inside scoop on why you're pausing, or why you may not be available. Here's an example of what you might say: "I've been trying not to add anything else to my plate lately. Let me see."

2. Ask to Delay

Asking permission to delay is a nice way to politely get yourself a pause. To do this, you could say: "Is it okay if I let you know later?"

3. Do Nothing

Here, note that you can create a pause sometimes without having to ask for it. Non-verbally. For example, if you receive a request via text or email, practice taking the time you need to respond.

4. Share Your Concern

The skill here is sharing what you're worried about or why you don't want to say yes right away. This can help the person understand and be supportive of you. One example of this is: "I'm not sure I'll have the energy. Can I let you know closer to?"

5. Check Your Commitments

Building in a pause by making sure you check your commitments before you agree to anything else is another way to go. This will help you not to over-schedule yourself, while giving you time to emotionally check your interest and bandwidth about the specific request. You might try using this phrase: "Let me check my calendar and get back to you."

6. Share What It Depends On

You can let the person in on what you'd like to consider before you agree. Your availability might depend on finding support for other tasks, when you're done work, or other commitments. This way of pausing also builds connection as it let's people know what you're juggling to agree to a request. Here's an example of this method: "I'd like to join if I can find childcare. I'll let you know."

Getting in the habit of taking a pause before you say yes is a great way to stop yourself from auto-people-pleasing. You may find that the things that you do end up agreeing to are more in line with what you truly want if you've had time to consciously consider them, and make the commitment from a whole-heart place versus from a place of being put on the spot and not wanting to disappoint. 

For step-by-step guidance from me on how to STOP People-Pleasing, join my comprehensive online course.