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The Pause ‒ 4 Stages Of Stepping Into Growth

Written by: Jodie Graham, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Life is full of lessons; some are small and subtle, some are monumental and life-changing. The question becomes are you taking the time to reflect on the lessons and create a level of awareness that allows you to learn and benefit from them. One of my greatest lessons was learning about "the pause." Octavia Raheem, author and speaker, once asked, "Do you have the courage to be in the pause between what was no longer and what is not yet?”

From my own experience, I was well into my forties before I gained an adequate level of awareness that began to shift my world. When I look back over my life, I can see those lessons and bring the learnings into my daily life. I also recognize the times that had the most significant impact on my life were when I stepped into the space between what I knew and what was yet to be and to trust that in the uncertainty, everything would work out as it was meant to be. My childhood was what many would consider being straight out of a fairytale. I grew up with one sister in a rural community; I played outside every day without a care in the world, rode bikes, climbed trees and spent summers with my friends that lived down the road. I have parents that stayed together, even when things got hard. I had a simple childhood that I know many in this world would envy. Yet, my life lessons were plentiful and formative, even if they were subconscious. Some of those lessons created the strong, independent person I am; others created limiting beliefs that I am still working on today.

The lessons I learned in the early years were foundational in who I am, and when I was 17-years old, I stepped into the pause for the first time that I can recall. I left the comfort of my carefree family home and small-town living and moved to the city, six hours away from my family and friends and began discovering who I was on my own.

In my twenties, I had moments of stepping into the pause, like going to college, learning what it meant to live paycheck to paycheck, getting married at 22 and starting a family at 23. I didn't even think about what it meant to love myself or reflect on personal growth. I believed in happily ever after and thought life just happened that way. Looking back, I was naive and lacked a level of self-awareness that allowed me to see that my marriage, while not all bad, wasn't healthy. It had a consistent undertone of verbal abuse and alcoholism, and I could not accept or acknowledge that anxiety and depression were setting in and impacting my self-esteem. For me, the moments of pause in that decade felt like everyday life events; they didn't feel courageous or extraordinary, but I realize now that some of the most challenging lessons were during that time, but I didn't know enough to see them. My thirties were immersed in career development, raising my kids and feeling more and more disconnected from who I was or, more importantly, who I wanted to be. The gap between my husband and I was growing, and I was becoming increasingly unhappy on the inside. I lacked the confidence needed to step into that place of self-discovery and was stuck in the position of comfort, even though that comfort was toxic. I didn't have the courage to step into the pause that could ultimately set me free. The story I was telling myself was that we don't get divorced in my family, I needed to stay for my kids, and I couldn't make it on my own. My self-esteem was low, and taking the step into the pause was terrifying, so I stayed in the comfort of what was. As I entered my forties, there was an emerging fear. I feared that I would be stuck if I didn't change something soon. I knew that staying in my marriage was no longer an option; I was falling apart on the inside. The pause was calling me in; I could no longer remain married; I was no longer willing to put myself last, and I was no longer going to pretend that life was okay. At the same time, I was terrified of what was yet to come. Could I make it on my own? Was I being selfish and hurting my kids? I did not know how my life would turn out if I left, but I had to find the courage to be 'in the pause.'It turned out that taking that step was the single most important step that I could have ever taken. It was hard, and it was worth every tear, every panic attack, every moment of doubt. What I found during that time was self-love, self-acceptance, spirituality, calm, peace of mind, confidence. I became a better Mom; I became a better person. In that time, I learned to no longer fear the pause but rather embrace it, seek out the lessons and the growth and stand for what is right over what is comfortable or easy. I wrapped up my forties taking a stand against harassment in the workplace, where the stress and heartache were significant, but the lessons were monumental and extraordinary. This year, I turned 50, and as I write this article, I am in a new pause, and I wouldn't have it any other way because I have learned that having the awareness to name it, embrace it and live it has made "the pause" far less intimidating and easier to navigate. When you think back over your life, stop and take notice. When did you see the most growth, the most significant transformation, the most remarkable development? At times, the fear of stepping into that space might keep you from taking action—the idea of being in the state of in-between what you know and what is to come can be almost paralyzing. Yet, finding the courage and strength to step into that space can allow you to experience the most growth in your life. Examples can include:

  • Returning to the office after two years at home.

  • Going back to school.

  • Changing careers.

  • Leaving a relationship/getting divorced

  • Standing up against harassing behaviour.

  • Starting a business.

  • Selling a home.

In each of these instances, you will learn more about yourself, more about what you are capable of and more about what is important to you. The pause can show up in your life in a way that feels like a simple day of living, a major life event and everything in between, and in all instances, magic can happen if you can find the courage to step in and create more awareness of what is happening in your life. Will it be uncomfortable stepping into the pause? Absolutely, and is it worth it? ...100% So I ask you this:

  • Do you want to make a change in your life, but the fear of stepping into the pause is holding you back?

  • Do you want to step towards something new and exciting and need some support navigating the pause?

  • Do you want to live your best life by taking your next big step?

If the answer is "yes," take the leap, believe in yourself! Reach out and let me assist you in that journey through The Pause!

If you think The Pause is holding you back as you strive to move forward in your life and career, book a complimentary discovery call with me, I would be honoured to help you gain clarity and step into your strength!

If this article resonated with you and you would like more content like this, please connect with me via Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Website.


Jodie Graham, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jodie is a Certified Executive Coach and Chartered Professional Accountant with 30-years of executive leadership expertise. With her commitment to building teams, she dives into workplace issues and formulates systems and solutions that enable teams to thrive.

She understands the importance of building trust to ensure commitment and accountability are in place to create high-functioning leaders and teams. Her clients describe her as a trusting, encouraging and intentional coach with the ability to pose the right questions at the right moment to stimulate big picture solutions.

With her leadership and life experiences, along with her passion for supporting women in their self-mastery journey, Jodie’s coaching is guaranteed to challenge your thinking and inspire you to step into your strength and purpose with confidence.



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