book review how to prioritise your own wellbeing as a leader. Pause, Breathe, Choose by Naz Behesti. Book review by Brighten Project

Book Review: Pause Breathe Choose

book review Oct 02, 2023


In an age where everyone's swiping and clicking, "Pause, Breathe, Choose" feels like a gentle nudge amid all the noise. Penned by Prananaz's very own Naz Beheshti, she takes us through tales from her time at big-time corporations and, yes, those days with Steve Jobs at Apple. She's not just about business wellness; she's here to give life lessons sprinkled with a dash of calm and a sprinkle of wisdom.



Insight #1: Listen to yourself

Central to Beheshti’s philosophy is the profound importance of connecting with oneself. In a world where external stimuli and endless notifications often drown out inner voices, making time for self-reflection becomes pivotal.

For leaders, this insight is particularly crucial. The weight of decisions, the clamor of competing voices, and the mantle of responsibility often make it easy to lose oneself. By prioritizing inner connectivity, leaders can recenter their core values and vision, driving decisions that are more in alignment with their authentic selves.

Try these:

  • Daily Reflection: Carve out 10 minutes at the start or end of each day to refleeeeect. Reflect upon decisions made, emotions felt, and lessons learned.
  • Digital Detox: Allocate specific times in a day when electronic devices are set aside, fostering moments of calm and clarity.
  • Journaling: Writing not only helps in processing emotions but also in understanding the underlying patterns of thought and behavior.



Insight #2: Turning pain into growth

Life, both personal and professional, is fraught with challenges and painful experiences. Beheshti emphasises that it's not the pain but our response to it that defines our trajectory. This perspective is not just therapeutic but empowering, turning obstacles into opportunities.

For leaders, this is a game-changer. Adversities in the biz world - be it failed projects, unsatisfied clients, or internal conflicts, can be reframed as catalysts for transformation. By embracing pain as a teacher, leaders can foster resilience, innovation, and evolution within themselves and their teams. My take on this is that it doesn't even NEED to be painful - ultimately YOU decide what upsets you, YOU decide what becomes fuel for growth.

Try these:

  • Embracing Feedback: Instead of shying away from criticism, welcome it. Analyse feedback, find its merit, and implement the lessons learned. Feedback is just someones opinion.
  • Pain Mapping: Identify recent challenges and assess the learnings from each. What did they reveal about your leadership style, team dynamics, or business strategies?
  • Growth Narratives: Encourage team members to share their stories of overcoming obstacles, fostering a culture that values growth and resilience.



Insight #3: Harnessing the Power of ‘Prana’

Drawing from the ancient Sanskrit concept of 'prana' or life force, Beheshti introduces readers to the essence of vitality that fuels our goals and aspirations. Recognising and harnessing this force can significantly change one's drive, focus, and effectiveness. 

Leaders stand to gain immensely from understanding their 'prana'. It can guide them in making decisions that are not just intellectually sound but also energetically aligned. When leaders operate from a space of heightened energy and purpose, it radiates, inspiring teams, catalyzing productivity, and fostering innovation. This is usually a little bit more 'woo woo' than what I subscribe to, but in essence what I personally take from this is some proven biological lessons - stress is bad, calm is good. I've recently been learning a lot  about the Vagus Nerve and how it helps lower and manage cortisol levels which is hugely impactful for all leaders and particularly female leaders.

Try these:

  • Mindful Breathing: Integrate short breathing exercises into daily routines. These moments of conscious breath can revitalise and provide clarity.
  • Energy Assessment: Periodically assess what activities or interactions drain energy and which ones rejuvenate. Optimise the balance.
  • Meditative Practices: Explore practices like yoga or tai chi that balance and enhance one's life force.



Reflections for You:

  1. On Connectivity: How often do you disconnect from external distractions to truly listen to your inner voice?
  2. On Pain and Growth: Reflect upon a recent challenge. How did you respond, and what did it teach you about your leadership style or personal growth trajectory?
  3. On Prana: How connected are you to your own life force? Can you identify moments when it's particularly high or low, and what influences it?

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