William Liao

September 23, 2021

Pause first

Early in my career, I had a glorified sense of productivity. 

I was surrounded by buzz words and phrases like hustle, get shi* done, and Just Do It. 

Gary V. was the man (any Crushing It! fans out there?).

Suffice it to say though, I had the misguided belief that the most valuable thing to do was to take action and move as quickly as possible. 

It’s only been within the last couple of years that I’ve come to realize that adopting a pause-first mindset is essential for counterbalancing the inherent risk that acting too quickly can bring. 

Pausing first is simply about setting aside time to assess the macro impacts of your actions before you take them. 

Before jumping to commit to something, pause to evaluate the rationale, feasibility, and anticipated outcomes.

Before jumping to hire, don’t just focus exclusively on the candidate’s ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the role — pause to consider the long-term impact they could have on team dynamics and the culture as well. 

Before jumping to form a partnership, pause to map out every single incentive of each party (because while wanting the same outcome is good, having substantial overlap in incentives is even better). 

Pause first, then act.

By all means, do those two things as quickly as you can. 

But don’t skip steps. 

After all, what good is a marginally faster decision if it generates exponentially more problems downstream?