The Power of a Pause: Tapping Creativity

“Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge.” Da Vinci

restHave you ever heard the saying, “don’t reinvent the wheel?”  It’s a really simple concept about using what already works. (Ok, we can refine the wheel, adapt it for our needs, but at the end of the day that sucker is still fundamentally circular.)  Well, the same applies for you, today, here, NOW.

You want more creativity in your life? Maybe you’re designing an amazing product, writing the next best-selling novel, leading teams as they conquer challenging problems . . . being able to tap into your creativity (and in doing so, your curiosity) is a very powerful tool for leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, freelancers and anyone who creates anything during their work. (i.e. Everyone, i.e. You.)

So let’s not reinvent the wheel. Instead, let’s look to the masters.

Last week we touched upon Leonardo Da Vinci in how you can become a modern-day master.  This week we’re going to look at how Leonardo accessed his potent creative genius. And to do so, I’m going to share with you a quick story.

While commissioned to paint his famous masterpiece The Last Supper, Leonardo Da Vinci spent a considerable amount of time praying. The monks in the community noticed all this praying and instead of saying, “High-Five for spirituality!” they instead said something along these lines:

Monks: Why do you spend so much time with us in prayer when you have come here to work?

To which Da Vinci replied: When I pause the longest, I make the most telling strokes with my brush.

Why do we need to pause?

  • When we pause to meditate, re-energize, reflect, etc. we connect to a higher level of existence that fills up our being. Okay, I know that sounds a little out there . . . but just think about those moments when your mind is allowed to drift, also known as day dreams. Isn’t it incredible how we can, in those day dreams, become disconnected with the surrounding chatter and the constraints of our bodies? We are detached as our mind wanders.
  • Now, imagine you could focus that ability to detach toward a specific goal. Take your nagging question or challenge, and move it to a place of quietness. Leave the judgement behind and just let your mind drift in the ideas.  In short: Quiet yourself, and sit in that mindfulness.

*Leadership Tip:  when you witness others taking a pause, don’t judge them to be wasting time. Instead, become curious. Start your question about their work by saying: “I’m curious to know, what’s that all about?”

In Gelb’s seven steps of How to Think Like Da Vinci, the first key is unlocking creativity. Let’s learn from a wheel that’s been rolling his influence century after century  – let’s pause, like Da Vinci.

Questions to consider as your take a moment to pause:

  • What are you ready to commit to now, and how will you know when you have reached the right amount of pausing?
  • How do you maintain that flowing feeling of curiosity and mindfulness, even outside of that meditative space?

Answer: Practice (key word: PRACTISE. I’ve heard it makes perfect). They say it take 10,000 hours to become a master at anything. How will you master the ability to create, pause, and bring that focus into your life, work and relationships?


*Oh, before we go – A Sister Leadership reminder! This week my Ottawa Citizen Toastmasters group is having our big Da Vinci themed launch on June 15th. Click here for more details. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Till next time,


P.S. Want to learn about your Pause Style? Take our scientifically irrelevant, but really fun quiz here!

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. Camille is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Executive Network  Senior Executives Wisdom Peer Mentoring program. Applications to this exciting and knowledge-sharing program are available here.

Read more from Camille as she aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.


  1. Marilee Atkinson 8 years ago

    Thanks for the article. It’s true, when I am painting, I have to rest, to think, when it comes to me, I know and I am ready. Same with work- my mind figures it out while my body rests.

  2. Rodger Harding 8 years ago

    Intersting word “tapping” … Laurens van der Post… erstwhile guru to Prince Charles… in his book ‘A Far off Place’ writes about the Bushmen who would sit quietly each day listening to the “tapping” … I suppose what today we call an inner boice… or the “universe speaking”

Leave a reply


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


©2020 Sister Leadership

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?