Stop, Drop and Roll


Recently while reading, “Peak Mind,” a book focused on strengthening attention, the author shared a number of options she uses while teaching the benefits of responding versus reacting. The technique that really grabbed my attention was referred to as stop, drop, and roll. Coincidentally, this is a simple fire safety technique taught to children, emergency service personnel, and industrial workers as a component of health and safety training.

I’ve always loved the catchiness and impact of the phase, and it piqued my interest in terms of the impact this advice can have on leadership effectiveness. The phrase supports something that we at Emergent have been experimenting with for a while, the taking of frequent “strategic pauses” throughout the day as a method for getting off autopilot. These strategic pauses are intentional and serve to break the flow of incessant thoughts we are bombarded with throughout the day.

Stop – stop fighting your actual circumstances and accept what is. This does not mean acquiescence; in fact, it is okay to prefer a different outcome, but we must stop resisting what is happening in the moment. What resists, persists.

Drop – drop your story. It is important to keep in mind that your assessment of the situation may be ungrounded and is only one story; it is not the only one. When we consider what happens from different perspectives, we are able to not get lost in a fictional story.

Roll – roll with it. Keep moving, and get curious about what the next moment will bring.

Be willing to try this little technique. Stop throughout your day, taking strategic pauses. See things cleanly, adapt, and get curious about what is right in front of you. It will shift your perspective and demonstrate repeatedly that there are myriad ways of responding to any and all of life’s situations.

If you are looking to be supported in seeing things differently, reach out and learn more about our one-on-one leadership coaching offering.

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  1. Ella on February 9, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    Wow! This is so good. In fact, a co-worker got a call that her daughter was in an car accident. She started panicking, then go up to leave. I asked her to sit-down, STOP, take deep breathe, look around and think about what her next move would be rather than running down the runway into possibly another collision. She did and was glad. Everything ended well. Thank you Ralph. I am excited about passing this forward.

    • Emergent on February 10, 2022 at 4:51 pm

      Wow Ella! That is a very serious example of needing a pause. Thank you for your comment! We hope all is well with your co-workers daughter!

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