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Your future success depends upon your ability to pause.

We’re all navigating new realities.

The Leadership Pause is for anyone looking to deepen their impact on the lives around them, leave a profound mark on their organizations, and build a legacy of intentional focus, pragmatic ambition, grounded compassion, and empathy-in-action.

In it, you’ll find a step-by-step process to expand and amplify your influence as a conscious leader – mindful, embodied, generative – that will result in you skillfully navigating through the chaos and uncertainty.

What if there was a single practice that would significantly maximize your impact?

If it was so simple, the science and results so compelling, could you dare let go of your outdated leadership habits?

Praise for The Leadership Pause

While pausing feels like a counterintuitive move in our fast-paced, always-on-the-go world, Chris Johnson illuminates why it’s the right move. The Leadership Pause astutely guides us on pausing effectively, how doing so benefits our lives, and why it is key to upleveling our effectiveness as leaders.

Dr. Amishi Jha, Neuroscientist, author of the national bestseller Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 minutes a Day

The Leadership Pause invites leaders of all stripes to shift their mental models, allowing them to access their highest and best selves. Chris makes a compelling case for developing conscious leadership from the inside out in order to create powerful change in the world.

Scott Shute, former Head of Mindfulness & Compassion Programs, LinkedIn, and author of Full Body Yes

Any business course or text can teach the rational skills leadership requires, but most of the leaders I have advised ask me how they can cultivate the necessary relational wisdom to inspire people to think well together through the human complexities we currently face. In this work Chris offers a kaleidoscope of ways to grow that wisdom in the pause that exists between impulse and action.

Dawna Markova, Ph.D, co-author of Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking with People Who Think Differently, and Living a Loved Life: Awakening Wisdom Through Stories of Inspiration, Challenge, and Possibility.

I know Dr. Chris as a talented coach when it comes to incorporating mindfulness into a workplace setting. Now we can all come to know Dr. Chris as an inspiring author. In The Leadership Pause, Dr. Chris offers a book full of wisdom about what it takes to lead effectively, authentically, and in a grounded manner. During these times of stress and change for essentially everyone, leaders need to find ways to pause and be more present as we seek to bring others along and point the way forward. Dr. Chris offers a mix of theory, leadership stories, and specific exercises that every leader should consider incorporating.

John Palfrey, President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, co-author, The Connected Parent

There is nothing more empowering than practicing the discipline of pausing. We cannot shift our mindset from a focus on problems, and the reactivity they often trigger, to consciously choosing our response to life experiences and focusing on outcome without a pause practice. In this rich and deeply informative book, Chris L. Johnson, PsyD, not only makes the case for the power of the pause, she also provides tips and tools to inform the discipline.

David Emerald Womeldorff, Author; The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) and 3 Vital Questions: Transforming Workplace Drama

If you’re looking for easy leadership hacks, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re committed to becoming a more effective leader and seeking greater satisfaction and fulfillment in your work and life, The Leadership Pause is a must-read. Drawing on science, philosophy, her work with clients and personal experience, Chris Johnson makes a compelling case for the power of pause. As one of Chris’s clients, I’ve personally experienced the power of pause, and I know that if more leaders practiced  pause, their work and their lives would be more productive, satisfying, and fulfilling.

Dave Mooney, CEO, Alliant Credit Union

Chris Johnson calls on research, experiences, illustrative stories and analogies to craft the premise of The Leadership Pause. I know first-hand the importance of resilience in being a successful leader in the VUCA world in which we live and work. Applying the practices learned from this compelling book I’ve come to understand how positively harnessing stress can be the fuel that feeds my resilience and motivation. While I will always be a work in progress, I’m committed to applying the lessons learned from Chris’ book to become a better leader.

Elizabeth Nohe, PhD, Board Advisor, AWESOME Leaders, and former Chief Supply Chain Officer, Morton Salt

Are you ready to step into the dojo of your life? If so, it’s time to surrender and embrace ‘the pause’ that is waiting for us just beneath the surface of the present moment.

Delivered with a fierce yet quiet power, The Leadership Pause is filled with timeless wisdom that has been beautifully curated and skillfully translated for leaders who are ready to commit to the path of mastery.

~ Rand Stagen, CEO, Stagen Leadership Academy, Conscious Capitalism Board

If you are ready to shift from feeling overcommitted, overburdened, and yet unfulfilled by your many life accomplishments, to a place of embodied leadership and authentic expression, The Leadership Pause is for you. Chris applies biology and neuroscience, along with actionable practices, to deeply embed new ways of being into your life and work that empower us to bring our best selves to any leadership situation.

Adrienne Palmer, Founder & President, Global Impact Advisory, Global Board Director, Entrepreneurs’ Organization

Pausing is an indispensable requirement of leadership — a necessary precursor to wise and principled action. The whitewater of our daily lives tricks us into believing that pausing is not possible.

But this book makes the seemingly impossible a practical reality: a deeply nourishing gift for each individual leader that offers ongoing dividends to the organizations and undertakings that they steward. Essential reading for anyone striving to build a better world.

~ Amanda Blake, PhD. author, Your Body is Your Brain

A beautifully crafted book! Pause in your busy-ness and let it help you find and use the spaciousness between input and action.

~ Ginny Whitelaw, author of Resonate and The Zen Leader


The Leadership Pause teaches you to:

Leverage your attention and focus on how life’s unfolding can help shape your strategic vision and actions
Direct your energy to power right action with consistency
Embed purpose in all of your work, increasing buy-in and positive outcomes
Craft an inspiring vision for the future to bring people along with you as an engaging, conscious leader
 Leverage your emotions and bodily responses to effortlessly make decisions and take aligned action


Leading a team?

Team Leadership Packages for Teams of 10+ to 49

When you support your team to practice the pause, you’ll see the results in your business or organization, and in the expressed satisfaction of your people. This package strengthens you as a leader and cultivates the leadership of your team. For each package purchased you’ll receive:

A 45-minute 1:1 call with Dr. Chris to customize your approach with your team

Leader’s Implementation Guide for working with your team

The Leadership Pause Audiobook for easy accessibility

A library of  mindfulness and somatic practices to follow together as a team or individually

Deluxe Customized Leadership Package

You receive the 75-Minute Secret to Getting More Done Masterclass and all the Team Leadership Package bonuses, plus:

A two-hour Zoom or in-person (Chicagoland) training with your team on the key concepts in the book as applied to your specific goals

A custom-designed practice guide to accelerating results for your team – may include communication, stress reduction, mindfulness, and somatic practices

A 45-minute 1:1 call with the team leader(s) post-training to address any challenges and to leverage positive outcomes

Meet the Author

Chris L. Johnson, PsyD.

Dr. Chris Johnson is based in Chicago, Illinois and has helped hundreds of leaders across industries to  for more than two decades. She is a sought-after executive business coach, speaker, retreat leader, and Chair of the Chicago Chapter of Conscious Capitalism. 

Chris both distinctly challenges and supports leaders ready to embark on integrating life and work in sustainable, fulfilling ways. She demonstrates how leaders can embody a more compelling presence, align their actions with what matters most to them, and transform life’s high-pressure stresses into opportunities for deeper connection and greater contribution with a simple pause.

When Chris isn’t working, you’ll find her in the garden, making art, hiking or skiing the slopes, listening to jazz or at the aikido dojo – practicing the art of peace.

More about The Leadership Pause

The Leadership Pause reminds us that as leaders, partners, or parents, we have a responsibility to be fully present at the exact moment our innate gifts are required. Chris Johnson has gifted everyone who is willing to embrace the concept of embodied learning and deep listening with a consequential guide to mindfulness and personal fulfillment.

~ Mark Vance, Vice President Strategic Partnerships, Hueman People Solutions

 In The Leadership Pause, Chris captures the true essence of the chaos we’ve all been facing and feeling: the intensity of the constant whitewater, the rush of anxiety in reacting. The idea of intentionally managing my energy was not new to me, but Chris gave me the “how to.” “Pause,” so simple – it can be the answer to the burnout that so many leaders are facing.

– Jean Pitzo, CEO, ACE Metal Crafts

Dr. Chris Johnson has written an accessible survey of the key ideas in leadership development today. More importantly her book is a pragmatic guide to improving as a leader through simple daily practices. The Leadership Pause challenges us to get out of our heads and into our bodies; out of theory and into our daily experience of life.

– Thea Durfee Polancic, ClearSpace, and Founder, Chicago Chapter of Conscious Capitalism

About the Book

The Leadership Pause teaches the gift of mindful awareness that leads to clarity of mind and heart, reduced stress and increased resilience, a deeper connection to self along with a clearer vision of the natural leader resting just beneath the surface.

Dr. Chris Johnson shares stories from established and powerful leaders about how they’ve used pause practices to transform their previous strategies and ways of thinking and behaving to find greater meaning and purpose in their work.

This book is for anyone looking to deepen their impact on the lives around them, leave a profound mark on their organizations, and build a legacy of intentional focus, pragmatic ambition, grounded compassion, and empathy-in-action.

I could almost feel my heart rate calming as I read Chris Johnson’s The Leadership Pause. Her stories paint a beautiful picture of a world where we are attuned to ourselves – through the art of the pause.  As leaders we need to pause, focus our attention, and listen. Chris provides the tools to make it possible and guides you on your most important journey –  the one toward clarity.

– Jennifer Fondrevay, Founder Day1 Ready,  Best-selling author, NOW WHAT?


The pause allows for that brief moment of clarity, a lifting of the fog, a recalibration to remember what outcome is most important.  As someone who spends most of his life sprinting through each day, practicing pause has allowed me to become a better communicator, a better learner, more strategic in my decision making, and hopefully a better leader!

~ Mark Melson, President and CEO Gladney Center for Adoption


The best leaders understand that to create a positive impact on business, employees, customers, and the world they need to be intentional about the personal practices they employ.  Through the Leadership Pause, Dr. Chris guides leaders through the critical steps necessary to tap into their purpose and shine as drivers of change.

~ Kristy Wallace, CEO Ellevate

This book offers practices based around the simplicity and elegance of a ‘pause.’ These practices can create powerful positive shifts to engage with outdated patterns to shift them to connect you with your creative, resourceful self.

– Wendy Palmer, author of Leadership Embodiment and Dragons and Power

The Leadership Pause provides a clear, pragmatic guide to centering on what matters to you, and how to embody that care to make a difference in the world. Chris Johnson brings a wealth of experience and competency to addressing the key elements of transformation that lead to exemplary leadership.

– Richard Strozzi-Heckler, founder of Strozzi Institute and author of The Art of Somatic Coaching and The Leadership Dojo

Chris, in her inimitable wisdom and humor—as psychologist, leadership coach, speaker, somatic practitioner, aikidosandan—brings all of herself to the table inThe Leadership Pause,so that you can learn what it means to bring all of yourself along, too.

– Renée Gregorio, Poet (Abyss & Bridge) & author of The Writer Who Inhabits Your Body