Rachael O’Meara is a transformational leadership and executive coach, assisting others to fulfill their potential. She is a sales executive at Google and also hosts authors who have meaningful messages about mindfulness and emotional intelligence for the TalksAtGoogle YouTube channel. She writes regularly for sites including the Huffington Post and leads workshops and speaks on the practice of pausing. She has a certificate in Transformational Coaching from the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential, and has an MBA from Fordham University.
What do I do best?
I was a 5 time national champion rower – so I can row a boat, sitting backwards, really well!
I also help people see a new perspective and tune into what they are feeling (aka improve their emotional intelligence skills). As a coach and facilitator it’s my job to help others learn what they may not see on the surface, and help them relate in ways that may not have occurred to them before.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I am a continuous improvement project. I challenge myself in personal growth that I think is scary to a lot of people. I have taken courses in emotional & social intelligence for the past five years, and I am so proud of how far I have come. I don’t give up easily. I ask for help and support. I know I need a team of people to help me be my best self whether it’s at work, in a relationship, or a specific life goal – from winning a national championship, to writing a book, to having a great relationship and family.
What are my aspirations?
Personal - I recently got married in 2017 – three times (to the same person!) Now that that’s complete, we are looking to start a family. Being a Mom is a new way of life for me, and I’m looking forward to the person I can become in that dimension!
Professional: Work full time in helping others reach their potential - currently it's a part-time business for me. Speaking at more conferences and leading more workshops.
My Biggest Success?
Among national rowing championships, a published book, working for Google for ten years, and now having a personal transformation business, I would say it is my own personal growth and transformational work, with a close second being my marriage to my husband Sarab in 2017 who also wants to learn and grow with me in life. We celebrated and had 3 marriage receptions in one year! I have been doing weekly classes in emotional intelligence, T-Group work, and coaching with my coach since 2013 that have helped me become more authentic and step into who I truly can become. I am constantly looking at myself and stretching out of my comfort zone which has helped me reach unthinkable goals (publishing a best-selling book).
My Most Challenging Moment?
In Pause, I talk about the five signs you need a pause, and sign #2 is your boss tells you it isn’t working out. This was my most challenging moment and it came as a surprise. I talk a lot about the situation in the first chapter of Pause the book and what I experienced. I decided to take a pause from Google instead of leaving my role. It turned out to be the best decision I could have made, and from there everything changed in my life. As a result, I wrote Pause to share the lessons I’d learned and stories from other people who took a pause and have inspired me in some way.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” - Dr. Victor Frankl
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Transformational leaders Buckminster Fuller, Martin Luther King, and Abraham Maslow. Dr. Bob & Judith Wright, my mentors where I study at The Wright Foundation. I am inspired every day by people I meet who move me in some way or help me glean insights on my own life to move forward.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I’m a self-declared Francophile – so France is one of my favorite places to visit – the Alps where I worked after college (Val D’Isere), Paris, and Bordeaux are my favorite places. I also love Lake Tahoe – I am an avid skier and road biker so going to the mountains as a weekend trip from San Francisco is always something I’m up for.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I use Arbonne products for nutrition and skin care (100% Vegan, non GMO) and I have a business selling these products! I love my “stuffie” bear bella and Dr. Ted who I’ve had since I was 2 weeks old. I learned how to really practice self-care and nourishment through thinking of these stuffies as an extension of me. A journal is never far from my bedside table. My Vitamix blender is my favorite wedding gift! :)
My Current Passions?
I enjoy being physically active – no where near an elite athlete these days, but I run, bike and practice hot yoga when I can. I will row when I have the chance too.
I also aim to practice meditation at least a few minutes a day if not more – this is one of my daily pauses.
What's a pause?
I define a pause as any intentional shift in behavior that allows you the space to experience a mental shift in attitude, thoughts, or emotions that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred. A few examples are taking a long deep breath, not checking your phone for a set period of time, or doing something outside of your comfort zone that you are interested in. Taking a pause isn’t so that you can think more. It’s to the exact opposite. It’s the perfect excuse for you to step away from your everyday life and not focus on what is ruling your thoughts.
Q: Why would you want to know more about pausing?
A: Pausing can be life changing and lead to a more conscious, fulfilling and satisfying life. Anyone can pause – it’s about finding what works for you. Pausing can become a way of life and help prevent continuing going down a path of burnout, reduce stress, and lead to new discoveries about oneself. Pausing is a choice that isn’t conventional (yet), but is a powerful way to re-align and check in from time to time. Pausing requires courage and facing the unknown, which is both exciting and outside most of our comfort zones. Gift yourself the permission to pause or intentionally shift your behavior so that you can tune in and align to be your best self.
Q: What are the steps to actually taking the pause plunge? What are the important factors that need to be considered?
A: Deciding to take a pause, whether it is part of your day or a long epic journey is an act of courage and self-care. The point is that it works for you. You can set yourself up for success by strategizing how and what you plan to do in a big-picture kind of way and leave room for the unknown.
There are three main steps for planning a pause. The first is to write your rough draft distilled into a few bullet points on your story, your emotions, your beliefs and actions you want to take. The second step is to set an intention on how you want to act and to add meaning to your actions. It may include your vision for how you want to be and feel during or after pausing. The third step is to create your plan for how you want to spend your time. It’s ok to leave things vague and open to leave room for your pause to unfold as you enter the unknown.
Q: A pause can be big or small – what are a few ways that a pause can be incorporated throughout someone’s day?
Daily pauses are a great way to start and in many cases are free of charge. Here are a few one-minute pauses that I like and highlight in the book. I recommend picking one that appeals to you and give it a try in the next 24 hours.
- Belly breath pause: sit or stand with both feet firmly on the ground and close your eyes if you are comfortable doing so. Place one hand on your diaphragm and slowly inhale, hold your breath, and slowly exhale. Count each inhale until you get to ten breaths.
- Digital device pause: create a rule to limit or not engage with your devices – it can mean pausing to not be with your phone or Internet for a day, allowing yourself a limited time to be on email or social media, or not using any devices while with other family members, like at a meal or in the car.
- The nature pause or a walk around the block pause: go outside for any length of time or find a color photo or inspiring image of nature. Focus on a section of what you see, and zone in. If you’re outside, you can start looking at the ground and ask yourself, “What color is the ground? What is the texture like?” You can kneel down, and feel the ground, or a signpost or tree.
- Take a course or class pause: it can become your custom pause laboratory for setting intention and shifting your thoughts or behaviors as you develop your skills. It can even include going back to school at whatever level you are at.
If you already have a daily pause practice, take the next step and journal about your experience or add more time to your existing practice this week.