By Cindy Hughes-Anliker | Associate director, general management, UnitedHealthcare 

When I started my career 20 years ago as a television producer at WWAY-TV in Wilmington, N.C., I quickly learned how to navigate a fast-paced environment where changes and decisions were often made with seconds to spare. Producing newscasts with breaking news, natural disasters and historic milestones taught me to be nimble and decisive, as well as accomplish deadlines in a very short time frame.

One night, after producing a particularly rough 6 p.m. newscast, one of my more tenured colleagues, Kim, took me aside and gave me a piece of advice I’ll never forget. He told me to "pause." At first I thought it had something to do with our tape decks – at the time, it was 1999 before digital ruled the world. When I asked Kim what he meant, he said, "Pause for a few seconds. Take a deep breath. Soak it all in. You can still do that in this crazy business."

Pause. Take a deep breath. Soak it all in. Until that moment, I didn’t think about the power of a pause and taking a deep breath (or 10) before my next action or response. After all, I was a 21-year-old kid who was just starting out, wanting so badly to prove myself and produce a great newscast. I was always on the move, trying to stay ahead of things. Thanks to Kim’s advice, I realized in spite of your most chaotic moments, there is always room to pause for clarity, align your thoughts and to "just breathe" in order to stay calm, cool and collected.

I left the broadcast journalism industry a few years later, but Kim’s "pause" advice has stayed with me in my work and personal life. It’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. Of course, I continue to be a work in progress. There have been several moments where I didn’t pause and I’ve had to regroup as a result. When I do pause, my experiences are richer, my decisions don’t seem so overwhelming and I have a better understanding of all sides of the story.

We live in a hectic world with a lot of distractions and the constant need for thinking quickly. While all pause moments aren’t perfect, they help us see beyond what’s right in front of us.

Cindy Hughes Anliker, a Business Record 2014 Forty Under 40 Honoree, continues to watch local and national television news with a producer’s eye, as well as flips from station to station to see what everyone’s reporting. Currently an associate director, general management for UnitedHealthcare, Cindy has spent most of her career in health-related marketing communications. She earned her Master of Science in Organizational Performance at Drake University in Des Moines, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Cindy lives in West Des Moines with her husband, Clark Anliker, and their two dogs, Lex and Mickey. Contact her via email