That is the most powerful statement I ever learnt to say both for myself and for my own sanity. You see, I used to feel pressured in meetings to give answers straight away- we’d be brainstorming or working on project and an idea would start crystallising and invariably someone would turn to me and say “is this the answer?”

That right there is what used to send me into a mental tailspin, not that you’d have known it from looking at me. Having to make my brain mentally calculate, sort through and categorise all scenarios, outcomes and alternatives in a split second felt like the impossible ask. And I hated it, I hated thinking that responding that quickly might mean that I’d missed something vital or that we’d missed out on a better answer.

And that’s because I’m a reflector. In an ideal world I like to sleep on an idea to let my brain process all possibilities. In reality I know that sometimes time is not a luxury we have and so I learnt to say “can you just give me a minute”. It’s just a moment of time to let my brain work and that way I’m sure I’m giving an answer I’m confident in and happy with.

But more importantly that’s me standing up for the way I work, asking for time to give the right answer which ultimately makes me a better contributor to the team. You should never be ashamed of working differently to other people and you should never be afraid to ask others to allow you to do just that… if they want your best they’ll be happy to give you five minutes processing time or whatever it is you need.

So have a think about the way you work and make sure you do what’s right for you even if it means asking for a minute.