Over the course of years working with individuals to improve both their lives, their leadership skills and their companies, I have repeatedly encouraged them in various activities, one of which is the use of a journal.
Typically after enthusiastically acquiring one, the blank pages inside start to seem intimidating to which then the question arises, what am I supposed to write?
First of all, I want to encourage you to take ownership of the journal, it does not belong to anyone else, only you. When you go to purchase it, it must be the size and style you feel most reflects your taste and style. One word of caution, if this works for you as it has for the many others I’ve seen, this will only be your first journal, not your last. The reason, I’m telling you this is because you may feel compelled to get the largest one you can find. It may help you to know that I have library shelves of my journals, as it becomes part of your lifestyle and process. As time passes, you may even experiment with different sizes and types as your needs and tastes change. Many times, the usefulness of something will increase or decrease based on how it makes you feel when you use it, therefore, get something you feel you will use.
One of the key leadership traits you develop as you progress is flexibility. We must always be on the lookout for ways to improve our progress and our process. However, at first, the only thing that I focus on with a leader is to help develop writing things down and developing the journal habit.
One interesting thought to keep in mind when you get your journal is, you are not paying for an empty book, your intention must be to put some valuable things in it. My journals are portable, the ones I have purchased the last several years are just slightly smaller than my iPad and I usually carry them on top of each other. This immediately bears a question: in this day & age, why not just use your iPad? My answer is, there is something deeply personal and magical about physically writing things down. especially if the thing is deeply personal. For instance, if I have a problem and I start writing it down, something inside me engages and it seems as if I am actually moving toward the solution. You should give it a go yourself. It brings clarity to the situation in a way no other can provide.
As a kid, watching television, I would see scientists writing things down in logs or journals and I would always wonder what they were writing. Now I know. They were writing down their observations. Whatever they observed around them, they logged it. For years, I have done the same. I always have my journal with me, so when I observe something or hear something, I write it down.
Key times when I have my journal with me:
- Classes or seminars
- Reading (This includes Books, Magazines, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc)
- Thinking Time (This includes my goal time, vizualization and affirmation time)
If sure there are many others. Occasionally, if I do log something on a notepad or my iPad, I make sure I transfer it into my journal if it’s something I definately want to keep.
Key things I write in my journal:
- My Strategies
- My Goals
- My Story
- My affirmations
- Problems (steps & outcomes)
- Important things people say to me (I’m notorious for asking people to repeat something just one more time so I can write it down, if I miss it the first time)
- Scriptures & Proverbs
- Tips (what to do & what not to do)
These are just a few of the things I grab for my journal when it resonates with me or fits within my life or business plan. I capture these because I don’t want these ideas and thoughts to escape me. Have you ever had the awful experience of hearing something you wanted to remember, but could never find it again? I hate that! The only thing worse is losing your journal. Remember, the faintest ink is better than the strongest memory. You may have seen this in an episode of Mad Men, in which the advertising writer had the greatest idea, only to lose it the next morning when he woke up because he didn’t write it down.
Buy yourself a journal and put it’s power to work for you, you won’t regret it if you develop the journal habit. If you go to work on your journal, it will go to work on you.
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