The timeless art of journaling has changed my life. As entrepreneurs we are walking an unbeaten path toward the actualisation of our very own vision and as such we carry the weight of a dream not yet realised.
We get busy. Stuff happens. We lose sleep. More stuff happens. We lose more sleep. People leave. Complaints come. Opportunities arise. And this is how we chose to live our lives, completely in the thick of it all as we walk unapologetically toward our greater self.
Journaling gives us a method to reconnect, rejuvenate and steer ourselves back toward the path we may have temporarily strayed from.
Here are the four keys to journaling successfully:
1. Journal from heart, not by head
Journaling is an art best practiced from heart. This is about processing. Processing thoughts, emotions, challenges and hopes. Let it flow, do not think critically, just let the emotion come through you, into the pen and onto the page. This is about clearing and processing what’s going on for you at a human level.
2. Do so in a quiet and secluded space
Whether it’s by the beach, in your room, or even in your office with the door shut for 15 minutes, this is about connecting with you. Shut out the noise of the world and listen to yourself.
3. Structure isn’t required most of the time
Most of the time when I journal, it is completely unstructured. My journal will often start with, “Life is crazy right now, for the last few days I’ve been…. and as such I am now feeling…” I usually just start with what is going on, how I am feeling, any challenges I am carrying, exploring solutions and developing the next best steps.
Even when my writing is unstructured, the lose format I naturally follow is:
a) What’s going on in my world and in my heart
b) What is challenging me and why
c) What I believe the best solution and path forward is
d) Resolving what I have been exploring and identifying where to begin
When I started journaling this would usually take 8 pages, I now usually get all of that processing done in one page. I have a belief now, having journaled for many years, that there is no problem that can’t be solved in one page of my journal. An empowering belief indeed.
4. When to use deliberate structure
On certain occasions like around the turn of the new year, financial year, end of a quarter, or perhaps on holidays, I will deliberately put some structure in to my journaling and ask myself very purposeful questions.
These questions are:
a) Who do I want to be?
In order to live according to our truest purpose, we must remember that all doing comes from being. Who you are and how you’re showing up every day is the foundation for everything you’re doing.
There is nothing more liberating than sitting where you are right now, looking over the blank canvas of the coming year and asking yourself: “Who do I want to be this year?”
b) What is my truest intention?
Behind every behaviour and every action, there is an intention that is far more powerful than the action itself. I believe in a spiritual sense (although I’m not a religious person, I’m a highly spiritual person) that the universe responds to your intention and what’s in your heart, not the mere actions that are showing up on the surface.
c) How am I choosing to do this?
Once you’ve decided who you want to be and which guiding star you’re going to be led by, it’s then about bringing this intention into reality by asking yourself: “Which vehicle will I use to do this?”
For many entrepreneurs how we chose to live out our truest intention will often come from the business that we have or want to start.
d) What is the path?
How is what you are doing going to build over the coming year and beyond?
If you were to do some research, look at worlds best practice in whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, and finally sit with it and envisage how you are going to actualise your grandest vision not just in the next 12 months but for the next 5 years, what is the path that you see unfolding in your mind?
What are the four or five core steps to moving you from where you are now to a place of fulfilment and accomplishment in the future?
Align your personality with your purpose and your path, and you become invincible. Your first job is to find why you are here and then to get busy doing it.
e) What is the next best move?
Where do you need to start? Even if the details of the whole path aren’t clear, and often they won’t be, what can you do with what you have around you right now to start?
With your current knowledge, current resources, current bank balance, what is the best way to begin?
Do that. Do it today.
Other questions I will often ask myself:
a) What am I afraid of? I believe getting right down to the core of a fear, shining a light on it and exploring it is the best way to watch that fear dissolve.
b) How can I better realise my true potential?
c) What in my life would I love to change and how can I make this happen?
d) What in my life could I be really grateful for?
e) How can I be a better leader for all of those around me?
For me journaling is a spiritual practice that has true meditative value. Whenever I put down the pen I feel clear, centred, aligned and empowered. In a world where there is so much noise, to give time and space to your own voice is one of the most beautifully empowering experiences I have found.
Have fun and do it with love.