The achievements of John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, Ernest Hemingway, and Marie Curie are well-known to many of us.
As diverse as their careers may be, they shared a common practice: journaling.
While writing down their thoughts, visions, and desires, they chronicled their journey through life. Today, we can read through their written history and glean details into their personal selves.
Perhaps they knew long before we did the value of journaling. On the surface level, it can be a peaceful reprieve from our frantic 24-7 workdays. And, it is also so much more.
“Journaling is paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out.”
Journaling: A Healing Ointment for a Hurting World
Although many of us have good intentions to improve ourselves, we oftentimes find excuses that keep us from our self-improvement goals.
Whether it’s taking time to affirm each day, practicing self-care, or even journaling to self-reflect, we make the usual excuses:
- We’re too busy.
- Interruptions get in the way.
- It’s a waste of our time.
We’re only kidding ourselves.
Henna Inam confesses in Transformational Leadership that she too, found many other things she’d rather do than journal – until she read that many successful people, including US Presidents, kept a daily journal.
She admits that got her attention. Inam recommends journaling to all her executive coaching clients. By putting thoughts down on paper, Inam says journaling relieves the mind of mental burdens that left unchecked, can spiral into negative thoughts.
She notes its transformative benefits: we get greater insights into ourselves and others – and it can improve our health.
Inam offers up 10 suggestions for journaling. Here are some key ones:
- Purchase an attractive journal. It becomes a central place for our thoughts. No scrap papers.
- If you get stuck, write down what you’re grateful for and why.
- List out goals and keep track of them.
- During difficult days, write down insights into any emotion that comes up.
Deepok Chopra and Kabir Sehgal writing in Make It, noted four benefits journaling can have in our lives:
- Leads us to ‘see’ our thoughts and feelings to make better sense of them
- Assists in recovering from stressful events
- Enhances our problem-solving skills
- Helps us to learn deeper lessons more quickly so we can move on to brighter situations.
Experts say that taking just 15 minutes each day, three to five times a week, can have a significant impact on our physical and mental well-being.
Journaling is a gift to ourselves, part of an overall self-care routine.
We can discover more about how we’re really feeling, and what we want to accomplish – both of which are key first steps to greater self-awareness, the first step in leadership. Self-discovery is a powerful tool, and journaling assists us in our efforts as we review daily encounters:
- Are we reacting – or responding – to triggers?
- How do we feel about ourselves when faced with stressful conditions?
- Next year at this time, where do we see ourselves?
How Journaling Can Help Enhance Our Leadership Capability
Great leaders take time to reflect, writes Nancy Adler in Harvard Business Review.
And what better way to gain insight into one’s self and others than to journal, even for just a few minutes each day?
It’s a quiet time to hear what we have to say to ourselves. Adler suggests asking:
- How am I feeling about my own leadership?
- How do I feel right now?
- What contributed to my happiness this week?
Go beyond your work environment, Adler suggests. Look at a painting and ask, what do I see? If you connect what you see in the painting to your current situation, what new vantage points are revealed to you.
As Adler summed up:
Using a journal regularly will give you the courage to see the world differently, to understand the world differently and to lead in new and needed ways.
In pandemic – and post-pandemic times – our world is craving innovative, inspired leadership.
The New Year is a perfect time to begin journaling.
We can discover ourselves, our inner gifts, and realize out-of-the-box solutions we might ordinarily have overlooked.
“Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing
but life-expanding.” – Jen Williamson
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Colleen Slaughter, Proud Executive Coach to the UN World Food Program, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Winner
As an Executive Coach for Women in Leadership and Transformational Facilitator, my intention is to help leaders in positions of high influence to understand their worth at a profound level.
Supporting women leaders to truly thrive and step into their greatness, while succeeding in male-dominated industries and spaces is my native genius.
My technique and approach show you how to achieve incredible career success without compromising any part of who you are and what makes you magnificent.