Did you ever have a “Dear Diary” journal? As a 90’s kid, I remember watching ‘Clarissa Explains it All.” That’s exactly how she would start her journaling entries. I’m sure I did that for a while as a kid, but over the years I discovered different styles of journaling.
Journaling for success is not your typical “Dear Diary, this is everything I did in my day.” So first let’s debunk the myth that journaling is only for teenagers writing about their crushes and high school woos. While this can certainly be beneficial and therapeutic (at any age!), the style I want to introduce today is a bit different.
The Art of Journaling has been around for Centuries
Henry David Thoreau, Joan Didion, Marcus Aurelius. Do you recognize those names?
These well-known journalers did not start with “Dear Diary.” Very successful writers and philosophers use journaling to “purge” the mind. A way to really clear our their busy mind and allow creativity to “drop-in” to their mind.
Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.”
Side note: I often hear people saying “I’m not creative.” Let’s re-define creativity. Creativity is anything that needs to be created. It’s not about drawing or writing a book (sometimes it is!). Creativity is about creating ANYTHING that was not created or solved before. Have you cooked a meal from scratch? That’s creativity. Did you solve a problem at work or in a relationship? That is creativity. Are you launching a new phase in your business? Are you launching a business?
Back to Elizabeth Gilbert’s quote, that “through you” really sticks out to me. Often times our mind is so full and busy that absolutely nothing can “come through.” It’s full of fears, doubts, conversations, rumination, anxiety, songs stuck in your head. What else?
What is Journaling for Success?
Journaling for success is what I like to call Mindful Journaling.
Mindful Journaling, to me, is a way to reflect, purge your mind of agitation or ruminating thoughts. Kind of like a huge sigh on paper. Plus you can rest assured that no one is going to read this, or “judge” what’s on your mind.
The result of this type of purge is a clean slate for imagination to enter. And imagination leads to success.
If you are a social impact leader or purposeful business owner you need more imagination and creative power than most people.
Why? Because solving the toughest and weirdest problems with business models that aren’t your typical MBA business models requires creating something from nothing. The answers to those tough problems in the world are not going to come to you when your mind is busy, agitated, stressed, anxious. It’s just not.
How do you create a ripple in water? The water needs to be very still in order to see the ripple effect. Take that same analogy with your purposeful mission and your mind.
And I’m not just making this up about journaling.
Harvard Business School did a study on participants who journaled at the end of the day. The results showed they had a 25% increase in performance compared with a control group who did not journal.
American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey said, “We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”
So go! Go reflect! Write! Write for your success.
Tips on how to journal with the intention for success
Over the years I’ve discovered various prompts that supported my growth. And over the years I’ve been guided by my mentors and therapist to dig deeper and clear out my mind.
Buy a physical journal. Everything is electronic now. I swear we’re going to forget how to write soon. But so much gets uncovered by putting your pen to a paper.
Here’s one prompt that’s helpful in most times.
At the top of your journal write “What’s going on? What’s on your mind?”
You’re speaking to yourself, dear.
Set a timer for 5 minutes and don’t stop writing. Don’t think about grammar. Don’t worry about punctuation. If it doesn’t make sense, who cares! Remember no one is going to read this.
Check-in with yourself. How do you feel? Trust that the process has cleared out your mind for success.
If you are looking to pave your own path on the road to success you’ll need to get creative on how you do that.
Mindful journaling can truly take you there, along with other reflective and mindful practices.
I’ll leave you with my favorite journaling quote “Think of journaling as a brush for your own soul, just like brushing your teeth each morning and each evening. It clarifies the mind, provides room for quiet, private reflection and gives one a record of their thoughts over time”