Entrepreneur, philanthropist and international speaker. Regan Hillyer is here to help you make a bigger impact. www.reganhillyer.com
I have written extensively around goal setting and taking massive aligned action to prevent yourself from stalling and treading water when establishing and building your business or amplifying your personal life and career.
However, there is one other, quite simple tool that has been useful in my professional, business and personal growth that is readily available to coaches and entrepreneurs and that I believe is enormously beneficial for assisting growth on all of these fronts.
It doesn’t require huge resources, nor does it require a big input of scarce time. Just a few minutes each day. It can also be done in conjunction with a morning cup of coffee or whatever ritual you prefer. I am, at this moment, inferring that you will have an established daily ritual to commence your workday, as opposed to the “headless chicken” approach to managing what is being thrown at you.
An Invaluable Daily Practice
I am a great fan of regular, daily journaling. And, as a business development tool and a vehicle for goal setting, I have found it to be a part of my daily practice that is invaluable.
Now, there are some of you who would regard this tool as too “New Age,” not an actual practical device, a bit of a gimmick and a swallower of precious time that could well be placed into other, more worthy and valuable areas. To this, I would encourage you to try it and approach it with a degree of open-mindedness that you would embark on, say, the learning of a new piece of software or embracing a new business concept. Try it, and it may just turn out to be really useful.
However, it is not simply a matter of sitting down and scribbling out an unrestrained stream of consciousness, but rather crafting a targeted, ordered useful practice. To this end, I have supplied some guidelines:
A Guide To Journaling: A Simple, Practical Business Development Tool
First, arm yourself with a user-friendly way of recording your output. I prefer a really good-looking lined book that I enjoy holding and recording in, especially one that always lives on my bedside table — looking gorgeous and inviting. It’s a good idea for it to stay in one place nearby, ready to capture your inspired thoughts morning and night.
In our digital age, this method might not suit everyone. I recall one client who, although incredibly talented and successful, came to me with a legacy from his early years of not performing efficiently or comfortably with paper and pen. He preferred to dictate his goals and ideas into a portable dictaphone and replay and edit them.
Other clients prefer to record digital voice memos that are labeled and stored methodically. Whatever your preferred method, please just ensure that it is not on scraps of paper randomly tossed around as you will want to recall these thoughts and ideas and will want to review them. So be organized and professional in your methods.
So, you are set to go. You’ve selected your preferred method of recording, made the space and settled in comfortably… what next?
Start writing. Start thinking about goals and ideas to take your business, your wider life or your career to the next desired level. Also, think around associated concepts for your goals.
Here’s a prompt that I use with clients to help set them up for success: If I could make anything happen, what would I choose as my onward goals for this year?
I do have to stress at this point that it is not specifically about what you write, but about the energetic state that your journaling brings you into. It’s about you harnessing your creativity, tapping into your ideas and visions that have gotten you this far in your life, work or career. Often, my clients send me their journaling and ask me: “Regan, am I doing it right?” There is no right or wrong. It’s about your energy and creativity.
It isn’t about writing a perfectly scripted, beautifully penned manuscript with all the “right” inspirational language as though you have an audience. You have no wider audience, the only audience is you. And this form of tapping into your creativity around various areas of your work and life is only for you.
As humans, we are highly associative beings.
And therefore, we have associative idea threads. According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, “Associative Learning [is] the process of acquiring new and enduring information via the formation of bonds or connections between elements. In different types of associationistic learning theories, these associated elements may be stimulus and response, mental representations of events, or elements in neural networks.”
In a nutshell, it means our brains were not designed to recall information in isolation; instead, we group information together into one associative memory.
Journaling assists your brain to link ideas and not simply think in isolation. It also links your emotions to your life and work, thereby helping to promote clarity and insight. When you express yourself, you create the emotions that spur on these creative insights, which are the true nuts and bolts of business.
When you are journaling, you will become aware of what emotions, negative and positive alike, are emerging during the process. Notice what you are feeling. Are you excited by how your mind is associating? Are your emotions driving you to some clarity around your situation? Are the emerging emotions and thoughts making you uncomfortable?
The more comfortable and proficient you get at the art of journaling, the easier it becomes to use the energy created through the process. You get to cultivate this energy and you get to choose how you respond to it. You can guarantee that you are producing quality insights that give you a path to follow.
Then from the subsequent journaling around your desired goals, what actual, physical action will you take in alignment?