Hello to my family, friends, community and the world. It has been one week since I wrote Just Breathe and the changes in our world continue to march forward. I want to thank all who read and “liked” my blog. It gave me a sense of connection and contribution while I am surrounded by the same four walls of my home.
In 2016, I read Want to Be an Outstanding Leader? Keep a Journal by Nancy J. Alder In it, she says:
“Gaining access to your own insight isn’t difficult: you simply need to commit to reflecting on a daily basis. Based on research (my own and others’) and many years of work with global business leaders as a consultant and international management professor, I recommend the simple act of regularly writing in a journal.”
I decided to “experiment” with reflection and journaling and Chip Conley gave me a name for my experiment – “My Wisdom Book.”
I suspect that, like me, many of you are finding yourselves with several different thoughts swirling in your head and more time than usual to entertain those thoughts.
I encourage you to use a few minutes of that time each day to start your own wisdom book and see what happens. Here are a couple of journaling prompts that I have found useful over the last few days:
Who has helped me most in life?
You may be surprised by who comes into view when you use this prompt as you journal. I recently wrote about Doug Burnet, a leader two levels above me who took time to mentor me when I was in my mid-twenties.
I wrote about my Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Dale, who showed me what a great marriage looks like.
I wrote about my Mom, Wanda, who passed away when I was 24 after a nine-year battle with cancer. Welcome those who show up in your Wisdom Book and thank them for their influence.
How am I feeling right now?
This may feel like a loaded question during the strange time we’re living in, but it’s important to remember that there is no right (or wrong) answer.
Being still and reflecting on your feelings can also be uncomfortable. It certainly is for me. First, I have to get out of my comfort zone of “doing” and stretch into “being” and reflecting.
Second, I need to stop “judging” my emotions. As a naturally optimistic person, I used to judge sad, unhappy, or down emotions as bad.
I saw Robert Biswas-Diener PHD present at the International Coach Federation conference. He said, “Emotions are information.” Those three words set me free. Emotions are data.
They are not a single serve ice cream cone. They are a huge bowl of different flavors and you can have many different feelings in one moment.
This information is deep and broad. With this information you have choices.
What contributed to my joy or happiness in the last 24 hours?
This is an interesting prompt because the more you dig the more reward you will find. I can “get it done” by writing the easy answer – having dinner (at home, of course) with my wife, Sue, or the satisfaction of a project that went well.
When I take the time to pause and reflect for just a few seconds, I find some special nuggets: how the sun felt on my face; the texture and flavor of a salad; the sound of birds singing on my walk.
Recalling small moments of joy in your day allows you to enjoy them a second time and creates a habit of intentionally searching for those moments going forward.
Our experiences during this time in the world may be different, but I believe we are all looking for a bit of calm. My Wisdom Book has become a pathway to peace, hope, insight, and inspiration.
It only takes five or ten minutes to feel clear-headed, refreshed and energized. If journaling is in your stretch zone or terror zone, I encourage you to try one or two of the prompts above and see what you discover.
If you would like a more structured experience, here is a link to Chapter One of Balance Point Group’s The Book of Me. We use this to launch many of our coaching programs and choosing a reflection or two may be just what you need to start your journaling journey.
I will close with a quote from C. S. Lewis:
“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see”