Posted: Wed 14th Oct 2020
Journalling is a powerful tool to help you achieve your wildly important business goals. Nicky Torode, of journalling and coaching business Diamond Minds, shares what journalling is - and how it works best.
Do you ever feel, as a small business owner, that you've got so much to do that you can't pause or take stock, in case you fall behind?
Establishing and running your own business, especially in the current climate, is a dizzying mix of panic, frustration, excitement and joy. No wonder it's hard to keep on an even keel and process everything that's going on. How is it even possible to catch up with your heart, and your big why, when swamped with spreadsheets and invoices to pay?
One effective method to bring calm, clarity and direction is journalling - simply the promise to yourself to build in quiet quality downtime for reflection. Every week. Every day, if you can.
Journalling, the use of expressive and reflective writing, brings to the page your challenges, worries, new ideas and ways forward. Writing things down, without an agenda, rehearsal or overthinking, has long been established as an effective way to connect inwards and in so doing, restore balance and control. You certainly don't need to be a writer to benefit. It's free flow, messy, spontaneous and courageous writing. What you write is right, but be aware of your limits. Sense what you feel ready to explore.
Here are some ways that journalling is helpful for your business:
It is the sounding board to bring to life your emerging ideas that won't get judged
It is like the boss you weirdly miss who breathed down your neck to hit your deadlines
It is the mentor who guides and encourages you to choose your next steps
It is the incubator for the seeds of your new ideas to grow and be tracked
It is your rock - keeping you grounded, stable and strong for continued success
As a business owner, especially a solo one, these are truly precious benefits. I hit my journal every day to catch insight and ideas. These often only come from one sentence flowing into the next and not always through rational discussion. Regular journalling chips away at the overwhelm by bringing order, building confidence, decisiveness and motivation.
Journalling doesn't need a lot of time. It can be done in as little as 15 minutes. For me, early-bird journalling, with the first sip of morning coffee and the energy of the day rising, is 'flow' time. Know when suits your mind and body best.
And don't wait until you feel you've got something to write. Believe me, there's always going to be something to write about - either your business directly, or your emotions generally. Think back to a recent conversation you've had, a LinkedIn post you engaged with, something you've been avoiding, or even a title of a book that resonated. All of these things can be a springboard into your writing.
Journalling flows better when you sit down with the right mindset. Come with an open mind, a curious mind, a hopeful mind. Trust in the process that something you need will come out. Don't give up. Keep at it until it becomes a practice you can't do without.
For each journal entry I recommend these three steps:
Write using freewriting; that is, letting your pen dance across the page. There is something about handwriting that connects us deeper to our brain - so try analogue. Don't worry about spelling or grammar, and don't go back to re-read or cross out. Only when you've finished should you re-read your words.
Pinch 15 minutes from your daily schedule at a time that feels right for you. Keep it as a regular spot if possible. Use a notebook and pen. Write without thinking. Write without re-reading. Write, as the saying goes, like no one's watching.
Thinking about your business this week, what have you been avoiding? After three minutes, write your reply to this question: What if the thing you've been avoiding contains the answer?
List seven habits you have that are helping your success. Choose one and journal some more.
Also list seven teachers that you came across over the last seven days (people, books, experiences) and write a sentence covering what you 'learnt' from them. What's one thing from those lessons that is needed in your business right now?
Further, ask yourself: What's better in my business today?
Ask yourself: What have I noticed? What's surprised me here? What's exciting here? What did I need to hear from my words today?
Catch one action. What am I taking forward today?
Give journalling a go and see what difference in can make to your business and your mindset.