The best entrepreneurs I know are visionaries. They see things others don’t see, have a lot of courage to take risks, and make really smart decisions.
The very best of us are always looking for that “edge” … what can we do to increase our focus, creativity, productivity?
How can we make things happen, be better alchemists, improve our performance, grow our companies?
Business leaders agree: journaling works
One day, I asked my friend, mentor and local Austin finance legend John Henry McDonald, “How did you grow your business?”
John started his hugely successful financial planning company with $1,000 of his own money after plenty of personal trials and tribulations, and with no formal business education or experience.
“Come to my office, and I’ll show you.”
A week later, I showed up at his office. He pulled out his heavily-time-worn journal, flipped it open and showed me images worthy of a London haberdashery, quotes of his desired exact net worth, and daily writings about his intentions.
“I’ve written my intentions in this journal since 1984. That’s all.”
I thought, Thanks for showing me that, but come on, what did you really do?
John quoted some statistic that claimed only two percent of the public writes down their goals, and less than half of those review them regularly.
“Guess which one percent that is, Cole?”
I took that as a challenge, and have journaled nearly every day since.
It took practice to refine how, when, and why I journal, but now it’s my most critical step to starting every day right. I don’t need a study to tell you it works (although there is one).
There are also a few other daily habits I have honed to refine my edge, and you can read about them in the breakdown of my daily routine.
Journaling is easy and effective – but you have to actually do it. Every day.
At first, it seemed impossible to add one more thing to my daily to-do list. I already had:
- client calls
- articles to read
- various management responsibilities
- my kids’ school work and activities
- my fitness regimen
- time with my wife and family
- household projects
Whew! Today, in my ninth year of journaling, and after watching my written goals and intentions blossom into reality, I know it’s the most valuable thing I can do.
Writing daily is my mantra, and persistence is the key. As evidenced by the Five-Minute Journal, a few minutes a day can change your life. It provides a fast, organized system to list your daily gratitudes, thoughts, desires and goals, and it’s a fantastic way to dive into journaling.
Focused journaling provides insight and structure to the life you want to create
When you begin your writing routine, stay positive and strive to journal about these areas of discipline:
- Spiritual. A couple examples from my journal:
- Learn the scientific benefits of meditation and meditate daily. Here is a killer Ted Talk.
- Write about your Higher Purpose. What will you be doing to serve others, such as family, friends, community, non-profit orgs, and causes you support?
- Remind yourself to study your personal faith/discipline.
- Share what you know without asking for anything in return.
- Note things you learned or want to read about in your industry, things that interest you, and any motivating topics you come across.
- Master your craft through constant study and practice.
- Stop multitasking; you may need to get off or severely limit social media.
- Care about what you’re putting into your mind. Your mental diet matters as much as your physical one.
- Write your daily gratitudes first.
- Focus on positive aspects in your life to help forward progress.
- Learn how to mindfully approach any situation.
- Focus on your inner game.
- What’s my dream goal for this week? Don’t be afraid to reach for the sky here – it’s your journal.
- What opportunities am I going after today? What targets am I trying to hit? What will make this day/week/month a success?
If this seems overwhelming in any way, start small.
- Buy a notebook or journal exclusively for your daily writing – the physical act of handwriting has a very strong memory effect.
- Before you even leave the store, write on the first page. Write a goal for the day, or even a note to remind yourself to write.
- Keep the journal in a regular location, or carry it in your briefcase/purse so you can write and review whenever the feeling strikes you.
Why you should journal every day
This is absolutely the most important part: keep going, even if you only write a few words a day. Habits only develop after an initial period of learning and practice. Your first week of journaling might not drastically change your daily outlook, and it could be several months before you realize the true benefits.
Do you keep a journal? Are you inspired to start journaling? Please leave a comment below or message me on Facebook or Twitter to let me know how journaling helps you unleash your potential in work and in life!
Cole Harmonson is the CEO of Far West Capital, a company that funds the goals of high-growth entrepreneurs. Know a great company in need of capital to unleash their potential? Send them here (http://www.farwestcapital.com/quote-get-funded/) and we’ll give them a call.