“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ~Gustave Flaubert … and, I would add, discovering what you believe takes courage. It is also the first step towards a life of fulfillment and success.

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” ~Gustave Flaubert … and, I would add, discovering what you believe takes courage. It is also the first step towards a life of fulfillment and success.

Courage to Write the Truth

Years ago, writing my first personal journal entry, I gripped my pen like the fear that gripped me. I was afraid of what would pour out. Afraid of what it would mean. Afraid of what I would discover about myself that I didn’t want to know.

After dozens of entries and lie after lie, I finally found the courage to write the truth. Surprisingly, looking back, these snapshots of my life at different periods of time were laughable. The circumstances and ideas I feared then now seem ridiculous. The problems I feared seem insignificant. That can only mean one thing:

I’m learning.

Sure, keeping a journal can give our feelings an outlet without the need for justification or fear of judgment. But more than that, journaling allows us to become who we are. With it, we can travel back through life’s emotions with a deeper understanding and compassion for one’s self. Journaling allows us to explore difficult decisions in life and business, discovering answers that we were previously too blind to see.

Clarity for Your Life’s Work

The clarity that journaling brings to all aspects of life gives your mind room to breathe. It’s a way to learn from challenges and celebrate successes with yourself along life’s journey, so much of which is filled with your life’s work.

If you haven’t thought of journaling as beneficial to your business, it’s time to start.

Beyond any obvious advantages, keeping a journal can reap long-term benefits to your company in many critical areas for any business:

  1. Negotiations

You don’t have to be in sales or business development to negotiate. Most negotiations happen internally, between co-workers or managers and over the most miniscule topics. Regardless of who you’re negotiating with, keeping a journal of negotiation activity can hone your skills over time. Tracking wins/losses, understanding how you might have approached the conversation differently, and retrospectively finding holes in your arguments will build your ability to influence others naturally and effectively.

  1. Ideas

As new ideas pop into your head from time to time, a journal is a perfect place to capture them. While fresh ideas are valuable, thoroughly examined ones are pure gold. A written idea explored through a detailed journal entry can be the starting point of a productive brainstorming meeting, the beginnings of a new product, or the solution to a challenging growth problem for your company.DeathtoStock_Wired6

  1. Planning and Preparing

Have a big meeting coming up? Need to impress a client, investor or boss? Take a few minutes to think through your approach with a free-form journal entry.

Openly investigating different approaches in the safety of your notebook will pay dividends when it comes time to present. You’ll be able to anticipate questions, address issues, respond quickly to your audience’s reactions. You’ll find yourself more than prepared, you’ll find yourself adding genuine value.

  1. Reflection/Introspections

The road to success is difficult if you don’t know where you’re going. Nearly every entrepreneur has those moments where they’re not sure how to proceed, where to take their company, or what they could do to add the most value.

Using a journal to write down these confusions can clarify your direction. More so, by reading through previous journal entries, you will be able to reflect on the past, recognizing positive influences in your business that will help you back on the road to success.

  1. Prioritizing

It’s simple. You can’t do everything. Yet it seems this is exactly what you must do to succeed in your company. Many try, but few can handle this self-imposed pressure for long. You know these people as the ones who “burned out.”

Don’t burn out! Prioritize your workload by taking a few minutes when you feel overwhelmed to write out your priorities. The relief you will feel by unloading these tasks into your journal will be dwarfed by the productivity you will experience having done so.

  1. Communications

Business is so often about communicating. Whether in writing or verbally, if you can’t get your message across, your customers won’t understand how you can help them–a recipe for inevitable disaster.DeathtoStock_Wired3

The simple act of writing in a journal will clarify your thinking and give you daily practice at the written word. You can reflect on each day, noting when you communicated ineffectively and how you might change your approach in the future.

Over time and with diligent practice, your emails will read cleanly and your speaking skills will improve, giving you greater presence and influence at work.

  1. Growth

Starting a business takes patience, time, creativity, hard work. Growing a business takes all of that, plus reflection. When it’s time to take your business to the next level, it’s time to open a journal and reflect on your customers, your products, and your value.

Sure, this can all be done at a whiteboard with incoming email alerts dinging in the background. But the deep reflection you will need to grow requires the kind of personal dedication that comes with journal writing. So find yourself a quiet room, a good pen, and a fresh pad of paper and start a business journal today!

If you’re still not convinced that keeping a journal is beneficial to your life’s work, here’s one more for you:

  1. Venting

Anyone who has worked for or with anyone else has experienced frustration. Whether bickering over where to take the company next or fuming over the poor choice of words in an email, frustration for many can be a daily occurrence. Unfortunately, when this happens, it’s an impediment to productivity, creativity, and motivation.DeathtoStock_Wired4

Venting at work isn’t always the best solution, so we typically turn to our friends and family. But when they tire of the work-related complaints, turn to your journal. It will listen with unlimited patience and without judgment. Furthermore, the act of experiencing your frustration through a pen will give you more than an outlet, it will give you perspective.

About Modern da Vinci

Modern da Vinci is a personal and business development blog helping readers think critically, deepen understanding, and turn knowledge into action. Together we seek to strengthen each other’s experiences, building upon great works of the past to inspire great thinkers, inventors, and entrepreneurs of our own time. Visit us at www.moderndavinci.net/welcome to learn more.