A question for the audience. How many of you have some kind of a journaling practice? Who's got a journaling practice that they'd be willing to share a little bit about?
Well I actually don't have a journaling practice, but when I traveled abroad in Spain, I was super lonely. I was 20 years old and I hadn't traveled that far away from home at the time, so I started my own journal on my computer. And reading back, I read it the other day and I was like, "Oh my God, I was thinking about these things?" But it really helped me, kind of, get through what I was going through every day and I didn't realize it would help me so much until after I left.
Dan, I so appreciate, and you're seeing this big smile on my face. What I love about that is, I can go to the bookstore and I can pull down a biography of someone that I don't know. I can also open up a journal that I wrote in when I was 20 or 24 or 18, whatever that is. And I can look at that and go, "Oh my gosh. "Look at what I chose to put...
in my handwriting. "Look at what I spent the time putting onto paper "because in the moment, that was the challenge, "or the win, or the hard thing "that I was facing at that time." And it was neat, because I don't know if you caught this, you started off, "I don't have a journaling practice, "but I used to and I won." Hm, there's a little interesting information in there. What input from the universe do I need that lets me get to that, oh, let me pull out a piece of paper. I will share with you what I found that gets in the way, for most people, of having some kind of a journaling practice is it's a big J journal. It's formal, it has to be in the pretty journal. I have to write a whole page, otherwise I didn't win. I have to pour my heart and soul into the page. So what I do is, I change it up a little bit. So, five day experiment. I'm big on the five day experiments. For five days, what I'll invite all of you to do is next to your nightstand, I need five three by five note cards. For those of you abroad, I just need 5 pieces of paper next to your nightstand with a pen with some ink. I don't want you to run out of ink with this, okay? And then, I'll coach you. I'll give you what I give to folks. Change it if it doesn't work for you, but here are the three or four things I'd ask you to write on the three by five note card. By the way, three by five note card because you really only get like six sentences. If you turn it over, 12. For five nights, right before you turn out the night light, right before your head rests on the pillow, I invite you to capture your responses to three or four prompts. The first one that I invite you to write down your answer to is: the thing that stands out that you finished that day. No matter what kind of a day you have. Day as mom, day as a dog mom, day as a presenter. There's going to be something that day that rises to the surface. I can almost promise you what my what did I complete today is gonna be today. I completed four courses at CreativeLive. The next prompt, and this is mine, please use it if it works, change it if you think that that's what you need to do. Who helped me today? Who in the world helped me? Now for those of us who travel, Daniel, you mentioned travel a little bit, for those of us who go to the same office, I know some of you are going to the same place every day. For those of you who are in between. What's amazing to me is, if I let myself pause for a moment, there is someone that comes up to my mind during that day. Every now and then, I actually know who it was. Sometimes it's the waiter at the restaurant, sometimes it's the manager at the hotel. Sometimes it's the pilot of the plane that landed us safely alongside another pilot over the water at San Francisco, which always freaks me out. (audience laughter) What happened that day that I can show that, I can bring that and go, wow. Because of that person, my day was a little bit easier. And then, there's a little bit tied up to this besides the question. I've been doing a version of this, actually, for 21 years. So 1997 is when I started this daily journaling practice. Yes, everyday. To this day, I travel with a little notebook, it's the size of my hand. Hardback. I open it up, I give myself one page per day. Up on top, what did I finish today? In the middle, who helped me today? And at the bottom, what am I grateful for today? Now the reason I travel with this journal and the reason why I need you to do this for five nights in a row, is I force myself, sorry, challenge myself to write down something I'm grateful for that I haven't written recently. Because it's really easy to write down the same thing. I'm grateful for my life, I'm grateful for my wife, I'm grateful for my job, I'm grateful for my house, I'm grateful for food, I'm grateful for my dog when I had one. Expand that moment. Now I'm gonna click pause right before I go on to the fourth line here. I've got one more that I'm experimenting with, I've been experimenting with this for a couple of years now. I've gotten some great benefit from it, but it is tricky. Let me hit pause and go through these three. What you'll notice about these three is it's almost 180 degree opposite of what I was taught as a kid about being productive. I remember when I got my job as a high school teacher, my high school principal set me on a course to be productive. To get organized. I used the Franklin Covey planner, if anybody remembers those from the old days. And what I was taught there was at the end of the day, we were supposed to stop our day, I'm gonna look around for recognition, to see what kind of an audience has been through this class. At the end of the day I was supposed to stop, and then write, or plan, everything that I was gonna do tomorrow. Has anyone ever tried that? Right before you go to bed, you're kinda like, "Okay, tomorrow I'm gonna, tomorrow I'm gonna, "tomorrow I'm gonna." So I started doing this back in 1997. And what I found was that within weeks of answering these three questions I was waking up more rested. Now, I don't always connect things right away. But I give myself that gift of my attention. I went back and I realized, here was the distinction. What I used to use my brain for between 8PM and 11PM was to open things. What now I use my brain for between 8PM or 11PM is to close my day. So my practice today, speaking of resilience, speaking of knowing I have challenges, is about three to five in the afternoon, I open up my calendar, I look out over the next 30 to 60 days. I ask myself: what will I wish we had started working on sooner? I make my to-do list for tomorrow, for the week. I update things so that when I leave the office, mentally, when I give ready for bed, physically, I'm putting a bow on the day. Now I told you there's a fourth prompt that I've been experimenting with. Got a couple of years under my belt and I had to watch it, because left to its own devices, I have asked this question and it did reenergize me. There I am at 10:30 at night going, "Oh man, "let's work on that for a little bit. "Let me go read a book, let me go watch a video." So experiment with this one, but I do want to share with you what I've been working with so that you have it and you can play with it if you want. A question that I'll write down is: what is a new question that I've thought of, worked on, or heard? I truly believe 12 months from today your work, your life, your career, where you volunteer, what books you read, heck, what movies you go to. What your life looks like 12 months from now, it's gonna come down to awkward eye contact with people you don't know, sharing what you're working on and letting them help you. Can I come up with a new question so the next time I see, meet, or come into contact with someone and we start a conversation, I can ask them for help with what it is that I'm working on. That daily journaling process, which, by the way, you noticed what I titled that section, your autobiography, becomes what you look back on in the future. The brain was not designed, by the way, the brain was not designed to remember what we've done. It was designed to think about what we have to do. So that's why, as you were sharing that, Daniel, my face lit up. I've got these journal entries, literally, from two, I've got one I read recently from 2003. And remember the first question, what did I finish today? What did I complete today? This is what I wrote in 2003, it was October. I wrote: today I published a blog post with a picture. Gang, in 2003, that was a big deal. To attach a picture to a blog post that I published. So that's how I know how far I've come. That's how I know the hard times I've passed through. What about the future? What do we do to look forward and be resilient? Well let me share this tactic, alright? Call it the ideal day process. And the ideal day process, it's an interesting one from my point of view. It lets me be the director, the writer, the producer, and the actor, in a win. I had a teacher who once said, he says, "Jason, everybody fantasizes. "Most people lose in their own fantasies." I go, "I don't wanna lose! I wanna win!" So how do I do it? Easy. I open up the calendar, and I go out 30 days, 60 days. By the way, you keep seeing this reference to 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. I'm trying to get out of the current week I'm in. I'm applying these tactics to things that I'll have to be resilient in when they come at me. And then I ask myself a question like, well, what's a bigger day comin' at me? Professionally, am I traveling one day? Am I speaking one day? Personally, am I racing a triathlon? Am I going to a family reunion? What's a bigger day comin' at me? And then I write it out, or I image-in. In or out. For me, an ideal day, usually lasts about 250, 400 words. I usually hand write these so I can let the pen move across the page. It's slows me down, by the way. So it will take me five to 10 to 15 minutes to write out an ideal day. Now what I've realized about this over the years is, it's not necessarily a planning situation. It's not that I'm going to experience, word for word, whatever it is that I write, but it gives me two things. One, something to aim for, and two, something to ask for help with. So I know when I was preparing for this day at CreativeLive, I wrote out an ideal day and when I reread that, I made some changes. Last week, about how to prepare. This morning, about how to show up. And I reread it on lunch, just to make sure that I was heading in that direction. It's a real time tool. I add this to the autobiography section. I don't keep all of my ideal days, but every now and then I'll pull one out. It's like, "Oh that was that big day."