For over 16 years, I wrote a journal in first, second and third person, taking on the roles of colleagues, clients, and even friends to help me better understand their perspectives. I wanted to grow as a person, and as an entrepreneur, I always thought it was critically important to put oneself in others' shoes.
In 2016 when I was unexpectedly fired from my startup as a founder, I forcibly took a much-needed break from my career. The rendezvous from my busy career, allowed me to go over more than 250,000 words of my descriptive journal and retrace all the critical junctures in my career that had led me to where I was.
I laughed and cried while reading through the entries but also gained profound clarity in regards to the purpose of my life and used the opportunity to consolidate all my learnings from my career.
The introspective experience inspired me to write my first book, a career how-to guide for the nonconformists and helped me re-establish my career quickly and emphatically.
Best-selling author and serial entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss has extolled the benefits of keeping a journal and frequently touted the benefits of journaling just five-minutes daily to transform your life.
I couldn't agree more with Tim.
Furthermore, many well-known figures such as Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, George S. Patton, John Adams, and Andy Warhol were known to be avid diarists.
It makes sense that some of the best minds keep a journal. Keeping a journal keeps the brain creative, increases mindfulness, and helps you become a better writer.
However, there are some less known benefits of keeping a journal:
Access to a library of data.
Imagine for a second, keeping a diary for multiple years. After some time, you will recognize patterns in the way you make decisions. You will then see the patterns throughout your day and this will help you improve your decision-making ability tremendously. This is a crucial quality that needs constant practice when running a business. Often times, I enjoy putting behavioral patterns on a spreadsheet to understand why I and others make the wrong decisions. Imagine having access to such data anytime.
Without my journals, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to self-reflect as intensely as I did. Writing about my experiences and keeping an ongoing dialogue with myself, allowed me to disengage with my present state and helped me learn about my strengths and weaknesses. The introspective moments allowed me to reinvent myself across multiple industries in a short span of time.
Enhancement of emotional intelligence.
I enjoy writing in different persons (first, second, and third ) and writing as if I were someone else. Using my imagination, I would often times lose myself in my journals and writing out scenarios of my business decisions. Hence, the day I was terminated, it was one of the several outcomes I had already foreseen. Practicing deep introspection will not only help you understand the emotional state of others but also help you predict their next move as well as yours.
After getting "friendly fired" from my own company in 2016, the opportunity to relive my career through my journals gave me the clarity to pursue exactly what I wanted and how to get it.
As a result, I turned 2017 into the best year of my career. Just to name a few accomplishments; I became a C-Level executive for a publicly listed company, finished my first book, became a contributor to CNBC, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, and Huffington Post, and an advisor for a promising startup.
Without a journal, it is hard for me to imagine the transformation I had in my career from 2016 to 2017. What started off as a practice to improve my English after moving back to the states in the middle of high-school, not only helped me transition my career through multiple industries but served as a lifeline for my career when I needed it most.
You can start just five minutes a day or just once a month, but in 2018, use this powerful habit to make breakthroughs in your career.