I write in a journal daily. This extraordinary ritual has revolutionised my mindset, transformed my heartset and generally influenced my life exponentially.
I want the same results for you. Period.
And so, with deep care and the highest of focus, I recorded a new Mastery Session where I literally deconstruct my personal practice of journaling into 7 compelling reasons to start today.
Hope this helps you rise to your best and lead your field. I’ve got your back. Let’s fuel your greatness.
We’re also happy to provide you the transcription at no cost.
This Mastery Session is called The Journaling Deconstruction.
These days I’m so fascinated and all about deconstructing so many of the core pieces of my thinking, my life, my observations. I really want you to think about this word “deconstruction”. If you run a business, ask yourself, “Hmm. How can I deconstruct what has made my business successful?” If you are a professional athlete, a lot of professional athletes and pro-sports stars are watching these Mastery Sessions, ask yourself, “How can I deconstruct the best performance I’ve had this year?”
If you are a teacher, ask yourself, “On my best day in front of my class, let me deconstruct what I did, what I ate, what I thought, how I behaved to deliver that result.” The more you can deconstruct things, if you go to a conference and you say, “Well, that was fantastic,” deconstruct why it was so fantastic because with more clarity, you can do more of it. I hope I’m making sense, but this idea, I want you to think about deconstructing the things that are working for you, and then deconstructing the things that don’t work for you.
Let’s say you gave a presentation at the office to your teammate and it didn’t go so well, that’s okay. Failure is the price of legendary, but you want to learn from it. A failure is only a failure if you allow it to become a failure versus a leverage point to your next level of world class. If the presentation didn’t go well, you want to take the time in deep reflection or meditation or journaling to deconstruct what happened so that you can wrap your brain cells around what you want to do next time. Which really brings me to this Mastery Session, Journaling Deconstruction.
You know from previous Mastery Sessions or if you’ve read any of my books, how much I believe in the tool of journaling. Much of it came from a book I read a while ago called The Artist’s Way. It was a very popular book a few years ago, and she talked about morning pages. Julia Cameron is the author, to give credit where it’s due.
I’ve created this ritual every morning, yes, 5 AM or it happens between 5 AM and 6 AM where I am writing or in an airplane pretty much during takeoff. Yes, I don’t have my tray table up. Yes, I have my seat belt on, but I’ve got my journal and I’ll start writing. This is a little tactic for those of you who fly a lot. You want to, as soon as the plane takes off, pull out the journal or pull out your plans and start looking at them. It sounds very obvious, but that gets your brain focused on the work or the creativity or the valuable productivity versus turning on the TV or the film or et cetera, et cetera, and losing four or five hours of flight time, because I believe airplane time is show time.
I can’t tell you, and I know I’m digressing a little bit here, but I can’t tell you the value out of all the travels I’ve flown millions of miles over the past decades, and I’ve used almost every single airplane flight to think, to plan, to read, to learn, to journal, to study. I not only land without jet lag because I think jet lag is a mind virus, but I’ve used all of that time in the air to work my craft, to prepare for my clients, to plan great trips with my loved ones, to read books of great entrepreneurs or great productivity people or great psychologists or great humanitarians or great wisdom. If you fly a lot, you want to make sure you use as much of that plane time as possible versus playing solitaire over a six-hour flight because you just got into that trap.
Anyway, journaling. I have deconstructed journaling into seven key steps or seven key reasons to journal that with great humility and with great passion, because I really am going to challenge you, with great respect, to install this habit of journaling. I’m going to share these seven reasons why I encourage you to journal, and this is my deconstruction.
The first reason to journal, and this is the most important reason to journal is it organizes your thinking. You see, you ask most people, you ask average performers, “What are your top five visions?” or “What are your top five values?” or “What’s your big five for this year?” or “What do you want your life to stand for?” or “What are the five things that make you happiest?” or “What are the three foods that fuel your energy?” or “Who are the seven people you would most like to meet to lift your game so you own your marketplace?” They’ll say, “Hmm, great question. I don’t know.”
The point is simply this. Vague thinking leads to vague production. I’m going to say that again because it’s so important. Vague thinking leads to vague production. Clarity breeds mastery. The first reason to journal, write about your day, write about your ambitions, write about what you just learned from that wonderful - I had a mastermind conversation with a friend a few days ago. After that, I sat down for probably three hours with my black journal, and I wrote, I think it was 23 learning points that I received from that mastermind.
That organizes my thinking, and it breeds incredible levels of clarity. With better clarity, you can make better decisions in your business life and in your personal life, and with better decisions, you’re going to see these better choices. The first reason I encourage you to journal, is it will organize your thinking.
The second reason I encourage you to journal, it fosters hope. You might be going through a really painful time. You might have lost a loved one. You might have lost a job. You might have faced one of life’s inevitable disappointments which actually, adversity is an opportunity for mastery to the A-player. Anyway, maybe you’re suffering right now.
When you’re write in journal about what you want to happen, I call it a pre-performance template. Just write it out. “Here’s what I want to happen in my love life. Here’s what I want to happen in my health. I missed the job opportunity or the job promotion. Here’s what I want to happen.” The very nature starts to train your brain on something bigger and better and higher and more beautiful. Then by doing that, you actually galvanize your confidence, and you become filled and inspired with hope.
You know this, but confidence really is the needle mover. People say, “Well, it’s about being bright.” Okay, fine, but I know a lot of billionaires who are not the brightest people in the room, and I said that with great respect, but they’re the most confident. Persistence, give me persistence over intelligence every single time. It’s the hungriest who wins, not necessarily the most gifted. My point is simply the second reason to journal in this deconstruction, is it will fill you with hope.
I was in Barcelona about a month ago. I was with my Icon X group. This is the private, exclusive small group of entrepreneurs and industry titans that I coach. We were having one of our two-day sessions in Barcelona, and as I often do, I take them to my favorite restaurant in the city where we’re in. I took them to a place and you have to eat at this place, please, before you get to the end of your life. It’s called Cal Xim. It’s in a place called Penedes, which is about 45 minutes out of that wonderful city, Barcelona.
In Penedes, this is where they make Cava, which is the Spanish equivalent of champagne. You go into this little village where Cal Xim is, and it’s spelled, C-A-L X-I-M, and there’s this little village. As we drove up, me and my Icons, the sun was setting, and there was a gentle breeze going through the trees of this little village. The owner was standing outside and his two children were playing. He invited us, he gave me a huge hug as these Catalonians will, and we went downstairs into the bodega, and we had an epic meal.
The food was magical. The experience with my Icon X members was unforgettable. The next morning, I woke up in Barcelona and I wrote about it in my journal. I wrote about it just to allow the experience to infuse my heart, not only my mind, but my heart. I wanted to take in what I experienced at that restaurant at a heart level, at an emotional, visceral level so it became a felt knowing in my body. Yes, I’m passionate about great food and yes, I’m passionate about that restaurant. I get nothing of course by sharing it, but your life is special even if you’re going through a difficult time.
By writing in your journal about the good things in your life, the blessings, the sunsets, the great pizza meals, your favorite restaurants, that wonderful book you just read, that conversation you just had at a bus stop or with a taxi driver, it will allow you to relive the experience. You can do that anytime you want to relive that experience and feel the same feelings. Then if you do that, then you start living life almost like a miracle. Every day becomes this incredible miracle.
You see, gratitude is a muscle. I’m going to repeat that again because it’s so important. Gratitude is a muscle. The more you go to the gym of celebrating your blessings, the stronger your muscle internally of gratitude will grow. You might say, “Robin, you teach leadership to the Fortune 500, you teach elite performance to professional athletes and professional sports, for example, why are you talking about gratitude?”
If you look at the work of a lot of the storied and most celebrated positive psychologists, they will use a term called Deliberate Gratitude. What they have found is the happiest people are the people who make the time to deliberately celebrate gratitude. Happy people get big things done. Happy people are the most creative. Happy people are the least toxic. Happy people are the best entrepreneurs or team leaders within organizations. Happy people have the most fire in their belly. Happy people have the most grit which is that trait, Angela Lee Duckworth’s term about that trait of people who get the most things done.
My point is in your journaling, if every day you take the time to record, “10 things that are great about my life”, “10 Things I’d love to focus on”. It could be, “I have two legs.” If you’re blessed to have two legs. It could be, you have good eyesight in a world where a lot of people have glaucoma. It could be that you have income in a world where a large percentage of the world is existing on $2 a day. If you have food in your belly, you are a blessed human being. If you have a roof over your head, you are a very fortunate person indeed.
The psychological term is called Hedonic Adaptation. You get a new car, and you love the new car until it becomes your new normal. You buy a new house or you have a roof over your head if you were homeless and you take it for granted. That’s Hedonic Adaptation. It’s a survival instinct that we have to fight. How do you fight taking things for granted, Hedonic Adaptation, the reply, the way you fight it is deliberate gratitude.
I am writing almost every day in my journal about what I’m grateful for, my loved ones. I have an extraordinary family who I adore. I’m blessed to do these podcasts. I’m blessed to do these Mastery Sessions, to be of service to so many people. I am blessed to be an influencer on Facebook where millions of people are going to my Facebook page every single day. I am blessed to have great health. I am blessed to do work I love. I am blessed to be able to eat food that makes me happy. I am blessed to have a home full of books. I mean, a home full of great learning materials, and a home that inspires you is a beautiful home, even if it’s a one-bedroom apartment or a hut.
There’s an image I saw the other day, these African school children, and they’re reading under streetlights. They don’t have any electricity in their homes. They coalesce and congregate every evening under public streetlights on the street so they all can read. That’s how much they want to learn. That moves me even sharing it with you here today. You are probably in a place where you have electricity in your home, and you can read every night. Do you take the time to celebrate it? Journaling is a great way to dial in and acutely focus on those blessings.
Just imagine if you took those things and really viscerally appreciated them, they would be so meaningful to you, and you would feel so different, even if you’re going through a disappointing time in your life.
If you’re going through one of life’s inevitable hard times, I mean, life is a series of seasons. You’re going to have times at the top of the mountain, you’re going to have times in the valley. I had gone through times you could not imagine. I’ve gone through times where I have been attacked, where people have tried to take me down, where someone very close to me called it a horror story, like a Hollywood horror story.
I have pivoted during those times and use them as much as I humanly could do so, to open my heart, to teach me forgiveness, to teach me faith, to teach me love, to understand that my enemies - and I don’t have any enemies, but those people who tried to hurt me and destroy me were also helping me become a deeper, stronger, faster human being who is even more of service to you. It makes me think of that wonderful Mexican proverb, “They tried to bury me, they didn’t understand we were seeds.”
During my times in the darkness where I was lost and hurting, where people were trying to destroy me, one of the things that saved me was my journal. Some days, I would write for hours and I would process the pain, and I would process the disappointment, and I would write about my confusion. You see, here’s the key. Any great psychologist will tell you, and any great philosopher will tell you, if you do not feel through and release the pain and the disappointment and the anger towards forgiveness and freedom and love, you will repress and suppress those low energy emotions.
If you do, you’ll be a toxic person. If you do, you’ll be bitter 10 years later. If you do, you will never forgive. If you do, you will be carrying those people who tried to destroy you with you through the rest of your life. You won’t be creative. You won’t be productive. You won’t be on fire. You won’t be a master of your craft because you’re stuck in the event that happened years ago, and journaling is a fantastic tool to move you through those difficult times whether they last a week, whether they last five years, whether they last a decade. Hey, Nelson Mandela was in Robben Island for 27 years. You want to talk about a hero.
What does that mean? Exponential learning sustainability? By writing what you’ve learned in your journal, you dramatically accelerate the learning and the stickiness and sustainability of what you’ve learned. If you’ve just been to a great conference, you’ve just been through a great online course, you’ve just read a great book, and let’s say you’ve just had a great conversation with your mentor or a stranger. Over lunch, over a cup of tea, before you go to sleep, pull out your journal and write about it, “Here’s what I learned,” “Here are the seven points,” “Here are the 15 points,” and dial it in and calibrate the insights.
Why? It will deepen them in your thinking. It will lock them in and then as you know, it’s your beliefs that drive your behavior. Your income and your impact always reflects your self-identity. If you’re learning and integrating the learning so you become this force of nature and this more valuable human being, then you’ll be able to bring on the value to your marketplace, bring on the service, bring on the passion, bring on the energy, bring on the excellence so that you become unstoppable as you rock your craft in your market of choice.
I hope you’ve loved this mastery session. I’m full of passion and energy. Obviously, I love journaling and I really want you to do it just to experience it so that you get the benefits in your own life which is my great wish for you.
The seventh reason to journal in this deconstruction I’ve walked you through the great love is it allows you to record your remarkable life. There are extra people on the planet today. It doesn’t matter if you’re a billionaire, a street sweeper, a chef, a filmmaker, a carpenter, a laborer, an astronaut, a scientist. You are built for remarkability, and your life is colorful. Your life is meant to be rich. It’s meant to be beautiful. The hard times will serve you. I mean, the hard times, those times of pain and frustration build your character. They open you up. They deepen you. They give texture and beauty and deliciousness to your life if you see them and embrace them that way.
Then your times at the top of the mountain, savor those. They’re glorious times that are meant for you, but write it all down. Writing your journals, that’s your autobiography. I hope you get to the end of your life and maybe you’re 127 years old, and you look at this heap of journals, and you go back through them, and you read about your learnings, you read about your lessons, you read about what you gave, you read about your trials, you read about your victories, you read about who you influenced, the people you love, the people you inspired, your times of confusion, and a smile comes to your face because you’ll realize you lived life beautifully and meaningfully.
I really, really, really hope on the last hour of your last day, as you flip through your journals surrounded by those who love you, that’s what comes to your mind and within your heart. Thanks a lot for being with me.