Author: Nicky Torode, Wellbeing and Entrepreneurial Coach
As an entrepreneur of your emerging or established business, change has, no doubt, been part of your DNA. You’re always on alert to identify change before or as it happens, exploit the potential, and cope with, the new realities and keep your business offers forever relevant. And in this ever-changing VUCA world – one that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – our capacity to manage change is always being tested.
What if I told you there was one, easy, low cost and effective tool that could help you better navigate change, from major to minor? One thing you could start to use straight away, without any need for training courses. One thing that can become a constant support for you in this unstable world.
What is this tool, you ask? Why journaling.
Journaling, even just as little as 7 minutes a day, can have a grounding effect, helps you process your experiences, reflect on the challenges and brings clarity where once there was confusion or resistance. Journaling helps you see, and leverage, your strengths and draws out the lessons learned for the next change around the corner.
Here are some change-inspired exercises to experience the power of quiet and quality solo journaling time.
Change in Images
Before words, often comes images, to perceive and filter experiences.
Bring to your mind a change, however big or small, that you are facing in your business now. It can be a more workaday change, such as a change in software or social media messaging to a more far-reaching change such as launching a new product or service, finding a new supply chain or a decision that needs to be made to start something, or end something.
What image comes to mind when you think about this change? What is it like? Think about how it looks, how it feels, the quality or condition of it?
Either create your own image or choose one from below.
Write for 5 minutes from your chosen image and see if you can wander into new thoughts about the change you are facing.
The Change Curve
Change can be sudden, long lasting, imposed on us or chosen. Typically, people experience many emotions and reactions as they navigate change. Performance usually drops when change is introduced, the slide down the U-shaped change curve, until the moment upwards when change is embraced and integrated.
- Write down 3 strong emotions you are experiencing about this change.
- For any strong negative emotion, what would need to happen for you to shift this emotion into a helpful state?
- Which word best describes the stage you are currently at on the change curve:
Anticipation, Resistance, Accepting, Transforming, Sustaining
- What might be the next step to take along the change curve?
- Write a dialogue between your old business self before the change and your new business self on the other side of the change.
Writing down all the questions you have about this change can be helpful, not least because when you start writing, you don’t realise how many questions you’re holding onto.
Set a timer for 3 minutes.
See how many questions you can jot down in that time without stopping. Go!
Choose 3 questions you’re going to find answers to this week.
Poetry or motivational quotes can help your words flow. To keep your journaling active and relevant, always look out for lines of poetry, lines from business books, or over-heard words that resonate.
Here are a few lines from a poem by Pat Schneider Instructions for the Journey
The self you leave behind
is only a skin you have outgrown.
Don’t grieve for it.
Look to the wet, raw, unfinished
self, the one you are becoming.
Thinking about the change your business is facing and journal into these questions:
- What is it time to leave behind, what have you or your business outgrown?
- What are your instructions for the journey of change ahead?
Lists – Becoming and Unbecoming
List writing is an easy journaling technique which captures your quick-fire thoughts and often uncovers more significant items the further down the list you go.
Write two lists, thinking about all the changes you and your business are going through, using these two headings:
My Business is Becoming My Business is Unbecoming
Reflection Just One Thing
At the end of every journaling session, it’s useful to pull out just one thing from everything you’ve written that you can action.
Choose just one thing from your journaling today to help you embrace this moment of change.
And finally, remember, make journaling work for you. Come to it with genuine curiosity and trust something useful will come out. See when it can slide into your schedule with ease.
Maybe start with twice a week and build up to three or four times.
7 minutes journaling is ample.
Write, reflect, act.
Ready, steady, go!
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