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Maintain focus with a personal journal
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Dr. Rick Johnson, founder of CEO Strategist.
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Dr. Rick Johnson, founder of CEO Strategist.

I’ve asked countless CEOs and Presidents: What exactly do you want your legacy to be?

I have been impressed with how many have really put some thought into that question.

However, I have been equally disappointed in how many CEOs, Presidents and owners have really never given it much thought. Speaking from my personal experience and my own deep seeded feelings regarding what I would like to be known for, recognized for and thought of as I go down that retirement pathway and even that final walk in my life, I have begun keeping a journal.

I believe this journal will not only chronicle my own personal story; my successes, my defeats, my challenges, my GOALS and DREAMS, my own ideas and thoughts but I believe this journal will help me maintain focus and priority on my personal legacy. It will become something my family can review now and into the future. I am hoping it can become one of the more priceless collections for the family as the years roll on.

2012 is here. It is now a perfect time to begin to think about and document what you want your legacy to be. It doesn’t matter if you are thirty years old or if you’re older than sixty. Creating your own journal can do wonders for your effectiveness as a leader.

It will help you put things in perspective. It will allow you to create focus, purpose and clarity of vision.

Ten minutes at bed time or 20 minutes with your morning coffee can provide such a tremendous return to you personally. And, the neat part is that you can determine exactly how you want that return on investment to be paid. It’s your life, your thoughts and your dreams.

Starting the Journaling Process

It’s really pretty easy. Just start writing down your personal thoughts. Don’t worry about being organized or precise. Don’t worry about grammar and sentence structure. Just start writing as if you are telling a story about you, your dreams, your desires and your ambitions. Once you get into the habit you will begin to create your own style and flow.

Start collecting and writing about some of the events that occur both on a personal and professional level.

Buy a very expensive leather journal. This will motivate you more to use it. Collect good ideas that you can use in business and your personal life. Write them down. Don’t rely on your memory. After all, we all get CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff) eventually. If you are like me, many if not most of your ideas come as you lay your head down before you go to sleep or in the middle of the night when you wake up suddenly or even in the shower as you get ready for work. Keep your journal close by on your night stand. Carry it in your brief case. Write down everything.

Remember “Your thoughts and ideas are the most precious and most valuable thing you can leave behind.”

Don’t over tax your brain by asking it to function as a storage library for everything that happens in life. Your brain is your solution provider. It works out problems, creates ideas and controls everything we do. Use your journal to store those special thoughts, those creative ideas and those personal dreams. Free up your brain for creative thinking.

Adopt These Resolutions for 2012

1) Get a journal and start writing in it every day! Define your goals both personal and professional. Write about everything that interests you. This can include grand kids, neighbors, friends, and coworkers -- whatever. The idea is to get your thoughts to flow freely. Include business notes, training aids, write down both short term and long term goals and ideas.

2) Make a commitment to write something about something every single day. Make it a habit to start your day with your journal in hand and write out your deepest thoughts. Don’t be afraid to dream.

This process will literally change your life.

Creating your own journal can help you master some of the most difficult challenges you will face in life. Allocate “Brain Time”. Call it intellectual meditation if you like but just dedicate a specific amount of time at a specific time during the day to do nothing but think. Create thoughts and then document those thoughts. You will be amazed at what can happen. Try the following suggestions just to get you started:

  • Review and highlight yesterday or the week’s activities on a business and personal level. Write it in your journal. Add your thoughts as to what was done right and what could have been done differently
  • Don’t limit it to just your personal involvements. Write about events that happen to other people that have meaning to or could become learning events
  • Document actions and strategies that impact specific challenges or opportunities
  • Remain optimistic. Don’t write in the negative. Find the positive in everything you do.
  • Document some stretch goals that are personal and then copy those goals down on a three by five card you can carry in your wallet.
  • Read and review your complete journal on a weekly basis

As you look back on 2010-11 and begin to ponder your life, your job and your success in 2012, make sure you are true to yourself and commit to set aside that personal time to think, ponder, plan and dream. And, I don’t want to hear that old excuse; “I just can’t afford to take time to think and dream.”

Get a Clue! You can’t afford not to take that time if you expect to really live up to your own personal potential and build the kind of legacy you want to be proud of.

About the Author

Dr. Rick Johnson is the founder of CEO Strategist and a veteran of the wholesale distribution industry with more than 30 years of executive management experience. To learn more or arrange to have him speak to your company, click here.