Keeping Track of Change

What does your perfect vacation look like? My ideal trip combines nature, people, good food, and bookstores. I’m especially happy if my destination includes a used bookstore or two. In September I visited Hay-on-Wye, Wales, pretty much nirvana from my perspective. With my sister and my partner we attempted to shop in every one of Hay’s approximately 30 used bookstores. We didn’t make it to all 30. Guess I’ll have to return.

What does this have to do with business? Well, of course, I shopped the business book sections of the stores. And yes, I bought a few.

I’m reading Diary of a Change Agent by Tony Page, one of the books I picked up in Hay-on-Wye. Page records the ups and downs of his business and personal life (stress at work impacts your personal life, in case you didn’t know.) He takes his diary a step further by focusing on value. After an entry he’ll note what value both he and his client gained from the experience. Page also notes other insights and learning he gained.

Keeping a diary can be a great tool for tracking your growth as an individual and as a business owner. Over time you’ll see trends. You’ll bump up against the same problems. You’ll whine about the same issues. (I don’t mean you would ever whine. I’m talking about all those other people.)

But wait. It gets better. You’ll see growth. You’ll record ah-ha moments.

You’ve probably heard that there’s a new year arriving in less than a month. I’m suggesting Page’s diary exercise for the upcoming year. I’m going to incorporate it into my year. Here are some suggested guidelines.

  1. Write when you feel inspired to write. Page didn’t write every single day. If something’s a “have to” it becomes a chore, not a pleasure.
  2.  Keep entries short. Your life is probably already busy. Adding in a time consuming task means you’ll be busier, not a good thing.
  3. Set an intention for your diary. While his goal was to see how he could add value, yours might be to track some other variable. That way your project has focus. Maybe you want to note how you stay (or stray) from alignment with your values. Or how about tracking your commitment to self-care? I’m going to track when I act in a courageous manner and when I let fear rule my actions.
  4. Have fun with the process. Page included drawings, comments about his kids, the fact that it snowed. He learned not only from business interactions, but also the rest of his life.

Interested in joining me on a journaling journey? What do you want to keep track of in the coming year?