Gauge Your Personal and Professional Growth by Keeping a Journal

Josh Hinds - Author and EntrepreneurI’ve learned much in the years I’ve been a student of personal development. I’m certain I have become more than I would have, had I never begun this journey so many years ago. By far, one of the most important lessons I picked up was taught to me by Jim Rohn, on the importance of keeping a journal.

The benefits are vast. One of the many reasons for keeping a journal is that you not only want to take in information that you hope can help you in some way, you also want to look for opportunities to apply it in your life, and be able to review how doing so worked out for you.

Friend, you want to be able to save the experiences that helped you grow, learn new skills, the times that served you. And in some cases, you even want to be able to record those things that didn’t quite work out as you would have hoped, so you can reduce the risk that you’ll have to repeat them. Your journal, if you will keep one, can serve you greatly in this capacity.

Imagine having a resource that not only you, but your loved ones, or friends and colleagues can look back on and learn from. Keeping a journal allows you to not just float through life, but better learn from each and every experience. It helps you be an active participant in creating the life you live.

Here are a few more of the reasons journaling can be such an important tool to implement in your personal development (btw. I wrote an entire chapter on this in my book)…

– It is a wonderful place to keep score. In life, where things are often happening at what seems like breakneck speed, it is important to know whether you’re moving forward, standing still, or backing up. The best way to know is to track your results (unless, unlike me, your mind is such a steel trap that you need only refer back to it to know the answer. Doesn’t describe you? Yeah, me either). It’s the same principle of following a budget, or a marketing plan, or even just working a to do list. You can either let things float around in your mind, or you can have a simple system you can refer back to, just to make sure you are making progress.

– A powerful source of validation. We all have times where we just don’t feel like we are doing as well as we would like. It is easy to get lost in the moment, losing sight of the fact that if we could see things in totality, we have actually made great progress overall. It can help balance the line between what needs to be done, and the due credit you deserve for the progress you have already made.

– Your journal is a great “catch all” for the things you learn, whether in books, audio programs, seminars, just about anywhere, that you know if you could just recall at a later time, or somehow internalize you would be the better for it. If you’re making the effort to journal then you get the benefit of being able to refer back, and apply these nuggets of wisdom at a later time.

– Record your legacy. We all want to feel like we’ll be remembered beyond our time. We want to leave a legacy of some sort, even if we don’t give a whole lot of thought to it. And here’s something you might be surprised to consider. You are in fact going to leave a legacy of some sort. Now that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to be proud of it. It just means that the fact that you have lived upon this earth, and interacted with someone other than yourself, you’re going to, in some way have an impact on folks outside yourself. For this reason alone, it’s worth considering your legacy a bit.

Why not strive to leave a positive impact in some way. You don’t have to think about this in monumental terms. What I’m saying is, because you’re going to be leaving some sort of legacy anyway, why not give it the old college try as they say. When you journal, you have the opportunity to share the things you believe would be worthwhile with those who come behind you. You get to control, at least to some degree, where others go to read about your legacy.

I have been keeping a journal for years, and when I began, I wasn’t sure that I would have anything worthwhile to share. However, the interesting thing is as the years have gone by, and I’ve grown, those journals have been filled with years of thoughts and ideas that I hope will impart a little wisdom to others.

These are just a few reasons you should be keeping a journal. Hopefully the ideas above have prompted you to begin this practice yourself. It can have a real impact on your life.

It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!
Josh Hinds

Don’t Allow Your Past to Dictate Your Future

Josh Hinds - Author and EntrepreneurI find that many people have a frame of reference which dictates how capable they believe they are at a particular task, skill, or thing — and in-turn plays a role in what they attempt, which as you can imagine has an effect on what they end up achieving — be it personally or professionally.

You Are Far More Capable Than Any Shortcoming From Your Past…

Your frame of reference is often shaped by your past accomplishments, as well as those times where you’ve fallen short of your intended outcome. For example, in my own life I would definitely NOT be described as a math whiz. In fact it’s fair to say that I was not very good at math at all in school. To this day I can tell you that my frame of reference (which was created in large part based on my past experiences) left me with the belief that I am not good at math which still sticks with me to this day. I don’t let it hold me back, but it does pop up in my mind from time to time.

If I’m really honest with myself, I have to confess that the reality is, for all I know, I might actually be good at math, if I were willing to put in extra time in study, or learn via different learning techniques. With all that said, my past experiences formed my frame of reference. The point here isn’t whether or not I could change this line of thinking. Perhaps you too have had past experiences which have shaped your frame of reference (both positively and negatively).

Whatever may have happened in your past, if it doesn’t serve to make you the person you want to be, you have in you the ability, through action and effort, the opportunity to change it to one that will serve you for the better.

Your frame of reference is important for several reasons — not the least of which is that it determines what you are willing to attempt in the first place, which of course is the starting point of everything with regards to the success process. If you don’t get started you can’t ever hope to succeed at any worthwhile endeavor. No amount of wishing alone will get you there.

Break Through Your Limiting Beliefs…

I love the story of Roger Bannister. The first man to ever run a sub-four-minute mile. For years, many amazing athletes before him tried to break the elusive 4 minute time, but fell short. Interestingly, once he broke the record, before long, other athletes began doing the same, as well as breaking his time record. What had kept all the athletes before Roger from breaking the 4-minute mile? Their own frame of reference that was built around the idea that “it couldn’t be done.”

It took Roger to come along, and by overcoming the barrier, “reframe” the way everyone saw the 4-minute mile, from one that couldn’t be broken, back to one that, like all goals, could be worked at, trained for, and eventually attained.

Friend, commit right here and now to go beyond those who stop just short of wishing for bigger and better results, and those who wake up everyday and set out about doing the daily work necessary to get where they want to go in life.

It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!
Josh Hinds

PS. Add my Why Perfect Timing is a Myth audio program to your personal development library. It’s designed to take you from “need to do” to “got it done!”.

Solve Your Productivity Woes With This Simple, Often Overlooked Solution

Josh Hinds - Author and EntrepreneurDon’t let your never-ending quest for the latest and greatest productivity solution be your downfall.

More often than I’d care to admit I have found myself fighting to implement the latest “productivity hack” — only to eventually give up on it. Wasted time? Perhaps, but I don’t beat myself up over it.

I’ve long lived by the motto “personal development is a hands on project.” Meaning that I believe we have to try new things and implement what works, but at the same time be willing to kick to the curb, so to speak, those things that don’t work for us. While some things may not work, I have certainly found, and tested many that do (and I bet you have too). For example, I formulated the Goal Cards System (as outlined in greater detail in my book) as a result of having tried various goal setting strategies and combining the bits and pieces from different approaches that I found worked best. I’ve taught it to countless people, and judging from the positive feedback it has received over the years its helped a lot of folks.

Embrace simplicity…

One of the things that I see getting in the way of the positive results a lot of people might otherwise have received is that they are simply making things too complex. Things don’t have to be confusing (nor should they be) to be effective.

I have been a student of personal and professional development since I was 15 years old. I can tell you — the simpler something is to stick with, the more likely it is going to be that people actually will. Simple, yes, but make no mistake, consistency and the ability to stick to a given task is the difference between hoping something becomes a reality, and seeing it manifest in your world.

A simple productivity tool that can make all the difference…

Keeping with the theme of “simple, yet incredibly effective productivity solution” here’s something I want to encourage you to implement into your daily routine if you haven’t already…

Use a calendar.

If after reading my suggestion you’re uninspired, bear with me and hear me out. Friend, as we already established, virtually anything you set out to accomplish will require your attention, and you’re going to have to work ongoing at it. Since you can’t very likely finish whatever it is you hope to accomplish in one sitting it’s going to require you to come back to it over a period of time. Therefore; you need something that will visually remind you to get back to work on the particular endeavor. Personally, I prefer a web based calendar that syncs between my phone, tablet, computer, etc. I also appreciate that I can set reminders from within the calendar solution which further helps to ensure I’m nagged into actually doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done 🙂

Another nice benefit of using my calendar is that I can easily look back and review what I accomplished at a quick glance. It is also nice to know I can “brain dump” tasks that need doing, but might otherwise just swim around in my head until they got done (assuming I was able remember said task at all).

If something needs to be done, it’s worth writing it down. You’re sure to greatly improve the odds that it’ll get completed.

Schedule it all…

That’s right, don’t just plug your “work / professional life” into your calendar. Often our lives, both “work & personal” can intersect greatly. I don’t know about you, but I’m “always on” in some respect. I just love what I do for a living to the point that there’s a lot of overlap in the time I spend between “work & personal time.” As the saying goes, “find something to do you love and you won’t have to work a day in your life.” Whatever the reason, I find that my life runs smoother when I plug it all into my calendar.

So for example, on a typical day my calendar might include the following entries:

– exercise
– radio show interview
– client call
– catch up on call with friend
– write article

You get the idea. The point is while it is important to make sure you’re reminded of that important business meeting, or sales call, it should be as equally important to you to be reminded of the personal items which require your attention. So yes, schedule dates with your significant other. Make a point to put activities in your calendar. Don’t just say you want to attend more of your kids activities and hope you manage to do so by some stroke of luck. Put it on your calendar just as you would any important activity. It is important after all.

On a personal note, I’ll confess that at different points in my life I wasn’t as intentional about giving my personal life as much priority as I did my “professional” one. As a result I’m sure it has played a part in my having missed out on what might otherwise have been some very wonderful relationships, and great memories. I don’t mention this for sympathy, nor do I want you to think I’m dwelling on it. I just bring it up because I think it is worth mentioning because it is very much why I make an effort now to plug everything into my calendar now as I mentioned. I make time for the “work” and “personal” — I’m not perfect at it, but when I catch myself slipping into old patterns I course correct as needed.

Hopefully these ideas are helpful to you. Give it a try. Make your calendar your partner in productivity. And like me, you might just wonder what took you so long embrace the simplicity of it.

Keep this in mind:

The things we give our attention to, get done, more often than not. Friend, make no mistake, the ongoing use of a calendar into your regular routine will do wonders for making sure more of the things you need to be giving your attention to, get worked on.

It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!
Josh Hinds

PS. Add my Why Perfect Timing is a Myth audio program to your personal development library. It’s designed to take you from “need to do” to “got it done!” — learn more here!

3 Ways To Encourage And Build People Up In A Powerful Way

Josh Hinds - Author and EntrepreneurPerhaps an encouraging word means so much because we’re surrounded by so much of the opposite. Sadly, negativity runs amok. We hear it in the news, in the conversations we overhear, and unfortunately, all too often, in the ones we are participating in. That being the case it only makes sense that when we get a glimpse of the opposite — a bit of positivity — we naturally want more of it. We want to experience more of the positive things in life. It is only natural, and the cool thing about it is it tends to expand in our personal world as we give it away to others.

Encouragement is unique in that it has far reaching benefits on both the beneficiary and its giver. I have seen strategically applied encouragement turn people who were riddled with self esteem issues, and self doubt transformed, over time into incredibly competent leaders, and achievers on par excellence. Interestingly, people are attracted to those who pass along genuine encouragement to others. These folks are appreciated and valued to the point that people want to seek out and surround themselves with them. It can pay off greatly if you can become the type of person who is known for encouraging those around you.

Three steps for powerfully encouraging people …

1. Be intentional in giving encouragement. Being intentional simply means, to do a thing on purpose, that is to plan it, rather than allowing it to unfold randomly. It’s that simple. The difference in how great you’ll feel when you’ve planned some opportunities to give positive encouragement can’t be fully explained. Take my word for it, it is just so much more impactful than just hoping such opportunities appear by chance. Notice that I’m not saying the former is ineffective. I’m just saying that you will feel a greater sense of fulfillment, and reduce the chances that you’ll inadvertently neglect the opportunity to share the encouragement you might otherwise had you simply planned it out ahead of time.

While I am fully confident the idea above will make a difference don’t simply take my word for it.. Try planning the day ahead, strategically deciding where you’ll impart your words of encouragement, and see what a difference it will have on you, and those who benefit from the empowering words you will be sewing.

2. Write it down, don’t rely on memory alone. In keeping with the ideas above, you want to write down the outcome you hope for. It may not guarantee you the end result you want, but it will always get you closer to it than if you chose to slip and slide through your day without one. That being the case, the little bit of extra time planning takes is more than worth the effort. Plus, reducing your “plan” to a checklist makes it as easy as simply following the next steps.

3. Specific things you can do to encourage and show appreciation in a BIG way. There are an infinite number of things I could include here. Instead I will share a few especially impactful things that you can do on an ongoing basis. If you will make them a regular practice you will be astounded by the difference it makes not only in the lives of others, but your own.

Encouragement Strategies:

A. Send thank you cards and notes of appreciation. Digital is great, but there’s just something about receiving a note, written in a person’s handwriting. I’ve got letters and cards saved that I received years ago. Just recently I ran across a saved note written on a piece of scratch paper — the kind hotels give you to take notes on. Written on it was just one word, “Love.” There’s something incredibly powerful about receiving written words. And their unique ability to cause the wonderful memories associated with the person who wrote them to come flowing back to mind. Written words can last as long as the ink on the paper they are written.

B. Digital isn’t all bad. While I stressed the long lasting impact a note or card can have, don’t assume I’m discounting sending emails, or a well timed Facebook message. Often, the message is far more important than the particular medium. The main thing is that you’re coming from a genuine place with the words you impart on others.

In keeping with the theme of intentionality, make a point to regularly look through your contact list (I.e. email address book) and choose people who you’ll drop a quick note to. Just let them know you were thinking about them and wanted to reach out and say hi. Pick something kind to share with them. You don’t have to over do it. Just be genuine. Ask them what they’re working towards at the moment, and when they tell you, wish them the best. Wish them well in their efforts. Be a source of encouragement. It’s as simple as you’re willing to let it be. Give it a try, and notice how others are affected in a positive way as a result.

C. Plan in advance. Take about 10 minutes each night, before heading to bed, while you’re planning the next days actions to identify a few people in your life who are working through challenges. Maybe extreme challenges for some, and for others more mundane, but challenges in their mind just the same. Write down their name, along with the specific thing you’ll do to encourage them. When you act on what you’ve written down you won’t believe how empowered you feel. It truly is an instance where you get to share in the gift you’re giving that person.

Use the ideas above and make them a regular part of your routine. Friend, you can’t imagine how much doing so can shape your world in a truly positive way. The world is in need of those who commit to encouraging others to be the best they can be. Become that person and you will be well on your way to unlocking your BIG life, and all that goes along with being an encourager of others.

What are some ways you encourage and inspire others? Please share in the comments below.

It’s your life, LIVE BIG,
Josh Hinds

PS. please consider adding my book to your personal development library…