Updated: Jul 24
I talk to client after client and the story is almost always the same:
“I’m unhappy in my job, but I feel trapped.” “I don’t know what I really want to do with my life, but I know it’s not what I’m currently doing.” “I’m the breadwinner, so I just have to suck it up until the kids graduate from college.” “I’m bored and uninspired. I want to be growing and have more of a challenge.”
The situations may differ but the sentiment remains: I’m stuck and I don’t know how to get unstuck.
I wish I had a magic pill you could take so you’d suddenly be living your true purpose, but the fact is you’re going to need to put in some work. Here's where journaling comes in! The good news is that if you do the work, you can actually find your purpose. That is, if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone, get honest with yourself and trust the process.
Photo cred: www.instagram.com/picjumbo/
Journaling is one of the best ways to get the creative juices flowing. Why jump on the journal bandwagon? There are loads of reasons but, let’s focus on the 3 main benefits.
1) Safe space: Journaling is one of the safest spaces for you to share your thoughts. No one but you ever have to read this and you never have to do anything you write down, if you don’t want to. There is zero risk! It’s your outlet for being 100% authentic. So, let yourself go and explore all avenues.
2) Stress relief: Believe it or not journaling can be very therapeutic, especially if you find a quiet space to do your writing. You can light a scented candle, put on a comfy outfit and get into a relaxing position. If it’s helpful you can play music while you write. You won’t be able to let your feelings and thoughts flow as easily if you’re in a frenzied state, so be sure to do some short breathing exercises if you’ve had a particularly hectic day.
3) Clarity: When you journal, your subconscious will come out and you can start to identify trouble spots, such as limiting beliefs, and things that excite you. Most of us are walking around with a million ideas in our heads but we have a hard time sorting through them until we put them on paper. It’s the best way to really get to know yourself on a deeper level.
Remember why you wanted to achieve this goal in the first place. Let that fuel you in the tough times!
Now that you know the benefits of journaling, let’s jump in to what to journal about. Sure, you can sit down and just start free flowing, but sometimes answering a specific question or journal prompt can be more beneficial. It forces you to think differently. Here are my 3 favorite journal prompts for getting unstuck.
3 Journal Prompts to find clarity and direction in your life:
1) If I could have any career in the world (and time and money weren’t a factor), what would I do? Why?
This question can be really fun to explore. We all have dreams and aspirations, even if we can’t rattle them off at first. Maybe you wish you could start a non-profit or open a spa? Maybe you dream of opening an animal shelter and rehoming animals or starting a business? Maybe you want to take a “step back” at your current company so you have more time with friends and family? Getting these dreams and goals out on paper allows you to see how you feel about the idea when it’s on paper and more tangible.
The most important piece to uncover is why. Why would you want to follow this path? Would you be happier and less stressed? Would it give you more flexibility to take care of your kids or allow you to give back to the community? There are a number of reasons why we desire a specific career and there is no “good” or “bad” reason for wanting something. For example, you might want to become an actress because you want fame and to leave a legacy. Leaving a legacy is a very common driver for women, especially as we age.
Really take the time to brainstorm and capture all of your dreams. You don’t need to stop at one, you can have as many as you want. This is your place to get all of your ideas grouped in one place. Just don’t forget to include the why. It will give you a lot of insight about what motivates you and makes you tick.
2) I’m the happiest when…
Time for a reality check. When are you the happiest? Is it when you are making PowerPoint presentations or when you are coaching your team members? Do you prefer structure or ambiguity? Do you feel the happiest when you are outdoors or inside? With family/friends or alone? When you have a blueprint and you just follow it or when you’re creating your own roadmap from scratch? Is it when you receive a big paycheck or an impressive job title?
Resist any temptation to judge your answers or justify why that makes you happy. There will be plenty of time to refine your answers later. Right now, just focus on being brutally honest about what makes you the happiest or would make you happier.
Don’t get discouraged if this is a hard question to answer. I bet if I asked you when you’re most miserable or unhappy, that would probably be really easy to articulate. Most of us don’t spend nearly enough time really thinking about makes us happy.
3) What do I do to self-sabotage myself and my dreams? Why?
We all engage in self-sabotaging behavior at one point or another. If we’re brave enough to recognize it and call ourselves out, we can stop it in it’s tracks before it does any more damage. Many women self-sabotage by procrastinating or starting a task and never finishing it. Others will bite off more than they can chew and then use time as an excuse. Some will give up their own dreams to support their families, telling themselves they need to “sacrifice” for the greater good. If we don’t take time to identify our self-destructive behavior, we can’t fix it.
Then consider why you’re holding yourself back. I remember journaling the following when I was unhappy in my job, “I’m afraid I won’t be able to make as much money somewhere else.” At the time I wanted to stay in corporate, but rather than look for a new job I was self-sabotaging my job search because of this one little thought. I already had it in my head that there wasn’t another role out there for me. Not only was I wrong, but less than 6 months later, I was hired on by another company for several thousand dollars more and had no vacation policy, giving me more time off with my family. If I hadn’t recognized that limiting belief and squashed it, I might have stayed in that role, missing out on a very good and financially lucrative opportunity.
Are you afraid you don’t have the skills you need? The money? The support? The motivation? Are you afraid about what your friends or family will think about you? Are you nervous about what change means? Don’t hold back or apologize for your feelings. They are normal and valid.
If you practice journaling more regularly and you do so with an open heart and mind, you will find your way to your purpose more quickly. Once you land on your purpose, you might find it’s time to set some goals and hold yourself accountable for reaching them. Come back and read my blog on sticking to your goals to avoid the top 4 pitfalls. Happy journaling!
Do you want support and hands on accountability to achieve results faster? Schedule a one-on-one EDIT Your Life™ Jumpstart call today! Let’s get you fast-tracked to reaching your goals and living a life you love.