Journaling Exercise: What Does It Mean To Be A Family?



image by faugel


It’s nearly three am. I went to bed, listening to the sound of waves (digitally) to quiet my mind so I can fall asleep, but instead my mind wandered, as it always does. I was thinking of my recent trip to Dublin to visit my sister, which then led to thinking about her, and then this post I wanted to write. So I thought, instead of staying awake thinking about it, I might as well get up and write it. 

Family is a funny thing. Blood relations make us related, and for the most part it makes us a family, but not always. Just because you are related to someone by blood, doesn’t really mean that you like them, love them, or want anything to do with them. Even like and love are different emotions. Think about parents who love their children even when the children are horrid teenagers, but they don’t necessarily like their children at that particular stage.

Then you mix in the history that every family has: childhood dramas, conflicting relationships, family politics, and all sorts, and these relationships become even more complicated. 

So today’s exercise for you is to answer this question: What does it mean to be a family?

There is no right answer of course. For each person, this answer will be different. Maybe for you, family is your blood family. Or perhaps it’s the urban family of friends you’ve chosen yourself. Maybe it’s your adopted parents, or adopted children. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of these. Whatever it may be for you, think about what this family makes you feel? 

Who are the members of these family? And why them, and not all the other people you know. 

I have lots of relatives, many of whom I like and even love or at least care for. But when I think about my family, this number grows much smaller. My family are the people I trust absolutely to stand by me no matter what, and the people I would stand by no matter what. They are the people who love me unconditionally. We may, at times, not like aspects of one another but in the end we always love each other more. That is my family. 

What about your family? 





How to Keep A Career Journal


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A career journal is a powerful tool, no matter where you are on the professional ladder. A student exploring her options, an established executive looking for a next step up, a 9 to 5 prisoner dreaming of an escape plan, a CEO, middle-manager going nowhere, an entrepreneur, a creative professional, or someone who is completely lost and looking for a career path. No matter where you fit in among these, a career journal will benefit you.

What Is A Career Journal

A career journal is a log – whether in an actual notebook, or electronically – you keep to write down everything that relates to your career. This is your blueprint for building your career your own way. You are only limited by your imagination, and your drive. You don’t need to rely on jobs people advertise. Design your own career and make it happen.

Why Should You Keep A Career Journal

We live in a world where job security is thing of the past. It doesn’t matter how great your education is, no one can guarantee it will give you employment – let alone fulfilling employment – for the rest of your life. Bureaucracy still prevails in most of the large corporations, which means that jobs that exist are not always filled by people who deserve to have them.

Do you really want to be limited by jobs advertised in your local paper, which thousands of other applicants are also applying for? Do you want your next move up to be at the mercy of your boss – who may or may not be competent enough to decide that? 

Your career is in your control. By keeping a career journal, you can use this control. Start your career journal today. The earlier you start, the more it will help you. 

What to Write in Your Career Journal

  • Get clear perspective on your current situation by writing down where you are now.
  • Keep record of your career progression. How did you get where you are today? How has your financial situation changed?
  • Record your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Make note about useful connections you make.
  • Record constructive criticism you’ve received. 
  • Record compliments you have received. 
  • Write down advice from good mentors.
  • Write down examples of traits you would like to emulate from other leaders.
  • Record your ideas. Do you ideas for new projects, ways to contribute more in your current role, ideas for your own business, to increase sales? Whatever it is, write them down.
  • Record your career goals, and review them regularly. If you are looking for a successful career, in whatever field, you must have goals that you are trying to achieve. Keep an eye on these goals. Adjust course as necessary. 
  • Write down lessons you’ve learned along the way.
  • Explore options for branching out from your current career, or even entirely changing direction. You are not required to stick with the same field that you started out in. But the complete change will become slightly less difficult if you think it through, and if you use your journal as a tool to aid you in the transition process.
  • Be aware of exactly what you want. By paying constant attention to your career, by actually thinking about what you want, what works for you, and where you want to be  rather than merely bumbling along, you will take control of your career in your own hands.
  • Interview experiences. These are dreaded moments, especially when you don’t get the job. Keep a record of spectacular successes, and spectacular failures so that you can learn from them.
  • Constantly write and revise your dream job description. You are the boss. You get to decide exactly what you want to, and how much you want to be paid for it. So be bold. Write your job description, and as your career evolves, keep tweaking it so that it’s always current. Review it regularly. This is your motivation. This is the fuel for inner fire so that you keep striving.
  • Keep track of your transferable skills. Write down examples when you complete a task or a project successfully. Make sure to record facts and numbers, so you can use them later in an interview or with a client if required to backup your claims.
  • Research the companies you would like to work for. Research the executives there. Create a plan of getting their attention.
  • If you want to have your own business, note ideas – about everything from the business concept to where you would like your headquarters to be, and how many employees you would like to have. 
  • Write down ideas for improving your personal brand, so that you are not defined by your job title. 
  • Define your vision, your mission statement, and stay true to it.

If you are an ambitious, driven person, keeping a career journal will help you immensely. It will help you channel all that drive into a more constructive manner so that like a good chess player, you can anticipate several moves in advance, how you need to steer your career. 



Start your own career journal. Tell us in the comments below your views about keeping one.



Writing 500,000 Words Per Year


image by livn2do


On my birthday in May, I shared my 40 things to do before 40 list with you guys. It’s a challenging list, but that’s the whole point. A challenge is something that stretches you, where a possibility of failure exists. However, if you keep striving for it, even if you fail (which I fully intend to try not to) you still do a lot more than you otherwise would have. 

That was the idea behind this list, which in turn ties into my Becoming A Polymath goal. 

Today’s update is because one of the items on this list changed. Goals are important, but they should never be rigid. You shouldn’t give up on goals if they are hard, but you should’t stick with them if they are no longer what you want. 

In this instance, one of my goals changed, because I no longer need it. I had a goal: Be Fluent in German, simply because I was initially considering studying in Germany. However, I decided against it, and as a result, I no longer need to learn German. Unlike the other languages from my Polymath Project (Spanish, Japanese, Italian and Latin to go yet), I have no personal interest in learning German. I was going to learn it simply out of necessity. Now that necessity doesn’t exist, and so I am not going to spend any more time on it. 

Instead, I replaced that goal with another that is important to me. A writing goal. 

I am a writer, and my main professional goal is to be a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction. The only way to achieve this is by doing more and more of it. Therefore, I’ve set myself a challenge of writing 500,000 words every year. (From May 6 to May 5 of the following year, as this challenge ends on my 40th birthday). 

The logic behind this 500,000 words is this:

On average, 10000 words per week, for 50 weeks (2 weeks off)

500,000 words per year

That makes it a whopping 5 million words in 10 years

But it’s not just any writing. Journaling for example, doesn’t count. Believe me, with journaling, I can write 5 million words in no time!! These 500,000 words must be from work – both fiction and non-fiction – that contribute towards my writing career. 

This year so far, I’ve written 163842 words from May 6, 2013. That means, to meet my goal, I must write 336,158 by May 5, 2014. 

Better start typing then!! 



Tell us about your challenging lists. Do you have a bucket list, or a major goal you want to accomplish in your life? If you have not set yourself any challenge, perhaps now is the time to start.