Journaling – how to


Let me tell you a story.

It’s early 2004 and I’d been in business almost a year. I was struggling to get my referral business off the ground and I had found some things that worked but a lot more that didn’t.

I spent money on stuff that promised business but I really just got an education. I bought a ‘system’ that focused on running ads in newspapers (that didn’t work), a newsletter that I printed and mailed every month (that did work, sort of) and I learned about a company and presenter who promised he could teach us to work by referral.

I went to a seminar in Orlando and at the end I signed up for my first round of coaching. It cost me $3000 and I paid for the whole year up front. What I am about to teach you is the one valuable thing I got from all that time and money spent.

Spoiler alert, I fired that company about 6 months into the contract, didn’t get any money back and the negative lesson I learned was, to paraphrase an old proverb “A Realtor and his money are soon parted”. I felt foolish but was determined to learn a lesson since I had just paid the tuition.

The primary presenter used manipulation in his presentation and at the end of the day was willing to teach us how to manipulate others. He even showed us what he was doing at the end of the seminar but it took me a while to figure out what was happening.

I struggled with it until I saw the contrast with an authentic person teaching us how to work by referral in an authentic way and once I did, I quit that coaching. I quit that day and signed up for something much better but that’s a story for another time.

Today I will share with you the lesson of Journaling.

At the beginning of the infamous seminar the presenter held up a journal and he said “this is for storage” and pointing to his head he said “this is for processing”. It’s simple really but he was right and I learned he took that idea from the work of David Allen along with the 2 minute rule and shared it with us.

It was a positive thing he taught me. Let’s get to it.

Journaling is not something most people do anymore. It used to be a common practice and I teach my mentees to do it. It is necessary for processing ideas, clearing your mind so you can focus and to help you slow down long enough to think.

Clearing the mind is the part I got from the seminar. The presenter asked us to write down 50 things we were trying to remember. 50 things? “That can’t be right”, I thought but I started writing things down.

  1. Get the oil changed in the car
  2. Change the furnace filter
  3. Don’t forget to get milk
  4. Get new wiper blades
  5. Pick up present for mom
  6. You get the idea….

Once you start writing I promise it won’t stop at 50. The homework assignment that first night was to go back to the hotel and write down 200 things.

I got to 187.

The idea is to get that stuff out of your head and put it in a place you can refer to later so it won’t interrupt you while you’re working. Your “less than conscious mind” will constantly bring that stuff up if it thinks you might forget it but it’s not helpful to remember to get milk in the middle of a listing presentation! Write that stuff down and then get David Allen’s book to help you see what to do with it.

I recommend you journal using a bound book with ruled pages and a pen. Personally I use a fountain pen so I have to slow down just a little bit more. Writing is the doing part of thinking.

[bctt tweet=”Writing is the doing part of thinking.” username=”RealtyCaffeine”]

I can give you a jumpstart if you’ve never journaled and don’t know what to write.

Try this:

  1. Write down what you did
  2. Write down what you thought
  3. Write down how you felt
  4. Write down what you learned

If you will do that most days it really helps clear up what is important. If you do it most days you’ll also have a record you can refer to if the need arises and it’s instructive to just pick up a journal that’s a year or two old and read about where you were back then. I can tell you that one thing was a big eye opener for me. I realized a couple of years in I kept writing things like “Don’t’ quit” or ‘hang in there’ and realized I was focused on quitting instead of succeeding. My journal reflects success today and I’m really glad for it.

Lastly, when you’re struggling with life and not sure what to do next, write down 10 things you’re grateful for. Gratitude will overcome many things we struggle with in life and it can change your perspective and changing your perspective can change everything without changing any of the facts. Try it and see for yourself.

If you want to talk about this some more you are welcome to give me a call. That is why I put my phone number down here. It’s for you to use.

This blog is for you as a new or newer agent and to help you get on the path of working by referral. It’s possible and I’m proof. You can have a solid, thriving business that is almost 100% referral and you get to choose who you work with.

You just have to decide that’s what you want to then do the work.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson