Journal Prompts

Need help getting your Development Journal started?  Start with these prompts or an inspirational quote.

How could you step outside of your comfort zone to try something new and what possible changes could result from that action? List as many possible changes as you can - can you list at least 25?  

This prompt not only gives you ways to step outside of your comfort zone but it pushes you to brainstorm.  Usually when we brainstorm, the first 10-20 items we come up with are the ones we have already thought of (and already thought of reasons to not do).  

What lofty legacy do you want to leave your coworkers and your family? For what do you want to be remembered? What actions can you take today to start building that legacy?

This prompt is really about personal strategic planning.  Where are you going and will your daily tasks get you there.  After any good strategic planning session you need to see some progress, so make sure you list all the actions you can take today and strive to accomplish at least two of them.

How does your team's reaction to an unexpected event like a fire alarm reflect teamwork? How can you use the preparation principles for fire drills to prepare and unify your team in other (more common) areas of accountability?

This prompt challenges you to focus on being proactive in preparing for situations where you will need to be reactive.  By having a well-developed plan in place, your team is able to "react" in a positive and intentional way.

What is your whole life made of?  What makes your life whole?  (From Franklin Covey's Five Choices to Extraordinary Performance)

I love this prompt, it challenges you to look at how you spend your time during the week in comparison to what is important to you.  What changes would you like to make to bring your life more into balance?

Do you "unplug" on your day off? If so for how long? What does this mean to you? If not, what do you think it would be like to do that, even if just for an hour?

Does being "plugged" in calm you or stress you out?  Try different approaches and write about what works and what doesn't.  

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why...I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" Robert Kennedy What are you dreaming of?

Dreaming is goal setting without limits.  What would you be if you had no limits?

What song describes where you are in your life right now? What song would you like your life to be? What is one thing you can do this week to bridge the gap?

You know that feeling when a song comes on and it takes you to a place you want to go?  (Think "Girl on Fire," "Firework," "Don't Stop Believing," and "We Are the World.")  And then there are the ones that we can't stop listening to because the writer has clearly been in our shoes.  (Think "I Will Survive," "Over You," "Stronger," and "American Pie.")  There is so much in between and one small step can take you from "Margaritaville," to "Changes in Lattitude, Changes in Attitude."  What is that small step, how would you accomplish it, and will you do it?

Who is on your personal board of directors? 

These are the people you can discuss major decisions with and ask for advice.

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." Albert Einstein 

Write a bit about each piece, one thing you learned yesterday, one thing that made today special, what you hope for tomorrow, and what you question in the world, your life, or your career.

What environmental factors do you need to completely focus on a project?

Is it quiet or background noise?  A desk or a favorite chair?  PC or Mac?

What is your greatest strength? What more can you do to maximize it at work and in life?

Too often when we are working on professional development we focus only on our weaknesses.  Maximizing your strengths is a major part of professional development.  How can you bring your strengths into your projects in a way that increases your satisfaction and furthers the organizational goals?

Journal Prompt: "In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves.  The process never ends until we die.  And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."  Eleanor Roosevelt

How do you want to shape your life and yourself?  What choices can you make today to begin that process?

How do you pace yourself so you don't burn out? What mechanisms do you have to calm yourself when you feel the stress starting to build?

We can't always eliminate stress, but it helps to have a few "go to" tricks up your sleeve when things start caving in on you.  If you've thought about them before the amygdala takes over, you have a better chance at pulling them out when you need them.

"Common Sense is not so common" Voltaire

What work habits do you consider "common sense" that others do not seem to understand (or do). What can you do to clarify with others that you expect these things to be done?

What is one thing you are proud of from today?

Don't forget to celebrate your successes?

What is your biggest hope for the week?

I like this one for Sunday or Monday, when you are fresh and ready to tackle a bigger challenge.

Define confidence. Do you have it?

I am guessing you'll have more when you take the time to really think about it.  The more you journal the more you'll have to boost you when your confidence is lower as well.

"Celebrate what you've accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed." - Mia Hamm

How do you celebrate your accomplishments? How do you keep raising the bar? How does each make you feel?

What one thing will you do tomorrow to further one of your lofty goals?

Good for after a rough day.  A quick win the next day will change your perspective better than a shot of espresso.  (Doesn't mean you need to forgo that though.)

Six-year olds laugh an average of 300 times per day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times per day. (Credit Snapple: http://realfacts.snapple.com/whykidslaughmore/)

Where are you on the 15 to 100 times per day? How would more laughter improve your life? What can you do to insert more laughter (even if you're not very funny)?

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Looking for a place to keep your notes?  I love the Moleskine Journals.  They fit neatly in a purse or briefcase!