Journaling and Communicating for Success


I’ve always been a journal type of gal. Now, this never happens when I’m on top of the world. I only turn to this strategy when I’m feeling down and out. I’m sitting there thinking about the things have not been going according to what I had envisioned and, me being the “planning person” that I am, I pull out the journal and start writing.

It’s interesting. When I look back on the topics I wrote about, they repeated themselves. Same topics, generally speaking, just written at different times in my life.


What does that tell me?

First of all, when I started journaling, I didn’t know that, if you are really living your life in the moment, you do not presume an outcome. You simply accept the present moment as it is, enjoy it, breathe through it, or whatever body response is called for at the time, without judgment. But, that was before mindfulness came into my life.

Second of all, looking back I learned that I never found a solution to whatever was bothering me! Those concerns were still there, still issues for me, the same things beginning in my late 20s continued through my 30s, 40s….continued until almost present day. Almost, I say, because that was before I found the Power of Self with Marsha Clark and Associates in Southlake, Texas.

Power of Self is a leadership program designed to inspire and strengthen women leaders. Gone is the opportunity to pretend that something doesn’t bother you or that you didn’t care about something. This year-long training program provides an opportunity for participants can find greater clarity and a framework for making deliberate choices in every part of our lives. And it also removes the ability to “fake” any feelings or thoughts about anything. Not an easy process for the private person that I am. But, certainly a much more effective way to live.

During the last session The Magic Formula was introduced. It is a way to offer or receive feedback, eliminating the possibility for miscommunication. You frame your words according to The Magic Formula: When ­you (fill in the blank), the impact on me was (thoughts, reactions) and I felt (name the feeling;not I feel…)).

When giving feedback, this formula ensures you choose your words carefully, even for a difficult conversation:

  • When you look at me but don’t respond to what I’ve said the impact on me is that I think you believe I have nothing to offer, that I don’t count, and I felt indignant and offended.  I think I have made significant contributions to this organization and believe I deserve better than that. If you feel I am wrong, say so. But I need to hear something in response to my comments, not total silence.

Responding to feedback:

  • I heard you say that when I don’t agree with something you say, my reaction is such that it makes you think I am just too difficult to deal with and you are tired of trying. You would rather say nothing, and avoid the upset.

Certainly, no one would enjoy giving or receiving such feedback, but using The Magic Formula has the potential to avoid miscommunications and allow for misunderstandings to be corrected rather than left to fester. And, I believe, provide the opportunity for untold numbers of more positive encounters.

Try The Magic Formula with your children, your spouse, your boss, or anyone with whom you often interact. Practice with those closest to you, and then try it with someone not so close.

And try it with yourself, too. At least try to find an answer to your concerns, rather than just voicing them with no resolution in sight.

Let me know how it goes. I’d love to know if your experiences end up being as worthwhile as mine.

Good luck!

Dr W.

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