Over the past few months, I’ve had multiple clients reach out to me with a variety of challenges. One client sought me out because he wasn’t getting along with his boss. Another client began working with me because she felt she wasn’t being heard. A third client felt like she couldn’t manage people.
As we worked together, what we discovered is what they thought was the challenge – a difficult boss, not being heard, managing people – was based in a behavior pattern that wasn’t serving them well. In other words, each client was stuck.
By using a reflective journal, each client began to capture interactions that didn’t go well for them. By journaling after challenging meetings with his boss, my client began to see a pattern. Every time he took action on a major initiative without keeping his boss informed, a tense meeting followed. When he sent a brief email update or asked for a quick stand-up meeting, a positive interaction occurred.
As my client said, “Seeing was the easy part! Changing was a huge stretch.”
My client who felt she couldn’t manage people discovered by journaling that she wasn’t setting clear expectations. When her staff weren’t doing the deep research for a brief or inviting key players to a meeting, they didn’t realize what was needed. By journaling when she was frustrated, she realized that she needed to set clear expectations.
By looking for patterns in her journal, my client who thought she wasn’t being heard realized she wasn’t speaking up in meetings. She was surprised to learn that she wasn’t speaking out as much as she thought she was.
Pushing herself to speak up in every meeting was a stretch. Her reward was feeling heard when she spoke up.
By using a reflective journal and looking for patterns, each client realized that they could become unstuck and change the outcome. My client discovered that the difficult boss was a leader who wanted to be kept informed. My client who struggled with managing people began setting clear expectations and had better results. Finally, my client who started speaking up in meetings, began to feel heard.
In each situation, journaling helped my clients track their behavior and gave them data to analyze. By analyzing their journal data, they discovered what behavior to adjust and achieve the outcome they wanted.