If you are like me you feel like you are pulled in a million different directions every day. My morning routine allows me to start my day feeling centred – but damn the world is a noisy, energy sucking machine isn’t it?
Reflection at the end of the day lets me check in with myself – its not enough for me to just slump down at the end of the day and say fuck Im tired. Im so glad that day is over. Is that any way to live?
I am a rebel – so I don’t make rules for myself. I don’t need to tell myself that I HAVE to do something every day (because its likely I will do the complete opposite) so because of that I don’t journal every night. BUT when my head is spinning too fast and I can feel that Im physically tense – my jaw is tight, my shoulders are somewhere up around my ears – I take a few minutes to sit down and write the answers to two simple questions. Before I share what those journaling questions are – lets make one thing verrrry clear : Actually putting pen to paper when you are reflecting or trying to clear your mind is SO important – it slows you down. You cant write as fast as you think. So when your monkey mind Is going bananas and your thoughts and feelings are bouncing all over the place and throwing shit at the walls – sitting down and writing will help regulate that. It will slow you down ever so slightly. Sometimes when we are caught up in a whirlwind of thoughts, replaying conversations, having arguments with ourselves – being forced to just slow it all down is exactly what we need to help us change our state.
So here are my two journaling questions to help me explore why I am in a funk at the end of the day.
The first question is simple: Write 3 good things that happened today.
It’s a simple question and only needs a simple answer. I don’t write an essay. Its literally 3 dot points.
Its important to not overthink it.
Its important not to judge yourself in the moment you are writing.
Its so easy to edit yourself isn’t it? If the first thing that comes to your mind seems materialistic or superficial – we quickly stop ourselves and think ‘damn it – no! You are supposed to have more depth! Think again, think better’. Its important to allow yourself to write unapologetically. Give yourself the freedom to just be honest. We can get so used to presenting a version of ourselves that we think is the most acceptable to the world for so long that we can fall into the trap of trying to convince ourselves that’s who we are too. So when you ask yourself the question – what were 3 good things that happened today – write about the delicious sushi you had at lunch if that’s what pops into your mind. The important thing in any reflection exercise is that you are honest.
Question number one was pretty easy right? Takes less than a minute to get it down on paper.
Question Two requires a little more from you.
The second question is: What did I do today that was meaningful ?
The word meaningful is what makes this a game changer. Its not how productive was I ? Its not how efficient was I? Its not did I move the needle forward in my business? Its not did I complete my to do list? The question is – what did I do today that was meaningful?
That question is open to interpretation. What is meaningful more me might not resonate with you – the importance lies in understanding what is actually meaningful for you. Would you agree that most people have pretty high standards for their external world – they bust their ass in business, they want a certain car, their house has to be on trend, they need to travel to places that are Instagram worthy, they need to buy the right clothes and look a certain way – but they don’t spend nearly the same amount of effort and energy mastering their internal world.
Most people will give everything that they have in trying to build that external image – they hustle and grind and override burnout, they have all the shiny, pretty things, they shake your hand with confidence because of the title they have given themselves – meanwhile they are dyyyyying on the inside.
If you get to the end of the day and feel a nagging sense of anxiety or depression – I believe its your body letting you know that something isn’t in alignment. There have been many times in my life that I have blazed towards goals I had set, achieved them and felt depressed. It took me a long time to understand that it wasn’t because there was something wrong with me. I wasn’t unappreciative, spoilt, entitled, unable to be happy – the problem was with the goals themselves. They ultimately weren’t meaningful.
So in answering the question : what did I today that was meaningful? Im shining a spotlight on whether or not I connected with things in my life that I believe really matter – or whether I was just spinning wheels, a product of the machine.
The final part of this journaling exercise is to read over my responses and reflect on something that I picked up from Tony Robbins. Tony asks that you look at the things that you do, the things you call important, the things that take up your time and energy and ask : Is what I am doing about contribution or significance?
I really believe that we live in a world of people addicted to significance. We want to be seen, heard, respected, admired, validated for the things we do. From family, friends, colleagues, our kids, our lovers, strangers on the internet – when you are working for significance, searching for external validation – you will be forever seeking. Significance will make you a loud, egotistical, arrogant idiot or it will hold you captive, squashing your dreams – too insecure to put yourself out into the world, fearful of what others will say. Either way – significance is a dead end road.
Contribution on the other hand – that will grow you. When we believe that we are growing, we feel fulfilled. We feel inspired. Again, contribution will be different for everyone. Where you contribute and how you contribute is not really up for discussion or debate. Its not something you need to justify – it has to come from you. You can work hard towards big goals, I am not saying goal setting is a bad thing. Not at all. I have some specific, pretty epic goals set for myself that I am relentlessly pursuing – these goals require me to double my net worth again and I know I am entirely capable of manifesting the magic I see ahead of me. I don’t have tunnel vision though. Im not obsessed with the end goal to the detriment of everything else in my life. Contribution on the journey towards that goal makes me content. That contentment means I am fulfilled. That fulfilment means that life is beautiful. I am in a constant state of gratitude.
At this point in my life, my greatest contribution is to my family. My young family deserves me to contribute the best of myself and make a difference in their lives. I know the type of partner I want and I know the type of son I hope to raise. So rather than sitting back and judging whether they are fulfilling my expectations – I focus all of my energy on being the type of partner and mother they would need. If I want a partner that is affectionate and trustworthy – I better be showing up every day with ways in which to make him feel seen, heard, understood and appreciated. I better be vulnerable and a conscious listener. If I want his honesty I have to be a safe, secure sounding board. If I want my son to grow into an adventurous, compassionate man – I better find ways to show him what self love, self respect and courageousness actually looks like. I better be modelling strength and resilience.
So in my day, when I ask myself what did I do that was meaningful – Im really asking myself, how did I show up in the world for my family? What did they observe? How did I make them feel? What messages were my actions, body language, energy sending them?
If I am buried under stress, busy moving from one thing to another, moving too quickly to look them in the eyes when they talk to me, or squeeze them tighter when they embrace me – I wont get to the end of the day and feel like what I did was truly meaningful.
If my inbox being empty is the best part of my day – I know that isn’t truly in alignment of what is meaningful to me.
If you look at your list of good things that happened in the day – and not one of those was a reflection of you contributing to someone else, or your community in some way, it is worth reassessing whether you are living for significance or contribution.
Have you set yourself up to believe that the only ‘good things’ worth mentioning are the good things that happen for you? Reprogram yourself to see the contributions you make to be the truly good things. Once you do – you will begin to realise you are in control of the way you feel. When contribution is the only fulfilment you need – what you stand to gain or lose through the actions of others becomes irrelevant. You free yourself from having expectations of people around you.
It definitely does not go without saying that these questions are not intended for you to judge yourself or feel badly about the choices you have made. We can start the day with the best intentions – but somewhere along the course of the day, we find ourselves off track. It is our lifes work to know the rhythm of our own heart and march to the beat of it. Reflecting in this way just allows you to fall back into line with what is truly meaningful to you. You can reprioritise and reschedule the day ahead of you to change the outcome of the next day. While we have time we are gifted with the opportunity to try again. In any given moment we can change the way we think and it can change our lives.
I love the gym because I know I can always feel good about the time I invest into my health and fitness. I know that matters. What I do at work tomorrow might not matter to me at all in the future, but whether I have strengthened my body and my mind through movement matters today, tomorrow and long into my future. Fitness contributes to the contribution I want to make at this point in my life. If I want to show up as vibrant, energetic, reliable – I need to embody those things. In training within a community at The Training Room Geelong I get to give to myself and connect with people around me. Uplifting each other, sharing energy, supporting each others health and fitness is deeply fulfilling. I am not just exercising to benefit myself – I am showing up within a community. Contributing my energy to the greater good of everyone that is within the four walls of the training room. That’s why it feels so damn good to train together. That’s why our sense of family within the gym is so strong. We all feel it. We all get it. We all show up for each other. That in itself is a contribution you make every time you choose to come and jump in on a group session.
Contribution doesn’t have to be a big grand gesture. But it does matter.
Don’t get to the end of the day and accept that you feel depleted and depressed. Don’t let the world have its way with you. The world around us is our creation. You are the only one in charge of the way in which you view the world around you. Perception is reality isn’t it?