America’s Leadership Expert : Basic Information

Clay Staires: This is America’s Leadership Expert Clay Staires with Tulsa Business Leadership and podcast #52, “Becoming Immortal: the Power of Journaling.” This is part two of our two-part series on becoming immortal, and the influence and the power of journaling in our life. As I talked about with Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership in our last podcast, #51, so many people don’t take the opportunity and take the time to process their life as it’s happening. We’re just living it. We’re running around putting out fires and today runs into tomorrow and tomorrow runs into the next day.

What I’ve discovered over 30 years of journaling, I started back in 1988, over almost 30 years of journaling I have discovered as America’s Leadership Expert Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership that there is value in keeping track of my path. There is tremendous value in keeping track of the things that I’m learning, struggles that I’m overcoming, questions that are getting answered for me, and just navigating through the hurdles and the obstacles that life brings at me on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis, so I want to encourage you again as a leader with Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership, reaching out to entrepreneurs, business leaders, managers, and people in business leadership, that you began to keep a journal, help to begin to track and keep track of your journey, the lessons that you’re learning.

I did spend time once with the gentleman that was 65 years old getting ready to retire, had been extremely successful, and I said, “What have you learned? What is it that I need to do so that I can follow in your path?” and he looked at me with her a question mark on his face and he was just going, “You know, America’s Leadership Expert Clay, I don’t know. I guess just don’t give up,” and I just looked at him and went, “That’s all you got? You’re at this point in your life and you’ve had the success that you have, and all you’ve got is just ‘Don’t give up’?”

This was a man who had not kept track of the path. Things had worked out. I’m sure that he did certain things to allow things to work out. I know that he had to overcome struggles and difficulty, but unfortunately he did not keep track of any of it, so when it came time to helping other people get there, all he had was, “Just don’t give up,” okay? Which, okay, it’s not bad advice, but at America’s Leadership Expert  Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership, “Just don’t give up” is not going to be enough. I need to know the practical steps.

So we’ve talked about in other podcasts, and what I want to get into here and podcast #52 is talk about the different levels of journaling, because most people have an aversion or they resist journaling because they equate journaling with feelings and emotions and getting in touch, and I just don’t want to do that, I don’t have anything to get in touch with, and it’s difficult and it’s a struggle and so we avoid it, and I get that. It makes total sense, but what I want to do in this podcast is talk about the different levels of journaling, not all the levels.

It’s really only when you get down deeper into the deeper levels of journaling that you tap into the emotions and conclusions and belief systems and so on, so it starts out with this idea, before we get into the levels, I just want to remind you on something that we’ve talked about in the past on thoughts lead to emotions lead to beliefs lead to actions lead to results, so the acronym that I use here is TEBAR. Thoughts lead to emotions lead to beliefs lead to actions lead to results.

As we are walking through these levels, I just want you to know that these levels kind of walk backwards in this process, starting with the results, so let’s talk about the different levels. We’ll talk about the surface level, and when I say surface, I don’t want to say that in a negative way. This is very positive. As America’s Leadership Expert Clay Staires with Tulsa Business Leadership, this is where I encourage people that have never journaled before, this is where you want to start. It’s what I call the data level.

Level number one on the surface is the data level. This is just basic information on what’s going on in your world, what’s going on in your job, what’s going on in your relationships, what’s going on with the weather, politics, news, and so on. It’s just almost reporting the data, reporting the news of what’s going on. It’s not threatening. It’s just, this is what’s happening. This is what’s going on. We did this over the weekend. We did that over the week. We have this coming up this coming weekend. This is what the weather is right now. Hmm, these are some interesting economic times. This just happened in the news.

It’s just basically keeping track of the data. I just got a raise at work. They’re downsizing at work, or whatever that might be, so that’s level number one, just the data, and this is a great place to begin because it’s pretty nonthreatening and it’s a great place to begin to learn the habit, so at America’s Leadership Expert Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership this is where I encourage people to begin.

Step number two is building off of that data, and now if I’m comfortable and if I’m interested I can go to the next level down, the next level deeper. It’s almost like we’re drilling down deeper and deeper. The second level is what I call the effects of the data, and this is what is happening because of this basic information. It’s how it is affecting you, how it’s impacting you. We did this over the weekend and I enjoyed it. We have this coming up this weekend, so here’s what I’m doing to prepare for it. This is what’s going on at work, and this is how it’s impacting me.

Once again, we don’t have to tap into emotions here just yet, but we’re talking about here just how it’s impacting you, even on a physical, practical level. Doesn’t have to be on an emotional level, but at America’s Leadership Expert Clay Staires with Tulsa Business Leadership, again, this is how I help people wade into the water of journaling.

Start with the data, and then the next level, if you’re comfortable, talk about the effects of that data. Here’s what the data is and here’s what that is causing. Here’s what that leads to. That brings us to step number three as we continue to walk down this staircase into deeper levels, or as we begin to drill down through the crust in our life and get down deeper.

The next one is questions that you have about the data. America’s Leadership Expert These are questions like, why is this going on? Here’s the data, here’s how it’s impacting me. I’ve got a question. Why? Why is this going on? What does it mean? What should I do? At this level, don’t worry about the answers. You’re just writing the questions that you have. This is how it’s impacting me. This is how it’s influencing me, and I’ve got a question. Why is this person doing that? Why did that happen? Why did this have to happen? Did it have to happen? How could I have avoided this?

These are great questions to be asking, so here we are now at a question level, and as I talked about at the very first of this podcast with Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership, I was asking this thing that very few people are actually processing. Very few people are actually asking questions as to why and what is going on in life. They’re just plowing through, so this third level begins to get into some very … some uncharted waters, and this may be where things begin to get a little uncomfortable, so again, you don’t have to go directly to this level. You can work your way, wade into it.

Step number four as we continue to walk down this staircase into deeper and deeper levels of self, next one we have our statements of value, because again, in the third level when we’re asking questions we don’t need to worry about answering all the questions. We’re just asking them, and you want to be careful not to skip that level of asking questions and just go to the answers, because again, you will not grow by just getting more answers.

Growth, as I’ve spent years as Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership mentoring and leading people, helping people navigate transitions in their life, the key thing that you need to become comfortable with is asking questions. It is your questions that reveal learning, not just your answers.

Again, answers are important, but if you are just seeking answers and never asking the right questions then it can be really difficult. This is something that I’ve done very often with people as we are mentoring, coaching, is they are asking specific questions and I’m looking at them and saying, “You are asking the wrong questions.” You need to get to a point where you’re asking the questions that actually add value.

So here we are again in step four with statements of value. America’s Leadership Expert This is when you begin to engage in the process of actually discovering why you believe what you believe. When you start digging down to your conclusions and discovering the beliefs leading to these conclusions, things like this is what’s going on, this is how it’s impacting me, it raises these three questions in my mind, and these are my answers and conclusions to those questions, and then all of a sudden, why am I coming up with these conclusions? Are my conclusions appropriate in this situation or for this time in my life? It may have been appropriate when I was 18, 19, or 20, or 25, 28, but now here I am at 35. Are those answers still appropriate?

This isn’t always easy, and most of the time it will require someone from the outside, an objective point of view, to help you see it, because left to yourself you may just keep on coming to the same conclusions, that, “Everyone’s an idiot, that’s the problem. The problem is my boss. The problem is my wife. It’s my husband. It’s my kids. It’s the weather.” The problem is always external. If we continue to come to those conclusions we won’t be able to move forward, so that’s step four, is actually beginning to write statements of value. Where are my beliefs coming from? Why are my beliefs this way?

Then we come to step number five, which is the feelings and emotions. Once again, this is the area where most people think of when they think of writing in a journal. I have to talk about my feelings, so what I experience as Clay Staires Tulsa Business Leadership is a lot of people resist because they don’t want to get into the emotions. We don’t value the emotions. We don’t see the emotions as important. Just the practical data, that’s all I need, but this is usually, again, the reason why people don’t journal to begin with. They aren’t interested in getting in touch with their emotions.

America’s Leadership Expert Again, just keep in mind, this is level five on the depth chart. You don’t have to start here, but again, this would look like this thing of starting from the top, this is what’s going on in my life right now. This is how it’s impacting me. It raises these questions, and these are my answers that I have. These are the conclusions that I come to. Why are these the conclusions? Why these are the value statements that we’re having? Why is this important to me? Are my conclusions appropriate?

Then step number five is, how do I feel about them? Am I okay with them? Am I not okay with them? What are those emotions at this point? Now we’re down in the deep levels. Now we’re down in the rich soil down deep, beginning to actually have transformation in our life rather than just surface reorganization, even though that was pretty good. We want transformation, not just reorganization.

Then finally we get to the deep level of number six, thoughts and fears. This is the level that really can take a while to get to, and you’ll definitely want to have a mentor or a coach to help you navigate this level, but this is the real stuff. This is where change is made. It’s at these deeper levels of actually the way that I think about life, the way that I interpret life and how life is happening.

Again, these are the six different levels, and remember, levels five and six, they tap into the very core of who we are, and remember the TEBAR. We start with the results, just the data, what’s going on in life, and we kind of back into this thing. America’s Leadership Expert Results to actions to beliefs to emotions and to thoughts. This is Clay Staires with Tulsa Business Leadership, and podcast #52, “Becoming Immortal: the Power of Journaling, Part Two.”