Write your way to success – Journaling for your Career

Journaling is mainly associated with healing and personal growth, but it can also be a very effective tool for career development. It’s appropriate if you want to improve in your current job, if you’re looking for a new job, or even if you want to start a completely new career path.

How can keeping a journal help me in my career, you may ask. The answer is simple and multifaceted at the same time: journaling for career can help you learn to overcome (inner) limits, discover and develop hidden potential in yourself, learn about your strengths, and much more.

First of all, you can now get rid of the idea that journaling is the same as writing a diary. Yes, journaling and diary writing have a lot in common, but while you simply confide in a diary what’s going on inside you, without any structure or plan, journaling is a bit more goal-oriented. The reason you reach for the journal should also define the method of journaling.

Here are the best ways to use journaling to boost your career:

Reflection Journal

As the name suggests, the focus here is on reflection – so you deal with yourself extensively.

Typical journal prompts:

  • How did the past work week go?
  • How did project XY go?
  • What went well, what went less well?
  • What was the reason if it went less well? What is my part in it?
  • What happened today/this week/etc.? How did I react to it?

The benefit: You identify typical patterns that you display in your professional life. It is important that you write regularly over a longer period of time so that you can take your journal and read it. What habits do you recognize? Do you see a common thread? To what extent does it make sense to break a pattern?

“Cheerleading” Journal

Be your own cheerleader! This method is all about what you are good at. Document all of your successes, everything that went well, everything you did well.

Typical Journal Prompts:

  • What recent projects went really well? How did I contribute to them?
  • Who did I help this week? How?
  • Was I asked for advice this week? On what topic?
  • What was the last thing I received praise about?
  • What tasks make me feel really good and full of confidence?

The benefit: We tend to be very hard on ourselves and see our weaknesses more clearly than our strengths. With this method, you move the focus away from your weaknesses and toward your strengths – building self-esteem and confidence.

Learning experiences

In many things that happen to us in our professional lives, there is also a valuable lesson. Learn to recognize the hidden lessons in your everyday life and learn from them – it will contribute quite significantly to your growth.

Typical Journal Prompts:

  • What lessons have you already experienced? In what form?
  • What happened to me today/this week? Is there anything I can learn from it?
  • To what extent is what I have already learned useful to me?
  • To what extent could it help me in my desired career?

The benefit: You make the shift from victim mentality to learning. Instead of self-pityingly asking yourself “Why is this happening to me?” you train yourself to rather ask what an experience could teach you.

Stress Relief Journal

Let out everything you swallow in your daily life! Tell your journal everything you can’t say to your hectic boss, annoying co-worker, or overbearing client. This is where you can blow off steam or get rid of things that are burning on your mind. Journal prompts aren’t necessary here – just write away, or address a letter to someone you can’t talk to as openly as you’d like in everyday life.

The benefit: Things we’d like to say but can’t – for whatever reason – often weigh heavily on us. By writing them down, you let them out and that has a relieving effect. You reduce stress, which is better for your physical and mental health in the long run than keeping everything to yourself. But be careful: you should not get into “whining” and focus only on the negative! Try to find the balance here.

Self-discovery journal

This type of journaling is ideal if you’re embarking on a new career path. To get really happy with your career change, make sure that this new direction really fits you.

Typical Journal Prompts:

  • What do I really want?
  • What are my values? What kind of work fits these values?
  • What kind of life do I want to lead?
  • What requirements must be met for me to lead this life? Which activity fits to it?
  • What do I want to accomplish in my activity?

The benefit: By getting to know yourself and your values and finding a job that fits them, you’ll not only earn money with your work – ideally, you’ll even find fulfillment with it.

How about you? Where on your career path are you right now and where do you want to go from there? Maybe one of the methods above can help you get there!

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